Last year, once again, I found my self single on Valentine's Day. I wanted to stay home and stew in my misery. However, my two single girlfriends insisted on optimism and suggested we go to a bar for a drink.
I thought only the truly desperate actually venture out alone on V-Day. Self-respecting singles have the sense to stay home, rent sappy movies about fate and destiny, and cry themselves to sleep - or if they're male, get drunk and don't fucking think about it.
Nevertheless, tail between my legs, I tossed on my plunging V-neck slut top and headed off to Habitat.
On the cab ride I looked into the windows of restaurants where cozy couples gazed into each other's eyes by candlelight, and, yes, it hurt. At Habitat, we found a few couples, but mostly other lecherous, desperate souls in search of just about anything that would be sober enough to walk out of the bar at the end of the night.
I began a conversation with my friends, but they were having none of it. They were doing that active listening bullshit - oh yeah, mmm, hmm, riiiight - while feverishly zapping surrounding males with pouty lips and hooded-eyed, seductive, pheromone-soaked glances.
I was ashamed, nauseous and jealous that I couldn't pull off shit like that if my life depended on it. Their seduction worked. Over came bachelor number one: slim build, a few gold chains.
As he talked us up, I cursed myself for not staying home to stew in my solitude. I could be listening to Sinead O'Connor and thinking about ex-boyfriends and whether or not they'd been "the one."
I could be soaking in a hot bath, drinking a glass of wine, smoking a cigarette, eating a whole fucking McCain's Deep & Delicious right now. But no, I'm in Habitat, of all places, surrounded by Queen West posers who are actually from Woodbridge, whoring myself to the lowest bidder!
Well, fuck it, I thought, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Two martinis later, I was chatting up a butcher from Mississauga who, for a 36-year-old guy who lived with his mother and drove a yellow Thunderbird, was actually quite charming.
I suppose my "vibe" spread fast, because just as he slid his number into my hand, I was approached by another fine gent wearing a straw cowboy hat and a tight white T-shirt that read, "Your girlfriend thinks I'm hot." He offered me another drink. Such a fine specimen - how could I refuse?
Bachelor number two was in construction, restoration to be exact, and currently his focus was on doors.
He was having a rough night and really missed his high school girlfriend, who was now dating his cousin. That bitch. I gave him my shoulder to cry on, and he (out of pity, I think) gave me his number.
So me and my hot drunk self were having a gay old time when my two friends tapped me on the shoulder and said they were a bit tired, not "into it" and gonna call it a night. No skin off my back, I thought, as I waved the competition out of the bar. I was cool to go it alone. I didn't need any wing men. I was on fire.
As I ordered my sixth martini, there was bachelor number three, Gary, a baker who'd just finished off the hellish Valentine's heart-shaped cookie/cake baking stretch.
Gary was cool. He was cool with the fact that I could barely keep my eyes open I was so drunk and that words were no longer my "forte." He was cool with my feeling rather ill and needing some air, and even cool when I barfed by the streetcar shelter.
Gary, who hardly knew me, held my hair and got me tissues. He flagged my cab and asked me to call him when I got home to let him know I was safe and sound.
The next morning, completely ashamed, head pounding, I came across the phone numbers from the evening before. Wouldn't ch'a know it, I'd met a butcher, a baker and a restoration door maker. Happy fucking day to me.
This year I'll be renting Only You, having a bath with a glass of Wolf Blass, listening to Bonnie Raitt's I Can't Make You Love Me on repeat and eating an entire McCain's Deep & Delicious.
Oh, and if you know Gary, send him my apologies. I'm a lady on any other night but February 14.