Thursday, February 15, 2007

V Day Revisited

There are a few of us who have earned the right to say "Bay humbug!" on Valentine's Day. In my case, it's not what you might think - I mean, there's the obvious bitterness of having lost my true valentine, but it's really that I have always bristled at the notion that we must mark our calendars and make conspicuous displays of material giving to support the greeting card, candy and jewelry industries. Oh yeah - and flowers.

I have written here previously that Samantha and I made a tradition of doing something extra nice for each other NOT on V Day. Today also marks one year since I sat on my front lawn and watched as my home burned. So now of course the urge to flip February 14th a big middle finger is especially dominant.

It got off to a GREAT start too. I went in to my local Supercuts to get a quick clean-up of back & sides. As I was the first one into the shop this morning, there was a chair waiting for me. The chirpy stylist immediately dove in.

Her: So you getting cleaned up for a hot Valentine's date tonight?

Me: No.

That should have done it. But she would not be stopped so early in the game.

Her: Ah! That must mean you're MARRIED!

Me: Used to be.

Again, you'd think she'd get the clue. But no.

Her: Awww, what happened?

Are you kidding me?? Okay lady, you asked.

Me: I lost my wife to cancer two years ago.

Normally, that stops a conversation dead in its tracks. By all accounts, she should have just shut the hell up and finished the haircut. Wrong again!

Her: Ohhhh. WHAT KIND?

This hair stylist is superhuman, I'm convinced.

Me: Unknown primary. Attacked her liver and lungs.

Not to be outdone, she then proceeds to tell me about her friend who had a cancer of unknown primary in his mid 20s and died. Thank you. I had no idea I would get a cancer story with my haircut on Valentine's Day - how generous of you.

She finishes the haircut. And to top it all off, as I am getting up to leave...

Her: I hope you feel better.

WTF?? I came in here feeling just fine, lady. It was the grilling and anecdotes that put this scowl on my face, and my smile will return once I'm out of this establishment and back in my car - away from you.

So yeah. Screw you, Valentine's Day. There was a time when I was jealous so many couples strolled around with goofy adoring looks when I'd lost the object of my affection. But not anymore; I don't begrudge anyone his or her happiness. But it'd be a lot nicer if that sappy, glazed "I'm in love" look everybody floated around wearing today would show up on every other day too. Like Christmas, there's an inherent cultural expectation of affection and gift-giving. But if you do it simply because the calendar says you should, I say you aren't clear on the concept behind it.

I'll try to make my next post cheerier.


Ali said...

I think there's a course at hairdresser school that teaches this sort of amazing hairdresser/client exchange.

Michael & I were anti-V dayers too, so it wasn't an issue for me - especially as I didn't go to the hairdressers!


Edward said...

Did you make eye contact with the cutter? Never do that. That's an invitation to Chatterville. When I plop down in my barber's chair, I tell them what I want (#1 all around), close my eyes and wait for them to finish.

I think the key to Valentine's Day is to not make a big deal of it, regardless of what type or relationship you are in, or are not in (as the case may be). Yesterday was my day off, and I did a lot of laundry and some more work on the site, and after I picked Cass up from work, we went to the comic book store to get her new releases, to Pink's for a hot dog and then went to a Billy Wilder double feature. There was no big expensive present, no fancy restaurant, no "we have to make love tonight because it's Valentine's Day" crap, no card, no flowers, no nothing but a nice normal evening together. The only wink to the day was my wearing the new pink Cafe Coton shirt she bought me a couple days ago.

It's not that we're anti-V dayers. It's just that we don't need a special day to acknowledge we love each other.

LL Cool P said...

Yeah, VD is a lame capitalist conspiracy, and we totally ignore it, too. Well, except for the filty Inappropriate Valentine Party we attend each year around this time (will blog on that soon). Celebrating one's dating or marriage anniversary is enough enforced romance for one year, thank you. :-)

As for that hair stylist... Oy. Don't you love it when you tell someone about your loss, and instead of a simple "I'm sorry to hear that," they're like, "You think that's bad? I can top that..." Um, thanks, that really put my personal tragedy in perspective. Whore.

Elizabeth said...

*snort* Yeah, what L said! ;)
(I really do need to hear more about that filthy party, woman...spill it).

V-day has never been a big one with us either but then we have our anniversary 4 days later so kinda no point in blowing our collective romance wad for a bullshit marketing holiday.

BTW, next time someone tries to one-up your tragedy, just clam up, close your eyes, and let it wash over you. Then when they realize you're not responding to their inane jawwing, open your eyes, put on your best "oh, the humanity" face, and start clutching at yourself while shreiking "MY GOD!! How, in the name of all that is Holy, is such a travesty possible?! That is SO much worse than what I came in here with...what the hell was I thinking?! How can a person survive such a horrific ordeal?! Didn't you/he/whoever just WANT TO FUCKING DIE?!"

Shuts 'em right up.