Dinner For One

Valentine’s Day is this week. ARE YOU READY?

Someone said this to me today when I was picking up my kids from tennis. I smiled and nodded, and said “what about you?!”

In reality, I should have said “Dafuq? Ready for WHAT?”

Valentine’s Day, traditionally, is a huge disappointment for me. Most years, my husband is at work. Since he works nights, that means my idea of a sexy weeknight outfit is stained yoga pants and my MOM AF t-shirt with a gaping hole under the left armpit, and last week’s spilled rice still stuck to the chest.

There’s also the simple fact that I don’t particularly give a shit about commercial holidays, Valentine’s Day being one of them.

I guess my disappointment actually comes from the fact that I feel like I’m expected to care – a lot – about the vacuous, mundane celebration of love, when in actuality I just don’t. Sorry! I don’t.

I get weary of always feeling like I have to explain or answer to people just why I am the way I am, or of having to justify my feelings. I don’t owe anyone anything, including – and especially – an explanation of who I am. Yet still, I have an entire deck of excuse cards, always ready to pull out for why I don’t what others do.

And as with many commercialized holidays, there is also the obvious: why do I need a special day to remember or honor or celebrate something I should be doing *every day?*

[Cue the high horse.]

This isn’t to be confused with the celebration of Valentine’s Day with my kids. I am all over that shit. Any opportunity to use colloquialisms and special events to teach them how to show people that you love or care for them, I’m all for it.

What I do for Valentine’s Day with my kids is pretty basic, too. I buy a gift bag for each of them, and slowly – over the course of about a month – fill it with things I see while I’m out that make me think of them, know they’ll like, or that I think they need. When the bag is full, it gets topped off with tissue paper and, vóila.

Then, on Valentine’s Day, I make our meals V-Day themed. Because it’s fucking cute.

As the years go by, and my kids get older, though, they become less and less impressed with the commercialism of it as well. That, I believe, is in large part due to the fact that you can’t go anywhere without the holiday being shoved down your throat.

Honestly, CVS: I’m looking at you.

I’m trying to then gear it more towards teaching them to give gifts that have personal meaning. An old necklace I had to pass on, a card that’s just silly, or something I saw while out that was only $1 but made me think of them. Arguably the most commercial of all holidays, Valentine’s Day seems an opportune time to teach gift giving sans commercialism.

So when I first met my husband, it was just before Valentine’s Day, and I will never forget his rant about how much he loathed the material aspect of it all (ironic given my husband’s propensity to acquire stuff, but we’ll save that for another post)…

Being the late stage millennial hipster that I am, and not knowing how much of a hoarder of things he really was yet, I ate that shit up. Ate it with a spoon.

I, too, had a deep disdain for The Man, and all of the ceremonious, faux holidays that came with it! What a match we were – we had so much in common philosophically!

That year, on Valentine’s Day, we agreed that we would hang out anyway and not be – like – romantic. But we were planning to hang out anyway, and it just happened to be Valentine’s Day, and we had to eat so we should probably cook too. Definitely not a Valentine’s Day thing though because fuck The Man.

[Cue the second face.]

(A little side anecdote for you guys: having also had a conversation about how my unbeknownst husband-to-be had never had Macaroni and Cheese with BBQ sauce mixed into it before; I, trying to be coquettish, said “well I’ll just make it for you on Valentine’s Day then.” We did hang out that day and made mac and cheese. And if you guys really want to know how intolerable this whole thing became, when I showed up he said he thought it would be REALLY ARTISANAL if we added some red onion and FAKEN BACON, which he had pre chopped just assuming I would be fine with such a culinary abomination, quite obviously a portends to what was to come in our marriage no doubt. I know, you guys… I know…)

Anyway, so then we got married and suddenly it was like: okay yeah, but married people do Valentine’s Day, and they like it. So we thought: well, shit, if other people do it and like it, we probably should too.

The first year, we went on a fucking gondola ride in the swampy canals of Long Beach. Name me something more cliche to do on Valentine’s Day than that, I’ll wait…

[Cue the crickets.]

