Thoughts on Love

So, it's here. Valentine's Day. Second only to New Year's Eve in terms of its ability to convince single people that they're losers. On New Year's Eve, not only don't you have someone to kiss at midnight, but you're also encouraged to take stock of your life and find it wanting, whereas on Valentine's Day, at least it's just your love life that's in the toilet, not your entire existence. Don't get me wrong - a day for lovers is a wonderful idea, but when it's subverted and sucked into the maw of the moneymaking machine, it just furthers depression. Valentine's Day is everywhere - and has been since just after Christmas - and there are hearts and cupids and red and pink things everywhere and every single commercial on television seems to be about jewelry or happy couples or desperate, grasping attempts to make a product, any product fit into the holiday and every year it seems to just get bigger and bigger and bigger. And when you're single, there are times where it feels as if the entire world is suffused with love, except your little corner of it. Unlike the commercials, your fairy tale is the dark one, the one with peeling paint, cobwebby corners and sometimes, you feel like a medieval leper, walking down the street ringing your bell, chanting "unclean… unclean… unclean..."

As you might be able to tell, the bloody day makes me bitter - not because I'm single, but because of the relentless messages of worthlessness that get throttled at me because I am single, generally (remember Bridget Jones's Singletons?) and especially in the middle of February. In the past, my friends and I have engaged in various little revolutionary movements to take back the day or include us in the festivities in some way. There was a year where Michele and I baked a cake with white frosting and decorated it with dozens of cinnamon hearts. We were young and inexperienced in terms of baking (well, in terms of pretty much everything) and by the time we served it, it had fallen apart, thus fuelling the creation of the Anti-Valentine's Day holiday: nobody we knew liked the day - if single, you felt like a loser, if in a couple, it never lived up to your expectations (even when said expectations being pretty modest - most men just don't seem to get it). And so, celebrating the Anti-Valentine's Day gave us a place to put all that upset and depression, but in a funny way, so you could at least share a laugh with good friends about it. Another time, a group of single friends and I went out to dinner and came prepared with roses for each other and a list of Three Great Things About Being Single.

Being in love is wonderful. Being part of a couple that works is terrific. But being single is also really rather great. I've tried the fling, the unrequited love, I've done the dance around an attraction that never gets off the dance floor, I have settled and I have had a grand passion. All of them taught me things when I was there and more when I wasn't. And the most important thing that I have learned is that I can make myself happy, that being single is just another state of being, no better and no worse than being partnered.

And so, over the years, I have chosen to expand this day to cover love in general and in so doing, realized that I have an embarrassment of riches in my life. I love a great many people (and animals) and there’re quite a few people who love me just as much. What more do you need?

Happy Valentine's Day. May there be much love in your life today.

P.S. But just because I still like making fun of the Valentine's Day machine, here's a link to Bad Valentines Gift Ideas - you know, for the other side of the coin. My particular favourites – not as a potential recipient mind you, but in terms of how they make me laugh - are the Owl Puke, Benjamin Franklin's Fart Proudly, Why Size Matters and I'm Sick of You by Iggy and the Stooges. Lovely.

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