Sure, St. Valentine’s Day is lameass, why spend more than two seconds of precious blog time trying to drive that point home?
We all know it, we all embrace it, however some of us act a bit too self-righteous in our denouncements. We act as if the human race is not entitled to the occasional bullshit diversions, as if each and every day must ring with the dignified echoes of stern humanity. C’mon, we are a glib and bored species, we need the cyclical pressure valve of mundane trivialities around which to parade our most insignificant rites and obsequious buffoonery. If anything fits, it’s most assuredly Valentine’s Day. Go with it, leave it be. Women love this shit, they eat it up, the day is elevated to a level of Goddess-infused worship that astounds the most clear-minded male thinkers. Actually, most of the clear-minded male thinkers themselves get rounded up and sucked into the womanly vortex of the intellectual vacuum of Valentine’s Day and its relentless parade of trite solipsisms. Rare is the attached male who escapes the Kafkaesque maze of Valentine’s rote expectations.
Valentine’s Day marks a very,very special anniversary for me. It marks a momentous pinnacle of achievement in my life. In 1993, Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday, but the Saturday before, the 13th, was the perfect day/night for exaggerated celebration and nihilistic and symbolic snubbing of the institutionalized holiday. Some of the customers at a restaurant where I tended bar planned this “night out.” I was a spry 28. We all piled into the club called “The Hop” in the Puente Hills area of the San Gabriel Valley. The Hop was a large dance club that played “oldies” and “old school” – a blend of Motown and 70s funk with the occasional 70’s or 80’s disco inferno-ized rhapsody’s thrown in to satisfy the younger crowd and lead them to think they were actually in a club that someone under 25 might actually appreciate (ie, “hip”). We nabbed a section of seats and sat down between dances, drank and talked, and the horny electricity of Valentine’s Eve sliminess filled the air. The Hop, due to the demographics which favored its DJ playlists, was populated mostly by my people, especially older gangster dudes, veteranos and some washed out but cosmetic-induced chicas. However, the club induced a good mix of young clientele to liven the place up and make the older men drink a little more in order to reassure themselves they might actually go home with a 25-year-old sweetie tonight.
See, my problem was, and is, I’m a chickenshit. I find it very difficult to ask girls to dance, and implicit in each failed invasion of any nightclub was my personal expectation and futile hope that maybe this would be the night I would get asked to dance. This could be the night some chick, taken with my (fill in the blank) would make an effort to ask me to dance and spare me the embarrassment of risking my own dignity. As it turned out every time, I would leave the clubs much drunker than when I entered and with absolutely no dance floor Travoltian triumph to call my own. It was a tired routine and the implicit expectation was wearing thin and I barely bothered retrieving it and dusting it off for a fresh wear each time I went out. My hopes were in tatters.
Well, the evening flew by, lots of dancing and drinking, and a few hours later found me standing by the edge of the dance floor, looking on, and suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and there was this short woman, thin, and she gestured me to dance. My moment had arrived! She was not hot, but she was not ugly, and like I said, she was short, and I would venture that I mirrored her qualifications in a male way. It was Valentine’s Day and she was no doubt fighting the obligatory loneliness all single women experience on this most romantic of days. I agreed to dance immediately. When we began, nature felt wronged. We danced and feigned fun, but I was caught unawares and I had nothing to say to her or to break up the monotony of our rhythmic swaying with. I could not entertain. I could barely find it in me to dance. We danced silently and glanced at each other apprehensively. I probably never would have thought to ask her to dance. Something didn’t strike me natural about this and I came across about as exciting and thrilling as a wet noodle. After the song, we split up. We didn’t continue talking or pursue our dance floor union. I didn’t see her again the rest of the evening.
But it happened, on a Valentine’s Eve.