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2005-02-14 - 5:12 p.m.

I certainly don’t want to come off as bitter, or in any way maleficent, but Valentines day is not, nor will it ever be a joy in my life, or the life of anyone who lays claim to a phallus. I know the feminist movement has made many strides, and advances, but nothing seems to be able to strike against the standing principle that it is solely the male’s responsibility – or maybe I should say the butch’s responsibility in this day and age – to provide the ambiance and magic on these Hallmark Holidays.

We with the peni, we receive presents now, and there’s a little more a love trade going rather than the simple showering of affection on the blessed-be of the fairer femmes, so there does seem to be some effort to break into the new millennium of even handed relationships, but still, a man cannot approach this day without a quiver of fear running up his spine, knowing full well his actions will be dissected and parsed by his boo and her kin to determine the virulence and sincerity of his intentions.

To put that sentence in more lucid language: Whatever century it is, we guys still know that if we don’t make with a solid dollop of love on V-day, we’re good and fucked.

In the days or yore, collegiate or high school, your relative poverty was understood, so making with a small but heartfelt sentiment was usually all you needed to do. But now comes the real world, where her office-mates will be surrounded by pounds upon pounds of roses, all reminding her of the skinflint she chose to keep the other side of her bed warm on alternate Tuesdays.

Suffice to say the banks have not been kind to me this week, and left me munching on Kraft Spiral Mac and Cheese for three days straight. I take this particular torture in stride, but it doesn’t change the fact that the cash I’ve had in my pocket could barely fund a taxi driver to get me from Grand Central to Times Square.

In reply, I gathered up a collection of Playstation games to hock, all the change from between the cushions of my fugly couch, and every drop of cash I could get out of the one ATM in Manhattan that will dish fives. A paltry fortune in hand, I made my way throwing together the best present I could gather.

My friends are planning dinners out at restaurants I can’t afford, or, better yet, playing Emeril themselves. (I can “BAM” with the best of them, but me yelling random expletives doesn’t seem to change the taste of the shit paste that tends to result after any dalliance I make in the kitchen.) I hear the words “Godiva Chocolate” a lot, to which I reply “BUY AMERICAN!”

Seeing as I have to put aside the majority of my cash for subway fare, I don’t even have the means now to even take the girl out for a beer, let alone some Bruscetta.

My fates are sealed. My sentiment sealed in discounted tissue paper. I wait my destruction, with cigarette in lip, blindfold on eyes. In another situation that might not be all that bad…hands tied…the smoke might get in the way, but…well, it doesn’t matter. That’s not going happen. Hyjinks are for the prepared.

Here, upon my wall, awaiting the firing squad, I think only…”Wouldn’t be nice if the genders just switched every year…wouldn’t that be lovely…”

“Hon? What are we doing for Valentines this year?”

“Now come on, dear, you know it’s an odd year. You’re taking me to the Knicks game.”

“Oh, Damnit! Ballet next year?”

“Absolutely, Pumpkin.”

Equal pay for equal work, ladies and gentlemen. Equal pay for Equal work...

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