To this day, it remains to have been the most uncomfortable and awkward two hours of my life. I mean the boat was cool and all, but the guy doing the paddling sang while looking directly into our eyes, with a really weird I’m-borderline-sexual-about-this-song-and-paddling-gig, then turned and said he would “give us privacy.” All the while, dirt bags and homeless people were hanging out along the canal waterfront; one guy so drunk he repeatedly belched, seemingly in tune with our gondola guide’s song, which at that point had turned into something of a rhythmic, hip-thrusting chant. Towards the end, a lady and man in matching tight-fitting speedos and muscle shirts paddle-boarded past us, screaming at each other.

For years, we tried. Well, I tried. Or at least, tried to get on board. My husband always got home from work super late, pretending to be all stressed out because he got “stuck in traffic” (he had really just worked late like he always does). I would make a romantic meal, or I actually put on makeup for once, and then I would sit there – the doting wife – tapping my toe while I waited for him to get home.

It was so ridiculous.

One year we went out to a Japanese restaurant and I ordered this sautéed edamame dish that was so goddamned good I basically woofed it down like a pig with a feed bag on her face.

The next year, I saw a Groupon for a pearl necklace and was convinced that I needed those pearls. So my husband got them for me, but there was also a big Lakers game on that night so he threw them in my general direction as he made a beeline for the TV to turn on the game.

Then he started working overnights, and Valentine’s Day sort of just faded away.

I’m certain he has gotten me cards, either at CVS or one he printed off the Internet, typed message and all, since then. But every year it has been less and less of an effort. This year, I am firmly expecting not even an acknowledgment of the day.

To be honest, it has been a relief. That is, until I started feeling like people wanted an explanation as to why we didn’t celebrate as ostensively as possible.

The other day, we were celebrating my oldest daughter’s fifteenth birthday, and the topic of the swiftly approaching Valentine’s Day came up. Everyone was talking about their plans.

I was talking about my kids.

People were saying they had dinner reservations (for two), had special gifts coming in the mail, and my mother in law even said she and my father in law would be going on a boat cruise.

I said I would be making a cutesy dessert for my kids that night, and/or leaving them at home and making a dinner reservation for one since my husband will – obviously – be working. I was mostly joking; the truth was I would do the dessert and then binge watch You on Netflix (assuming I don’t finish the season beforehand).

In response, I got all these pity kind of faces. Like oh poor you, you’ll be so lonely, so sad, and so on.

Normally, I would start up my canned speech about how commercial and material Valentine’s Day is. I would blather on about the “why do I need a holiday to do what I already should be doing” sanctimonious speech I always give. And I would start up all the excuses I could fathom for why my husband and I ain’t doing shit at all.

This time, I didn’t go down that road, though. I just said: “I love myself enough to not need all of that.”

It cleared the room, and it’s true.

I don’t need my husband to buy me flowers (I buy them for myself), or candy (my tastes in candy change frequently, so it’s better that I pick out my own anyway). Cards are nice, but a couple of words in passing are just as good. I don’t need the fancy dinners and the boat rides and the romantic walks and the wine tasting limo rides to feel good about my place in my relationship and, more importantly, my life.

That may not be the case for everyone, but I think every relationship is different. For me and my husband’s, it works. And I’m done explaining it away because people just can’t accept that not everyone does what everyone else seems to do.

I’m perfectly happy and in love with my yoga pants and Mom AF t-shirt, stains and all. Don’t like it? Enjoy your gondola ride.


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Roses Are Red; Violets Are Blue; You Will Die A Terrible, Terrible Death

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If you have been around this blog’s block for a while, then you know I watch The Simpsons daily. I’m talking about reruns – we have roughly half the seasons on DVD and I watch them every night before bed, and also when I inevitably wake up at 3:13(ish) to ponder all of life’s problems. I think what The Simpsons does that no other show has pegged quite so perfectly is make very serious social commentary in a way that even the most unaware person can grasp.

