Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day began with a co-worker gushing how this was a day to celebrate love. I rolled my eyes and shrugged.

"You young people have no sense of romance", she said.

I made it clear that I consider myself a pretty romantic guy; I also know that I've had more Valentine's Days as a singleton than in a relationship. I don't hate Valentine's Day, I hate history.

I'm not too fond of the many expectations that come with this all-so Hallmark of holidays. There's pressure on men to really come through on Valentine's Day. Every newscaster started their Valentine's stories with "Well guys, we bet you still managed to screw this up" or a similar sentiment. As if we didn't know that giving a certificate that's redeemable for "The Best Loving You Ever Got" won't cut it. Umm, we guys do know that, right? Because despite the calendars and the gentle reminders, there was still a deep line-up Valentine's afternoon at the florist counter of the supermarket.

And then my friend mentioned that today marks 8 years for her and her now-hubby, and since I'm happy for her, I suppose I can at least celebrate someone else's love.

My original singleton plans were to go home, drink a bottle of wine and watch High Fidelity, but I thought better of it. Instead I used being single as motivation at the gym:

"....12...I'll show that....13....woman what missing....15....and next time...16...she sees me...17...I'll be...18...firm like mutton...19..."

Needless to say with so much angst for fuel, I'm hobbling around in pain already.

So as a singleton, what is the rule about dates and v-day? More to the point, first dates or early dates?

As an example of what can go wrong, The Office had a funny bit where Ryan realizes in horror that he hooked up with needy coworker Kelly the day before Valentine's Day .

Singles events on Valentine's Day are tainted with this air of expectation and desperation, so I don't recommend that as being too healthy. There's that sense of "I have nothing better to do, so I'll do you". V-Day is also a time when guys cruise bars for lonely vulnerable women, like a National Bridesmaid day.

If you choose to embrace your inner Bitter Bastard, I'd suggest getting some other singletons together and hold an Anti-Valentine's dinner, making snarky comments about other couples that pass you by: "Oh wow, she is really out of his league" and "God, I thought that was her Dad !"

I think a first date actually on Valentine's Day would be kind of fun depending on the person you were with already flirting with, maybe had a few lunches with. A first date on Valentine's Day could jump start a "just a friend" into dating material. But does it send mixed signals or will it be taken too seriously? That depends on the people involved. If I were to show up for a V-Day first date and she demanded where her treats were, I'd be out before the first gin and tonic hit the bar. But if you make an effort to at least acknowledge this most Hallmark of holidays, I'd show up with something novel like one of those kid's Valentine's cards ("I Choo-Choo-Choose U") or a cheesy stuffed bear and we have a laugh, then the date's off to a good start.

The best Valentine's date I had? That would be a spontaneous affair a few years back. The girl I was seeing at the time had been sick with bronchitis for the week, so we didn't make plans. But she felt better on Valentine's and all the restaurants were booked. We stayed in, ordered Chinese, watched Sid & Nancy , a romance in it's own right, and danced to Sinatra.

It wasn't fancy, it wasn't expensive, but it was genuine and a nice little moment for us. It doesn't have to be a Hallmark holiday of overpriced roses and dinner. It's a cliché, but everyday should be Valentine's Day, and I think the best thing to do is to just show up with roses or take her out for a nice dinner when she least suspects it, or most needs it.

I believe in love, it just don't always believe in me.

For laughs:
The Office - "Valentine's Day" Deleted Scenes