Being single on Valentine's Day is a lot like being Amish in America, which is to say you are rendered completely irrelevant. You're a roadside freak show, a meaningless distraction for gawking tourists who drive by almost mockingly to ponder your quaint ways, perhaps purchase some jam, then return to their far superior lives, leaving you with no choice but to sit there churning your butter, over and over again, all the live long goddamn day. Then one day you're like: Fuck it! I'm going to throw away all of my fancy gadgets and grow me a big-ass beard. Why not? Nobody gives a shit about me, so who cares how I look or behave? Then things get even weirder and you suddenly decide it's a good day to climb up the side of the silo with a sniper rifle and start firing at passersby on the interstate. But you're Amish, so you don't own a sniper rifle or a silo, now that you think about it, so there you are, just standing on the roof of the barn with your big-ass beard, shaking tree branches at motorists.
It's a feeling I know quite well. Swaggering bachelor lothario that I am, I've had many Valentine's Days without a special sweetie to tell how much she means to me by giving her a flower that will die or some chocolates that really won't do much to help the hail-damage issue on the back of her thighs. And it feels like it's always been this way. In sixth grade I mustered up enough nerve to ask a girl out on a date, my first ever, and I took her to see My Girl on a Friday afternoon. From what I remember, Macaulay Culkin got killed by wasps, Dan Aykroyd banged Jamie Lee Curtis, and we all learned a little something about the world. Afterward, the girl informed me that she'd had a great time and would love to do it again.
Sick, right? Wrong. Not sick at all. It was the opposite of sick. It was well for Adam Cayton-Holland. Because he went home and told a few buddies how excited he was, and what did those buddies do? They told a few more buddies, and by the time he came to school on Monday, the whole sixth grade was teasing little Adam as well as his date and saying they were going to get married. And though they never even had a relationship, never even held hands, that girl told little Adam to get lost. The day? Valentine's Day, 1992.
What's So Funny?
If you were listening closely, a tiny violin was actually playing as you read that last line.
But I suppose I've gotten used to Valentine's Day alone, and I've developed some sweet tricks for getting through it that I'd like to share with you, because, well, I'm just that swell of a fucking guy.
First of all, why not go ahead and call a few ex-girlfriends just to check on them, like that great scene in High Fidelity with Bruce Springsteen? Ask them where they're living now, how work is going, and then when they say, "You know, now isn't a good time; I'm on my way out to dinner right now with my boyfriend," say, "Okay, well, listen, I just wanted to touch base with you to let you know I have herpes."
The best part about this move? They're not getting laid that night either.
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Or how about this one? Drive around town until you see one of those guys holding an arrow sign at the intersection outside some mixed-use condo complex, trying to entice you to come in and take a look at a unit with his stupid little arrow. Wait until you find a guy who's really into it — twirling that sign with gusto or doing a little dance as opposed to some guy just taking his sorry lot in life with defeated dignity — and then point at him and laugh, because while you may be lonely on Valentine's Day, at least you're not that guy.
What an asshole.
But by far the best method of feeling a little better on Valentine's Day is listening to as much sad-bastard music as you can (or "sastard" for short, which kind of sounds like a sassy retard, which reminds me of a screenplay for a musical that I wrote in college called Sastard — How Benny Got His Helmet Back). While that pity party may sound like a downer, it's not — because as low as you're feeling, you know the artist was feeling much lower when he or she wrote that song. Plus, misery loves company. Some of my personal favorites include "Perfect Day," by Lou Reed, "Fake Plastic Trees," by Radiohead, "Seen It All Before," by Amos Lee, and "Poison Oak," by Bright Eyes, which is just goddamn heartbreaking.
Of course, if none of these things does the trick, you can always just rub one out and then go shake branches on the roof. It may not get anything accomplished, but damn if it don't feel cathartic.