By the time you read this, I will have already made plans to spend today half-heartedly lamenting my lack of Valentine’s Day plans (Best way to do this? Tweet some wistful ridiculousness like “The sun sure feels colder today.”) while secretly rejoicing that my status as a newly single man means that I won’t be forced to spend tonight desperately hoping that the inevitable bowel-centric explosion produced by the food at the Thai restaurant I would have taken a date to will wait at least until I’m a block away from home to surface (As I’ve learned, nothing kills a romantic evening quite like ending the romantic evening 45 minutes early because you forgot that Yellow Curry Noodle and your digestive system have serious beef.)
I also may have already spent approximately $15.50 on greeting cards for my mother and sister, despite the fact that said cards will only be read once and will both probably contain the same Fisher-Price inspirational phrases regularly found in Tony Gaskins books and rehab clinic pamphlets.
You’ve probably assumed by now that I consider Valentine’s Day to be (at best) a needlessly fabricated inconvenience and (at worst) the sh*ttiest day of the year, and you’d be correct. I despise the technicolor romance it induces, hate the way it strong-arms people into “reevaluating” perfectly good decisions, and loath it itself with the heat of a thousand pairs of Rick Ross’ socks. I wouldn’t spit on Valentine’s Day if it was on fire.
Despite all of this, we’ve never needed Valentine’s Day more than we do today, and I happily welcome its presence.
Between the recent loss of our most treasured songbird, the never-ending horror flick titled “Our National Unemployment Rate,” Marlo Santorum’s sweater vests, global warming, the national obsession with single Black females, “Single Black Female,” the ubiquity of The Ratchet, er, Real Basketball Wives of Hip-Hop and #teamBreezy’s worst stunt yet…Black America’s in dire need of a day that forcibly reminds us that we’re all loved and capable of loving, regardless of how inauthentic the day itself might seem.
A day where professional cynics like me save for and slave for a simple smile or a “Wow, we haven’t been here in a while,” where girlfriends finally volunteer to sleep in the wet spot, and where fathers and sons and uncles and duns put away the years of socialized macho pretense and finally profess how much they love each other. A day where we all make the phone call to the great aunt we’ve been “meaning to call” for four months now, where both the Redroom and Red Lobster are reservation only, and where inner-city teachers receive candy hearts on their desk instead of insults and apathy. A day where, well…a day we all need a little bit of right now.
So, whether you’re single and lonely or coupled up and (somewhat) phony, raise your glasses and toast our favorite February day.
“Here’s to Valentine’s Day. I hate you. And, well, thank you.”