Guest Post: “Valentine’s Variability” by Zack Love

Valentine’s Variability
an article by

Zack Love

Like birthdays and New Year’s, Valentine’s Day can make you feel a lot better or worse than you’re already feeling.

If you’re happily in love, Valentine’s encourages you and your lover to celebrate your joint bliss together. You might even secretly share a certain schadenfreude, if you happen to notice someone who’s alone. Seeing loneliness is a powerful reminder of how fortunate you are to have love. And on V-Day, you and your lover can shamelessly flaunt your happiness about being in love. The rest of the world — and its reaction to you — really doesn’t matter because you’re both ridiculously high on love crack.

But if you’re single, Valentine’s can take your emotions in very different directions. You might think about that person you should have been with on this day but for some tragedy, bad luck, or break-up. A prior V-Day that seemed infinitely happier may come to mind. You could reflect on that awkward but potentially romantic moment that you and someone else never explored, making you wonder what might have been. Or you might CELEBRATE the fact that you’re not stuck in some miserable relationship and forced to display a facade of joy for everyone.

If you’re single by choice, then you have one major dilemma (as with birthdays and New Year’s): WITH WHOM should you celebrate this occasion? You obviously don’t want to waste it on a first date. But what if your friends are all with their lovers and/or unavailable? Perhaps staying home is better than risking a bad first date on V-Day. But then you’re at home alone watching TV on Valentine’s Day, and that could be really depressing, unless Breaking Bad or Dexter is on, which might distract you for a bit. No easy answers. Maybe there’s a mobile app for that.

Now if you’re a guy, you’re dealing with various pressures and expenses that are entirely the fault of V-Day. More precisely, they’re the fault of the chocolate, greeting card, and flower businesses that depend on these pressures and have brainwashed women into thinking that if you don’t BUY SOMETHING for them on Valentine’s, then you don’t love them. This powerful brainwashing is akin to the kind used by the diamond industry (which has somehow convinced the world that if a man loves a woman, he will spend many thousands of dollars to buy her a diamond that she can show to her friends and family).

And even if you’re a guy who somehow found a woman who’s impervious to the brainwashing from billboards, magazines, pop culture, and social media, she will still have girlfriends who have been brainwashed. And so this exceedingly rare woman you found will probably be corrupted. Because there is one thing that you cannot avoid: she will communicate with her girlfriends, and they will compare notes. And that will be your downfall. So you need to budget for 2/14, or for several hours of quarreling that may or may not end with make-up sex. Best to plan ahead.

I’ve always wondered how chocolate became so important on V-Day. It’s actually a bit counter-intuitive on some level. I mean, I’m a total sucker for dark chocolate on any day of the year, but if Valentine’s is all about love, which normally involves sexual attraction, and excess chocolate tends to fatten people (which could make them less sexually attractive), then why are we encouraging chocolate on V-Day? I don’t get it. Maybe giving chocolate says: “I will love you even after making you fat.”

And what about flowers? OK, they smell nice. But then they shrivel up and die on you in a few days. What kind of love is that? Why not get plastic flowers that last forever? I guess they’d feel a bit fake and aren’t biodegradable, so nix that idea. Better plan: Bonsai trees. Those plants last a long time. True, they aren’t really fragrant, but which brain-washer decided that we need fragrance on V-Day? Can’t you just spray some perfume on the Bonsai and then you’ve solved that problem?

Zack Love is the author of the romantic comedy “Sex in the Title” and the much more serious contemporary romance “The Syrian Virgin.”

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!

Valentine’s Day is an incredibly unique holiday.  It is founded in carnage, and in modern times represents love as well as stress.  Some people hate it, others love it, but we all celebrate it in our own unique way, whether it be sipping alone on a martini remembering, making dinner and a film happen with a loved one, or shyly sending chocolates and flowers to another.

“F*ck You” is founded in pop culture, so I have scoured searched the intertubes for a couple of my favorite Valentines and almost-memes.

No matter how you choose to celebrate this unusual holiday I hope everyone has a great time and remembers this caveat:  No matter alone or together someone is thinking of you today.  Forgotten loves never truly remain forgotten, and prevalent love is well–prevalent.  So, cherish it and hold it.  Enjoy a drink for me, and for those we’ve loved and those we will.

Star Wars 00 Valentine Samwise Valentine Hannibal Valentine Captain Kirk Valentine Alien ValentineHappy Valentine's Day everyone!


Sonia G Medeiros’ “February Writing Challenge: Of Love and Leap Years”

Last month I participated in Sonia Medeiros’ writing challenge, which consisted of creating a fifty-word blip using a specific word from a predetermined list.  It was the first challenge of Sonia’s that I had the pleasure of partaking in and all-in-all I had a terrific time.  I loved throwing my hat in, but what I really enjoyed was reading everyone else’s take on the task.

This month she is holding a new challenge that asks readers to compose a 250-word short about ‘Love’ and/or ‘Leap Years.’  Within the confines of the piece the writer needs to include five-words from a new predetermined list and upon completing the challenge the writer is then required to add their own word to the list in order to mix it up a bit and vary the posts.

I completed a rough draft of my entry yesterday and this morning I polished it off.  Hopefully everyone like it!  My word to be added to the challenge will be ‘idiosyncratic’ and here is my take on Sonia’s February writing challenge:

A Defective Year

Today was his sixth birthday—technically he was twenty-four, but who was counting?  After all, Leap Year was a variance—an aberration; it didn’t need to exist; yet it did.

In his book lethargy was top priority for the day.  He showered, threw on some clothes, popped open a Guinness, but just as he was about to take sip—he let out a slight cough.  It was minute, but he could feel another building.  Suddenly, he dropped his Guinness and before the can could strike the white-checkered linoleum and the second cough had commenced–he was gone.

Vanished.  Poof.  Non-existent.

For a nanosecond he felt as if he were underwater, but when he opened his eyes he was kissing a beautiful woman.  Blonde-hair, fair skinned, blue eyes, and his heart skipped forward and proceeded directly past ‘Go!’  He blushed, but the kiss was so tender and intense he fell into it like Skywalker tumbling into the Sarlacc.

As the two parted, he smiled and, in return, a smile escaped her lips.  He didn’t know where he was or how he had gotten here, but he knew he wanted to stay.  Love at first sight had never been in his paradigm, but in his heart he—poof.

He was gone.

He was back in his apartment with a Guinness bubbling at his feet.  He immediately grabbed his coat and was out the door before the can could stop spinning.  He would find the girl—that was the magic of Leap Year.