Listen, you either go one way or another with Valentine's Day: You either love it, corniness and all, embrace every facet of it and spend precious time with your boo, and shower them in red things and rose petals and kind-of-corny-but-kind-of-cute-underneath-it-all-anyway cards, and presents and a meal out, and yeah, there's some underwear involved there, but ultimately it's kind of a cute day for having fun and being in love; there ain't nothing wrong with that. Or, you know, you're one of those people who thinks it's all a dumb sham and a waste of time and energy.
I, for example, am one of those people. My girlfriend falls into the first camp. And anyway, we compromised, and long story short, I am doing a sickening amount of Valentining both today and this weekend.
Ah, love: the most embarrassing emotion a human being can feel, but also the most necessary to whisk us away from a lifetime of intense loneliness.
So it is 2017 now, and so the ancient Chinese proverb goes: If a Valentine's Day falls and you didn't boast and/or vent about it online, did the Valentine's Day ever even happen at all? The answer, my friends, is no. We are going to see some Facebook statuses today. Here they all are.
Dude Who Just Got Broken Up with 12 Days Ago and Is Trying to Sell the $20 Necklace He Bought Before It Happened as Some Sort of "Fuck You" That Ultimately Ends Up as the Greatest Self-Serve of All Time
I think February 2 is the last acceptable day you can dump someone before Valentine's Day—is that right? I haven't checked the moon charts this year—there might be some Mercury movements that might affect this—and the date moves and squirms like Easter does, but it is vaguely around then, and this lad got dumped via text at midnight on the dot. Did that stop him from going out and buying a necklace to try to get her back anyway? No. Will that stop him trying to sell it on Facebook Marketplace on this, the day of commercial romance? Also no. "Twenty bucks, no-questions-asked offers considered the BITCH didn't want it" is hardly the technique of a gifted salesperson, but the 80-comment thread beneath it somehow turns into four separate squabbles, and yes, there we go: an offer of $18 if I can pick it up today.
The lesson here is: Never stop hustling.
Dark Room, Bright Flash Photograph of a Necklace Carefully Arranged on a Cushion
The #boydonegood hashtag is going to get a workout today, my God.
A Girl Who Is Fearful That Her Boyfriend's Surprise—That He Has Very Carefully Prepared—Will Not Be Up to Her High Standards
"Dnno what he has planned [MONKEY HANDS OVER EYES EMOJI] lol hoping it's a trip to somewhere sunny… lol he's told me to meet him at 8pm xx ahhhh!!! Nervous!!!!"
It's: Ah. OK. A jazz bar. Well, someone's getting dumped an appropriate amount of time after this, i.e. in four to six days.
The Guy Who Might Actually Be the First Person on Earth to Realize This, but: Hey, Valentine's Day Is a Scam Invented by the Card Industry to Sell More Stock, Did Anyone Notice This Yet? No?
"No valentines plans for me LOL," says the lad whose only three "likes" on Facebook are Fight Club, vaping, and GTA V. "Commercial holiday invented by the card industry to sell more roses and cards. not falling for that LOL… enjoy spending $200 on a flimsy card and some teddy bear that'll be in the landfill tomorrow!!" Ah: the men's rights activist in its pupa form. A rare beast indeed.
Extremely Long Description of Someone's First Date, Six Years Ago, and How This Person Is Still in Love Now
Happy for everyone involved, but all I can ever think is: Who goes on a first date on Valentine's Day? Is that not, you know, quite a psychotic amount of pressure to put on yourself? Happy anniversary, anyway. I don't care.
Your Mom Has Put a Valentine's Day Message Up Dedicated to the Dog, and It's All Getting a Bit Weird
You're going to have to call her, man; this is getting out of hand. Your mom liking the dog is fine normally—it means every Christmas all you ever have to do is buy her "something with a dog on it"—or, better, a present for the actual dog—and she gets so overwhelmed she actually starts crying a bit. But now she's bought the dog some liver from the butcher and has put a candle near it and put the photo on Facebook with the caption "true love"
The Couple Who Have Been Together So Long They Just Have Takeout and Some Missionary Intercourse
The only evidence you even have that these two are still alive is that one of them submitted a Goodreads review today, and that automatically gets pushed to their Facebook account. Three out of five for Girl on the Train? Savage. Savage.
The Girl Who Is "Surprised" to Get Flowers at Work, Despite Explicitly Stating via Multiple Text Messages, Phone Calls, and Real-Life Messages Over the Course of the Weeks Preceding That if She Didn't Get Flowers at Work, the Boy in Question Would Have His Balls Stepped on and Then Be Dumped
"OMG!! Shocked!! These arrived today at work!! Can't believe it. A dozen red roses!! Thank you, Liam, a Boy with a Haunted Look in His Eyes in All of His Facebook Photos Because He Knows Just How Under the Thumb He Is and Can Do Nothing to Escape It." The joke is on her, though, because taking flowers home on the bus is—and I hate to invoke a "Jean-Ralphio" voice like this, but sometimes you have to—a [Jean-Ralphio voice] fucking ball-aaaaache!
Just a Photo of Some Hands, Grasping onto Each Other, Across the Table at an Olive Garden
The only photo I want to see! From the inside of an Olive Garden! Is of the Cheese Fonduta! Because that is essentially porn for me! Keep the rest of the shit! To yourselves!
