Valentine's and the Truly Pathetic Single Girl (a cautionary tale). 2/13/04
WARNING: This essay, in a feeble attempt at dark humour, is in extremely poor taste. If you're easily offended, you probably shouldn't read this. If you read it anyway, please don't e-mail me about what a horrible person I am, because I already know.
As we all know, Madison Avenue has a vested interest in keeping you dissatisfied with just about everything in your life, and relationships are no exception. We are bombarded daily with exhortations to buy things to improve our prospects for happiness, and explanations of how we are simply not good enough just the way we are. Most people manage to deal with this in one way or another (sarcastic humour would be a good example), but truth be told, it gets under all our skins every now and then.
Most of us also watch way too much TV - I have the TV on as I'm writing this, and though it's tuned to the History Channel, it's still on - some of us to the tune of 6-10 hours a day.
Now, put together too much TV watching, endless brainwashing advertising that says you're a loser if you don't have a man, and a single girl who's easily influenced by outside forces (say she was a teenager in the 80's, like me - there was a whole backlash against women's independence going on, where we were supposed to be beautiful trophy wives, and sweetly compliant to our man's wishes so that he would buy us expensive things [ref. Dynasty]). For that poor sweet girl, Valentine's day is not a day of tender affection, but a nightmare of epic proportions:
7am: Wake up, roll over, realize it's Valentine's day, but more important, it's 7am on a Saturday. Go back to sleep.
7:05am: Open eyes, stare at big empty space on other half of bed. Note absence of any heart-shaped packages. Wonder whether ache in center of chest is actually mild heart attack.
7:20am: Shower, but not before standing in front of bathroom mirror for twenty minutes, cataloguing each and every physical flaw that is responsible for manless state. Lather, rinse, don't repeat, because what's the point? It's not like you've got a date tonight.
7:50am: Stare in mirror some more. Make resolutions to whiten teeth, change hair colour, go to gym, get Brazilian bikini wax and breast implants, because Annie got them, and she's engaged to a guy who's taking her to the CARIBBEAN for Valentine's day, fer chrissakes.
8:20am: Breakfast. Black coffee, half grapefruit, 1 slice dry toast. Got to diet. Got to be thin - guys like thin women, all the ads, books, and Joan Rivers say so.
8:30-9am: Watch "Today Show". Cry over heartwarming stories of true love, Valentine puppies, giant diamond engagement rings. Feel like throwing up after tenth couple says "We knew we were soul-mates the instant we laid eyes on each other".
9:05am: Second breakfast - sausages, French toast, waffles with syrup, butter, Reddi-Whip and maraschino cheries. Who cares what you eat, you're going to be alone and lonely for the rest of your life. Eat entire jar of maraschino cherries.
10:05am: Go to gym. Get to door of gym, see endless vases of red roses, hearts pinned up everywhere, and sign that says "VALENTINE'S DAY SPECIAL!! SIGN UP AS A COUPLE AND YOU'RE FIRST SIX MONTHS ARE FREE!!" Turn around. Sit in car for twenty minutes, trying to work up the courage to go back in and face the roses. Give up. Go shopping instead.
11am: Hit mall. Try on ten outfits in the size you "should be". Fail to do up buttons or zippers on any of them. Catch sight of huge blimp in mirror; look around to see who it is. Realize you're alone in dressing room. Leave clothes in pile on floor, figure it will give the saleslady something to bitch about to her loving boyfriend over dinner tonight. Feel guilty; pick up clothes, put them on hangers, place on rack by door marked "rejects". Consider hanging yourself on rack.
12pm: Linger by men's fragrance counter, hoping to meet up a guy that likes cologne. Realize you're surrounded by women buying cologne for their men. Also realize smell of perfume is making your face break out in attractive red blotches. Leave perfume counter before your eyes squeeze shut entirely.