This habit of mine has been going on for years, just the same shows over and over. And over again.

I know what you’re all thinking: my poor husband.

One of my favorite episodes of the show (in truth, they are all my favorite) is when they go to some kind of a fair and Lisa visits a psychic. The psychic starts by telling Lisa “you will die a terrible, terrible death” – but that’s a mistake, then she (the psychic who specializes only in predicting failed relationships) goes on to tell the story of Lisa’s almost-marriage to Hugh, a British snob who won’t wear Homer’s pigs-in-tuxedos cufflinks on the big day.

Fucking genius, eh?

Since the very first time I saw that episode, I have wanted to visit a psychic. I always thought it would be fun, also I have always wondered if it ever ends as dramatically as in Ghost when Whoopi Goldberg hears Patrick Swayze and embarks on the big endeavor to help Demi figure out who killed him. You guys have to admit that kind of shit happening to me would be pretty rad. Right?

I’ve asked and asked, to no avail. I keep saying I want to do it for my birthday – well that’s a stretch, because I don’t even get cake baked by someone other than me on my birthday. I’ve said I want it for Mother’s Day, which is a total waste of my breath. (I’m not even going to go into the type of reception I get for the one day I actually should be celebrated…)

Finally, a few months ago, I all but gave up on my quest to visit a psychic. No one would give it to me for my birthday; I wasn’t going to ever spend the money to do it myself if everyone else thought it was uncool … my future would just have to remain untold.

1505276_725035416603_1099103144_nThen this evening, we were exchanging Valentine’s Day gifts. We already started over the weekend – my husband of course works tomorrow, and he works in the city (about 50 miles away) so typically on Valentine’s Day he gets home late as a result of holiday traffic. A few years ago, he got home so late we couldn’t even go out for the dinner we planned on going to; last year he didn’t get home until about 9 – my daughter yelling “she is so mad, her boobs are sweating” as he came storming in the door. Before this evening, he had already gotten his I -heart- Dad mug, and all the kiddie things had been dispersed.

But what still remained was my gift to him, and his gift to me.

Having all but given up on gifts and my husband years ago, I basically just went out and bought him some baked goods. A piece of bread pudding. A piece of New York cheese cake. Some chocolate-covered strawberries. Then I put them all in a nice, heart-shaped box and felt kind of shitty today, so got take out for dinner which meant I made him no lunch for tomorrow. So when gift exchange came, I gave him the box and called it his Valentine’s Day gift-slash-Friday lunch.

If you’re thinking at this point that I’m winning at this game of being a housewife and Stay At Home Mom, you would be correct (not really). I do everything just about as half-assed as this whole Valentine’s Day thing.

Anyway, I opened his card, and to my amazement something so wonderful and amazing was contained within it. I was – almost – speechless.

He got me a gift card to visit the Psychic of the Stars.

This is the kind of gift that vindicates him for all of his peeing on the side and back of the toilet; the crumbs on the counter and beard hairs in the bathroom sink; for being a jerk when he should be loving and working way more hours than anyone with a family ever should.

Vindicates him for a short time, that is.

So what will my psychic reading say? Or should I do tarot cards? (Apparently I can use the gift card for either.) Will she say I will die a terrible, terrible death? Or will Whoopi Goldberg hear a ghost following me around, then we’ll embark on an epic adventure along the lines of Ghost (only I’m not kissing Whoopi like Demi did)?

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The Poor Nick Valentine’s Day Special

I have a lot of things to say this fine Monday, much of which has to do with love and Valentine’s Day. So I’m going to do it short and sweet, with just a couple sentences on each topic. If by the end of this you aren’t saying to yourself (at the very least) ‘poor Nick, he has to spend another Valentine’s with this retched, foulmouthed woman,’ well then I haven’t done my job. At the very most, I will be happy if you all feel as though I have verbally sodomized your brains. Here we go:

Shouldn’t We Really Be Loving Our Selves?

