Welcome to Valet Boy’s belated Valentine’s Post!
As Shakespeare wrote in Twelfth Night, “If music be the food of love, play on…”
In A Midsummer’s Night Dream, he penned Puck’s line: “Lord, what fools these mortals be.”
I realize that there are a lot of happy couples out there for whom Valentines’ Day is a meaningfully emotional experience….Basking in the afterglow of a chocolate high with thoughts of never-ending sensuality that would put a smile on even the most jaded romance novelist’s face.
In fact, world-wide it’s estimated that eager-to-please lovers will spend about $18 Billion on Romantic Crap! However, Valet Boy and most people he’s spoken with couldn’t care less about this trumped-up excuse for a “faux holiday”.
A Tiny Bit of History
Ostensibly named for a Roman Priest named Valentine who was purportedly beheaded for disobeying Emperor Claudius by marrying off young men – potential warriors – to wanton maidens, our mid-February tradition can be traced back to the Greeks who chose this time of year to celebrate the marriage of Zeus to Hera.
The Pagan tradition of Lupercalia is probably more akin to my own preferences. This was a bawdy little celebration wherein the men stripped naked, donned animal skins and roamed the streets whipping virgins into submission.
Everybody Wang Chung tonight! Let’s party like it’s 9.
But Valet Boy, as a kid, never received the One Special Valentine from that One Special Person. Unless it was accidentally mis-addressed to my attention. I’d excitedly tear open and gleefully begin to read my heart throb’s missive – only to have its author snatch the lacy heart embossed tome from my fingers with the sneering admonition, “That’s NOT for YOU.”
In the first grade, I was madly in love with a statuesque olive-skinned brunette named Susan….or Rachel…or maybe it was Linda…..who the hell can remember that far back?… Anyway, we would sneak off to the back of the class behind the supply closet and kiss feverishly in that really hot way 7 year old’s do. We made elaborate wedding plans and started naming all the children we would have (She must have been Catholic).
But, by Valentine’s Day she was drawing wildly expressive interpretations of my writhing soul burning in Hell at the fiery hands of a pitchfork wielding Devil. She would then display these renderings for all in our class to appreciate. Although, it was not quite “Dante’s Inferno”, Susan-Rachel-Linda was an accomplished little artiste in her own right and I still feel the pain of her betrayal to this day. (Really? No, of course, not. Don’t be silly! But it does make good story fodder.)
But that early experience did set the tone for all of Valet Boy’s subsequent Valentine’s Days and like most Pavlovian response mechanisms – I start to get an unpleasant itchy crawling sensation each year as Valentine’s Day approaches.
For the millions in the world who regularly enjoy romantic associations with Valentine’s Day there are also millions who do not. They are the lonely, broken-hearted, bereft “romance misfits” in our society. The Lepers of Love. (Valet Boy may be the Chairman of the Board of the L.O.L.)
The last time I did the whole Valentine’s Day thing was quite a while ago.
I was seeing this young woman for whom I believed myself to be the perfect match. She liked older guys, I happened to be… well older – We both loved theatre and movies – We were both a little crazy (one of us slightly more so than the other) – We had similar physical and emotional handicaps – And we both enjoyed sex. So, naturally, I wanted to do something special for our first big Valentine’s Day together.
I booked a romantic getaway at a local B&B, did the flowers and the box of chocolates thing and even sprinkled rose petals on the bed. Pretty romantic right?
My thought was: We’d check in, make love for a couple of hours, get dressed, go to a nice restaurant for a lovely dinner, enjoy some Valentine’s champagne toasts, come back to the B&B, make love for a few more hours and then cuddle/spoon as we drifted off to sleep to commingle our love filled dreams.
It was a good plan…and apparently it worked out just fine…Dammit!
That does not make interesting Blog copy.
In my memory – which has been steadily declining since 1971 – We had a horrible time. We fought like cats and dogs and the whole Valentine’s Day debacle sunk like Shelley Winter’s on the deck of the S.S. Poseidon. Which would have given credence to my total disdain for the “holiday” and add some angst potential to Valet Boy’s so-called diet plan.
Not so, Grasshopper.
Apparently, Valet Boy was remembering some other pain and wrath filled Valentine’s Day with someone else.
