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?
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.