Monthly Archives: January 2010

Boycotting Valentine’s Day

Somebody put a fork in me because I’m done:  I am officially calling for an embargo on Valentine’s Day and all its associated shenanigans (except for the chocolate that goes on sale the day after, since I haven’t completely lost my mind).  This year, I’m not

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sending any cards, or wishing anyone a Happy-Happy, or acknowledging the so-called holiday in any fashion except to encourage others to join me in abstaining.  Take that, Cupid.

The origin of Valentine’s Day hoodwinking

First let me remind you, dear reader, that Valentine’s Day is a faux holiday, not commemorating anything that I care to remember.  According to Wikipedia, the first association between the martyrs St. Valentine and courtly love may have begun with a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer to celebrate the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia in 1380 or so. Apparently Chaucer was all about the love birds and flowery language, which I must have missed when I read The Canterbury Tales.  Another thread of history attributes the “holiday” to Pope Gelasius, who simultaneously declared February 14 St. Valentines Day and outlawed the Roman mating festival called Lupercalia.  While I’m not necessarily a fan of a dating “lottery” that involves getting slapped with animal hide, I might prefer random pairings to the concepts of soul mates and being together forever.  At least in a lottery situation, there’s a chance I’ll actually get a date.

Dating in February does not equal a date for Valentine’s Day

Right about now I’ll assume you’re thinking, “If she was seeing someone, maybe she’d be a little more sold on Valentine’s Day,” and you would be wrong, wrong, wrong.  My previous longish-term relationships have all seen mid-February and have weathered all manner of sentimental notions that Valentine’s Day be filled with hearts and flowers.  As it turns out I needn’t have bothered to celebrate with the “Parade of Assholes” in my past.  There was the guy to didn’t believe in Valentine’s Day (turns out he was right), but did believe in meeting me at work to pick up a chocolate cake I’d baked for him.  You see, I was under the delusion that I’d spend some part of the evening feeding it to him, or at least licking frosting off my own fingertips in his presence.  Ha!  Then there was the trip to Boston with a would-be suitor which resulted in backed-up traffic, missed dinner reservations, and starting my period so I was extra-crabby during the entire debacle.  I did get a stuffed animal and some red cinnamon candy out of the mishegas so all was not lost.  I think my high school boyfriend may have come up with a card and a waxy chocolate-flavored heart that got thrown in the trash.  The point is, whether romance is dead, or pressure to conform leads to romantic failure, Valentine’s Day a deux can end up being a dud.

In spite of my pitiful showing I have had romantic moments, in the middle of Autumn even.  Once, the boyfriend of the ill-fated Boston trip had the notion to draw me a bath, light candles, and order me dinner one Friday night when I had to work until 8PM.  The man for whom I baked a cake sent me coffee and bagels at work one morning.  The fact that I wasn’t there to receive them that day is another issue entirely, but he did get credit for thoughtfulness.  And my most wonderful February 14 moment occurred at a martini bar in Hollywood with a bunch of girlfriends.  Some were attached, some were not, be we all decided to toast each other that night rather than focusing on some guy.  We had a total blast, so much so that the staff repeatedly asked us to keep it down.  Apparently our raucous laughter, conviviality and celebration was bothering all the sappy couples in the dining room.  Pfft!   I believe that a table of happy, drunk, single women spends more money than 5 couples monitoring their intake so they don’t feel bloated, lose their erection, or fall asleep during the sex they’re obliged to have after dinner.  And drunken women tip better than some dude who spent all his money trying to impress his girlfriend with flowers and candy and fancy wine when he usually drinks Bud Light.

Romance is fleeting, but love is here to stay.  At least it should be.

What I’m saying is, don’t wait for some greeting card company to tell you when or how to feel good about your beloved.  And if you’re between mates, don’t let some marketing campaign make you feel like that kid in elementary school who didn’t get any conversation hearts from his classmates.  It’s arbitrary and artificial.  If you don’t believe me, note that even White Castle offers reservations and candlelight for you and your valentine.  I can’t imagine what’s more enchanting:  the smell wafting through the restaurant during your dinner, or that emanating from your bottom once the meal is over.

