As someone who’s acutely aware of her single status on a daily basis (and who’s moved to vomit when couples smile/hold hands/exist in public spaces), I don’t find Valentine’s Day particularly depressing. This past February 14th, in fact, I don’t recall binge eating any chocolate, I don’t recall crying into my camo Snuggie, I don’t even recall pleasuring myself to Hugh Grant in any Hugh Grant movie that’s not Robbie the Reindeer in Legend of the Lost Tribe.
(Wait, I realize you could interpret that as me saying I’ve pleasured myself to Robbie the Reindeer in Legend of the Lost Tribe. I haven’t; I just want to draw attention to the fact that that’s something Hugh Grant was in.)
Because strangely, each and every year, I manage to avoid the typical single-lady-on-Valentine’s-Day exercises.
I actually had a truly blessed February 14th. I began reading the unfairly talented George Saunders’ Tenth of December, a collection of excruciatingly funny and moving short stories, and I only ate half of my Extended Family Size bag of Lays potato chips.
The other night I was out on the town, and a guy approached me with a classic, if not tired move—“So me and my buddy are having this argument and maybe you can resolve it…”
“Perhaps. Perhaps I can,” I said. I’ll allow it, I thought.
He relaxed his shoulders. Yes! I’m in, I imagined him thinking, and fortunately I was still sober enough to refrain from narrating out loud what I imagine people are thinking. (Yes, this has happened, and yes, it’s embarrassing).
He asked me, “What do girls want on Valentine’s Day? I’d want to do something weird and quirky and fun for a girl—something that reflects her personality—but my buddy over there would go with flowers and chocolates, you know, the standard stuff. What do girls really want on Valentine’s Day?”
I reminded him that Valentine’s Day was a few days ago, and then I took a few seconds to think.
What had I wanted on Valentine’s Day? I had wanted potato chips, some good short stories, a mini Parks and Rec marathon, and a sloppy manicure. I was able to give myself all of those things.
I couldn’t tell him that girls wanted nothing, because I knew for a fact that wasn’t true. I have many girl friends who are routinely crushed by receiving nothing on Valentine’s Day, or who at least have unfulfilled expectations.
And while I wasn’t drunk enough to narrate what I imagined him to be thinking then—Dang, why is this girl taking so long to answer my superficial question that was clearly just a means of laying the foundation of possibly sleeping with her – I was drunk enough to feel qualified to speak on behalf of all girls and to make super gross generalizations.
“I would say that there are three types of girls in the world, maybe four—those who want the chocolate and the flowers, those who want the mixtapes and quirky, personalized shit, those who insist they want the quirky personalized shit but really want the chocolate and the flowers, and then there’s the lesser known fourth category of girl who wants to lie in her bed, using her stomach as a plate for potato chips, laptop on her face, watching the kooky yet heartfelt antics of Leslie Knope. This last category of girl forgets that February 14th is different from February 13th or July 7th.”
And with that, I excused myself, purchased a corndog, and went home.