12:10pm: Buy 5lb box of Godiva chocolates. When saleslady says "He'll love these!", go into long description of how your "boyfriend" loves Godiva, loves feeding them to you while you're both in bed, and how he's taking you to the Caribbean tomorrow. Picture Brad Pitt when you describe him to the saleslady. Revel in her obvious jealousy.
12:15pm: Feel miserable that you had to make up an entire fantasy life to impress a saleslady in a chocolate shop. Eat entire 5lb box of Godiva while hidden by the mall's service entrance.
12:30pm: Food Court! Buy one of everything. Eat one of everything, because you're a fat pig anyway, and no-one's going to date you, so you may as well take comfort in food.
1pm: Throw up in Ladies room. When someone knocks on the stall door and asks if you're okay in that Bulimia is BAD for you and I'm going to lecture you about it voice, say "Don't eat the burritos".
1:15pm: Buy movies to watch this evening all alone in your pit of an apartment where no man would want to set foot anyway. Movie choices: "What Dreams May Come", "Shakespeare in Love", "Pride and Prejudice", "The Princess Bride", and "Moulin Rouge", because at least the girl dies at the end, so the guy is miserable and unhappy.
3pm: Realize you have no money left, because most of your money goes on rent and car payments to live in a ridiculously expensive city where there are seemingly NO SINGLE MEN. Go home.
3:30pm: Throw open apartment door, yell "Honey, I'm home!", be greeted by total, deafening silence. Realize even cat has left you to go live with the people next door, because they at least feed him at regular intervals.
4pm: Read "Cosmo" magazine. Decide to take Helen Gurley-Brown's advice, and take yourself out to dinner.
4:10-6pm: Try on every single outfit in your closet. Twice. Hate everything. Hear your mother's voice saying "If you lost weight, your clothes would look nice, and men would want to date you. Instead, you're going out to dinner alone on Valentine's Day. You are pathetic." Decide to wear sweats.
6:05pm: Put on makeup.
6:15pm: Take makeup off.
6:30pm: Go out, try to find restaurant that isn't booked solid for Valentine's day.
8pm: Buy dinner-to-go from Boston Market, go home.
8:20pm: Eat dinner from Boston Market (serves 4, but you can eat it, no problem). Smell of chicken skin brings out cat, who hadn't deserted you after all, but was on a three day sleeping binge. Enjoy loving attention of cat, until you realize the little bastard just wants chicken skin. Wonder whether festooning yourself with chicken skin will attract men, too. Feel depressed.
9pm: Watch first ten minutes of each movie you bought, switch off, and curl up on the sofa in a fetal position, trying to drown out the voices of all your past boyfriends telling you why you weren't good enough for them. Decide to take "Cosmo"'s advice and have long hot bubble bath.
9:20pm: Sink into hot bubble bath. Shave legs with razor last boyfriend left behind when he dumped you for a girl so thin that if she turned sideways, she disappeared. Stare at blood from razor-nicked legs.
9:30pm. Eat full bottle of Demerol, washed down with liter of wine. Sink slowly into bubble bath. Realize you feel better than you have in months.
Okay, I'm not mean. It could end there, but for those of you (like me) that switch off the DVD of "Moulin Rouge" as the curtain falls and everyone is cheering and happy, and say "And they lived happily ever after", here is the alternative ending (available on the extended Director's Cut special edition DVD):
10pm: Cat dials 911 accidentally while licking chicken skin off phone.
10:10pm: Ambulance, police, and firetruck arrive. Fireman breaks down door, searches apartment, finds you in bathtub, unconscious.
8am the next morning: Wake up, don't know where you are. Look around, figure it's a hospital. Realize soreness must be from having stomach pumped.
8:10am: Nurse sticks head in room, says "Oh good, you're awake. You have a visitor."
8:11am: Fireman from last night comes in, with giant bunch of roses. Tells you he rescued you last night, was struck by your exquisite, lush beauty. Wants to know if you want a date when you get out from the psychiatric care facility your mother has committed you to. Says he'll wait for you as long as it takes.
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!