When asked about “our” Valentine’s Day, the young lady in question – with whom incidentally I am still very good friends – kindly responded that we had a lovely time, she felt special and loved and she still cherishes the Valentine’s gift I gave her. She added that we did indeed have a lot of sex and we also laughed a lot too.
Well, so much for MY memories.
Anyway, the entire point to all of this was to illustrate how Valet Boy has lost, on numerous occasions, upwards of 50 pounds in just a matter of weeks on a diet he has aptly named: The Broken-Heart Diet.
But, for our purposes here, the name has been changed to more accurately reflect it’s standing within the health and nutrition community. It is now known as: The Worst Diet Ever.
I first discovered The Worst Diet Ever in 1987 when my fiance and I broke up. I was utterly and completely devastated. I felt blind-sided. Never saw it coming. She’d fallen in love with an older man who wooed her with glittering promises of her name in bright lights and throngs of Broadway acolytes bowing to her every whim. Pretty heady stuff, I’ll admit. I don’t believe that happened though. I think she got pregnant, got married, gained 367 pounds and became a stay-at-home telemarketer for questionable non-profit companies posing as fronts for Mexican drug cartels.
But, I was a wreck. In every sense of the word. By accident, I effortlessly fell into the diet plan that I will now divulge in print for the very first time.
Here is Valet Boy’s The Worst Diet Ever…I hope I’ve laid it out succinctly enough:
1. Fall madly, foolishly, desperately and hopelessly in love. (The less common sense involved here the better)
2. Experience a horrible, violently emotional, completely devastating, publicly embarrassing and demeaning break-up. (Throw caution to the wind here – Face it, you’ve already made a fool of yourself…why stop now.)
3. Wallow in broken-hearted misery and nauseatingly abject self-pity. (To the point your friends & family no longer want anything to do with you)
4. Continuously consume gallons of alcohol – Literally. (I like Canadian Whiskey – my agent prefers Vodka)
5. Don’t eat. (The occasional bag of Doritos or Cheetos does not actually qualify as “food”, but may be nonetheless helpful is staving off “starvation” during the diet.)
6. Don’t sleep. (Medically, we do not consider “passing out” actually sleeping)
7. Repeat Steps 3 through 6 for between 7 and 8 weeks
Trust me, there comes a point where your heart, mind and body simply refuse to allow this pity-party-nightmare to continue 1 more minute!
You’ll wake up one day, the pain of the lost love will be gone and you will happily discover you are 20 to 50 pounds lighter.
At this time you’ll realize all of your clothes are now too big to fit you. And there is seldom a joy so profound!
The Final Steps to officially complete the Diet are: Get back on a healthy eating plan and head for the gym; Then it’s Off To The Mall for a completely New Wardrobe; Some of you may want to do the “Spa” treatment for an entire Make-Over.
It matters not.
Just embrace and enjoy the new improved YOU!
As a word of CAUTION: You may also want to make an appointment with your Physician and get a checkup for liver damage, malnutrition, rickets, beriberi, dementia, various crippling mental and nervous disorders.
I guarantee you Dr. Oz would never even remotely consider this Diet plan. And I do not recommend it for everyone.
In fact, I don’t recommend it for anyone!
It’s a very dangerous method to employ in order to perpetrate weight loss. It may work, but I’ve done it often enough to know this – I never want to go through it again!
You’re much better off with Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig.
Currently, I’m taking a very simple reduced caloric intake approach to dieting: More fruit and veggies, 30-60 minutes a day of some form of exercise, much less red meat, fewer sugars, less salt, breads only occasionally. So far I’m down almost 14 lbs. Granted the weight loss has not been as dramatic as one finds with The Worst Diet Ever….But, one rarely suffers a hangover or jail-time from broccolini and pineapple.
The Moral of Our Story…
Sometimes the Face of Love is nothing at all like we pictured it should be.
Perhaps, we’d be better served by Love if we stopped trying to force It to become something of our own making and simply let It be what It is.
I may be a jaded old cynic, but I still believe Real Love can survive just about anything we choose to throw at it.
So, if this Valentines’ Day found you happily married or coupled up – be thankful you have someone who puts up with you. If you’re working it out on your own at the moment, don’t let that keep you from enjoying the love of friends and family. Send yourself a Valentine’s Card sometime, as a reminder that if you can like yourself – chances are there’s a special someone out there who can like you too.
Hey, who knows…maybe even LOVE YOU!
Until next time,
Thanks for Reading!