Saturday, February 14, 2009

Our one day of the year to love

I've been in a relationship on Valentine's Day once in the last 12 years. And even then, it meant I didn't get to meet Ali Landry and Mario Lopez at a Mardi Gras party (my brother says one's way friendlier than the other). Another year, I was dumped on this day.

So screw Valentine's Day.

OK, maybe that's a bit harsh. There's a lot I like about V-Day, precisely because there's a lot I don't like about couples. I'm all for love and affection, and desire it as much as anyone. But there are enough couples in this world who exhibit nasty traits to make the whole relationship thing seem slimy.

I suppose it's no accident that few of my close friends are married - of the ones who are, most got married before I met them. Some are in relationships, but they share a lot in common and that makes them both fun to be with. It's hard to see good friends slip into marriage - especially if the spouse is someone you could honestly take or leave. Before you know it, your only contact with this person is the twice-daily MySpace meme on how wonderful their husband and ironing are.

(Cut to: IAN's apartment surrounded by an even number of angry, torch-wielding couples fresh from their by-the-numbers romantic dinners. They shout in unison, "Why do you hate love?")

Put my apartment down, please! You're spilling ice cream all over my eHarmony membership.

Love and lust are great, but the institution of couplehood can kiss it. Here's what keeps me from joining the Ranks of the Even:

--The formalities. Guys in relationships wear suits and ties more often. Presumably to couples' dinners where couple shit probably happens. Sounds positively riveting.

--Scientific studies show that the blood of married people secretes a mysterious enzyme that raises their bedtime by several hours. It also helps them live longer, which means they'll have extra years to go to bed early.

--If I get perks like good travel deals, preferred tables at restaurants, tax breaks, better wages and more paid downtime, I want it to be because I'm awesome and not because America penalizes single people in every way possible.

--I want people to understand that I totally dig the person I'm with, and didn't feel pressured (as many do) to enter a relationship or marriage for its own sake.

--The idea that, to show my love, I have to waste two months' salary (or, in my case, five) on a shiny bauble with no intrinsic value mined by African slaves and sold by a cartel.

--Arguments over money. Tell you what: Stop nagging me about finance issues and I'll forget that you're wearing a useless, expensive rock on your hand. Deal? Deal.

--I am not half a person. Neither is she. We don't complete each other, nor are we diamonds in the rough waiting to be hewn for all eternity. We are two people who like each other and who like to do things together. No more needs to be read into it than that.

Bottom line, if I like a girl enough, and she likes me, we will go out. But even when I'm in the deepest relationship, I try to remember that I am an individual and she is, as well. And we'll have fun that way. After all, isn't that the point?

Happy Valentine's Day!


rhonda said...

after being on both sides of it, i think that people on BOTH sides don't do enough to try to relate to others who make different choices. when i was single, some of my married friends treated me like a third wheel, or the wives treated me like a slut simply because i happen to have a vagina AND the ability to identify with their husbands. now i'm married, and (no offense here, sweets ;) sometimes my single friends can be pretty alienating when they bitch about what formulaic sheep us coupled people are. from what i can see, divorced people take it up the ass from both sides, since everyone who hasn't been in their shoes is a critic. believe me, it isn't lost on me that in the event of worse case scenario panning out in my own life, i have nothing but rejection to look forward to. i will most likely lose the majority of my friends (especially all these married females that i bonded with last year) when they decide overnight that they can no longer relate to me...awesome!

i think it would do us all a world of good to step outside of our predispositions and just think- for one minute- about what it might be like for the other guy.

as for me personally, i can comfortably be friends with just about anyone except for couples who treat each other like shit. the first time a woman makes a vapid joke about housebreaking her husband, or the man reminisces about girls he's banged in his pre-marital life in front of his wife (both of which i've actually seen ad nauseum!), i cross these folks off of my social line-up.

Ian McGibboney said...

Well, I see your point, Rhonda. I would like to relate, but according to many married people, I can't. And they could meet me halfway because they know what it's like to be single, but they don't. That's pretty alienating too.

And the whole idea about your friends potentially dropping you because they can't relate to you anymore...THAT'S at whom this is directed. People who want nothing to do with you because you don't have a ring. They pollute the idea of romance for the rest of us.

Some of my best friends are in relationships. That's not bad just like being single isn't bad. But no one should be rubbing their situation in the other's face.

rhonda said...

ugh...those people who outright let you know that you can't relate to them just aren't willing to let you try. although i'd like to be optimistic for a change and believe that those are the rare cases, the truth is more that it's the norm. i know exactly what you're up against. believe it or not, sometimes the fact that i don't bash danny or laugh at retarded jokes about how stupid men are places me at odds with a some of my attached female friends who are supposed to be my equals...and by "at odds," i mean that they call me an uppity bitch behind my back because unlike some of them, i didn't cultivate all my sexual politics by watching the roseanne show or reading bodice-rippers.

my point is that i understand how hard it is to win some understanding from people who are bound and determined to go the "like sticks to like" route. you pretty much can't...but i still believe that it's worth the while for the rest of us to try.

much love. but only for today. :)