Softer

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The ever dreaded V Day…

Valentine’s.

Yea yea yea, I know. It’s cliched to be anti-holiday, particularly Valentine’s. Most people will chalk it up to the whole: “oh you’re just mad because you’re single” angle. To be honest, I would say that in the past, that is at least partially true. I think everyone has been there at some point. Alone on the 14th, while corporate America jams love in your face, not letting you forget that the only true measure of success in life is: to find a mate.

Let’s not forget the excessive mark-ups on designer candy, trinkets, and other holiday paraphernalia. For men, only Christmas usually leaves us with a lighter wallet. Which brings up another qualm with this supposed holiday: it’s really female-centric. At least in the sense that traditionally, it’s the day the man is supposed to shower his woman with material goods, in hopes of a little extra something at the end of the night. I’m not here to discuss patriarchal norms, nor do I particularly want to delve into the insidiousness of gifts for assumed sexual favours.

I’m not single this year.

Though to be fair, I’ve had a significant other in some sense or another the last 4-5 Valentine’s. I have had tradition in the past, one which I’m breaking this year. For someone that is not so gun-ho about holidays, it really hurts this year to break it. Again, this falls beside the point. I guess as the years have gone on, I’ve started to soften. Tonight, I finally found the straw to break the proverbial camel’s back…

k and I didn’t make any initial plans. Last night, she mentioned there was a free show at the CBC studios (Blackie and The Rodeo Kings), and asked if I wanted to be “lamely awesome, and have a Valentine’s date”. Free music? Yes! Sadly, they had a guest list that was rudely large for a free show. Everyone who was standing outside got turned away. We were both kind of grumpy, so we shuffled off to Chapter’s, where she bought some stationary, before hitting Rogue for some drinks. After some awesome people watching/criticizing on the train (the Miley Cyrus concert was tonight), I dropped her off at her station and headed home. That’s when my view on Valentine’s changed forever…

My stop was coming up, so I stood up to line up near the door. I noticed a man sitting down near me. He looked tired, travel-weary. He was surrounded by various luggage. His hangdog expression spoke of a man who had been in and out of airports all day. This was around 11pm. I can only assume he was probably away on business, or perhaps had the sad duty of attending a family crisis somewhere out of town. Whatever the reason, my other assumption was that he hadn’t seen his significant other in awhile. He was home now though, on Valentine’s no less. Despite his obviously long day of travel, he was carrying a bouquet of flowers. Consider my heartstrings pulled.

For the most part, I’ve had the good fortune of never being separated for too long from any past girlfriends (with one obvious exception). k is no exception, we see each other at least once a week, and we talk in some shape or form with great frequency. It’s that sense of physical accessibility that has probably shaped my view on this day. It doesn’t feel any more or less special on the 14th, because I don’t spend long periods of time away. Yes, this may be a purely commercial holiday, a construct of the greeting card companies to avoid a month with a lull…maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Since it’s so universally accepted as a “holiday”, maybe, people who don’t get the chance to have an evening with their loved one, are afforded that benefit by their employers or superiors. A small nod to the aspect of love and relationships.

Maybe I’m just getting soft as I get older. I’m ok with that though; the vase looks a lot prettier when it’s half full.

-DFP-

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