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Valentine’s Day is a copout for lazy lovers

Forget politics. I could spend time analyzing Colin Powell’s reasoning for a war against Iraq. I could write a column entirely comprised of this year’s beef between the public and the Minneapolis Police Department. It is doable for this columnist to look at the world and discuss the so-called bigger picture.

But when I watch television and read in Entertainment Weekly that “The Bachelorette” and “Joe Millionaire” bring in the most viewers each week, it becomes obvious that the phrase “sex sells” is pretty accurate. But why are these reality dating shows so popular?

Put aside the humor, the sleaze and the luxurious dates in fancy hotels, and we can all connect to it for the same reasons – relationships and dating.

We’ve all been there before and, if not, it’s the place we want to be. It’s human nature to find a partner. Even John Wayne, the quintessential loner, had a supporting actor. Whether it’s a friend or lover, our ultimate goal is companionship.

Dating shows sell because we’ve all played those games to some extent. We look for the perfect partner through trial-relationships. The complaints tend to be similar: She was too needy, his penis was too small, he never called, she called too much. We forget to put any blame on ourselves.

Every relationship I’ve had that’s ended has always been the other person’s fault and I’m sure those guys would say the same thing about me. Even after a year-and-a-half of on-and-off, hot-and-cold with one guy, I know what went wrong – he wanted a booty call and I wanted more. No matter how independent I felt and how single I wanted to remain, I needed a friend, too.

I know the men reading this are worried about another woman complaining about men in print. That’s not my intention – I was planning to complain about both men and women. This is not advice and this is not my sermon. I am just opening a forum of discussion for those of us in need – which is everyone, by the way.

I have no intention to always produce a female point-of-view. In fact, there are many things I have a more masculine standpoint on.

Like Valentine’s Day, the Super Bowl of the relationship calendar, for instance. In my book, it is the worst Hallmark holiday ever invented. For 364 days of the year, it doesn’t seem to matter how big a jerk you are, as long as there are long-stem red roses, a teddy bear, chocolates and jewelry on this one occasion.

Of course, it has nothing really to do with men, since the traditional Valentine’s gifts tend to appeal to women. Personally, I’d be happy seeing video games and dark beer added to the list of Valentine’s hoopla.

In my dating career, I’ve only had one boyfriend remember Valentine’s Day and make it special. The other guys gave me cards, which were nice as long as they didn’t just sign their name after a goofy rhyme and a picture of a teddy bear. And of course, there was the hot-and-cold ex, who didn’t remember Valentine’s Day until after bar-close time.

My girlfriend, who is entering her third year of her relationship, spent the other night laughing about Valentine’s Day with me. This year, she and her boyfriend have opted to work instead and see each other later. After drumming teddy bears and dead plants from the supermarket, they’ve decided this day is like any other and any importance put on it should spread out over the other 364 days of the year.

That’s not to say Valentine’s Day should be forgotten completely – I’ll have a lot of pissed off girlfriends e-mailing if I say that. I just feel this day brings too much pressure to relationships and too much stress to singles.

It’s not that I hate romance. I love it. I watch romantic, girly movies like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “The Wedding Planner” as soon as I can. If I was going to miss “The Bachelor” last semester, I’d make sure to tape it. I page through Cosmopolitan and Glamour to read the “Sex dos and don’ts.” And even though I don’t have HBO, as soon as “Sex and the City” fourth season is on DVD, I’m buying the set.

I love getting “Thinking of You” cards. Poetry brings tears to my eyes. Flowers make me swoon. It means the most, though, when I receive these gestures without obligation.

If the gift is bad, he feels bad – she smiled but didn’t love it. If the gift is good, great! Good sex and a little extra, but now your pocketbook is empty. How can something material weigh the status of a relationship?

Singles flock to the bar to forget the day, but passing a cute couple on the street holding hands makes the gag reflex kick in. If that doesn’t bother you, don’t worry, you’ll get home to your roommate’s roses and teddy bear on the table to rub it in your face. This day is there just to remind you no dude, no chick – just me and a lonely heart.

On a good Valentine’s Day, maybe he’ll confess his true feelings for me in a poem. He’ll bring over chick flicks and ice cream. He’ll put the toilet seat down and put the towels back in order. He’ll put on Frank Sinatra and ask me to dance in the living room, surrounded by candles. Then he’ll give me what I want without expecting anything in return.

Maybe she’ll bring over a six-pack of my favorite beer and chicken wings. She’ll watch the game with me and not ask questions every minute. She’ll offer to clean my apartment and make a dessert. Perhaps she’ll give me a full-body massage with oil. Then she’ll watch porn with me and give me what I want without expecting anything in return.

Alright, the fantasy is over. Let’s all wake up to the gas-station flowers and bag of peppermint candy (because it was less expensive). A quick, “Happy Valentine’s Day, baby” and back to normal life. If you missed it, don’t worry – just 364 days until the next trial.

Courtney Lewis’ monthly column appears Mondays. She welcomes comments at [email protected]. Send letters to the editor to [email protected]

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