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Friday, February 11, 2011

Hearts and Red Teddy Bears

The other day I was talking to Miss Bitches-A-Lot (yes, we still speak from time to time; no, I don't know why; and no she doesn't read this blog so yes, I can talk about her) and she was asking, like Bonnie Tyler, 'where have all the good men gone?' A very good question indeed, although in her case, it's probably that they just don't like her. Anyway, that conversation got me thinking about Valentine's Day, which is just around the corner.

Actually, even without talking to the most irritating person this side of the Mediterranean, it would be nearly impossible not to think about February 14, since practically every shop window in Beirut looks like a giant blood clot! Now, don't get me wrong, I am not anti-Valentine's Day, nor am I one of those people who thinks that it's just capitalist crap invented by evil retailers who manage to dupe nutty romantics into paying $80,000 for a single rose when on any other day it would cost less than $1. No, I actually like the fact that there's a romance day, even though Miss HotStuff scoffs at this and says, 'Every day should be Valentine's Day.' Whatever! Who the heck has the energy to be romantic every single day! I mean, how many red Teddy Bears can one possibly own?

I then started to think back to some of the most embarrassing Valentine's Days I've had. First, there was the time when a single female friend and I decided to go see a movie and we totally forgot that it was February 14. After we bought our tickets, we were so embarrassed when at the door of the theater we saw there was a special Valentine’s Day promotion going on and they were giving away roses to all the girls and some sort of sample cologne to the men. Obviously, we had no idea this movie was like an event or something, and because we weren’t with any guys, we got the roses and the cologne. So there we were … two girls … at a romantic movie … surrounded by couples … carrying cologne and roses. Needless to say, we were so embarrassed we couldn’t throw the gifts away fast enough because a) we didn't want to make it even more obvious that we were dateless and b) we didn't want to completely kill our chances of ever getting dates again by looking like we were gay.

A few years after that, I got a call at my desk from the receptionist where I worked at the time telling me that I had just received a bouquet of flowers. Since I wasn’t seeing anyone at the time, I was pleasantly surprised, so I leapt out of my chair and hurried to collect my Valentine surprise. At the receptionist’s desk, there were a dozen beautiful red tulips and my mind began racing with names of men who could’ve possibly sent them.

“Who are they from?” asked the bitchy, nosy receptionist. Ah, the suspense as I read the words, ‘From a secret admirer,’ the excitement, the thrill … the utter disappointment as I recognized the handwriting. This couldn’t be, I told myself, the flowers are from … my mother?? After regaining my calm, I replied with a smile, “They’re from a secret admirer.” Okay, so I lied - I rationlized that it was better to appear mysterious than loserish.

There was also that Valentine’s Day when I actually did receive a gift from a bona fide ‘secret admirer,’ only to discover it was that creepy, stalker guy, who was as old as my grandfather, about as attractive as road kill, and somehow interpreted a polite, ‘hello’ to mean, ‘I love you, please send me a creepy present.’

As for this year, who knows? Maybe I will get a giant heart stuffed with chocolates and a big ass red Teddy Bear. But let's just hope it's not from a geriatric weirdo … or a relative (no offense, mom!).