“Marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out and find no one there.” – Justice Anthony Kennedy, Obergefell v. Hodges
“You buy your flowers yet?” It was my buddy Tex on the line, Saturday morning before Valentine’s Day. Tex always calls early in the morning, because it is late at night wherever he is in the world. Sometimes he puts a woman on the phone, who I can never understand due to her thick accent.
Tex knew damn well I had not bought any flowers for Valentine’s Day. That is one key tenet for successful dating. “Never have a girlfriend on Valentine’s Day,” Tex often admonishes. “Leads to all kinds of problems and expense you don’t need.”
The fact that a 46 year old life-long bachelor is lead counsel on my love life is problematic, to be sure, but it is what it is at this point.
Some of Tex’s other relationship wisdom includes: 1) “When you are juggling, sometimes you gotta let all the balls drop, clear the slate and start over;” 2) “When a relationship ends, it is no one’s fault, it just blows up;” and 3) “Like in Logan’s Run, at 35 they gotta go.” It was actually 21 in Logan’s Run, but you get his point.
Anyway, of course I had NOT bought flowers because I did NOT have a girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. After 4 years of dating, even I knew that.
“I closed my eyes and she slipped away.” – Boston
I’m not here to hammer the cliche that Valentine’s Day is a made up Hallmark holiday, because it really is not. Valentine’s Day is a real thing, and centuries old. Supposedly V-Day started with St. Valentine, who would secretly marry Christians during the Roman Empire, which was forbidden. So think about that for a minute. Valentine’s Day started with St. Valentine and the Christians who were PERSECUTED by not being allowed to get married. Old Bill Valentine, or whatever his name was before he became SAINT Valentine, didn’t become a saint by doing card tricks. Valentine became a SAINT, and eventually got a major holiday in his name, by marrying people who the government said could not be married. The irony is just too much to bear sometimes.
Because that’s real persecution right there, you guys. A couple who is not allowed to marry is being persecuted, not the homophobe who bakes a cake for their wedding. Today, the Jesus lovers piss and moan about being “persecuted” if they have to make a cake, sign a marriage certificate or pay for a condom with their tax dollars. Jesus Christ, give me a break! That is nothing compared to what the fucking Romans dished out to the Christians back in the day. The Romans wouldn’t hesitate to throw a Christian in the ring with a hungry lion, and with nothing to defend himself except a loincloth and a spoon. THAT is persecution, not the crap bible people whine about these days, like a couple guys kissing on TV, which I think they secretly kinda like anyway, if we are being honest with one another. But I digress.
“Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse.” – Springsteen
Anyway, Valentine’s Day is stupid, no matter your circumstances. If you are in a relationship, you have to go out and buy something. As if Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries weren’t enough of a pain in the ass, here’s another holiday where you have to go online or worse, to a store, and buy something. Ugh. And then you won’t get any credit for the gift or the flowers or whatever. Everyone is doing it on V-Day, so nothing special about it. Drop some flowers on a random Wednesday for no reason–BOOM–Power Move. Flowers on V-Day because you have to? Eh, NBD.
But let’s say you are dating several people on Valentine’s Day. Then you are in a real bind, and, of this, I know. If you pick one and ghost the others, the others will wonder what’s up. Unless, of course, you are simultaneously getting ghosted by them. If you go on a nice date with #1, candlelight and wine and all that shit, you gotta worry that your phone could blow up at any moment with 2, 3, 4 and maybe even 5 checking in to see what you are doing. Worse than that, maybe #2 doesn’t blow up your phone, and then you have to wonder what she is doing because, above all else, you are a damned hypocrite. Trust me, this is a scenario no one needs to endure and that you can’t even wrap your mind around, which is why Tex counsels to clear the slate before you get in that quagmire again.
Lastly, the romantics out there who want a serious relationship deserve mention. Do these lonely souls really need a reminder that everyone else is spooning and they are home alone watching HBO with the cat and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s? That’s just cruel. Statistics show that 45% of suicides occur on Valentine’s Day. (I just made that up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true.)
“Dream’s unwind, love’s a state of mind.” – Fleetwood Mac
So basically, Valentine’s Day sucks, whether you are in a relationship, not in a relationship or in many relationships. And I’m sort of a romantic, or at least I used to be.
Here’s the deal. You get one chance at love in this life. When you are young, you get one chance to meet someone, fall in love, have some kids and build a life. Maybe it all works out, maybe it doesn’t. Sometimes you can control that, sometimes you can’t. If it does work out, good on you, and that is love. Congratulations. If not, whether it was you, her, or the cancer, it blew up. That’s no one’s fault, it just blew up. Gotta move on and make the most of it, but it isn’t love. But whatever, no one needs Valentine’s Day coming around every year to remind us what might have been.