If you side with the camp that feels like Valentine’s Day is one of those little-man-behind-the-curtain kinds of systemic extortion that guys like Don Draper and Jack Donaghy came up with over afternoon scotch some time in the 50s, then we probably have a lot to talk about. I’m sure that Freud would have a field day sussing out the root of my strong opinions about the
holiday shakedown, but it doesn’t seem so different from having a mugger force you to withdraw your limit from the ATM with a broken 40.
It just seems silly to me to further commercialize love and romance with a tradition where the break even cost outpaces Carter era inflation. This may be one of the reasons that I’m poor, but at the end of the day, I feel the way I feel.
And I feel that it’s stupid.
That doesn’t mean that the damned-if-you-don’t seriousness of the charade is lost on me (you don’t let the bum shiv you, right?).
Imagine for a moment that you were driving along one day and noticed that all of the sudden, 70-80% of the other drivers out there (but not all of them) began to stop at green lights and drive through the red ones. It’s not something that happened after some statute change or codified shift or anything like that, they just did it. All at once. As wrong as they all are, I bet it wouldn’t take too long for you to find yourself approaching intersections with caution.
That pretty much describes my approach to Valentine’s Day, so I called in a couple of weeks early and made a reservation at a nice restaurant for Saturday night.
But the Righteous Overseers had my back on this one and Girlfriend found herself out of town for a well timed bachelorette party. And having a supply of something for which there is an artificial demand (V-Day dinner reservation two days before V-Day), I decided to embrace the real spirit of the holiday and sell it on Craigslist.
At first it was just listed in the “Barter” section, but I also posted it under the heading that I suspect gets the most browsing: Missed Connections. Here’s what it said:
Well, you blew it.
You blew it last year, too. Remember? You knew this day was coming, you said you wouldn’t do it again, but then you did it.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and once again you’re going to find yourself in the dog house because you couldn’t get a reservation at the last minute and sneaking beers into 5 Guys only counts as a Valentine’s date the first time.
Well, I’m here to help. I happen to have a reservation for two at 8pm on Saturday night, at once of the finer spots in town: and it’s for sale.
Now while I’d probably take $20 and a fancy six pack for it, extorting money out of desperate men isn’t what Valentine’s Day is about (right?), and so short of that you may reply to this ad with a bit of poetry.
The best poem gets the reso, I’ll let you know Saturday morning if you’ve won it.
Pretty innocuous, right?
I figured I might get a reply. Maybe someone would get into it, but probably not. Most likely I’d wind up seeing if a friend wanted the reservation or wind up canceling it.
Instead I wound up getting a few desperate poems not fit for print, a 50 Shades reference or two, and a laundry list of dudes suggesting that we just have sex instead. And that was before it got flagged for removal for some reason.
After a precursory glance over the face shots and not-face shots of would be suitors I revisited the ad to see if I had unintentionally hinted that I was looking for something other than not wasting a reservation, or that I had perhaps clicked to allow unsolicited offers. Not the case.
What the hell, guys? Stop being sketchy.
This year my Valentine’s gift was yet another reminder that the internet is a strange, depraved place. If you’ve got a V-Day story that erodes your faith in humanity, feel free to commiserate in the comments.
In spite of contrasting reports, it is still winter out there somewhere.