Sometimes, I make really good decisions. This time last year, I decided to make out with my best friend at a Manu Chao show at New York City’s Terminal 5. Aside from deciding to be BFFs back in high school, tonguing each other to King of the Bongo was probably the best mutual decision we ever made. We’ve been gooey on each other ever since, and the moral of the story is make out with your friends whenever possible.
Since my relationship with P came after a lengthy friendship, we’ve been pretty casual with romantic celebrations. I would like to pretend it’s because we are soooo cool, and above all that flowery chocolate business, but actually it’s because the whole “friends first” thing often creates confusion over how to behave. (Read: Sometimes, we’re awkward.) PDA was weird at first, and I am still in the habit of talking to P about past hook-ups, because we used to dish about our sex lives all the time. Naturally, he no longer finds my sexcapades as amusing as he once did. “Isn’t that wild? Three times in one hour! It was exhausting and…why…why are you looking at me like that?”
Valentine’s day 2012 was a big mess. Neither of us are big V-day fans. Maybe it’s because I used to work at Hallmark, or maybe because I think forced romance goes against everything that should create those starry eyed moments in the first place! (Read more about my anti-V thesis here.) However, on our first Valentine’s day as a “unit,” we both felt some sort of weird outside pressure to do something. It was very confusing, and it caused a bit of a tussle on the 13th when we found ourselves with no plans to see one another—we live in separate cities, you see. We do nice things for each other all the time, and there is nothing worse than feeling like you SHOULD do something nice for someone. Yet we still felt like we were being dicks by ignoring the day completely. It was a mess.
“So, what are you guys doing for your anniversary?” asked my room-mate. “NOTHING!” I responded, excitedly, flinging hummus all over our counter.
Reflecting on the obnoxious formality that was our last Valentine’s day, P and I decided to celebrate our first year together by doing absolutely nothing. With no weird pressure to be unspeakably romantic, we would have an Antiversary.
“Hey, soon we will have been doing it for a whole year,” I said to him a few weeks back, flinging hummus all over his counter. “And guess what? I still like you!” High fives all around. I know I make our relationship sound casual, and again, that’s because I want to sound so cool. In truth, I’m absolutely bat shit crazy for the guy, and sometimes I want to go smack my 16-year-old self for not jumping on his ass a decade ago. Pssst. High school Zoe. You’re an idiot. I’m glad you gain the Freshman 15 in college.
It’s not like I don’t like anniversaries in general. I love celebrating love in all forms! Just as every relationship is different, they should all be celebrated differently. I’ve been in relationships where years were marked with jewels and love letters and extravagant meals. One year, an ex came up with a clever anniversary scavenger hunt that had me going all over the city to places that were special to us. I loved it. But stuff like that is just not our style.
So what is our style? And how do you have an Antiversary? Let me count the ways!
- No commitments. Often when I spend a weekend with P, we cram in 100 things to do and then either run around, or feel guilty about canceling them all to stay in and touch each other. So this weekend, to honor our commitment, we are making no commitments.
- Celebrate each other. It’s nice to believe that everyone celebrates their other on the reg, but sometimes it’s easy to get into routine. It’s not that you take each other for granted, but you become accustomed to one another. And if you’ve been together for years and years, then perhaps the times of sitting around and staring at each other in dumbstruck love-awe are over. You wan’t to date ME? But you’re so phenomenal.
For your anniversary, spend your time celebrating one another in whatever way you want. (Hopefully, the ways you want will include a great deal of nudity.) Maybe you want to give back massages. Maybe you want to serenade each other on a fire escape at 3 am. Maybe you want to eat peanut butter out of each other’s belly buttons! Make your celebration as unique as your relationship. I am not sure how we will do that yet, but I am hoping to spend the majority of the weekend in his dark apartment without any clothes on, doing what we do best—having lots of sex and then ordering chinese food. Mmmmnn General Tsao’s Tofu.
- No gifts. This was a big one. I like to give and receive “ no reason” gifts. I find they are more meaningful, and everyone loves surprises. Okay, everyone likes good surprises. “Look I got you this vintage silver hip flask I found at an antique shop” not “look I got you herpes! Sorry you don’t have health insurance.” In all my years of gift giving (not herpes giving) I have found that the best gifts are the ones you stumble on accidentally, not the ones you search for. D’awwww.
The point is to celebrate the relationship in whatever way is real for you, without all of the bells and whistles and pressure from society about what you “should” do for each other. You “should” go to dinner. You “should” buy some new lingerie. You “should” get an expensive gift. Stop that. Do what you want, but do it together.
The only solid plan we have for this weekend is to head on down to Williamsburg and get tattoos at NYC’s vegan tattoo shop, Gristle. No, we’re not inking each other’s names or anything. I need to get some art on my ankle touched up, and P is going to get some new ink on his side. And the only reason we even made this plan is because we needed an appointment. While I love spontaneity, I have found that in terms of permanent body art, some planning is best. Keep your eye out next week for a review of the shop!
Okay now tell me how you celebrate your anniversary? Your antiversary? I wanna know!
The Lusty Vegan is a lifestyle and sex column focusing on living and loving as a twenty-something year old vegan. More rants from Zoe Eisenberg can be found at www.sexytofu.com. Follow her on Twitter @Sexytofublog.