No Beans in This Oven: Why I Am Not Having Children

While riding the subway one day, a woman got into the car carrying a 176-count box of Pampers.  According to the carton, it was their largest “everday” size.  Apparently there exists another, larger “special occasion” box for some sad mother to lug through a retail outlet, then wedge into a car or maneuver onto a public conveyance.  The idea that more than 176 diapers can be purchased at once, and contemplating a baby-pooping situation involving the rapid consumption of said diapers almost sent me into shock.

The mega box of diapers is why I’m not having children.

Okay, there are many more reasons I think motherhood is not in the cards, not the least of which is the fact that I’m 37 and single.  Make that chronically single, and I can’t even imagine a scenario where I keep a relationship long enough to cultivate a Chia Pet, let alone gestate another human.  Then there are pregnancy hemorrhoids, dirty diapers – over 176 of them – and potty training.  I don’t mean to focus on the scatological, but you have to handle a lot of shit to be a mom, and I’m not sure I’m ready for it.  And with having a baby comes the possibility of having your lady bits sliced open like a pig at a Carolina barbecue.  Childbirth is nasty business; the only reason I can think for a woman to voluntarily endure it more than once is that she made a mistake with the first kid and needed a mulligan.

When labor and delivery are over, then comes the raising and disciplining of the offspring.  I’m a big fan of discipline, having been spanked a few times in my youth and turning out all the better for it.  But now, with all we’ve learned about pop psychology from Oprah and Dr. Phil, apparently you can’t spank your own kid for fear of going to prison for abuse.  I’m not saying you should haul off and whale on your kids, but you ought to be allowed to tap a few bottoms without someone calling 9-1-1.  Some adults actually need a spanking every now and then too, like Rush Limbaugh and any number of conservative blow-hards; they need to feel what its like to feel a little hurt, embarrassed, and bewildered like a toddler after his fanny gets slapped.

But back to my original point, which is that I think parenting would suck for me.   Don’t get me wrong:  I love babies.  My cousin’s youngest son Trevor is my favorite baby right now.  At Thanksgiving and Christmas, I held him and fed him and he was the best in the world.  He’s got the cutest dimples when he smiles and the sweetest brown eyes you’ve ever seen.  And he grips onto your finger when you talk and looks right at you…Wait: didn’t I used to talk like this about men?  Could be that’s why babies are so awesome:  they actually pay attention to you, unlike that jackass date from last night that didn’t even offer to pay for dinner.  Plus baby Trevor gets to go back to his parents for whining, crying and anything else that works my nerves, which is a policy I can get behind.

The truth is, I have absolutely zero patience.  I’m the person that uses the self check-out lane whenever possible because I’d rather scan my own groceries than wait for some disinterested knucklehead to do it for me.  I’m also the one who walks up to anything marked “out of order” and tries it out anyway, just to avoid standing in line.  Think my lack of social equanimity has something to do with why I’m still single?  Maybe.  And if I can’t stand the company of an adult male for more than a few months, what chance would I have with a toddler?   I’m certainly not cut out for handling a two-year-old’s temper tantrums, or answering a never-ending series of “why, Mommy, why?” without losing my stuff.   Since I know that about myself, it pretty much seems pointless to bring another person into the world hoping they won’t cause me a heart attack.

I’ve got some news for the people who tell me that I’ll change one day, or when I meet the right man, or that having kids changes you.  Maybe motherhood does change you, when you become a mother in your 20s.  But guess what?  Women walking the gangplank towards 40 don’t change that much, unless it’s a hairstyle or a job.  If you hate your hair, you can put a hat on it, and a crappy job seems less so when payday rolls around.  But possibly raising a douchebag and sending him or her out into the world is something I’d never be able to tolerate.  That, and waiting for them to grow up and move out of the house.