Lessons in Love
By Lori Welch Brown
Holidays can be brutal. For some, just getting through December takes Herculean efforts, and then the Universe rewards you with Cupid bearing down on you, arrow poised to pierce your heart every time you turn the corner at Walgreen’s and Home Depot. Used to be there was at least some breathing room for your Visa, your liver, and your poor, aching heart before you were trapped under a cloud of pink and red carnations. Not so much anymore. Life is just one big opportunity to buy a gift and/or decorate a door.
For readers a little long in the tooth—if you even know what that means, chances are that you are—you’ll recall that I was for many, many years this publication’s perpetual single’s writer, penning the aptly named ‘Single Space’ column. Yep—that’s right. Old Town’s very own Carrie Bradshaw—a young writer with cool friends, a penchant for happy hour and Marlboro Lights on a quest to find love, albeit without the designer shoe collection.
Like Carrie, I was single for a few seasons. There was no ‘Big’ floating back and forth on the scene, but quite a few dates gone wrong moments that made for good writing material. So even if you’re out there trying to make love happen in all the wrong places with all the wrong people, remember than even the bad dates have potential to make good stories.
But, back to my point—Valentine’s Day.
There was nothing worse than being at work as those floral deliveries started arriving. For a nano-second a fleeting thought would render me weak at the knees, “Could it be…,” but then some other young admin would whip over to the front desk, beaming with delight. Then I’d head home to hide out or join some other pals at the bar for a heavy-handed happy hour.
There were a couple of years when I organized Galentine’s events at various venues throughout Old Town. They were fun, but it was like hiding in plain sight. Instead of feeling like a rebel, I felt like the kid who gets picked last for the kickball team. Except even worse, I hadn’t been picked at all. I was in good company, however.
Eventually someone, aka XXL, did put a ring on it, and I was officially taken off the market. But, Valentine’s Day is still a bit of a drag which makes me sad. As a little kid, I loved Valentine’s Day. I couldn’t wait to pick out my ‘theme.’ A week or so before the big day, Mom would take us to G.C. Murphy’s where my brothers and I would stand at the card aisle as we each considered our BIG decision.
Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm? Over played. Scooby-Doo? Too out there. Sesame Street? For babies, maybe! Captain Caveman? Strong contender. Mr. Rogers? No way for obv reasons. Lancelot Link? A solid choice, but likely a popular one as well. Hong Kong Phooey? Says I’m cool, but also fun. Josie and the Pussy Cats? Sold out, of course.
Now there’s all this weird pressure to go ‘big’ with flowers or candy or fancy lingerie or reservations at even fancier restaurants. There’s an outfit to be procured, nails to be polished, eyelashes to be installed, lips to be plumped. It’s too much!
Honestly, all I really want is to go to CVS and buy a box of Pooh or Minnie or even Schitt’s Creek Valentine’s. Thanks to the over zealous retailers, I could have grabbed a box on Boxing Day.
I want to come home, put on my PJs, grab my felt tip markers and write one to each of my friends. Then I want to grab a shoe box, decorate it with hearts and arrows, and cut a hole in the lid to capture all the ones I’ll receive in return unless I’m Charlie Brown. Speaking of which—brown paper lunch bags work great too.
To me, that is love, and I wish we could take a lesson from the first graders on this one. ‘UR Sweet’ scribbled across Batman’s chest is a solid gesture of love if you ask me. Note—if anyone sees any Josie and the Pussy Cats Valentine’s, please grab a box for me.
If I were single this Valentine’s Day—because you know, hind sight is 20/20—I’d make a point of being especially kind to myself the whole entire month of February. I’d buy myself flowers and chocolate. If I could swing it, I’d consider buying myself an engagement ring or any piece of bling that signified that I was a HOT BABE because damn it, why the hell not?
Don’t wait for anyone to show you the love or the candy or the roses—show it to yourself. Then blast everyone you know with some simple messages of love and friendship. Won’t you be mine, Valentine?
About the Author: Lori is a local writer, painter and pet lover who loves to share her experiences and expertise with our readers. She has been penning a column for the OTC for over 20 years. Please follow Lori online on Medium for more missives like this.