How not to have a Valentine
February 8, 2008
Valentine’s Day is next week. Yee-haw, whoop-de-doo and put out more flags.
Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day garners more negative reactions than any other holiday. Depending upon one’s personality and/or luck, Valentine’s Day can evoke a wide range of responses:
Realist: Who the $#@? cares?
Lucky Romantic: Oh, goody, goody, I wonder what he/she/it will get me this year?
Optimist: Oh well, maybe next year …
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Dog: Can we break the ban on chocolate just for this one day, please?
The sad fact is, if you Google “Valentine’s Day Horror Stories,” you’ll find some real lulus, all posted by people like you and me. Not that I’d encourage you to read them, because it’s all pretty depressing stuff about being stood up, forgotten or ignored, with the evening ending in tears. But it could have happened to any of us once upon a time ” that is, if it’s not happening to you right now.
In years past I have written in these pages about my own disastrous Valentine’s Day experiences, usually ending with me and my black Labrador, Bosco, sitting on the sofa eating a box of fried chicken together and watching “Somewhere in Time.”
Thankfully, those days are past ” although I miss Bosco ” but the hurt can still linger, faintly, like a scar from a decades-old surgical procedure.
Valentine’s Day is a “holiday” that teaches rejection at an early age. Sure, sports can teach rejection ” remember all the times you weren’t chosen for Dodge Ball? But the difference is, you’re rejected in sports because of your lack of athletic ability.
On Valentine’s Day, you’re rejected because of you, yourself, who you are. It’s the first real glimpse, in childhood, of the impending, unrelenting trauma of adulthood.
And it’s our first lesson in Rule Number One of Survival: Life’s not fair. Deal with it.
Numerous websites this week are offering advice on how to get a date for Valentine’s Day. To me, this smacks right up against the whole point of the holiday.
You’re supposed to use Valentine’s Day in order to pursue the person you’ve been admiring from afar, finally asking them for that first date.
Or you’re supposed to share it with an already-existing loved one, whether it’s a new friend or a vintage spouse.
Valentine’s Day is not meant to compel us to go out and rent a romance for the evening ” although in this anti-relationship culture we’ve engendered lately (and we’ll discuss that later) perhaps a lot of people prefer it this way.
Anyway, if you go online to find out how to get a date, the “experts” will tell you to get out of the house and go to a supermarket, Laundromat or bar (euphemistically called a “pub” and bad advice, in this writer’s opinion) ” and make eye contact.
Show off your assets, no matter how few, and don’t bring up unnecessary details ” such as the fact that you have three wives living in the old commune back home.
After reading several pages of this dreck, and because I hate enforced, manufactured romance, I decided to come up with some ways NOT to have a date for Valentine’s Day.
I’m doing this because of the millions of co-workers and well-meaning friends out there who are absolutely determined that their date-less friends should be provided with instant romance on Feb. 14.
A lot of people would vastly prefer the luxury of solitude to the hell of spending an expensive evening with a total stranger. But because of pressure from their peers, they’re trapped like rats in the Valentine’s Day onslaught of blind dates, usually procured because somebody owed somebody a favor, or lost a Super Bowl bet (especially after last Sunday’s game).
The road to bad dates is paved with good intentions. But if you find yourself cornered next week, here are some surefire ways to wriggle out of that date before it even begins:
1) Pretend you’re from a Mafioso family.
This one’s so easy, I’m surprised more people don’t try it. Start off by telling your prospective date that your family is in the “import” business, and gradually work in a few references to “Goodfellas” ” you might even mention that some of your relatives worked on the movie as “technical advisors.”
Usage of words and phrases such as “whack” (as in, “to whack someone”) “witness protection,” “incriminate” and “the Fifth” are immensely helpful.
If your prospective date mentions “The Sopranos,” tell them that Tony Soprano was about as Mafioso as Bugs Bunny, and if she/he wants to see a REAL Tony Soprano, you can take them home tonight to meet your uncle, since you’ve got to get the car back to him by midnight anyway, because he needs it for a “job.”
You might also mention in passing that Valentine’s Day marks the anniversary of a very, very special event for some of your ancestors back in 1929 (see Wikipedia, “Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre,” for details)
2) Tell your prospective date that your parents had 12 children, and that this is a long-held tradition in your family, which you would never dream of breaking.
3) If you’re a girl, talk ad nauseum about the pro football players you’ve dated in your life ” one from each team, if your imagination can carry you that far.
Throw in a really cool story about how you got at least one of them kicked off the squad. If you’re a guy, use the same technique and change it to pro football cheerleaders. This will discourage the most determined dater.
4) Tell your prospective date that you really can’t commit to a date with him/her until your Inner Voice gives you the go-ahead on it. This is because you have to listen to your Inner Voice about everything ” because he’ll get mad if you don’t, and then there’s no telling what might happen to the three of you.
And one last note: Valentine’s Day gifts should be received on BOTH sides.
Romance is a two-way street, and guys should be in on the largesse as well. So ladies, if he comes home with flowers and a box of chocolates, you should have those Buffalo wings and that 12 pack of imported beer ready for him. If he stumps for a gift, get him a video game.
And if he stumps for jewelry, get him that DVD set of Super Bowls I-XL. Because, to take apart and redistribute the words of that old Hallmark ad, guys who care enough to buy jewelry deserve the very best.