Monday, February 13, 2012

Damn you, Hallmark

Like many people, I’ve never had a good Valentine’s Day. I have been single for more of them than in a relationship, and when I have been in one, it was long distance a few times, and therefore spent alone anyway. The first year that I had a boyfriend at the time, I had already decided to break up with him by the time the holiday arrived, so I spent it mostly feeling guilty, and wondering why the guy I’d been dating a week was writing ‘I love you’ on the card. So now I wonder if that screwed my karma for all future occurrences of this ridiculously trumped up holiday.

Usually, I just ignore it. Not that they make that easy, with the loads of hearts and flowers and teddy bears flooding every store and commercial this time of year. You have to learn to look through them. All the same, it seems better to blur your vision than to be bitter about it.

I think the best one I ever had was in college, my boyfriend at the time and I were just getting back together, he sent me flowers, and that night his band played a show where he wrote ‘Love Sucks’ on his stomach in lipstick. Not ideal or romantic, but we actually did love each other at the time, which is more than I can say for the next year, when we did go out to dinner, and he sent flowers to the new girl he liked. I think the lesson there is that you can’t expect your expectations for a “romantic evening” to be met, or you’ll inevitably be let down.

So, if I’m ignoring it again, why am I talking about it at all? Somehow lately I’ve been infected with a soft spot for the romantic, which is a bit unnerving, as I usually keep that place sufficiently hardened to allow things to bounce off of me without leaving a bruise behind. But I found myself watching snippets of ‘Titanic’ (on all the time now because of the 100th anniversary coming up in April. And I am totally going to see it in 3-D to cry like a 16 year girl again), ‘Pretty Woman,’ ‘Sleepless in Seattle,’ and ‘Lady and the Tramp’ (it’s out of the Disney Vault and appearing everywhere), and enjoying them rather than rolling my eyes. I am a champion eye roller, as everyone who has brought up a romantic comedy around me knows, so this is a strange development.

In part my recent break up has to play a role in making me feel vulnerable again. But I’d rather not talk about that.

In part I blame this book I’m reading, Mr. Fox, which I hadn’t expected to awaken something in me, but is written beautifully in vignette after vignette of brief but poignant tales of doomed love. “The girl tried, several times, to give her love away, but her love would not stay with the person she gave it to and snuck back to her heart without a sound.” There’s nothing like a good tragedy to get emotions stirring.

Maybe I’m just lonely. Not seeking hearts and flowers, and definitely not chocolate (never been a big fan), but the idea of curling up close with someone and breathing them in warmly sounds pretty good.

In the meantime, I’m just going to hit the gym hard and sweat off as much of this softness as I can. 
And at least I have my puppy love.
And these awesome Nick Cage Valentine cards.

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