Today is a very important day, it’s my brother Christopher’s birthday. He’s extremely happy to have been born on the 13th of February. Almost as happy as I am to have been born at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley and not the Caldecott Tunnel. The reason for these felicitous feelings is that our mother would very likely have named him Valentino, or Valen, or something equally unpalatable, and she told me often that I would have been Caldecott, which would have been a fate worse than death in the 80s due to a particular pop song.
Instead, I have the biblical heritage of a king and my brother gets the moniker of the patron saint for travelers. I’m certain that both of us are much happier with the selections.
Tomorrow is, of course, Valentine’s Day. Otherwise known as the divorce lawyers full employment day of celebration. Many a marriage has begun with an engagement on V-Day and ended in court looking something like D-Day.
But for the true romantics, tomorrow is a day of hope and aspirational desire that “the one” will be theirs. It’s a day devoted to sugar and chocolate, overpriced flowers and unrealistic expectations of women, with men pressured to be the Prince Charming on a white horse and to whisper words of sweet nothings into an ear that is yearning for connection.
It’s a rough day for many. The single men and women are often left out of the festivities. There are no ‘Friendentine’s Day’ celebrations like the ‘Friendsgiving’ around Thanksgiving. Though maybe some resourceful bar or restaurant owner will take this idea and run with it next year!
For the many women who yearn for a true love, tomorrow is often a painful reminder of what Hallmark and Disney have promised them, but real life has failed to deliver on. For the men who are single, and can’t get a date to save their lives, it’s a stark reminder of how hard it is to connect with someone. The difficulty of asking someone out, facing the prospect of rejection, for the hope of an evening’s companionship, is a difficulty that many cannot summit.
It’s a hard day for those in committed relationships as well. There are expectations that there will be a bouquet of red roses, and a box of mediocre chocolates, perhaps something lacy from Victoria’s Secret, but more likely a preprinted card with a “Love Ya, Me” scrawled on the bottom.
It’s a great day for the gay florists, but not so much for the single gay man like me. It will be a round robin of “Why don’t you have someone? You’re so wonderful.” Followed in short order by a “Don’t hit on him, he’s straight!” (as if they have some magical intuition that tells them who is and isn’t gay!) when I flirt with the cute waiter…and they wonder why I’m single.
Tomorrow there will be a few people who will be served with divorce papers – it’s an act of anger and revenge that telegraphs exactly how painful THIS divorce will be! It happens rather frequently actually – sad really.
Come mid November there will also be a baby boom as a reminder of what tonight was all about.
I am not a fan of the Valentine’s Day consumer madness. I prefer that the sentiment be honored, than the red hearts be sold. I love the idea of being in love and telling the people you cherish how much they mean to you. I believe that couple should have romantic evenings and grand gestures to demonstrate their love and devotion to each other. I’ve often even wanted to be in love, to find that right man to travel the world with, and to make a home with, but I’ve also learned that the world isn’t so supportive of that in my life.
I wish the lovers well tomorrow. I hope they actually mean it when they say it. My wish is that the men can be honest and true, and the women can believe for a night at least, that their Prince Charming has arrived.
Happy Valentine’s Day all. And Happy Birthday to my big brother Chris – so happy you’re not called Valentine.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra.