Valentine’s Day: What’s Love Got to Do With It?

February is said to be the most romantic month of the year.  It’s a time to bask in a sea of sexuality without shame. We spend weeks, sometimes months out of the year, shooting Cupid’s arrows at the objects of our affection. Valentine’s Day should be for reaping the benefits of these efforts. But this isn’t a perfect world. The laws of physics tell us each action brings with it an equal and opposite reaction. Sometimes you wind up shooting yourself in the face.  Your intentions (or theirs) fall flat. You can wind up Facebook blocked before you know each other’s middle names. Maybe it’s a Millennial thing.

All I know is men are full of surprises. If the past month is any indication, romance occurs at unexpected times.


Sleep-Humped in Seattle

Jo Jo, Eleanor, and I met up at Gramma Mora’s expecting a girl’s night. It was getting off to a great start. The bartender was one of our co-worker’s nephews, and he presented us with a round of complimentary margaritas. We sipped them gratefully, and started to let our hair down. We began to divulge our innermost thoughts.  That’s right about when Jo-Jo’s boyfriend Manny and his friend Jerome showed up.

I met Jerome last summer, when we all went to the beach. His pot brownies caused a grown man to call an ambulance on himself (he was fine). But other than that, Jerome didn’t stand out much to me. Throughout dinner at Gramma Mora’s, Jerome and Manny kept going to the bathroom together. Whether it was a bromance thing, or a “blow-mance” thing, we couldn’t tell.

After dinner, we went to Gecko’s. The bar had 90s techno music blaring and strobe lights flashing.  DJ X-Treme was behind a table in the center of the room. We waited for the dart board to vacate, but it never did. So Jo Jo, Eleanor and I went to Sidebar. Our male escorts disappeared around the corner to “let Jerome’s dogs out” and were gone 25 minutes.  Us three girls drank cosmos at the bar.

“Do you need a drink?” Jerome asked upon his return. Behind him, Eleanor was giving me a knowing look.

“Sure, thanks,” I said.

We had been discussing whether or not Jerome has a girlfriend. Jo Jo wasn’t sure. Apparently he’s enmeshed in an “on again/off again” situation. But Jerome ordered me a glass of wine and we all went to play shuffleboard. Jerome was my partner. We lost.

I went off to the ladies room. Jerome’s bald head suddenly poked into the bathroom while I was at the sink. “Do you party?” he said.

“Um, come in,” I said.

I won’t go into excruciating detail, but Jerome and I kissed in the bathroom. I don’t tend to go for baldies, but when you are presented with an opportunity you just have to take it.

Jerome pranced out of the bathroom with an energetic strut. I put on lipstick. After finishing up at Sidebar, we all went back to Jerome’s crib.

“Listen, Jerome,” I said. “I’m just going to sleep on your couch. Can I?” I was cuddling up to Jerome’s bassett hound.

“Sure,” Jerome said, with a twinkle in his eye.

Jo Jo, Manny, and Eleanor left right around that time. I noticed a deck of cards on the coffee table, and proposed a game of strip rummy (a retirement home favorite). Jerome totally lost by quite a few articles of clothing, but didn’t seem to mind sitting there naked. It’s not like I was going to touch his ding-a-ling. I have a blasé attitude about that kind of thing. (See: Dicks, Diners, and Drives).

My phone told me it was after 3 a.m. so I seized an afghan, laid down on the couch, and closed my eyes.

“I guess it’s time to turn in for the night,” I said.

“I’ve got a couple people coming over,” Jerome stated.

“But, who?” I said, opening one eye.

“Pauly and Stan, from Tonawanda,” Jerome said. “They should be here in a few minutes.”

“Oh, all right,” I said. “I’ll just snooze in your room.”

Jerome was pacing around, smoking cigarettes into the early morning hours. I know this because around 7 a.m. I was awoken by someone humping me from behind.

“Um, Jerome?” I opened one eye. “I’m, like, asleep.” For some reason, I had no sexual desire for Jerome and was completely unapologetic about it. I mean,  what did I really know about him, anyway?

“I can drive you home now if you want,” he said.

“Jerome,” I sat up in bed. “My car is on Hertel and it’s the crack of dawn.”

Jerome continued to pace the room, smoking cigarettes and grinding his teeth as the sun rose over Hertel Avenue. I literally left him high and dry and didn’t feel bad about it.  Of course, that was the last time I heard from Jerome.


Poetic Justice

A couple weeks after the Jerome situation, I met Pete in a way described in countless paperbacks, “Out of nowhere, we locked eyes while waiting for our drinks at a local café, and fell in love.”

Actually, I didn’t know if the scheduled hangout session which followed was even a date. It was a coffee date. On a Monday.  I hadn’t been on a coffee date in a really long time. Aren’t coffee dates strictly reserved for side chicks and people you meet online? A coffee date on a Monday struck me as lame. But since this was a first date with a new man (someone I met in a hipster café, after all), I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

I got to Public Espresso in the Hotel Lafayette and spotted Pete from behind. He was waiting in line wearing a salmon hoodie. I chalked this up to, undeniably, Pete must have a big dick. Who else would wear a salmon hoodie on a first date? I guess Pete doesn’t have to compensate.

What followed was par for the coffee-date-on-a-Monday course: Pete interviewing me about my life, and me asking the requisite follow-up questions. After I told him about writing for Hustler and frequenting Video Liquidators, Pete suggested we take our ‘date’ to Acropolis for a half-off bottle of wine.

We drank wine, and Pete bought me dinner. So this was a date, then? I still couldn’t tell, until Pete walked with me down the street and kissed me goodbye.

The next day, I called Pete and invited him to take a walk with me. He met me at the park. We strolled for an hour. Suddenly, Pete said he had to go to work. He absconded back to his car on the other side of the park. There was no kiss that day. I wasn’t sure what to make of the Pete situation. We made tentative plans for Saturday. I decided to see what happened naturally.

Pete didn’t talk to me the entire rest of the week. He cancelled our tentative plan at 8:30 am on Saturday, via some way-rehearsed text. All I said was “K”. He didn’t reply. I blocked him on Facebook, because I found his behavior rude. That was the last time I heard from Pete.

What’s Love Got to Do With It??

Today, for Valentine’s Day, I’m going out with a man who constantly confesses his love for me. I tell him all the time he’s just a friend, and that I won’t put up with him getting over-emotional and attached. Still, he takes me to dinner and the movies. We even might go to Puerto Rico. Why the hell not? I guess it’s a pretty good situation.

There is a new man on the horizon. There is romantic potential there. I have a new bartending job in Niagara Falls, NY and that place is crawling with men. I’m able to get my flirt on. A tatted up muscular guy wants to take me for a ride on his motorcycle. And why the hell not? I’m back in the game. I’m not really much of a gambler, but this year I am taking a chance on true love and betting against the odds that I find a loveable man. It is time for me to move to Round Two.

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