Ryan and the Technicolor Wardrobe
Short Stories and Essays

In college, my friend Haniel (he picked this name for this story, not me), was known as a girl hating cynic, but in reality, he once jokingly told me he pretended to hate all girls so he could secretly be in love with all of them.  So when he started dating his girlfriend, and now wife, I shouldn’t have been surprised that he was dating one of the girliest girls I’ve ever met, but I was.  It’s probably because we used to have these weird anti-Valentines Day celebrations on the weekend of February 14th where a bunch of the guys  would get together and splurge on sushi and watch whatever romantic comedy that was out in theaters at the time.  The two years we did it, we were fortunate with the movies we had to choose from.  Our first annual anti-V-Day dinner was concluded with 50 First Dates and our 2nd (and final dinner) was followed up by Hitch.  Sure they weren’t the greatest movies of all time, but for Valentine’s Day movies, they were probably as guy friendly as romantic comedies can get.

We tried to continue the tradition a year later but Haniel had started dating his wife and after sushi, no one wanted to watch Something New so things kind of died after that.  I guess we felt lost without our fearless leader or maybe it was just fitting to end it since he had gone from cynic to hopelessly in love.  A year later, I started dating, so I think that officially killed any chance of the tradition being continued, since no one wanted the torch passed to them.  I don’t blame them, passing the torch to someone is like saying “Hey, I don’t think you’ll find anyone anytime soon, so you should plan these things from now on.”  It’s more of an insult than an honor.

So after a couple of years of dormancy, I kind of retooled the anti-celebration.  Last year a bunch of my single friends (boys and girls) and I got together for a dinner in West Hollywood.  There was no movie afterwards, we just walked over to Milk for some dessert.  Sherlan and I got there earlier than everyone else and we decided to go get some rum and slurpees at 7-11 (and a liquor store).  As we were walking back to the restaurant, we passed by a Subway where we saw a couple of middle aged men were sitting at a table eating there sandwiches.  It’s possible that these guys were a couple, but we didn’t go inside to investigate.  It was a bizarre sight without having any context of who they were or why they were there.  We drew our own conclusions and continued on our way back.  As we approached the restaurant, Sherlan told me “Happy Valentine’s Day, Ryan.”, which caused the both of us to burst into laughter.  It was a throw away comment, he said out of obligation and mostly just to be ironic.  These events on the way back from the 7-11 were probably the only things that differentiated the night from the typical hang out in West Hollywood, because I honestly can’t remember much about the dinner or dessert, other than I know I enjoyed them.

I’ve only writing about these instances because they’re the only Valentines Days I remember (aside from actual dates – no need to bring those up).  As much as I’ve loathed the day in the past (aka when I’m not in a relationship), I’m pretty indifferent towards it now.  I don’t necessarily look forward to it, but it’s no longer a day where I want to lock myself in my room, eat a bucket of fried chicken and watch How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. (<- Please understand this is a joke) I’ve got a good group of friends and enough single friends where I don’t feel like I’m being left behind.  There’s that fear lingering in the back of my mind that I will one day grow old with a lot of cats, but it doesn’t come out in full force on Valentine’s Day, like I’m sure it does for some of the lonelier folks.  I’m not necessarily in the mindset that 30 is the new 20 and that I don’t need to date anyone, I’m just not going to let a made up holiday dictate how I should feel about my tax filing status.

Plus, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that eating a whole bucket of fried chicken in one sitting is bad news.  I guess this all just part of growing up.  Happy Valetine’s Day!

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