What’s So Romantic About Valentine’s Day?

No, I mean it. This is a serious question. The idea that being expected to buy gifts is somehow romantic is something I’ve never understood.


Now I know what you’re thinking. Here’s another single and bitter guy bitching about Valentine’s Day. The poor slob must be alone and the only way to cope is to piss on everyone else’s parade.

OK, the truth is I am single and yes I am often bitter. Although the two rarely have anything to do with one another these days. I’ve become quite comfortable with my seemingly constant state of being single. In younger years, it bothered me because I’d usually wind up in this state after a terrible fight or a mistake I had made or an infidelity on someone’s part or some other such drama.

However, in the recent years, I’ve discovered that I’m simply happier alone than trying to please someone else. It began innocently and unintentionally enough. I had started a new business. My hours were fully claimed by that venture and I’d often go days or weeks at a time without speaking to anyone outside of that business circle. Even though I’d feel bad about it, I’d also realize that I needed the time alone to get to where I needed to be personally and professionally.

Eventually, I would become comfortable with this fact and my selfishness would find a happy place for me. That’s not to say that I want to be alone forever, but simply that I’d rather not clutter up my already clogged mind with the worries of trying to please someone else who’s definition of romance is different than mine. Hint: Mine does not in any way include the panic of coming off the train on February 14th and realizing “Shit! I have to buy flowers!”

And therein lies my question about Valentine’s Day.

It’s thought of as the most romantic day of the year. Whether you subscribe to that or not, it is certainly the point most widely bought and sold. But how romantic is it if you’re expected to give a gift? How romantic is it if you’re expected to receive a gift? And think of the stress levels leading up to the unveiling of those gifts. God help the poor soul who fails to ante up with a suitable offering. I’ve seen more fights over this than I care to remember. I’ve been in more fights over this than I care to admit.

And the answer came to me.

Romance should not be so rigid or regimented. Romance should be spontaneous and shouldn’t cost twice as much on one day as it does on another. It should be a poem. A dinner made from scratch. A smile. And if that’s not good for your him or your her … then you’re part of the wrong us. Move on. Find someone who can find romance on Arbor Day or National Peanut Day or Tuesday.

I’m still looking for that person myself. It’s just no longer a priority. Although it would be nice to find someone who will understand that the song ‘Better Off Without A Wife‘ by Tom Waits is not an anthem for being alone. Rather it’s a plea for finding someone who understands him. Which Waits did find in Kathleen Brennan to whom he’s been married since 1980. Wouldn’t you like to describe your partner in this way?

“She’s a remarkable collaborator, and she’s a shiksa goddess and a trapeze artist, all of that. She can fix the truck. Expert on the African violet and all that. She’s outta this world. I don’t know what to say. I’m a lucky man. She has a remarkable imagination. And that’s the nation where I live. She’s bold, inventive and fearless. That’s who you wanna go in the woods with, right? Somebody who finishes your sentences for you.” – Tom Waits

Well ladies, that’s what I’m looking for. And that’s what I’m offering. So if roses on February 14th outweigh that kind of adoration, then it’s not gonna work out.


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