08 February 2011
I don't want to sound bitter here or anything, but if I see anything heartshaped again in the next week, I'm going to rip somebody's head off. (-But in a delicate, lady like way. )
It's not me...I'm fine with Valentine's Day. -Well, okay. Maybe not totally. But not for the reasons you might think.
No. Why? Because a representative percentage of my friends are of the male persuasion. 50-ish percent. I like guys: grew up with them, married some (okay, one, but he's Serbian, so that counts at least double); been in otherwise all-guy bands; have many awesome actual brothers; etc. I like 'em! I like that guys are all hairy and weird and they'll laugh at almost anything. Men is great!!! But Valentine's Day is rough on 'em. The dears.
Why, I hear you ask. Well...Because, at this point, chicks have some Serious Valentine Expectations. SERIOUS. I mean, a guy could rappel down the side of the Sears tower, sweep a chick over his shoulder, carry her off to a Wolfgang-Puck-catered-dinner in a personalized monogrammed hot air ballon, AND give her the Hope Diamond, and-after all the buildup that had started on February First--she'll just gnaw distractedly on a fingernail (hopefully, her own fingernail, and not yours), stare into the middle distance, bite her lip, and look...well, disappointed.
"Honey, what's wrong? Is the diamond not shiny enough? Is the hot air too cool? Is Wolfgang too German? What? What is it, babe?" the guy will say.
"umm.." she'll murmur demurely. "It's just that I really wanted... chocolate."
Hmm. Try to remember your own personal favorite Valentine's day. I've been insanely lucky with the people I've been privileged to spend it with, over time. I've been wined, dined and diamond mined.-Okay, not sure what that last phrase meant, but it rhymes, so let's just go with it.- But the nicest times were not commensurate with the amount of dosh spent. So don't go crazy, fellas.(-Unless you're someone I might be currently dating, in which case, pretend you never saw that last sentence. Thanks!)
The stuff I remember with the most emotion is, surprisingly, the stuff I could-and have- kept in a shoebox. (Note to anyone I'm dating: emeralds fit nicely into a shoebox! A Louboutin shoebox. Um? Right next to the shoes. Thanks!) - Handdrawn cartoon Valentines; handwritten poems; there's even a couple of small hand cut out red construction paper hearts and someday I'll remember who they're from; there's even, endearingly, a piece of paper on which an anonymous thirteen year old boy painstakingly typed* the word "rose" 140 times, with the scrawled words "bet no one ever sent you twelve dozen roses before" beneath it. One's heart sings. -Oh, and there are playlists, on cassettes and cds. One of the sweetest mistakes I've ever found, was a cassette someone I cared for, whom I didn't know cared for me back, sent me, after I'd moved away: 10 years later, i found it was cued up to the last (30 second) song, which ran "and so my love and you are leaving; i don't know how to ask you to stay", which would have been even lovelier if I'd found it ten years earlier, BEFORE he got married and had four kids. -Ooopsie.
Oddly, i remember the Valentine's day on which my then-beloved presented me with an antique trunk of mine he'd secretly fixed up- almost better than the Valentine's Day the year before on which he asked me to marry him. It was such a sweet, unexpected and odd thing for him to have noticed: that I loved that weird piece of furniture. (Actually, it was a chest, but there was no way i was going to write the words "I remember the Valentine's day my exfiance worked on my chest", EVER, so the word "trunk" had to fill in, unexpectedly. ) I remember one valentine's day my date and I spent hunting around Chinatown for the biggest live lobsters we could find: by the time our obsessive search was over, I had realized that lobsters look like giant prehistoric bugs and I couldn't eat one or even look at one for the next two years, but ...wait, never mind, that one wasn't so hot. Moving right along. So: "Trunk" good: "lobsters" bad.- Yup. Now we know.
So. ...It's always a little surprising when a cliche turns out to have a core of realtime truth to it. The cliche being, Damn! It really IS the thought that counts. (Except if you're someone I'm dating, in which case it's the thought, the emeralds, and the dinner that counts.-Just kidding.-No. I'm not. Nope. Not even a little. Hand over the emeralds or the lobster gets it, buddy.)
And ladies? Badass Glamourpusses everywhere? Let's turn the tables this year, shall we?
Let US be the ones to rappel down the side of a building clucthing flowers (us that is. Not the building.)..to whisk our beloved away in a rather nice car; then sling him bodily into a hotair balloon, treat him to an Alice Waters-catered-dinner [it turns out Wolfgang WAS too German, actually];
present him with a diamond as big as the Ritz, and then...and then..and then......
And then WE can be the ones who watch, dismayed, as he summons a halfhearted moue of disappointment. And says:
"I really kind of wanted?... a beer."
Actually, am truly wishing you, me, them, us...exes and present and future loves everywhere...and man and womankind in general, which could use a little extra love wherever we can find it: a genuinely Happy Valentine's Day. No sarcasm involved. Just chocolate. And beer. And, well..um...
(And? Happy Birthday Charlotte the Magnificent, on the 12th!!!)
*yes. typed. On an Olympia portable typewriter. What we had before macs. The dinosaurs used them to write their goodbye notes right before the meteors hit. Typewriter rule.-In an archaic, impossible to find replacement cartridges for, kinda way!