An Open Letter to All Couples on Valentine’s Day
Today is Valentine’s Day, our culture’s celebration of the countless incarnations of human affection: whether the stability of a marriage or the torridity of an affair, the unbridled passion of the young or the steadfast commitment of the aged, the profound and unparalleled harmony of soulmates or the innocent infatuation of schoolchildren. On this day, couples just like you will enlace their fingers over a dinner table or recline in bed in each other’s arms, contemplating their relationships, whether in satisfied reflection on their romantic accomplishments or invigorated anticipation of a promising future. On this day, your private relationships take on a public dimension, as you gather in restaurants, parks, and coffee shops, exchanging gifts and springing for drinks, participating in a grand societal affirmation of the desirability, the necessity, and ultimately, the goodness of love.
Fuck you. Did you hear that, you shameless, love-sick exhibitionists? Fuck you. Fuck you and your reciprocated affections. Fuck you and your steady companionship. Fuck you and your fulfilled sexual desires. Where do you get off flaunting your relationships before the scowling eyes and desperate hearts of those with less romantic fortune? What else do you like to do, eat in front of the homeless? Mail monopoly money to those TV charities for African children? Go for family strolls in front of the barred, grimy windows of orphanages? Why not just take your fawning, drooling companions for a romantic weekend abroad and set up an ample picnic feast on some starved thoroughfare in Calcutta, you assholes.
Valentine’s Day is an odious holiday which provides minimal value to those in relationships yet maximum irritation to those who are single. While the only thing you’ll gain is the uninspiring knowledge that your partner is too petrified to abdicate their cultural duty, the aggravations experienced by the rest of us are many and diverse. Each glimpse of you passing hand in hand down the street or engaged in some grotesque public display of affection is a cruel reminder that we’ll be assuaging our loneliness tonight with a couple of king-size Butterfingers and a Twilight DVD, and that the only thing we’ll be in bed with is one of our more affectionate cats.
So, to all couples this Valentine’s day, out of consideration for others, in the spirit of civility, in the name of decency, modesty, and sympathy: fuck off.
To the rest of us: …well, there’s always next year.
Mindlessly dragging a finger around the rim of his beverage, an enormous hollow pineapple containing a pleasantly disproportionate mixture of fruit juice and tequila, Maxwell Conlin attempted forget his romantic misfortunes by studying the glistening body of a local Adonis sprawled beachside not fifty feet away. Sexual fantasy had often proved a reliable distraction from more disagreeable circumstances. One time, following an entire night spent elaborating on the manufacture of soap for a paper on the development of hygienic practices in Europe, he rewarded himself with a extended viewing of Twink Story 3: Playdate with Woody. Another time, during a particularly tedious lecture on the influence of Sartre on existentialist thought, he scrutinized the lithe and enviable form of the dimwitted yet well-sculpted swimmer seated two rows away. Still another time, following an disheartening period of unchosen celibacy, he engaged the services of a male escort named Jaxon through the use of a popular singles hotline. But now, seated under a bustling, florid cabana, even the tropical atmosphere and unending procession of muscular beach-goers could not dispel his dreary, colorless mood.
Weeks earlier, Maxwell Conlin had received a text message from his boyfriend Lawrence informing him of the termination of their relationship. He was not entirely surprised, as Lawrence’s distant attitude and the discovery of receipts from the Disco Stick night lounge had alerted him to a rift in their relationship. Nevertheless, upon reading the message, Maxwell became immediately distraught, and for days after attempted to revive the relationship through a series of desperate pleas and romantic gestures. In the space of twenty-four hours, he sent Lawrence a total of one hundred and seventy-five text messages. The next day, he baked and elaborately decorated Lawrence’s preferred flavor of cake, which he delivered to him through a mutual friend. The following day, a love letter, hand-written and six pages in length, appeared on Lawrence’s doorstep, accompanied by a box of chocolates and a large, adorable stuffed bear. Each gesture met only rejection. Finally, after his last spurned advance and several threats of legal restraint, Maxwell accepted that the relationship was over. Despite his lover’s vanished interest and obvious infidelity, Maxwell was despondent. For him, the only thought more painful than not being worthy of affection or loyalty was not even being worthy of deception.
Thus, ruminating on these depressing events, Maxwell Conlin took a sip of his drink and sighed, and resigned himself to the practiced task of moving on.
All I Want for Christmas
It is only recently that I have come to realize that you are not, as is widely believed, a benevolent purveyor of seasonal cheer, but a vindictive, merciless despot, who keeps the neck of humanity crushed under your reindeer-excrement-encrusted boot in a bitter, wintry tyranny.
Like the meager provisions supplied by third-world governments to their starving populations, your toys serve only as a cruel reminder of our enormous material need by teasingly offering its momentary satisfaction but failing to alleviate it completely. Yet its complete alleviation is within your power! Your unlimited capacity for the generation of gifts and the tortured, malnourished elven hordes at your command grant you the capability of eradicating both need and want from El Paso to Ethiopia, yet instead you choose to feed the insatiable leviathan of Western consumerism and engorge yourself on its doughy, sugar-coated tributes, you fat, sick bastard.
No doubt you recline on a throne assembled from the bones of children who perished with their Christmas lists of “Food” and “Plumbing” clasped desperately in their skeletal hands while signing a work order for another 500,000 posters of Justin Beiber and the latest product tie-in from the Jersey Shore. No doubt Dasher and Dancer subsist on a diet of tree bark and snow while prodding at the motionless, prostrate forms of Prancer and Vixen. No doubt Ms. Claus is chained helplessly in some corner as grim portraits of Pol Pot and the Marquis de Sade loom ominously behind your mad, cackling countenance.
Enclosed please find my Christmas list. In spite of your abhorrent reign of terror, I am nevertheless an advantaged Westerner, the prime beneficiary of your maniacally misplaced largesse. Thus, much like discordant masses which decry their government’s intrusive reach while clamoring virulently for unemployment benefits, and pompous Parisians who preach diversity and tolerance while shipping Muslims, gypsies and foreigners off to the nearest Balkan hellhole, I am now at once lamenting your horror and demanding your immediate service of my desires. Considering your reliable history, I’m confident you will oblige.
1) A larger pot for the growing bamboo plant that lives in my office
2) A more luminous chain for my golden, 1920’s-style pocket watch
3) A kitten identical to or closely resembling the one featured here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Bmhjf0rKe8
4) The affections of a man
5) The high score on the Snake application for Facebook