February is for lovers
By John Gray
Are you in love? I ask this personal question because it is February and everywhere you look the people trying to sell us things— flowers, candy, cards and diamonds—make it very clear that you should be. Websites that will match you with your soul mate by asking you one thousand four-hundred and twelve questions that will reveal the real you (unless, of course, you’re lying to build yourself up in the hopes you’ll land someone who isout of your league). And for the lazy among us, e-cards that you send to someone’s inbox that so eloquently translate to: “I love you and would do anything for you except actually get off my fat butt to go to the store and buy you a real card.”
I have to tell you, I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. I think if you are crazy about someone you should show it at times when they least expect it and in ways that have very little to do with spending money. If your wife loves her garden, but hates weeding it, imagine her delight if she went out there on Saturday morning to find you kneeling in the shrubs pulling crab grass. Oh and girls, if he’s absolutely nuts about baseball consider just once buying a silly jersey with the word ‘Jeter’ on the back and going with him to the local sports pub to eat bad food and curse at the TV screen. One quick tip though: if he tells you it’s a sweet idea but he’d rather go alone, then clearly he’s having an affair with some floozy bartender whose standards areonly lower than her neckline.
My dislike for Valentine’s Day goes back to when I was a boy. Do you remember being in second grade and all the kids would bring in those cute little Valentine cards to hand out to the classmates they liked? I had such a crush on Gina Torino, and there was nothing more excruciating than watching her walk around the class handing them out wondering if I made the cut this year. In that 20 secondsmy little eight-year-old mind was thinking, “She hates me, my life is over, there is no reason to go on. I’ll hurl myself in front of the school bus after class. Goodbye cold cruel world. Goodbye Hoffman’s Playland and Storytown. Goodbye Mallow Cups and Bazooka Joe gum…” Then she turned and said, “Oh, here John” handing me one. To this day I will swear to you the heavens opened and you could hear the angels singing “Halleluiah”.
Growing older doesn’t make these affairs of the heart any easier to understand. Part of the problem is the false advertising we are bombarded with. If you are not in a relationship in the month of February you might as well hang a sign around your neck that says LOSER. Everywhere you turn, there’s a TV commercial with some cute couple in love. The girl is having lunch with her underwear model boyfriend and suddenly on the end of her fork is a $50,000 diamond bracelet. I always think to myself, “Does anyone in these commercials work at Wal-Mart and make 30k a year? Who can afford this stuff?” Then the announcer comes on and says, “Tell her you love her all over again.” Hey buddy, unless you want to kick in a few bucks, stay out of it.
There are some cool things about Valentine’s Day. Let’s start with the candy. I’ve never met a girl who wasn’t on a diet so the bigger the box of chocolates the more likely she’ll say, “You have to help me eat these.” If you want to have some fun, give her the box that has a chart inside the top cover describing what each piece of chocolate is and then when she’s not watching move the pieces around on her.
Everyone loves those little candy hearts with the cute sayings like “Love You” or “Text Me”. I think it would be refreshing if the hearts had sayings that were more truthful to the world of dating. Stuff like—“I asked for your phone number, but I’m not going to call” or “I’m just pretending. I really can’t stand your mother.”
If you’re not in a relationship the question is, where can you meet someone you won’t want to smother with a pillow six months later? Dating websites are pretty popular, but am I the only one who thinks the old guy from eHarmony.com is a little creepy? You know, the one with the white hair, glasses and goofy smile. He looks like that uncle your mom wouldn’t let you sit with at the family reunion. He’s probably a nice guy, but I’d be afraid to give him all my personal information. I’d be worried I’d be in the produce section at Price Chopper and he’d sneak up behind me and say, “I see you like tomatoes? Well John, did you know at eHarmony we have over five-thousand women who also enjoy rainy Sunday mornings, Macy’s one-day sales and fresh tomatoes?”
I always laugh when I hear people on those commercials say, “I looked at her and it was like fireworks.” No, my friend, that’s called lust. I think you have to be with someone for at least four seasons before you have a clue who they really are. Talk to me about how ‘in love’ you are when you are shopping for Halloween candy for a second time, okay.
I don’t recommend a ‘blind date’. Trust me, the person your friends think would be perfect for you, is nothing like what you are looking for. A female friend of mine who doesn’t have a single tattoo was set up with a guy who had his eyebrow pierced and the map of Italy tattooed across his entire back. She asked the waiter for the check before he could show her where Sicily was.
I think since, according to Hallmark, so many people are already in love, we don’t need a special day for them. Therefore I declare, from this day hence, Valentine’s Day should be about single people. Spas should offer free massages to anyone who hasn’t had a decent relationship in two years. Florists should hand out roses to any woman not wearing jewelry on her left ring finger. And, if you walk into Lindt Chocolates and utter the phrase, “It’s not me, it’s you,” you get a complimentary bag of truffles.
Lest you think I’m a jaded old fart, I do want you to know that I still believe in love. In fact, I tell young people the secret to making a relationship last can be found in any backyard garden. In early summer when you plant your flowers, everything looks fantastic. The hard part is the daily care and attention you need to pay in order to keep your plants strong and healthy. Relationships are pretty much the same. I also tell anyone who is thinking of dumping their partner because they think the ‘grass is greener’ to spend five minutes looking at some of the people looking for love on Craigslist, specifically the section called Casual Encounters. You’ll be scared straight my friend. It’s a jungle out there and the animals have escaped from their cages.
There are a lot of famous quotes on love, but my favorite is by Anonymous: “Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss and ends with a teardrop.” Isn’t that adorable? In fairness I should probably mention to the men that if they don’t take out the trash, wipe off their muddy feet and buy her a present now and then, love can also “Begin with a fight, grow with a lawyer and end with alimony.” Muah!
John Gray is a Fox23 News anchor and contributing writer at the Troy Record. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org