Valentine’s

February 14, 2011

Andrew Hicks

I don’t know if it was coincidence in 2003 that I broke up with* my girlfriend of like three months right before Valentine’s Day. I dodged the bullet. And, up until Tiffany came along, I was single every other Valentine’s in my twenties. I was a service industry guy, too, so Valentine’s meant a busy, busy day where the restaurant was fully staffed to deal with all the people who only go out to eat on Hallmark holidays and annual Jesus-related occasions. I was too busy making money to mourn my single status.

In fact, if you’d talked to me at the time, depending on my Blood Alcohol Content, you might’ve heard my speech about how being single and loving yourself was the most simple, sure, enjoyable life imaginable. You had the freedom to do whatever whenever with whoever. I was also big on advocating regular masturbation to any dude who altered his behavior or stressed out over women and sex. The way I saw it, masturbation was just good maintenance, like changing the oil in your car. If your car needed an oil change every 15 miles.

Of course, I changed my tune when I met my wife. Tiffany and I are evenly matched when it comes to not placing a great deal of importance on holiday ritual; we both get more stressed out than gratified by the demands of holiday gift giving. Not to mention, we’ve pretty much been broke at every point in our relationship to date. So I pour my heart into writing a short novel on the inside flap of a card, and I try my hardest to be the nicest, best guy I can be. We have some married-people sex and occasionally share a ton of chocolate, and you know that makes me happy.

My new favorite thing to do when these Hallmark and Jesus holidays come around is to send all the grandparents and extended family a homemade Smilebox card. Valentine’s is only the second occasion I’ve uploaded a ton of cute, digital baby pictures and customized them into cards for family, but it’s easier, better and way cheaper than walking to the dirty Mom and Pop grocery store up the street and choosing from their supply of cards from 1991. (SAMPLE CARD TEXT: I Hope You Return Soon From The Desert Storm Ground War, Child Or Spouse.)

The cards are only a dollar, so I do like to use them as ironic, kitschy examples of living in a small town, but that kind of novelty only gets you so far.

TOP TEN NERD VALENTINE’S DAY ACTIVITIES
(from A Year in the Life of a Nerd, 2/14/1995)

10. Decide whether to spend day with Shelia or Debbie (my pet squid and iguana).
9. Drown sorrows in plate of “cheez fries.”
8. Pose as 12-year-old girl on Internet.
7. Wear pink heart-shaped glasses and matching pocket protector.
6. Make out with photograph of Heather Locklear.
5. Buy giant box of chocolates. Devour.
4. Drag out “Polka Love Serenade” CD.
3. Burn Barbie doll at stake.
2. Ignore phone calls from Jocelyn Elders saying it’s perfectly okay to spend Valentine’s Day by yourself.
1. Three words: “Love Boat” marathon.

*The whole affair was an appallingly juvenile exercise by the both of us. The breakup happened over email. She was all, “I’m taking all these classes right now, and I’m working a lot, and I’m soooo busy. I wonder if I even have time in my life for a boyfriend. Maybe we should just be friends.” And I was all, “Hey, that sounds like a great idea, because I don’t really have fun when I’m with you, and I definitely don’t have fun when you’re not around because it’s always hanging over my head that you’re jealous of anyone and everyone I party with.” I had an out, and I jumped right on it, but we both insisted we’d remain friends. As if we were friends before. As if we could ever have stood each other’s company if we weren’t playing the dating game for our own different selfish reasons.

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