Valentine's Day, Foxes, and Eagles: Even If You Are Single!

Valentine's Day, Foxes, and Eagles:  Even If You Are Single. . .

I have read several posts about Valentine's Day from users who are single and unattached this Valentine's Day. Many of the posts follow one of two themes:

1) Valentine's Day is commercialized and we should not allow ourselves to be manipulated by slick advertising, promotions, and guilt trips offered by the Madison Avenue "madmen," or

2) If you are in love, every day should be special so why do you need to celebrate Valentine's Day? Some of these users tell us that they are not bitter about love and they are not jealous. However, it is obvious that they have some resentment about the holiday and its celebration.

These posts remind me of Aesop's extremely short fable about the fox and the grapes:

Driven by hunger, a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on the vine but was unable to, although he leaped with all his strength. As he went away, the fox remarked 'Oh, you aren't even ripe yet! I don't need any sour grapes.

The Anglo-American customs associated with Valentine's Day have been practiced for more than two centuries. We send cards, flowers, and confections to the objects of our affection. We treat them to lavish dinner dates and extravagant surprises. We make a big fuss over our sweetie because we have been told it is appropriate to do so on that date, and our sweetie is expecting us to make a fuss.

I have flowers delivered to my sweetie at her place of employment on Valentine's Day or the Friday before Valentine's Day, if February 14 is a Saturday or Sunday. Before the flowers arrive, she is waiting at her desk. She watches other ladies receive flowers and listens as all the ladies go "ooh!" and "ahh!" over the most recently arrived bouquet. She is hoping that I have not forgotten her but also preparing to console herself if necessary, reminding herself that life will go on if she doesn't receive flowers. Then, there is a call from the receptionist. "Miss Ivy, you have a delivery at the front desk!" Hallelujah!

She tries to remain calm as she quickly goes to the reception area. There they are: one dozen long stemmed red roses. She is so happy, so relieved, so thankful that I haven't forgotten. She suppresses a tear of emotional relief and her previous look of concern is replaced with a beaming smile on her face as she carries the flowers back to her desk. She looks at the other ladies and the look on Miss Ivy's face says, "Oh, girls! Look what my man sent me!" The other women look back at her and their grins and nods silently reply, "You're such a lucky girl! You'd better hold on to that man!"

As soon as she returns to her desk, she calls me to tell me that the flowers have arrived, how beautiful they are, and how thoughtful it was for me to remember her on this day. I simply tell her that she deserves to be treated like a queen and that I am glad to have her as my queen.

What's wrong with this story?

Nothing, but if you are single, you are perhaps bitter, maybe disappointed, possibly lonely, and you probably don't want to be reminded of what you missing on this special day. There's no one here for to to pamper and no one to tell you how wonderful you are. That sucks. I understand. I and all the other people out there who have somone special in our lives have had Valentine's Days when we were alone.

At this time two years ago, I had been married for three years. I was head-over-heels in love with my wife. I thought that she was the most noble, idealistic, wonderful woman I had ever met and I was glad that we had been married after about three years of courtship. But then, after five years of us being a happy couple, she made her announcement, "There isn't anyone else, but . . . I've decided that I don't want to be married any more. I want a divorce."

I was devastated. We had some problems which I wanted to work on and resolve and they were problems which could have been solved . . . but her motivations did not lead her in that direction. The dedication which I thought she had promised had been just an illusion, and "forever" was just a euphemism, a hollow word. My world was shattered. Valentine's Day two years ago, I wasn't alone, but it was a very lonely day for me. It was worse than being alone.

Last year, I didn't want to be alone on Valentine's day so I contacted a girlfriend from the past who had moved about fours hours away from me. We had parted on decent terms and, unless she had become attached to someone else, I knew that she would want to see me. I visited her on Valentine's Day weekend but the spark wasn't there. I wasn't alone and I had someone who wanted to be with me, but it wasn't meant to be. It was okay, mediocre, fair to middlin', but there definitely weren't any fireworks.

I am 61 years old. Over the past 40 years, I have been in love five times.

