Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Value Of Valentine's Day

The Value Of Valentine's Day
by Jake Kilroy

I understand why people hate Valentine's Day. I get it. It's an entire holiday devoted to love that's hyped up by the media, promoted on social media sites and talked about non-stop by friends and family.

But that's why I love it.

I love the shit out of Valentine's Day.

I've had every variation of the holiday:
  • One year, my girlfriend and I rented a room at a fancy hotel and ate white pizza and chocolate. I made three gifts that year: a short film, a song and a poetry book.
  • One year, after breaking things off with a girl, I spent the night out in Joshua Tree with two dude friends and a random couple we met at the next campsite.
  • One year, with my girlfriend out of town, I saw a rom-com in theaters with friends.
  • One year, I watched Sleepless In Seattle with my brother.
  • One year, a lady friend and I got drunk on good wine and watched Casablanca.
  • One year, I ate dinner with my family and played a board game.
  • One year, I went to Island's for burgers and fries with local single friends.
  • One year, a lady friend and I drank wine in a jacuzzi before I made her what could be considered the greatest grilled cheese sandwich ever made.
  • One year, I watched Down With Love by myself after picking up Chinese take-out and an entire chocolate silk pie.
And I've been stoked every time.

Love isn't for the faint of heart. Neither is the absence of it. Love, the terrifyingly perfect sensation of finding that somebody is...remarkable. It's fucking flooring actually. But you don't/can't have that every year. That's greedy in the very least and quite possibly insane at most. If you're expecting to be cherished every year, since the age you first understood that the whole "love" thing existed, you've probably been let down.

Now, I'm not at all saying you can't find a long-lasting love that will cherish the hell out of you for the rest of your life. That fucking exists, people. But, come on, you've been emotionally and sexually invested/interested in men, women and the go-betweens since, what, you were barely breaking out the gate of teenagedom? It's maybe the rarest thing on this planet to have someone special every single year on February 14th since you were 15 or whatever.

That leaves a few/lot of Valentine's Days made up of single nights in, group nights out, hook-ups, one-night stands and that weird gray area that has no name when you get hammered on some gin in a cabinet you didn't know you had early on in the evening and call that flirty friend you find attractive for fun but aren't even sure how to define or categorize the whole ordeal that follows.

But it's a whole day celebrating love, and that's fucking rad. I watch my parents every year, I watch my friends every year, I watch the world every year. And guess what? People in love are incredible to behold. Who gives a shit if you feel you have to do something special? Hallmark's greeting card machines didn't invent this holiday. People did. And all of this arguing that it's only here so chocolate and candy companies could make money? Who gives a flying fuck about that? So what? So you're going to protest a day of love by not celebrating love? What kind of goddamn nonsense is that, if you actually have someone?

"Well, why not treat every day like Valentine's Day?" some ask.

"Because you'd go fucking broke, stupid," I say.

Listen, you don't have the time, money or energy to treat every day like it's a gigantic celebration of love. If you're not bringing home chocolates and cooking fancy dinners every single night, then, no, asshole, you most definitely are not celebrating every day like it's Valentine's Day. Oh, did you mean that you're good to be around most of the time? Cool. That's not the same thing. Can you randomly surprise your significant other with radical gifts and kick-ass love? Absolutely, and that's awesome. But to turn it down on the one day everybody's doing it is so lame. That doesn't make you special. Treating Valentine's Day like Valentine's Day as well as other random days throughout the year as Valentine's Day is the way to do it. And that's if you're in a strong, committed relationship.

If you're in some weird are-we-or-aren't-we dance of romance, as in some Sam and Diane bullshit, then, hey, there's someone halfway in your life! I've been there. Are you spending your lunch break pacing the parking lot deciding if you should invite them over? Yeah, I bet. But I have no idea if you should. They call that shit a gray area because it's the shot in the dark of all shots in the dark. You could invite them over and you two could fall asleep next to the fire, naked and laughing. But, then again, you could invite them over and find out that their significant other is going to smash in all the windows of your car. Who knows? The world's a mysterious place.

And you single folk...well, you're obviously the hardest sell on a holiday of love. Lord Tennyson*, once tanked on very cheap rum found in his backseat after an evening of sitting outside his ex's house, said, "It is better to have love and lost than to have ever loved at all." And then somebody put that shit all over Twitter and now everybody says that line to cheer up that one sad friend that can't stop listening to fuckin' Joy Division's short-ass discography or Morrissey's greatest hits of having a hard-on for loneliness. It's insane, but it's true. I don't care what anybody says. You get hurt less without love, but you get less without it too. Things would be a lot different if the poet had mumbled, "It's better to have lusted and left than to have never lusted at all." Everyone would be buying condoms without the flowers and we'd all be orgying it up until we were kicked out of the mansion spreads for getting "too intimate." These are trying times!

But why the fuck would you want to sit around and feel sorry for yourself? Because your friends are happy and you're not? Come on, there's no way you're going to spend your collective single days like this. What happens tomorrow? What happens the next day? What happens when you get invited to weddings? Are you going to be that person who drinks all of the sangria and then pulls me aside to tell me about some person I've never met and how they burned you so many years ago? Give me a goddamn break. I want none of this shit today. It's about love. It's about celebrating love and how awesome it is. You're telling me you want a world without Valentine's Day? It's the middle of February, it's cold out and your best bet against it is to abolish the one day that genuinely and secularly throws up a festival of humanity's warmth? No way! This day is about celebrating people being decent to other people. If you're single, celebrate how much you love yourself! I'm talking fat fucking chocolate baskets and dank take-out from that place where you know the menu better than that new cook who keeps looking at you all crooked. Do it the fuck up, ladies and gents. You're awesome. What you do is awesome. How you exist is awesome. You live in America, so there's about fifty choices of what you can do tonight to really fill your brain with excitement. Sit in a jacuzzi with other single friends while eating crispy rolls and drinking whiskey! Watch your favorite movie by yourself while downing a whole bucket of licorice! Buy a bunch of books and shop for shoes! Get drunk and call that one person who thinks you might be the unstoppable force in this goofy world of charades and parades! Who knows? Who cares? Why not? It's not the end of the world! It's fucking Valentine's Day! Woo!

Author's Note: If you have a depressed single friend that needs cheering up, yes, you have my absolute permission to share this rant with him/her.


jayers84 said...

I thought AL Tennyson wrote "better to have loved..."

Jake Kilroy said...

*Corrected from Shakespeare to Lord Tennyson.

Well, I blew that one. Deep down, I knew that too. So bogus. Good catch!

Anonymous said...