Friday, February 13, 2009


I've always wanted to like Valentine's Day. I've certainly tried to make it special many times and usually suffered for it. My worst, I think, was years ago I filled a woman's desk with cheap, store bought Valentines -like the kind you get for an 8 year-old to begrudgingly hand out to the girls in his class. I bought something like ten boxes of the damned things and signed every, single one.

When she got to her desk, it was like a Hallmark factory exploded. I thought it was fun and original. She thought it was a mess. The gesture was futile anyway. I wasn't her type. She preferred strapping redneck lads who slapped her around when they got drunk. Evidently, I like a challenge.

In other years, I tried following the commercial herd. I've bought flowers and cards, candy and jewelry. I've written terrible, terrible and traumatic poems. I've taken women to dinner. I've shopped for the right stuffed bear. I've given mix tapes.

I never quite get the pitch or tone right. It's always a little off and about half the time, I've ended up feeling like a total failure at the end of it. You want it to be appreciated, but when they just sort of shrug, it hurts. I have to concede I'm just not very good at the broad displays of affection. Other guys can get a plastic-wrapped flower at a gas station and turn it into magic. I can't always make flowers and dinner seem like anything special, when really it is.

I'm not discouraged. Limitations are just things to batter against, things to work on while we pass the time.

Love is elusive. It's not a language. It's a conversation spoken by people from different countries. It's trying to know the other and in the failing, trying again.


Anonymous said...

I hate Valentine's Day and always have.

MountainLaurel said...

The right girl would have loved the Valentines candy boxes. Keep looking..she's out there.

primalscreamx said...

My wife would totally kick my ass.

I don't think it's what I do so much as who I am. Every romance is its own creation. No two loves are every alike, at least in my experience. I think it takes me longer to figure out the dialect with each person. Sometimes I never did. My failing, I think, is wanting the applause, wanting to know it's appreciated and maybe the wanting taints the whole thing.

I'm an unlikely romantic.