Each of those relationships ended either because my partner was disappointed with me or I was disappointed with her. "I quit!" would be so easy to say, so easy to do. I have endured a significant amount of heartbreak, frustration, disappointment, grief, and cried my share of tears over love lost. What is the point of repeatedly subjecting myself to this torture?

When I now look back on my first love, I feel embarrassed about some of the things that I said and did. I didn't understand love. I didn't understand commitment. I was never unfaithful to any partner but I was not always the best partner that I could have been. I failed my partners and I failed myself, but I gradually made changes, corrected my course, and offered more understanding, more partnership, and more unconditional love.

I didn't say "I quit!" because I am not a hopeless romantic; I am a hopeful romantic. James Taylor is right. "Love's the finest thing around." And I'm not giving up on love, not now, not ever. Eight months ago, I met a wonderful woman - my Miss Ivy. I have fallen in love with her. I cherish her. We have an incredible amount of common interests and we understand each other emotionally and intellectually. I am not eager to rush into another marriage . . . but all of my visions of the future include her.

So, if you think the grapes are all sour, they are not. Perhaps the grapes are out of reach because you need a break from relationships, maybe you need time to "recharge your batteries," maybe you need time for some reflection and introspection, maybe you need your 100,000 mile tune-up. Life has a way of preparing you for what is coming next and you're never too old to find love, so even though you may feel badly now, you need to be getting ready to find your partner because life is not through with you. When you find that special someone - The One - you'll be soaring!


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What Girls Said 2

  • I disagree. I have spent 2 Valentines alone and single since I was 18. I am approaching Valentines this year secure in my relationship with my boyfriend. And yet I, and my boyfriend, are both opposed to this farce of a day.

    I know my boyfriend loves me and he knows I love him. I base this knowledge on how he acts towards me EVERY DAY, not just on one day of the year when he is told to. Roses in February don't prove her loves me. Flowers and chocolates because everyone else is doing it says nothing.

    My boyfriend shows he loves me with random gestures. Today he did the supermarket shop and took my daughter with him to give me some time to myself. To me that was romantic. It meant more to me than a dozen roses. When I was ill last week he cooked me dinner and ran me a hot bath. He'll make my favourite meal just because it makes me smile. That's romantic.

    If it takes buying overpriced flowers one day a year because everyone else does to show me he loves me then I don't want to know. That isn't love. Love is genuine, spontaneous and bespoke. You can't get love off the peg and expect it to suite everyone.

    By choosing to ignore Valentines I am more convinced of his love than if he bought into the cliche with everyone else. If I get the call from reception to say there's a delivery of flowers waiting on 14th (or 12th this year) I would be both disappointed and embarrassed. To me it is a day that makes a mockery of real romance, but to each his own.

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    • No one has suggested that buying flowers or chocolates on Valentine's Day "proves" anything about love. No one has suggested that doing things on Valentine's Day means that you should neglect your sweetie the other 364 days of the year. No one has suggested that Valentine's Day must be celebrated with anything that costs a significant amount of money,

      If it makes both of you feel good to insist that you are not going to celebrate your love on Valentine's Day, then you are obviously a good match. My girlfriend will get roses and a nice dinner at home on Valentine's Day. The flowers won't cost a fortune because I have a client who is a florist and she will give me a good deal. The dinner will be nice and my girlfriend will be happy. Mission accomplished.

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    • "What's wrong with this story? Nothing, but if you are single, you are perhaps bitter, maybe disappointed, possibly lonely, and you probably don't want to be reminded of what you missing on this special day." I was careful to indicate that I know this explanation does not apply to everyone.

      I don't "buy into" anything, I see through marketing and advertising campaigns and I never feel pressured to do something because some stupid television ad is telling me I must. If you don't want to celebrate VD, that is your right, but you don't need to put down those who do celebrate it.

