"Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of withering, of tarnishing."First off, my apologies for getting this post up two weeks late. (Although I have a very good reason for my tardiness, which will be covered in my next post.)
~Anais Nin (who was also a writer of pornography)
For all the 30-somethings who were alone on Valentines Day -who were mournfully gazing over the sea of roses that forgetful boyfriends were rushing home to their significant others, or who were pushed out of fancy restaurants by hordes of couples getting gouged on prix fixe for two, or who had to look away from the painful sight of a couple freezing their teeth off as they tried to frolic in the sub-zero temperatures of Boston in February- this post is for you. Allow me to give you a glimpse of how the "successfully" becoupled half of the population spent the holiday.
By the way, I realize that posting a Valentines Day rant two weeks after the infamous anti-singles holiday is picking at a scab. However, late is better than never  when the message is important. The message is this: what mainstream society says you will find in a romantic relationship is pretty much not attainable through society's relationship advice. If you play by the rules, if you dutifully lower your dating standards and act in the pornulated ways that society tells you to, you are as likely to find happiness in a relationship as Linus is to find the Great Pumpkin. If you are lucky enough/privileged enough/rich enough/supported by family and friends enough/left alone enough that you can ditch all partners who treat you like a member of the servant caste, then you will have a much better chance at happiness. Of course, representations of those relationships are few and far between in the multitude of images surrounding the one yearly holiday that is purportedly dedicated to love. Valentines Day is not kind to any women  on the 'fortunate' side of the holiday.
Before diving into my proof, let me give you some background: my S.O., Snowdevil, was invited by a coworker (a DINKY in her early 30s) to her house for an annual Valentines Day dinner. Snowdevil's coworker and her husband spent every holiday (Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, etc.) with the husband's married friends from college . On each holiday, a different married couple (read: wife) hosts a dinner party. Fortunately, Snowdevil's coworker was married to a romantic hubbydude who volunteered to do all the cooking for Valentines Day. Hubbydude's selfless shouldering of the kitchen duties left the other wives green with envy. After all, Snowdevil's coworker was now completely free to leisurely clean their condo, set up for the dinner, chop the vegetables, thaw out the four tons of meat, supervise hubby's cooking, serve the food, get everyone coffee, and clean up the mess afterward.
It only went downhill from there.
Being proficient cooks ourselves, Snowdevil and I offered to help out in the kitchen, but we were politely rebuffed. While waiting for the first of several platters of meat, we joined in polite conversation with the other couples. The other married couples were eagerly describing their plans for that evening. One couple was going to a romantic Valentine's Day costume party. The theme? Why, pimps and hos of course! (The same old shit, repeated, yet again). The wife was dressing up as a pregnant Britney Spears, and her hubbydude was going as a "pimpy [sic] Kevin Federline". Not to be outdone, another couple was going to see a burlesque show. Not just any burlesque show, but a Valentine's Day burlesque show for couples!
Fortunately, Snowdevil's coworker made very strong margaritas (on top of everything else, she was also mixing the drinks).
Once I was thoroughly buzzed, dinner was served, which consisted entirely of meat with a side of coffee, vegetables, and sniping remarks about couples who weren't present. After dinner, all the couples sat down to watch a romantic movie from hubbydude's collection, chosen by one of hubby's dudefriends (of course). What Valentines Day chick flick would hubbydude have a copy of, you ask? What romantic movie would hubbydude's dudefriend gravitate to? Why, the "romantic comedy [sic]" House Bunny!
The dudes were enthusiastic, and the wives acted nonchalant, but Snowdevil and I were repulsed! Before the the first playboy ass had waggled onto the screen (literally!), Snowdevil and I had our coats and were out the door . When we finally got back to the safety of our apartment, Snowdevil helped herself to a Valentines Day coping present from me: a bottle of Belvedere Vodka.
But there is more to this anecdote than adding my two cents to the weight of evidence that Valentines Day has devolved into a pile of cheap mass-consumerism wrapped in porn . While at the party, we overheard an interesting conversation from the various couples.
At one point, the couples started comparing the lengths of their respective marriages. What was interesting was not the duration of their marriages , but how the couples described their relationships: every last couple described how they had "endured each other", "made it together", "put up with each other", or "stuck together".
