Wednesday, February 15, 2006


And so once again, it’s the much-vaunted holiday of love: St. Valentine’s Day. The day where long single women like myself wear black and gather to piss a moan over a pint about why beautiful, intelligent, cultured women such as ourselves are still single and damn the happy couple at the next table. Yes, nothing reels the men folk in like a hardened, bitter shell.

People bitch about Valentine’s Day being a manufactured Hallmark holiday. Maybe. But I don’t even really think it’s the couples that push it. Most of my couple friends have forgotten about it. Or love each other enough to make it clear everyday. I think it’s all of us singletons who see the day as a howling reminder of our failure to be a wanted half of a couple. Quick, find a date, push the romance, create everything to look as we imagine it should.

Well my friends, that is what we do in this town. We create images and realities and some people get paid a lot of money for it. And everyone else pays their ticket price to believe in it for two hours.

I almost had a Valentine’s date. I think. There’s this guy I’ve been flirting with. I’ve not been sure if he’s a friend or potentially more. I got the sense he was interested in moving our friendship along. So I asked him over for Valentine’s dinner. I misread his diplomatic ‘no’ as a coy ‘maybe’ and pushed the issue only to get a definitive ‘no’. Fine. Good. I hate guesswork.

Why exactly did I get to the point of thinking he was interested? Again, I’d like to blame it on the movies. Up on the big screen, lives are told in shorthand. When a guy and girl fall, there’ll be some iconic event meant to represent the progress from friend to lover. We see John Cusack share a dog walk with a girl and we know he’s saying he wants to love her for the rest of his life. She stops and smiles and we know they’ll love happily ever after. We see John Cusack holding a boom-box aloft and blasting a Peter Gabriel love song and we know he is stating his undying devotion.

So my problem is I tend to read the small things normal people do as the shorthand to relationships. I forget that people do things – I myself do things – because life is small moments and not every one is a metaphor for something else. At times the grammar of screen relationships I work on overtakes my reality. Oh that time you changed your plane tickets to stay with me? Clearly, the next scene is us sharing a tender hopelessly-devoted-to-you moment. That time I cried and you said you’d do anything to help me? A definitive moment to cut to our happy relationship.

Hey, I’m the first one to say I am naive and hopeful, am I not? So misread potential date aside, why is it that Valentine’s Day is the enemy of single women everywhere? Why is it that the fact of not being in a relationship is seen as a failure? Perhaps it’s success. Perhaps it means we didn’t get caught up in the world of a guy who didn’t deserve us. We didn’t give up our own dreams to support someone else’s. Perhaps it means we have more to offer the world at the moment as a singular force.

I am not wearing black today. In fact I’m wearing white. I’m taking today to pamper myself solely for me. Not in order to please or impress anyone else. That feels new. And nice. I’m taking time today to remember all my fabulous single friends who I know will change the world. I know my world is better for them being in it. Tonight, I’ll light a candle to celebrate my friends who’ve found love. I’ll pour myself a cabernet, cuddle with my big dog and watch Love Actually again imagining what finding love would feel like.

Meanwhile, does anyone have John Cusack’s number?

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Blogger Kid Sis said...

*Ahem* I hear chemical dependence makes him rather nasty, in the bad sense...aim higher!

1:20 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

But I love that you make the distintion between good and bad nasties. ;)

Yeah, the love is all for the Lloyd...the illusion rather than the real man. Hmmm, I see a pattern.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous tony said...

Hey, your luck is far, far better than mine. If I am dating someone, V-Day is the iceberg that sends my relationships to Davy Jones' Locker.

But I'm not bitter! (Yet.)

11:27 AM  
Blogger Brett said...

Sorry--I had to chuckle at the weird congruity between my previous comment (somewhere on some more recent post) and some comments you make in this one.

“ is small moments and not every one is a metaphor for something else.”

I also think females worry about relationships more than men, or perhaps they just worry ABOUT worrying about them. Meta-anxiety. Men are simple machines, by and large, which is of course their curse and strength. In geometric terms, men are straight lines. Rays. Segments. Semi-segments, in some cases.


Women... well, women tend to be more curved lines and spirals and parabolas and arcs defined by equations impossible even to describe in a male’s mathematical model of the universe. Men look at women and are confounded by the way things never seem to proceed in a straight orderly manner. Women look at men and don’t understand how things can not curve and turn and develop as they “clearly” should.

Sometimes, I find it amazing that our species managed to propagate beyond the first generation. Surely it has something to do with the fact that Adam had no buddies to drink with, no cute waitress or co-worker to flirt with, while Eve had no mother to judge her behavior, no girlfriends to set her up with some really great guy. Both knew they were pretty much locked in for every Friday night, no matter what.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Good thoughts Brett. I wonder that we propagate at all as well. I guess that we do just adds to the mystery and suspense of it all. Thanks for reading and sharing.

11:45 AM  

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