Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Bloody Valentine

"What you two need is a little comic strip called 'Love Is . . .' It's about two naked eight year olds who are married." - Homer Simpson.

In honor of the title of this post and the suckiest of all holidays, I now give you a thoroughly badass song by the band, My Bloody Valentine entitled Sometimes. Harmonizing distortion. They make it work so well.

Valentines Day. Also known in the flowers/jewelry/greeting card/industrial complex as "Let's all get together and make people feel like crap" day. Now, don't let that last sentence fool you. This will not be some angry diatribe written by some lonely loser whining about the manipulative, arbitrary and exploitative nature of the holiday. Some self indulgent slop where I prattle on about how we are held hostage by certain companies to prove our love to our significant other by purchasing their crappy, overpriced merchendise (which is pretty despicable if you think about it). I could go that direction. But I won't. Even though I would be totally correct in my observation, I would just end up looking jaded and bitter. And the more incisive and detailed my analysis would be, the more jaded and bitter I would appear. And being jaded and bitter are two things don't go well with someone like myself who has remained single longer than I would have preferred.

So for the sake of my own vanity, I will spare you the anti Halmark, DeBeers, FTD, Vermont Teddy Bear nonsense. It's nothing that hasn't been said already so there's no need to rehash well trodden teritory.

But I would like to point out one observation.

The really crappy part of Valentines Day (whether you're single or not) isn't the actual holiday. Most Valentines Days actually feel just like every other day. The real grind of it comes the 10 days or so before the 14th when we are bombarded with commercials demanding we go to Jared or that grown women wearing footie pajamas is coolest new thing. (Can't find a clip of the commercial, but have you seen it? Nothing sexier than a woman dressed like a 19th century prospector. Do they come with a trap door? Baby, that is hot!*) Again, my issue isn't with the commercials themselves but rather the tone that most of them take.

More often than not, they don't say, "She's the love of your life, now make her feel as special as she is."** Instead, they go with the "Don't screw this up! Buy our crap and she won't be pissed off" angle. (I mean really. Who is so uncouth that they send flowers in a box? Pishaw!) That's not really the coziest of messages. But I do think it reflects the reality of the holiday.

Do whatever you have to do to not piss her off.

Now that statement is not meant to make women sound like petulant, entitled snots. That certainly isn't the case at all. But this holiday does bring out a "don't you dare disappoint me" attitude in many women. But this should not be misread to suggest that I think any woman with that attitude is a spoiled princess. Any anger they may feel as a result of an underwhelming effort by their fella is really just hurt feelings being manifested by a conditioned set of unrealistic and often unfair expectations. (Unless of course they actually are a spoiled princess, in which case you should run like hell.) In many ways, these damn commercials guarantee women will feel disappointed and therefor unloved. Especially when the lady in the cubicle next to her got 8 different sets of flowers delivered to her on Valentines Day while she sat staring at the lone gesture from her husband. An email that says, "You're tops! Can't wait to do it, tonight."

Women definitely get the worst end of this holiday. Sure guys end up spending the money, putting in unwanted effort in what feels like an obligated hassle and that certainly does sucks. But women can often end up feeling really bad about themselves and that is certainly a much worse scenario.

I don't think that's the case with men.

When we're alone on Valentines Day, men don't feel rejected and undesirable. We may feel hungry. Maybe a little horny. But that's no different than any other night. But we don't feel this overwhelming pressure to be snuggling with our sweetheart in the back of a horse drawn carriage clip clopping through Central Park as Coldplay personally serenades our epic love that will be celebrated through the generations. We mostly just feel hungry and or horny. Valentines Day or not.

But I would wager that women left home alone on that day often have to fight off feelings of rejection or inferiority that just shouldn't be there. Because here's the thing about all of this. It's made up. It's completely based on nothing. Now, I'm all for arbitrary reasons to feel good. Superbowl Sunday for example. Unless you're a Colts fan, then there was no reason not to feel good Sunday night. Eating seven layer dip while sitting on a couch watching football, commercials and the skeletal remains of The Who is damn fine way to spend an evening. Even though the game only really mattered to people living in Indiana and Louisiana (and gambling degenerates), I'm still gonna take the time to enjoy it. But there should never be some fabricated event that consistently kicks you in the balls and reminds you of everything about your life that you don't like.

So I say, don't let it get you down. There's no need to be anti Valentines Day. Again, it just comes off as angry. And if you have good reasons to feel good about your love life, then take it. Whether the occasion that causes us to recall those reasons is fake or not. But don't let yourself get taken down by the douches on the Pajamagram commercial.***

You're better than that.

*You know the more I think about it, a trap door is pretty hot.
**As cynical an asshole as I may be, I can get a little swept up by some of these commercials. I don't like to admit it, but I really do like the diamond commercials with the shadows. They're dreamy.
***That is one creepy, humpy looking guy. One of the all time worst commercials.