In all seriousness, though, this Valentine’s Day is being kicked off with some love for myself, something we all should be focusing on. Without loving ourselves we can never really love another.

Anyone would be lucky to be married to a foulmouthed, snark-filled b(itch) such as myself. You should all look in the mirror and say that to yourselves right now as well.

Between Cyanide or Romantic Comedies, I’ll Take Cyanide

I was planning on doing another Valentine’s Day countdown of watching Romantic Comedies and talking shit about them like I did last year on my old blog, Art is of Words. I even asked for suggestions a few weeks ago (to which none of you faithful blog following assholes responded).

To be quite honest, though, the thought of watching Meg Ryan squinch up her face in that annoying, cutesy way she does one more time makes me prefer the thought of drinking cyanide. Romantic Comedies are just that awful and she seems to be in the majority of them.

To the Sicko That Googled “Horsesex Cock Going In”

This is not the place you will find any such thing. I’m not even sure how you got here, except for the fact that I do talk about cocks, horses, and sex a lot. Balls too. In any event, if you are reading this, oh pervert of magnanimous proportions: this Valentine’s Day, just think of the motto – Humans Not Horses.

Hello Kitty Toaster Comparisons

I realized today that I spend a lot of time comparing our lives to that of Hello Kitty Toaster and her husband (my husband’s brother). We don’t see them that often, and communicate with them even less; in fact, the only time we really hear from them is when HKT posts her terribly judgmental and uneducated, moral proselytizing on my Facebook page. I know it isn’t healthy, but at least it is only with them and not everyone I know – and really I think it boils down to the sibling rivalry between my husband his brother seeping down to me, since he has never addressed it.

Regardless, I compare. I don’t get jealous and wish we had what they do relationship-wise (most of the time), but I compare. When Hello Kitty Toaster got diamond earrings for her birthday last year, I lamented the fact that my husband got me perfume when he should have known that I am allergic. When we went wine tasting with family and friends the day after our Catholic co-validation of marriage, I sat on the sidelines watching people toast to HKT and her man instead of us; and taking note of all the horrific dry humping we had to witness between the two on our day – while my husband didn’t come near me the entire time. HKT and her husband went on a faux honeymoon after their faux wedding, and I will never forget the fact that now – years later – we have yet to go anywhere. The reason I thought about the comparisons today was I saw that Hello Kitty Toaster bought her husband a new snowboard for Valentine’s Day. My first thought was – a little ostentatious, don’t you think? A good snowboard can run anywhere between $200 and $1000 (or more).

My Valentine’s Day

By comparison, I spent $34.95 on my husband’s Valentine’s Day gift. It was a lot for what I got him, and he’ll probably hate it – but it was needed (much like my elephant-shaped ring holder was needed even though I hated it). I didn’t wrap it either. And I included a note, on a piece of construction paper cut into the shape of a human heart (I saw it on Flavorwire as a card idea and thought it looked cool…).

I know, poor Nick. No wonder he has no interest in dry humping me outside family events, or declaring his love for me publicly.

On that note…

You People Do Realize Life and Love Is Miserable, Right?

Seriously, I find it absolutely disturbing that so many people feel they have to display how wonderfully exciting their lives are. OH I AM SO IN LOVE WITH MY HUBBY!!! on Facebook every other post, and quite frankly it’s getting annoying. Life sucks. Marriage is miserable. Love hurts – no matter how it ends up. People that live in some fantasy land where they think everything is wonderful really have nothing wonderful; for when everything is special and exciting, that is the norm.

Rather than pretending that life and love are this wondrous, idealistic thing, people should be a little more realistic about the world. Take off the rose-colored glasses already. Everything is not as amazing as you are telling yourself it is. In the case of a lot of people I know, the sooner you do the sooner things get cooler; the less credit debt and long-term hardship there is too (for when you are so busy living life as if it is the greatest thing ever, you don’t always realize how much money you’re spending that you don’t have).

See now, wasn’t that fun? Happy Valentine’s Day… suckahs…