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I Love Gnarls, by Natalie Kelsey


Valentine's Day

by Lisa Todd Crowe

Every year around late January I feel the nagging sense that I there is something I need to do. When I was single it was scrambling to find a date for Valentine’s Day, a holiday where being single (unless you are one of those awesome, super-secure-with-yourself types) makes you feel like shit. Even if you are one of those aforementioned awesome people I would imagine it still makes you wonder why you have chosen this solitary lifestyle and ponder adopting a(nother) cat or dog.

During those years I celebrated by keeping myself busy.  In my mid-twenties, after several years of stupidly crappy Valentine’s Days spent in crappy relationships, I was actually pleased to be spending the day by myself.  But I began to feel major anxiety as I quickly walked by the greeting card aisle at Walgreen’s, which was overflowing with tacky greetings printed on cheap cardstock and plush stuffed hearts adorned with lopsided googly eyes.  Was I a visionary for rejecting Valentine’s Day as a forced, artificial celebration of love, or just a bitter, single girl with no reason to buy an ugly card?  I realized that I was pathetic by default because now, I didn’t have a choice.

I started the evening off with good intentions. I walked to the grocery store and bought ingredients to make myself a fancy, single lady Valentine’s Day dinner. I think I bought salmon, capers, asparagus, a packet of powdered hollandaise sauce and a family size bottle of wine. You don’t have to say it – I know I’m pretty classy.

A few hours later, knee-deep in my fifth consecutive episode of “Sex in the City” I wasn’t feeling very confident in my decision to stay home.  The tiny bites of fancy dinner I ate didn’t really have a chance against the family size bottle of wine.  I decided (as I often did during that phase in my life) that it would be an awesome idea to, yes, make a few phone calls. I don’t even remember whom I may or may not have called that evening. I used a land line (it was the early 00’s, mind you) so I did not have the luxury of checking my cell phone log the following morning and texting a mass apology. Someone must have picked up their phone that Valentine’s Day evening because I wound up walking the streets of San Francisco to a location that to this day remains unknown to me. I do recall consciously deciding that I had no clue where I was going and was able to hail a cab back the mile and a half I had meandered away from my apartment.

Another year I met up with a couple of girl friends at a local (possibly owl-themed) bar in San Francisco. We were entertaining ourselves by talking to a few guys who had just come from their friend’s wedding and were stupidly drunk.

Around the time of our third drink a seventy-something bartender called out over the crowd from across the bar, “No lap dancing.”  We all turned our heads, craning our necks through the crowd trying to catch a glimpse of the culprit.

“NO LAP DANCING!” the bartender continued to yell. We realized he was waiving his finger in our direction, where one of my friends flirtatiously teetered on one of the Wedding Drunks’ laps, giggling at his inability to perform simple tasks such as setting his drink down on the table next to him.

My friend looked around, confused and embarrassed, and gave sitting in her own chair another chance.

We decided that we all must have had better experiences with lap dancing than our seventy-something bartender had and continued with the drinking fun.

At last call the Wedding Drunks took us out in their chauffeured wedding party limo to get waffles at some late-night diner a few blocks away and then dropped us off at our homes. My Lap Dance friend may have given the one Wedding Drunk her number but if she did, nothing ever came out of it.

That was a good Valentine’s Day.  I had a great time and successfully thwarted any feelings that I was doomed to be a crazy cat lady because I was too independent and blah, blah, blah.

If you are single you shouldn’t be made to feel bad about it - go off and have a good time with your friends or sit on your couch in your pile of cats and drink a few bottles of wine.  Now that I am married I have yet to gain any enthusiasm for the holiday even though I have a permanent date.

As the middle of February approaches the nagging feeling reemerges. What are my husband and I going to do for Valentines Day? Are we going to spend tons of money on a prix fixed dinner at an over-crowded restaurant? Are we going to watch some crappy romantic comedy at the movie theater amongst a sea of brace-faced preteens trying to hold a hand or grab a boob just because it’s February 14th? Is he going to buy me flowers even though I don’t give a crap about Valentines Day but secretly still want them?

The whole idea of treating someone you love really special one day out of the year is kind of annoying. If you are with someone you love you should probably treat them special every day. If you don’t want to then maybe you should just dump them so they can find someone who does.

This year I have decided that I am staying in and making dinner. I can recreate my fancy dinner from Valentine’s Days of yore and share my family size bottle of wine with my husband. If I wander off into the night in a wine-induced haze I’m sure he will come and find me.


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