God does /But I dont / God will / But I wont /And thats the difference /Between God and me. Lyle Lovett
and the air is already filled with bitterness
Its not my favorite holiday, though the manufactured nature of it doesnt bother me any more than that of say, Christmas
Presents are gooooood.
So that parts fine by me.
And since I like giving presents far more than I like getting them, I think Valentines is a pretty equal opportunity holiday. I enjoy whipping up seven-course meals. And when I think of St. Valentine, Naked Lunch Hour also comes to mind. This year, Im even throwing in a concert (tickets that is; Im not performing... anymore).
So I really dont see why guys have so much to complain about.
But obviously, theres the dark side.
February 15 is one of the busiest days in a divorce lawyers calendar, says Diana Shepherd, Editorial Director of Divorce Magazine.
Thats according to this ListServe Im onpresumably because I bought divorce books for Christmas gifts at amazon.com. (The recipients were already divorcedI was buying these for support, not as hints or anything.)
And heres what amazon popped up under my personalized prospective gift list: Best of Real Sex; Best of Sex Bytes; Taxicab Confessions: Best of Vegas; High Art; Creative Conversation Starters for Couples; Taking Charge of Your Fertility; and 365 Manners Kids Should Know.
Im just amused by the fact that amazon knows enough to take me from sex, to relationship, to infertility issues, to kids, all on one page.
It seems appropriate that Valentines Day usually falls somewhere around Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the penitent season for many of us.
Because I take all transgressions and oversights from the men in my life (platonic and otherwise) very, very, very hard.
I have two primary wingmen: good and evil.
The good one takes me to theology seminars, co-hosts parties with me, and screws in all my ceiling lightbulbs.
The evil one wakes me up at 4 in the morning so I can take him bowling and discuss his girlfriend problems before the alcohol wears off. Hes the one who addresses every guy I date (to his face) as Johnny New Guy (and then tells me later, hey I LIKED that one; whyd you dump him?) Sometimes he calls them Johnny No-Chance.
The good one got me the best of the Onion for my birthday, and skipped a mandatory work meeting to get to the celebratory dinner and concert
the evil one was a no-show. Whereupon I stopped speaking to him. For two months.
Because his absence really hurt my feelings. I hate holidays of any kind, and I only survive them by surrounding myself with as many distractions as possible. His no-show just took me right back to fourth grade. Whereupon I was suddenly transformed into....Tullio.
Tullio was the kid that the nuns forced everybody to invite to their parties. Im sure they meant to be kind, but they werent doing him any favors. The other kids would (best case scenario): ignore himor (worst case scenario): beat him up and call him Fruity-O. I never called him that, and I definitely never beat him up.
But I never forgot him either. Every time somebody leaves me out of the fun (intentionally or otherwise), I AM Tullio.
So when my evil wingman didnt show up for the big night, I was hurt. And once he figured this out, his apology was profuse, and accompanied by a sincere commitment to make it up to me. (As I told him, Sell sorry somewhere else, Pal. I gotta see Penance. Remorse.)
I think this is why Valentines Day is so close to Lent on the calendar. Denial and penance. He and I agreed on what have become known as the ceremonial Pancakes of Atonement, and were good. Now.
Its the rare scenario that turns out that well.
I had a similar blowup with someone who didnt invite me to his office Christmas party (despite his having been included in at least 37 social occasions that Id hosted), and then couldnt figure out why I was upset, much less bring himself to apologize.
I can think of LOTS of reasons I wasnt invited: because he had another better date (fine); because he thought he could pick up a better date on-site (likely); and/or because he was embarrassed to be with me (devastatinghere again, the ghost of Tullio).
So while Im sure if I was Sister Catherine Regina, I couldve yanked his ear and forced him into taking me along, I didnt really want to go to a party where Id be beaten up or called Fruity-O.
I was crushed. And found myself again in the position of hearing the immortal phrase all guys seem to believe is synonymous with an apology which is,Im not a mind-reader. Funny... A. I didnt HEAR a SORRY in that; and B. I dont think anybodys ever accused me of subtlety. The cause-and-effect simplicity of my temper is far from mysterious (though in fairness, not that many people know about my Tullio issues). You screw up, I disappear to lick my wounds. I dont resurface till theyve healed, or until someones made at least a token attempt at reparation.
Wake UP already. When people dont say theyre sorry, its usually because theyre not. When anyone has to protest, I DO care, its a sure sign they dooooo NOT.
Still, theres safety in numbers and I rarely move through life without a few spares. Volume heals. Many are called. Few are chosen. And only the penitent man shall pass.
Forgiveness, is a good thing. It does not, however, translate to by all means: allow me to Bend Over. I think youll find it easier and more convenient to screw me over from this angle. n
Reprint Ace 2001.