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Happy Valentine’s Day to Me

I pride myself on not being the bitter type; it’s just not in my nature to be a cynical, glass-is-half-empty kind of girl. Some might say I’m annoyingly optimistic (OK, I am), but when things don’t go exactly how I’d like in the love department, I find a way to either learn from it or laugh about it. Having a sense of humor is key in coping when relationships go south.I didn’t have a date for Valentine’s Day this year. Instead of pretending I had plans when (countless) people asked, I decided to face it head on and go the honest route. “What do you have going on this evening?” one guy friend asked. “I’m deciding between renting a cheesy chick flick, ordering takeout, and wallowing in my singlehood, or getting drunk and celebrating it,” I replied. I could have drowned my sorrows easily in a few beers at McFadden’s, where some friends were doing the same, but since I’ve recently realized alcohol is the root of all my evils, I decided to spend last night solo. While packing for the big move, I watched Something’s Gotta Give for the gazillionth time and ate leftovers (I know, so clich‚). And I thought about the choices I’ve made lately that might have landed me in this spot: single, on love’s most celebrated day. I thought about the good men who’ve come in and out of my life during the last couple of years-and the bad ones I struggled to hold on to. I thought about the ones I didn’t call back, who probably deserved at least a second or third shot. And I thought about the guys I wish had followed up with me. I thought about a couple of unnecessary flings, as well as the few I have no regrets about; some even turned out to be good friends. I thought about two of my exes-including my college beau, whom I seem to compare all other guys to-and how it might be time to take them off the Ones Who Got Away list. I thought about my friends in good marriages and relationships, and how great it is that I can’t think of a single couple who are secretly unhappy behind closed doors (OK, maybe there’s one). I thought about my uncle and his lovely new fianc‚e and their wonderful life together, and the surprising divorce he and my aunt went through after 35 years of what seemed like a happy marriage. I thought about a girl I ran into the other day whom I’ve known since high school; she was holding her daughter’s hand in the grocery store. I thought about my single friends-especially the girls-who are beautiful, successful and smart, and who have yet to meet men who make their heads spin. I thought about an adorable, blue-eyed guy I was excited about as of Friday, and who, as of Monday, had become just another buddy on my AIM list. Then I thought about the new mystery man who spotted me at a party a couple of weeks ago and e-mailed me the other day: “You had a smile that was very inviting.” I remembered a story my great-cousin Marcy told me (she’s 83) about marrying her late husband in her mid-thirties, which was old back then. But it was worth the wait. I thought about an important friendship I’ve had for 20 years that has recently been non-existent. I cringed at the memory of how many cocktails I had Friday night, and of having brought a guy I like into a scene I hate, leading to the demise of a relationship that might have been. I considered the advice my brother gave me about boys-which apparently hasn’t yet sunk in. And then I reminded myself how lucky I am to have great jobs that allow me to express myself. And I thought about how hard I’ve worked to land and maintain these jobs, and how maybe if I’d worked half as hard at maintaining my love life, I might not be thinking about all of this relationship stuff so much.

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