Happy Valentine's Day
by Todd Wm. Ristau
(lights up on a man, seated alone, typing at a computer keyboard. He speaks as he composes, looking into the audience as though they were the computer monitor.)
It's almost Valentine's Day. As holidays go, this one is hard on a lot of people. There are almost as many suicides on Valentine's day as there are on Christmas Day.
Sure, I know there are a lot of happy couples out there, and for the happy couples this holiday isn't hard. But they weren't born couples, and by God, they became couples after going through the Hell that is the singles dating scene.
It takes a lot of hard work to get from single to couple.
First you have to find someone to love. Then, after watching them a while (but not long enough to get slapped with a restraining order) you can decide if declaring your love is worth the risk of rejection and heartbreak, social ostracization, the unending laughter of the object of your affection, their friends, your friends, your family, and complete strangers everywhere you turn.
It is only after you have done the work of fantasizing what success would be like, that you can bring yourself to take the chance. You think about how the hand of your secret beloved would feel held in yours. The touch of their lips and the taste of their breath played out so often in your mind that your heart can't stand the gulf between reality and fantasy. You gotta know or you gotta die. That's your aching, agonizing world.
So, like a second grader with a crush, you figure out some way to do the adult equivalent of sending a note that reads, "I love you. Do you love me?" With two boxes below, one labeled yes, the other...Well, you know.
And you risk everything...Or at least it feels like you're risking everything...You know in your heart there is a 10% chance of joy, and a 45% chance each of either being killed or feeling like you wished you were dead...And you walk up to that special someone and lay it all out there for them to decide your fate.
Yes, those people out there who will happily exchange candy and cards and gifts and kisses went through all that once upon a time, and now each bite of chocolate contains a silent wish to never have to go through it again.
But the rest of us, we're either shattered or preparing to be shattered.
Valentine's day is torture for us, and so we hole up in our houses, or bars, or anonymous chat rooms where if we are rejected we can't see the face of the destroyer of our dreams...Or we can shamelessly flirt and mutually pretend with each other that our Valentine's Day conquest is both real and tangible...But we know the truth.
Probably a lot of you think that this was a holiday invented by Hallmark to sell greeting cards. Probably some of you think it is a Catholic holiday because the real name is St. Valentine's Day.
St. Valentine was a real person, a martyr, who was put to death by a king who wanted to make war but was running out of soldiers. The king thought that no one wanted to go to war anymore because they were too happy at home with their lovers and wives, so he outlawed marriage.
Valentine married people in secret. People his government said couldn't be married. For that he was put to death.
This week our lawmakers down in Richmond are worked very hard to rewrite the state Constitution. The House voted 78-18 to ban one man expressing his love for another man, or one woman expressing her love for another woman with a public vow of lifetime monogamy and calling it marriage.
So, of course, my thoughts go to the original St. Valentine. It isn't so hard to imagine a modern version secretly conducting illegal marriages and being martyred for the cause of love.
Because at the end of the day, it isn't gay marriage these lawmakers are so opposed to, is it?
They're opposed to gay love....As if that love were a love different from any other....
The History of Valentine's Day Begins with a Tragedy, by Shante Davis
Virginia House approves gay 'marriage' ban, by Christina Bellantoni, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
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