Just as Nice

Our first Valentine’s Day together Ben took me out for a spectacularly fancy dinner. At the bar Ben ordered a Seven and Seven and I tried a vodka martini, extra dirty. We both struggled to choke down the toxic concoctions all the while attempting to play the roles of non-waiters sipping signature cocktails before our usual multi course fare. Ben quickly realized the bar regular that frequently got tipsy on Sutter Home rosé recommended him to a restaurant much nicer than her alcoholic preferences indicated. It was one of those places where they only have two seating reservations the entire evening and there is a grand piano in the middle of the dining room with an actual pianist playing classical music. The waiter meticulously detailed every dish in the decadent four-course prix fix menu, and we decided to indulge ourselves. Even a whole evening did not afford us enough time to adequately stare into each other’s eyes, but we eventually kissed goodnight, and I tucked into the kitchen to get a swipe of pink icing from the cupcakes I was gifted. Just before I could sneak in the gluttonous bite, I heard a knock. As I struggled to comprehend why Ben had returned he blurted out, “SabaIloveyou.” Before I knew it, I quickly returned the affection.

For obvious reasons, our first Valentine’s Day will always be my favorite, and I am certainly not opposed to the occasional indulgent holiday celebration. Then again, the best part of that night was hearing Ben say he loved me for the first time and having the courage to tell him I felt the same way. Maybe that is why I think a simple evening at home, celebrating Valentine’s Day with a selection of cheese, fruit, chocolate and wine, is just as nice sometimes. Even when Wrigley swipes one of our $5 pieces of cheese.

I think for me that is part of what this whole simplicity thing is all about. Not just cutting costs and consumption and living well within our means, but allowing room for the understated and ordinary. It is not settling, rather celebrating in ways that are not always grand gestures.

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