There is no other date in the year that fills a single person with as much dread as Valentine’s Day. New Years Eve kind of blows, especially the part when it gets to midnight and the only thing that you are kissing is another year gone.
But Valentine’s Day gives me the “wretching inadequacies”. You’ve just got through another single New Years, arrived back in LA and given up smoking again and the next thing you know, you are confronted with shop windows at every turn with lingerie, roses, and love hearts etc. Tiffany’s pump up the ad spend, limos are booked out and restaurants jack up prices like they running an airline at Xmas.
Because on Valentine’s Day, it’s not the thought, it’s the gift that counts.
So the single part of me is able to look at all of this and think, Thank God that I don’t have to participate in this exploitative pantomime.
Then of course it hits you that it’s not a one man play. Strip all the crap away and it’s about being with someone who you really care about.
Anti-Valentine days are becoming something of a rage in LA, where single folks will gather together to talk about how stupid the whole thing is. Besides the whole “me think he doth protest too much” aspect, it strikes me as going to an anti-war rally rather than a peace march.
Anyway, so I’m keeping very silent as I’m out with friends in the lead up to the day listening to the great ideas that they have planned; the surprises they are going to launch on their partners, the romance they are going to make on the day and throw into the sky like so many love kissed rose petals.
And it falls on a Saturday night. Of course.
The upside is that Netflix has started doing live streaming so I am planning a night of hard-core couch action, remote in one hand, corn chips in the other.
While I’d like to of course be hanging out with someone I like, the absence of this unknown soul is drawing more of a “meh” from me than full force self-esteem flagellation. So I guess, you know, that’s good.
Then the phone rings and it’s Stan. A quick recap; Stan was the guy that I was dating for a year and when I mentioned we were dating for a year, he kind of flipped out. Because I said the D Word. So the voice of May 2008 (Shitty Date No.1 in the archives) booms down the line like we had only been chatting a week ago. As opposed to the fact that I think we’d emailed once that whole year.
Stan: Hey there, how are you doing?
Me: Good, um, how are you?
Stan: Good, I was thinking about you the other day and realized that it’s been a long time since we’d seen each other.
I am starting to remember that he looks very good naked.
Me: It has been a while, hasn’t it?
I am remembering that we look very good naked.
Stan: It sure has.
There is a pause as we both listen to each other smile.
Stan: So I was wondering what you were doing on Saturday night?
Me: That’s Valentine’s.
Stan: Is it? (laughs)
Me: (laughing) Yeah it is. So I guess this means that you’ve got about as much going on as me.
Stan: I guess so.
More unseen smiles.
Me: Pack an over night bag, you can stay at mine after, I mean I’m halfway to your work.
Stan: And the price of gas is pretty high.
So there it was. I hang up having made a Valentine’s Date with a guy that I didn’t think that I was going to ever speak to again. And I was looking forward to it. He was on his own, I was on my own and we were both going to enjoy a little ex-sex. How adult.
Saturday night comes, he drops by with his bag (someone’s getting some!) and we head to the restaurant and are chatting away, eating, having a really nice time. They guy is as much the nutty professor I remember him being, but I’m also remembering all the good stuff about the times when we were hanging out (not dating, don’t mention the dating thing).
I can barely contain myself through dessert. I keep looking at his hands. I keep remembering his smell. I can’t wait to get this guy home and rip his clothes off.
Back at mine, I’m trying to get him to the bedroom. He on, the other hand, is interested in every other room in the house. He starts doing what I can only describe as a stock take. Stan literally starts walking around my house looking for any artifact from the time when we were(n’t) dating.
Hey, here’s the towel rack you bought at that flea market we went to. Hey, here’s that little statue I gave you. Oh, look, that matching Day Of The Dead skull that we found on Venice Beach. You finished that book I bought you, what did you think of it?
Uh, fuck the book, get your clothes off.
Then after doing a lap of my pad, checking off his list to make sure that all our joint mementos were place, he put on his shoes, picked up his bag and thanked me very much for a great night.
Me: You brought your bag up… I thought…
Stan: Oh, this is a gym bag. Ok, well, thanks, bye.
And with that, he was out the front door of my apartment, down the stairs and in his car in the time it took me to pick my jaw up off the floor.
Did you know that Valentine’s Day actually commemorates a gangland massacre? Stan does.