A Photo of a Guy Who Has Tried Really Hard—Massive Card, Balloon, Flowers, Little Decorative Bag of Presents, Taken the Afternoon off Work to Hang Out—but Is Made to Pose for a Photo Standing on the Doorstep with All the Romantic Shit He Has Brought with Him, the Ultimate Valentine's Day Bodying, an Emasculation of Which He Will Never Truly Recover
The "aa ha love him x so cute x aw" caption can't mask the fact that you hate this kid, and you want him to die.
Minimum of Three Proposals on the TL
You know what a Valentine's proposal looks like: Some guy has carefully laid tea lights out in a heart shape with "WILL U MARRY ME" written on a Post-It in the middle; immediate Facebook "life event" update; blurry two-generations-ago-iPhone quality photo of the ring with a diamond emoji or the caption "I said yes x"; weird overexposed photo of the happy couple, bending into shot, popping a bottle of room temperature champagne with his family. Why was his family there? Watching this? On Valentine's Day? Sometimes it's best not to ask. You hit "like" on the status, but you're never getting invited to the ceremony.
Your Young Cousin Who Just Wrote an Eight Paragraph Message to His First-Ever Girlfriend
LOVE U LAUREN YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF MY LIFE OMG I CANNOT BELIEVE I FOUND YOU. WITHOUT YOU MY LIFE HAS NO MEANING!!!!!!! LOL I LOVE YOU SO SO MUCH TODAY I GOT U A TEDDY AND A BALLOON LAUREN AND TOOK YOU TO THE CINEMA, LOL U LOOKED SO BEAUTIFUL LOL SHINING LIKE A STAR OR A CRYSTAL HAHA :+++)))) CHEKY MONKEY. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH LAURNE I FEEL LIKE YOU AND I ARE ONE SOUL IN TWO BODIES AND AL SO I LOVE YOU A LOT!!! I LOVE U FOREVER I KNOW ONE DAY U WILL BE MY STAR AND WE'RE GOING TO HAVE SIX CHILDREN (HARRY, LARRY, PAUL, ASHTON, WILTON, PAUL) AND LIVE 2GETHA IN A BIG HOUSE NEAR FRANKIE & BENNYS WHERE WE HAD ARE FIRST DATE!!!!!—'I NEVER THOUGHT I SHLD EVER KNOW, WHERE I COULD BE WITHOUT U' ~ GHANDI. XX LOVE U LAUREN XX
Crazy what exactly two bouts of fingering can do to the formative male mind, isn't it.
Girl Who Is Just Posting Photos of a Tinder Conversation She Is Having in an Attempt to Mask the Fact That She Is on Tinder Today, Which Is Essentially Like Walking into an Old West Saloon and Firing a Pistol into the Air, Only Imagine That as a Sexual Analogy Somehow
Pete, 25, 2 miles away: Everyone has seen your three-messages-of-small-talk-then-a-blunt-request-for-nudes chat.
The Absolute Virgin Who Went to Subway and Got a Free Sub
Listen, I mean, I am definitely going to Subway to get a free sub today—if you buy a bottle of water or a drink you get a 6" sub absolutely gratis in the UK, and I'm not turning down a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get a wet half baguette with some extremely suss ham and a bit of cheese and an overwhelming salad dressing in it—but also I'm not going to be like that virgin lad who went to your school (he got sent home once for crying in an IT lesson after the teacher told him off for looking at his battle reenactment forum) who just posted a photo of the free sandwich he waited in line for 40 minutes to get, artlessly posed in front of a busy main road, with the caption, "The only six-inch I'm interested in today LOL." Imagine how many pizza boxes this guy has in his bed. Imagine.
You, Who Posted Nothing to Social Media Today, Did You, Because You're Above It
Ah, no, see you're above all this, aren't you—all the corniness, the hollow performative romance, the booking restaurants months in advance, the hand holding, the rose petals on the bed, the kissing, all of that saccharine shit—nah, dude. Nah, you're better than that. Here you are, 8 PM, having a microwave curry for one (nothing depressing about that! It's from the healthy line! You have this for dinner every Tuesday!) and a bottle of red (because why not!) and a share-size thing of M&Ms (because why fucking not!), and you're looking at the line snake out in front of you, all those losers, buying teddy bears and single stalk roses, and chocolate and flowers and Prosecco and condoms, what losers, what absolute nerds.
You'll be laughing at them, won't you, when you go home—the apartment's empty, all your roommates are at their girlfriends' and boyfriends' houses, banging—and you know what? You're going to have a bath. There's no point shaving your pubes, but you do it anyway, watching the suds and hair clippings circle down the plughole. Then you get in bed with all the lamps and a nice candle on and try to stream an episode of something, but none of your usual streaming websites are working—your internet provider, the bastards, has blocked them all—so you scroll through Instagram for a bit, but it's all just couples doing lame couple photos, so you decide to fuck this off, and even though it's only 10 PM, you turn the light off to sleep.
But you can't sleep, can you? Your body aches and pangs with the pulse of loneliness. You try to jerk off but only get about a quarter of the way before you realize you're not in the mood. So you just lie there, in the dark, as the black turns to gray then blue, and nobody stirs in the bed next to you, and nobody clutches close and holds you tight, because you are alone. You are alone. Still: At least you didn't post anything embarrassing on Facebook.
Happy V-Day, huns!
Follow Joel Golby on Twitter.