For anyone who knows me well, I have a tendency to go overboard on Valentine’s day with the post-consumerist-society-corporate-holiday rant. Last year was no exception (complete with an article in my school’s newspaper and a super fun round of life-imitating-art when I broke up with the lovely chap I was dating at the time. On Valentine’s day. Because I am classy like that).
A year later, I am proud to report that not only have I refrained from purposefully ruining anyone’s Valentine’s Day for mere shits and giggles, I have even gone so far as to embrace the commemoration of a martyr. Although he was one of the many Valentines of Rome, he was also the baddest of asses and the ultimate motherfucker; when the emperor said “no more marriages, I need un-attached soldiers”, not a single fuck was given by good old St. V. He just went on doing that thing that men of the cloth do (marrying people), in secret, until he was caught, imprisoned, tortured, thrown back into his cell (well, it was probably less of a cell and more of a hole in the wall), tortured some more, and finally killed.
That’s the legend at least. Who knows if it’s actually true? History (and Wikipedia) tells us he was killed for refusing to convert to Roman Paganism.
But here’s a better question: who cares? Let’s move on.
So, while Valentine’s day has turned into a frenzy of purchasing chocolates and roses and balloons and condoms and cards with little rats on them–
–at the end of the day, it’s kind of a nice thought to know that at least on one day of the year, more people than not are thinking about how much they love each other (though in my opinion, they should be thinking about that ALL the time, but that’s not the point). So, as the barista at a cafe, I had the privilege of spending my Valentine’s day working my 10-6 shift, gift-wrapping heart-shaped hazelnut chocolate/raspberry-chocolate cakes and feeding the lovelorn and love-crazed. I’ve seen them all. Here are the 10 people you’ll meet on Valentine’s Day:
1. The Perpetual Cynic:
Me. You will meet me on Valentine’s day, guaranteed. The perpetual cynic is happy to spew any and all post-consumerist-society holiday rant at the mere mention of Valentine’s day (also Halloween and Easter) and is more than delighted to spoil the day for any happy couple trying to kindle some romance. This is more likely than not due to some past Valentine’s Day-related trauma (not getting enough cards as a child in elementary school being a common theme, etc…) but really, it’s just a part of the Perpetual Cynic’s scathing disposition. Do not mess with a Perpetual Cynic on Valentine’s day; you will regret it and, let’s face it, they will get over it eventually.
2. The Obnoxious Couple:
Only the most distasteful. The Obnoxious Couple uses Valentines day as an opportunity to flaunt just how happy and perfect their relationship is. Valentine’s Day is less about them and more about everyone else knowing they are happy and mushy-gushy in love. The truth is, it’s probably not intentional but it’s just enough smugness to make cynics like me prickle, especially when you see them snogging at the table in the corner of the cafe you work at.
3. The Gal-entine:
I was at choir practice and a fellow chorister invited me to a “gal-entine’s day brunch”. I thought that was pretty clever and that it had to make its way onto this list because, let’s face it, before any of my friends had significant others, they were the ultimate gal-entines. This gal is perfectly content to spend Valentine’s day with her fellow buds, indulging in brunch or gooey brownies and hot chocolate at Cacao 70 or Juliette et Chocolat (if she can get a table amidst the couples joined at the hip). She’s the kind of classy dame whose good mood no cynic can spoil and even if she is dating someone, she will take the time from her day of romance to shoot over a text or message somehow and wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day! They’re quite lovable really.
4. The Rom-Com/Romantic-Drama Addict:
Rather than face the pressure of being single on Valentine’s Day, the rom-com/drama addict stays home in pajamas, occasionally venturing out of the house to stock up on mini-chocolatines and chocolate, and watching pretty much anything starring Colin Firth, Matthew McConaughey, Jude Law, Paul Rudd, or Ryan Gosling. Personally, if a movie is going to have romance, it also needs to be funny which is why I have never actually seen a movie with Ryan Gosling. My sympathies with you, fellow Rom-Com lovers, and give me Jensen Ackles or Alex O’Loughlin any day.
5. The Noobs:
Someone let the kids out of the house for a first date on Valentine’s day. Sweaty palms, shifty eyes, nervous twitching, and awkward gift-exchanging are on the menu for the big night. These poor suckers are under so much pressure to live up to the Valentine’s-Day-Date hype that there is an all too large margin for error, or “cock ups and fuck ups” as I like to say. You can spot them in restaurants immediately as he’s probably wearing a tie with an un-tucked shirt, and she’s wearing just a touch too much make-up. These types of dates can either be the start of a great relationship or leave one or both parties feeling like they’ve wasted their entire evening so just think about how both of you feel about Valentine’s Day before pulling out the big guns (and for heaven’s sake, leave the giant stuffed bears at home).
6. The Rager:
Why have a quiet, romantic, candlelit dinner or chatty evening chocolate fondue when you could be at one of the many “FUCK VALENTINE’S”-themed ragers (a ridiculously large party where obscene amounts of alcohol are consumed and there are so many people you can barely move). Rager participants fall into two sub-categories; hard core ragers or sloppy drunk ragers. The hard core rager is there to crowd-surf, dance their salt-crusted shoes off and listen to some hip jams all while guzzling down copious quantities of booze. The sloppy-drunk rager is either someone who just can’t hold their liquor or is purposefully there to get so trashed that they can’t remember they were single on Valentine’s Day. This is the person whose hair you will be holding back as they puke into the toilets at whatever club/music venue you’re at.
7. The Politically-Correct Historian:
More boorish than the Perpetual Cynic, the Politically-Correct Historian uses the history of ancient Rome (the martyr known as St Valentine) as a basis upon which to eventually get onto the post-consumerist-holiday rant. Those are two boring rants nobody wants to hear. Listening to the Politically Correct Historian rant is like watching Santa Claus stealing candy from little children. It’s just wrong.
Whether it’s someone single binging on too much chocolate, or one-half of a content couple, somebody’s going to go all out on Valentine’s Day. You don’t need a whole cake for two people and you certainly don’t need weird messages like “Happy Valentine’s Day Sexy Mom” decorating the cake (I still regret writing that for that customer). If you really want to max out on Valentine’s candy, just wait until the day after when it’s all going to be 50% off.
9. The Happy Couple:
These seasoned daters understand that Valentine’s Day isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and they’re not out on a date to prove to the world how perfect their relationship is. Valentine’s Day gives the Happy Couple just one more occasion to be a little more generous and kind to each other, keeping the pressure off for a perfect Valentine’s Day. So maybe your lava cakes turned into brownies. Maybe the roses you bought wilted in the cold. The Happy Couple knows this is not the end of the world and that there’s more to a relationship than Valentine’s Day.
These are the kind of people that make me feel lonely and cynical.
10. Bridget Jones:
We love you Bridget Jones, just the way you are.