Friday, February 14, 2014

Nurse the Hate: Hate Valentine's Day

I remember being in grade school and having to put Valentines in every classmate's paper mailbox that had been haphazardly constructed in what passed for art class days earlier.  Mine always looked like shit as I could never get the handle on the combination of those tiny safety scissors, rough construction paper and paste.  As the years passed and we became aware of the impact of awarding the Valentine, Valentine’s Day became a grade school popularity contest.  Each child received concrete evidence of their place on the school social ladder as one and all could clearly see the number of valentines he/she had received.  I remember what must have been 4th grade when a girl named Tammy had her mailbox overflowing with little cards in what was probably the zenith of her social strata.  Tammy started to develop earlier than the rest of the girls and her slightly raised breasts and subtle curve of the hip made her the “hot” girl of the 4th grade.  Tammy, not unawares, strategically placed the phrase “Dream Girl” on her mailbox to alert all those that might possibly be blind to the obvious.  Of course, she spelled it “Dram Girl”, which probably foretold of her eventual fall from the highest heights.  She later made many bad choices that led to a legendary incident of blowing a group of much older guys in the woods and following up shortly afterwards with heavy smoking teenage single motherhood.  A dream girl no more.  Too much too soon, Icarus flew too close to the sun… 

(Tammy reportedly recently found God, which coincidentally came after the sad end of her second or third bleak marriage.  She now appears to be an overfed small town Mom, and it also appears unlikely that anyone that comes in contact with her at Church Youth Group meetings is aware of her former run as a “Dram Girl”.  I think most people would guess she was one of those majorettes you see in small high schools that tend to be so chunky that to have jammed them into those sparkly one piece outfits seems a cruel joke.  Those high calf white boots don’t do those chunky gals any favors either.  Praise Jesus Tammy.)

The grade school Valentine gave way later in life to the true testament of the damaged art kid’s soul, the mixed tape.  Was there ever a better way to passive aggressively tell a girl you were sweet on her than to provide a 90 minute cassette tape of unrequited love songs?  That cassette said “I have provided you these songs drenched in feeling.  This means, by association, I am also capable of great feeling for you.”  In retrospect, boys of that generation might have been better served directly saying, “Sally, I think you are really pretty and I like you.  Can we spend time together?” instead of hoping she would somehow decipher that the lyrical content of the Smiths song placed at the end of side one was meant to convey personal feelings of pain and longing for the tape’s recipient.  Ah, the shy gestures of young love…  What do kids do now?  Send a few files to an email account and hope the special song lands on shuffle and she remembers you sent it to her?  I should ask around about that…

Men have now been conditioned by the American Floral Council and American Greetings to purchase a dozen roses and greeting card (which effectively replaces the mixed tape for men unable to communicate clearly).  This is the drill that each man in America is expected to participate in from the age of 21 until death.  To fail to make these purchases indicates shortcomings as a suitor.  Women should regard these men with great suspicion.  They are unworthy.  Before I became aware of this as strictly a corporate hustle, I used to play that game too.  Let me tell you about the last time I sent flowers strictly out of duty.  One Valentine’s Day in my early twenties I was at the end of a very destructive relationship with a woman that I did not love in any way whatsoever.  I hardly liked her by that point.  I really wanted to get out of the relationship, but couldn’t seem to get out.  It sounds ridiculous now, but at the time it all made sense somehow.  What I would now handle with a sharp phone call, then required delicate planning with a team of your friends. 

She was an absolute lunatic.  I recognize that every man that breaks up with a woman uses the phrase “She’s a fucking psycho!”.  Not as many women can be “psychos” as there are men that claim them to be.  It is simple math really.  Can we agree it takes two to tango?  Maybe the men that make these claims need to shoulder some of the blame.  I know plenty of really fucked up guys.  Let's be honest.  Most men are fucked up really…  However, in this case, my claims of “psycho” were and are warranted. For example, on this particular Valentine’s Day, she went to my apartment complex while I was at work, lied and told the landlord she was a relative that needed to be let in to my place due to emergency, and proceeded to spend the afternoon ransacking my apartment.  

In a coat pocket she found two receipts.  One was a receipt for flowers I had dutifully sent her, at that point in midst of delivery.  The other was a restaurant receipt for a restaurant that was deemed “suspicious” for me to have eaten an innocent lunch in.  It was ridiculous.  I think it was a TGIFriday's or something equally pedestrian.  I was grilled about my dining companion, who as luck would have it was a totally unobtainable woman that really underscored the shortcomings of my interrogator.  That woman was the total opposite of the woman that would search your apartment like she was an overzealous member of the KGB.  While nothing remarkable happened at that lunch in question (except I foolishly ordered French onion soup and scalded the roof of my mouth with cheese all over my face), I was unable to conceal my overall regard for this other woman in my recap.  This led to one of my true moments of clarity. 

What the fuck am I doing in this relationship with this woman interrogating me?  She broke into my apartment and searched it for God's sake!  What the fuck am I doing?

Pow!  It all became clear.  I broke up with her at that instant with a measured "It's time for you to leave.".  I coldly led her out of my apartment, and I never saw her again.  I still remember the look of confusion and outrage on her face as I calmly shut the door on it.  It was like a weight had been lifted from me.  I felt great.  I stared down at the floral receipt on the table, and realized that when she returned home there would be flowers from me greeting her.  Son of a bitch.  No way to cancel the delivery now.  Never again.  From that point on I vowed to never hop on that Valentine's Day Sheep Train.  If I sent flowers, it would mean something.  I'd pick 'em out myself and hand deliver if possible. No greeting cards.  Any gesture I made would be my own, not something printed en masse from a corproate concern. 

It should also be noted that I later made a move on the unobtainable woman from that lunch.  I took a risk and told her how I felt. I left myself totally exposed.  I was a young man being bold.  I committed myself to winning her over, and in the end I did just that.  Well, briefly...  She quickly went back to her ex-boyfriend and left me broken on the side of the road.  It was OK though. 

She was a fucking psycho.

Happy Valentine’s Day.           


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