    • My girlfriend is retired and she does not sit in an office. She knows that I love her. I tell her that. I come up behind her and hug her for no reason whatsoever. Friday night, I went into thick woods at night when the temperature was 45F to find her lost dog; after I found it, I walked across a stream and got drenched to return the dog safely. This morning, I am painting in her house. Yesterday, I repaired her clothes dryer. I call her my cutie. She knows that I love her.

      You seem to be bitter at people who choose to celebrate VD. You are putting them down about falling prey to marketing, etc. Why do you need to do that?

  • I read your mytake but I thought you mentioned fox for me :p I am hurt to find out you didn't. I am bitter.

    Nice mytake by the way.

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What Guys Said 2

  • I think you forgot to mention the word "emptiness" and also possible lack of motivation or even loss or complete loss of motivation. Once people quit and give up they may begin to not really care to even try any more, become apathetic.

    If some people really want to quit and give up on love and relationships, then they will and they can. It's really on them to decide. You can't decide for them. No one can decided what is right for them. They have to decided for themselves. I don't really see a right or a wrong in regards to that.

    Just let them decide if they truly want to quit, because what can you really do to make them not quit?

    Also shouldn't those couples or even for those people that have not yet given up on love out there be 'thankful' and 'grateful' that there are actually some of us out there that HAD actually Quit and decided to completely given up?

    Because just think about it for a second. When there is a whole bunch of people that had quit, and they could have been potential competitors that may be competing for the same person's affection or that these would want to date and see or already seeing then doesn't that mean one less thing for them to worry about or ever be insecure of, because wouldn't that meant fewer potential competitors? Not that there won't be ever be any competitors.

    Would it not mean that these quitters who are now completely out of the picture and not part of the game anymore, no longer pose a problem or an obstacle to those that have not quit or already in an established relationship any more just simply by no longer being involved actively anymore in the world of dating, relationships, love, and so on?

    People can and usually will change their minds over time about who or what they want.

    I think people need to keep in mind that it is not just love or relationships or being in a relationship that would ultimately make them happy or satisfied because being happy really comes from within.

    If they aren't really happy with themselves or for whatever other reason to begin with then that does not necessarily mean that a relationship would resolve all their unhappiness or make them happy.

    There are no absolute certainties or guarantees that someone will ever actually even find love or end up in a successful relationship in their lifetime. But they either try, or don't try and give up or call it quits. Either way there can and will be bitterness/emptiness regardless, but they will just have to keep moving forward.

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  • Haven't I heard you say the fox and grape story before?

    In any case it doesn't apply to me. I get laid. I hate Valentine's Day for much deeper reasons than a single or not single thing. That's so damn petty. I haven't felt like that since middle school (as far as being upset that I'm single around Valentine's Day). That's petty shit. I hate Valentine's Day for much deeper reasons.

    So I think people on here need to realize that too. Not everybody hates Valentine's Day for such pettiness as that.

    All that said you seem to have just wanted to tell us your love life. That's the problem with monogamy at times. See everything has its negatives. People think monogamy is always positive. It isn't. People go from relationship to relationship just like they might if they weren't monogamous. Thinking they are "in love".

    I don't care to find "the one". If others do that's their choice I guess.

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    • I don't believe that I have previously used the sour grapes fable, but it is possible that I have done so and simple forgotten about it.

      I have not assumed that this myTake applies to everyone who is single on Valentine's Day. That is why I said, "if you are single, you are PERHAPS bitter, MAYBE disappointed, POSSIBLY lonely, and you PROBABLY don't want to be reminded of what you missing on this special day."

      People feeling lonely may seem petty to you, but that sounds like some mild animosity towards them, Why be angry at them simply because they feel that way?

      I did talk about my love life because it is an example of not giving up hope. I try to produce quality writing in all that I do and one of the first rules for writers is to write about things with which you are familiar.

      Of course monogamy has its price. So does being single. But the goal of monogamy is not to flit around from one relationship to another. There are people who have been happily married for 30-40 years.

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    • ... if

    • Or I guess the more accurate phrase would be maybe or maybe not. Seems like you're an advocate for monogamy despite earlier saying basically that people can be however they are.

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