Think about what this means: these successful, well off, middle-class, long-standing, stable couples primarily saw their lives together as an endurance test!
Now I don't know about you, but "endured" is not the word I would use for a lifelong loving relationship. Snowdevil and I don't "endure"; we fight for every moment together that we can get. We don't need breaks from our relationship, or rewards for grinding through another year. Our relationships IS the recharge, and the time together is the support and the reward for enduring everything else! We don't tick off the years in a relationship that has stopped. Instead, we long for centuries more to see where this dynamic relationship would go.
You may not hear of many (non-literary) relationships being described like ours , and that is because real loving relationships like ours cannot exist with House Bunny, or with burlesque shows (no matter how romantic), or between pimps and hos (I hope that one is a no-brainer).
Couples are so messed-up from the messages of omnipresent pornography that they don't even know what love means anymore. "Endurance" isn't love. "Endurance" isn't even settling. "Endurance" is bowing to the yoke of slavery, which is sold to women as "love" through the constant bombardment of condescending, hate-filled, patriarchal propaganda . The essence of this propaganda is the message is that women should settle and "endure" whatever nominal/painful existence is handed to them, because women are simply not worth loving as equal human beings.
This is the fundamental message of porn, and it is a lie that has caused heartbreaking levels of human suffering on a global scale.
 Speaking of which, you may want to check your local convenience store for leftover Valentines Day chocolates. The recession/depression has put a major dent in candy sales this year, and leftover Russel Stover candy boxes are now selling for 80% off! You will get a nuclear stink-eye for buying the boxes now, especially if you're single. However, now is the only time that the over-hyped, over-packaged truffles will be sold at anything close to their actual wholesale value.
 If you are a non-evil guy who doesn't enjoy wrecking your wife's life, then the relationship side of Valentines Day stinks for you too. And if you are a non-heterosexual, than you will be thoroughly ignored and marginalized during the duration of this holiday.
 If you are wondering when the coworker gets to hang out with her college friends, then you are obviously not part of a "successful" relationship yet. The coworker, and all her female college friends, dutifully followed their husbands to wherever the hell they decided to settle down [see #17 - Primacy of Men's Comfort]. This is usually near hubby's job, or within 50 miles of where hubby grew up. Thus, all of hubby's friends are more likely to live close by, while all of the wife's friends are more likely to be scattered across the country. Of course, the wives is allowed to make new friends, and so long as the new friends are married to their husband's friends, the wives will see him regularly.
 Of course, the entertainment center was filled with hubby's DVD collection. Having proportioned the condo according to the norms of absolutist gender binaries, all of the coworker's material posessions (except for a few hard-fought wall hangings) were relegated to the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. Thus, her DVDs were relegated to her third of the bedroom.
 It never fails to amaze me to see how much crap people will smile and put up with when they are surrounded by a pro-crap group. An incredibly valuable skill obtained from feminism is the ability to stick up for your dignity, even when the group you are with is more than happy to take your dignity from you.
 According to my nostalgic parents, Valentines Day used to be about courtly love, before it was transformed into cheap mass-consumerism wrapped in porn. However, I was not alive back then, so I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this notion.
 Although if you're curious, each of the couples had been dating and/or married for about eight years, give or take a year.
 Or if you do hear about a relationship like this, it is usually followed by criticism that the couple is too "co-dependent" which is a fancy term for a couple that views themselves as friends and equals rather than pimps and hos.
 If you are at all unsure as to what I mean by "condescending, hate-filled, patriarchal propaganda", please check out the Target Women video segments by Sarah Haskins, any of the entries on the media at I Blame the Patriarchy, the Love It/Shove It columns of Bitch Magazine (They are, sadly, not online. You'll have to find them in the print edition of the magazine), or read The Feminine Mystique if you like doing the book thing. If you still balk at the idea that the world is full of "condescending, hate-filled, patriarchal propaganda", then drop me a comment explaining your confusion, and I will tackle it in another post. (Or rather, several posts. Cataloging the amount of hideous source material that exists out there takes up an entire field of research by itself, but I will do my best to summarize it for you.)
Copyright December 2008 by F*ck M*sculinity