Thursday, February 14, 2013


I wish Valentine’s Day were a national holiday, the kind where banks, schools and government offices close. Not because I think it’s a deserving day. No, quite the contrary. I’d be happy to wipe the occasion right off the calendar. But that won’t happen. For all the publicity the NRA gets, I suspect Hallmark is a more powerful lobby. If the day has to exist, then let me stay home and cocoon myself from the spectacle of in-your-face lovers toting bouquets of red balloons, sad looking single roses and boxes of chocolates oh so thinly disguised in shiny wrapping.

Yes, I bemoan the day every year. Even when I’ve been in a relationship and actually been in love, I have always felt that an obligatory recognition of one’s coupledom didn’t mean much. (Not to be a total cupid basher, I do like the red hot heart candies. Had I planned ahead, I could have bought a bagful and wolfed them down by the handful, not having to share and not having a mate to gaze with that knowing look of revulsion.)

Thankfully, this year’s Valentine’s Day proved rather uneventful. Had it not been for a plate of pink-frosted cupcakes in the lunch room and an odd display of cut-out hearts and champagne flutes at my regular bakery stop, the occasion might not have registered at all.

But then I picked up my schnauzer from doggy daycare after work. Clive, the owner, leaped from his seat and fiddled with what I assumed was some paperwork as a chorus of small-dog yips attempted to instill fear in me.  Go away. Go away. Go away.  I waited patiently for my pooch to be released, a dopey smile plastered on my face. The delay mildly perplexed me since the end-of-day handoff is usually so quick.

Finally, my dog came running from the pen and Clive handed me a red heart-shaped sucker and a Valentine’s Card, the kind kids buy in packs of ten at the drugstore. I thanked him, loaded up the car and allowed myself to fantasize about the card as I drove away.

I feel slightly ashamed to objectify my doggy daycare provider, but Clive is an enticing piece of eye and ear candy. The first time I dropped off my dogs two and a half years ago (once has since died), I was completely taken aback by Clive’s hunky good looks. He’s in his early thirties, stands about 6’2” and has a nicely not overdone gym body. Add the English accent and I had a hard time looking directly at him for the first year. (I’m more bashful than a certain Dwarf when I am attracted to a man.) Many of the women who drop off their dogs seem to linger during the dropoff or pickup, but I still cannot have a prolonged conversation with him.

Dating Clive is not a real possibility for any of us who support the business. Clive wears a wedding band that I seem to spot every day as I look downward, unable to maintain eye contact. Still, a quick trip to Fantasyland is an amusing diversion when I have a clear understanding of unattainable reality.  Clive’s gentle head-tilting demi-wave is a lovely morning sendoff each morning as I head to work.

In my car, I imagined for a moment that dear Clive, he of the boyish charms, had purchased a kiddie pack of Valentine’s just to charm me with daring disclosure of true infatuation. Yes, Clive! I feel the same! Thank you for finally telling me how you really feel!

The first red light came all too soon. I opened the silly little card and read the message: 

To:  Dad   

From:  Hoover


Yes, I knew all along what it would say. In the doggy daycare world, getting a card from your dog is entirely plausible. A note from an amazingly sexy man? Pure fantasy. Still, the temporary deception left a smile on my face. And, on February 14th, that was more than I could have asked for.

1 comment:

Rick Modien said...

Very cute, RG. And I'd say pretty thoughtful and clever of Clive to come up with that idea, too. Good for him.

But your aversion (if that's the word) of Valentine's Day…well, c'mon, really?

Sure, partners should show their love for each other year round and not just on February 14. I get that.

But why the cynicism? How can you not say that, if the person you love more than anyone in the world gave you, as you put it, "a sad-looking single rose," you wouldn't be thrilled?

I'm not sure I can say this, but I hope you know I do it with love: You've been without human companionship for too long, dude.

One day, you'll have that significant other, and your love for each other will give you an entirely different perspective. I hope so, anyway.