A non-traditional Valentine

Larry McClellin (r) and Chris Burrus (l). Photo provided. / Mary Ingram (r) and her partner Morag MacGilchrist (l). Photo provided.

by Abra Cullen
Staff Writer

With the increasing appeal of Valentine’s Day in the states as well as globally, there is seemingly more pressure to make this time a special moment with the one you love. For long-distance couples, this can be even more challenging.

Mary Ingram met her partner of six years, Morag MacGilchrist, on her birthday through Twitter. The couple connected by their mutual love of Lady Gaga. 

Ingram resides in Moore, Okla. while her partner currently lives in Glasgow, Scotland. Although they celebrate Valentine’s Day together, Ingram said being long distance changes the way they can celebrate their romantic holiday.

“Being long-distance, we mail each other packages twice a year; one for birthday/Valentine’s Day and one for anniversary/Christmas. Both our birthdays are in February, so we tend to combine Valentine’s and birthday gifts, but there are usually separate cards for each celebration.”

The couple, now engaged, don’t believe that this tradition will change all that much after the fact.

“The gifts may get more extravagant but the both of us are less about gifting things for the sake of it being a holiday and more for the sake of “I love you, and this reminded me of you,” Ingram said.

The couple’s long-distance brings a sense of sadness to Ingram on Valentine’s Day.

“The only thing I hate about being long-distance is the fact that I can’t take Morag out on dates and when I see couples out together on Valentine’s Day I can’t help but feel a ping of sadness that my heart is in Scotland.”

Ingram and MacGilchrist combat the separation with Skype dates and exchanges of gifts via snail mail.

However, Ingram said other long-distance couples are not limited to these methods.

“I feel like there’s no right or wrong way to celebrate any holiday so pick something that works for you and turn it into a tradition. For non-long-distance couples, it can be as simple as watching a movie together and eating takeout on the couch to dinner at a fancy place and chocolates. Go nuts.”

Ingram said that before she met MacGilchrist, she didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day but her relationship with MacGilchrist changed that.

“Being with Morag gives me more of a reason to, I guess, and I love sending mail so any excuse I get to be ‘sappy’ and sweet, I run with it!”

Ingram said there shouldn’t be a specific way you have to celebrate. “I don’t think Valentine’s is a requirement for everyone to celebrate but if you want to celebrate it, don’t let anyone stop you! I love, love and I like the feeling the holiday typically evokes.”

Larry McClellin and his partner, Chris Burrus of OKC, take a more simplistic approach to the holiday.

“For Valentine’s we normally just go to dinner. Due to work sometimes it’s the day before or day after,” he said.

McClellin’s opinion on the holiday may have something to do with their simplistic approach, “I do think people overrate Valentine’s. To me, it’s a day to celebrate love with your partner, not a day to go crazy with buying presents and flowers.”

Jordan Redman contributed to this article.

The Gayly. February 14, 2018. 9:55 a.m. CST.