Whoever said the ‘winter of discontent’ obviously got it wrong. I have never been the type to get sad during Christmases or the New Years. Alone on those nights? Go out and party till the wee hours with friends. Hell, it even gives you the excuse to drink more.
But Valentine’s Day?
You don’t even have the luxury of calling out friends to dispel the despairing loneliness that grips you like the mean reds of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany. You just try. Most of them would be holding the day, thanks to their anal-retentive boyfriends/girlfriends, sacrosanct.
On Valentine’s Day, all those who are happily attached and unhappily attached are the enemies on the other side of the dating divide. Mention valentine’s day plans with these people and they will abuse you with dreamy sighs and vacant complaints like, “…and he told me that he wants to bring me to the dinner at the very expensive michelin-star restaurant in the multi-star hotel in a location so exotic I can’t find it on google maps. And I don’t know what to wear? And if that’s not bad enough, he has to propose last night with a diamond ring that is so heavy that I am developing biceps on my finger. I am so unfortunate. Seriously… [waves diamond in the air].”
Meanwhile, the single ones would already be organizing lonely hearts clubs, swinging and single parties, desperate diva dinings …etc (you know the usual) where you get dinners of forced hilarities and (in between courses) wistful sighs of romantic dinners with a very sexy significant others in said exotic and gps-unlocatable locales while settling a bill so heavy it is enough to feed a third world nation for a month.
And that’s for most people. For me?
For those familiar with the Madam White Snake’s legend [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legend_of_the_White_Snake], there is one day in which the beautiful snake spirit is vulnerable to all attempts to subdue her. And for me, it’s the deeply dreaded valentine’s day. Like a day of plague, I have to slink home in fear of being confronted by familiar friends or, much much worse, ex-boyfriends with their current boyfriends in tow asking me, “ Why tonight alone?” to push me further from quiet wrist-slitting depression and to very spectacular suicide depression.
For that reason, and a strong sense of self-preservation, on the 13 Feb 2013, I was sending up multiple messages to multiple men I am seeing to see what my prospects are for 14 Feb 2013. Even did up a mental excel spreadsheet to chart my sms-marketing performance.
Dutch Foreman: Busy with business manager who has had the good sense to come to Singapore on Valentine’s Day. Kiss kiss kiss my beauty-prince.
Dutch Captain: (Made plans to meet on Sunday and he doesn’t have a single romantic bone in this body).
Plus, he isn’t the type to have relationships with. Every instinct says no.
Married Ex-boyfriend: Sorry dear. Going to eat dinner alone with mother.
Mr Aussie: I am so tired &broke from my recent trip to Bali. You want to bring me out?
No. And sex with him is spectacularly bad. So, no again.
Americano: Happy V-day. So glad that semester is ending cos I am dying. No energy at all.
[Didn’t want to really see him but I texted him only to get my lubricant back and because I was quickly getting to the advanced stage of drunk texting on a day before V-day]. No reply till today and I hope he is dead.
French Scientist: No, I didn’t say I am not meeting you tmr. But I don’t believe in these Valentine’s Day crap and all the attempts to exploit your feelings.
There were two other men but because I only made their acquaintance recently, I didn’t want to pressure them by arranging a meet up on the big V-day.
So what is a single gay guy with too many guys but no mr.Right to do but to pick the lowest bough and hope for the best. I went out with Mr French Scientist (see below)
I would like to say that he proposed a romantic candle-lit dinner in a cable-car with steak and wine and lots of sweet nothings and meaningful glances while the stars shine merrily outside.
Actually, we met in at a mall close to his home and we wandered from restaurants to restaurants while looking at the valentine’s day menus which leaves you no choices while slapping you with a hefty price tag. While he was making up his mind in the usual French and fastidious manner, I promised myself that if he was going to suggest a food court (like a canteen), I would up and leave.
“It’s all so expensive! I rather make dinner at home,” he exclaimed as if he read my mind.
As always, he sunk to depth I have never thought possible. I moodily agreed while hoping he would at least make cheese steak or at the very least, risotto.
Turned out, his idea of making of dinner consisting of looking at frozen dinners in the hypermart. Imagine: two of us, standing in front of frozen fish fingers and pies and the harsh artic lights of the freezing compartment with an empty basket in front of me. It was like a hideous haiku or a scene in Little Britain.
“It’s quite depressing to have frozen dinners on Valentine’s.” I sighed in quiet desperation.
I bought some fresh vegetables, egg plant and a can of tuna for sharing I told him.
We bought the stuff. I saw him rush to the counter to pay separately. It was tremendously cheap I thought and kind of awkward – but as always, I was not too surprised. I paid for myself too. Was contemplating getting a bottle of wine but I figured that I was depressed enough in the evening and drinking alone would make things worse.
We brought the shopping back to his place. He was in a foul mood as he walked really briskly, as fast as his fat little legs could carry him while I languished at the back. He stopped at various junctures to wait for me. When I get a bit closer, he carried on. Between Starvista and his place is a little dark lane through forested growths and colonial houses that are empty and dilapidated now, and in the dark with their hollowed out windows, resembled skulls with missing teeth.
The dinner was extremely depressing with him cooking his stuff in the oven and me steaming my vegetables with his steamer. I am generally not a calculative person and so I split half of whatever I made with him. On the other hand, he simply cooked his own frozen dinner and ate it all by himself without offering any of it to me. So much for pretending to have a good valentine’s day dinner. I was getting more and more resentful by the minute and was contemplating rushing home.
“Shall we watch a movie, you choose for me?” he said.
I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt maybe because he was having a bad week or valentine’s day gave him bad memories.
Anyway, I was in a substantially more pro-life mood, as opposed to a more chain-saw massacre state, after dinner.
I switched to some pay-for-tv channel and we watched some thai comedy called ATM while I sat beside him with his wandering hands grubbily touching me. It was funny and elicited a few laughs from the rather sterile environment we were in. It was good to laugh and break the air of hostility between us.
Eventually we decided to bathe and have some sex. Sex was pretty good as always and while we were barely making the attempt to be nice to each other, we were much kinder to each other during sex. He came into me from the back while I bend over backwards to be met with his gasping kisses.
It was nice to be touched and caressed and loved on a valentine’s day night.
When he came, I closed my eyes and imagined I was somewhere far away. I am realist enough to know that though he is not the right one for me, or that I don’t even feel an ounce of love for him, at least from a selfish point of view, I was loved and desired on valentine’s day night. And somehow, that was a huge concession that reality or God has given me.
After sex, and the regular washing up, he leaned against me in the dark and reached for my hand. I didn’t resist and neither did I reach out to hold his hand back. I just pretended to sleep.
I let him hold me to sleep while he nudged me with wet kisses from the back. Then he gave up and gave in to deep snores like a baby elephant.
When I awoke, on the morning after Valentine’s Day, I felt a lot stronger. I left his place for work without waking him. I just felt it impossible to see him again. I think I am back to normal.