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Saturday, February 14, 2015

How The Grinch Stole Valentine's Day

Because so many of you have been clamoring for more information on just why I'm the grinch of Valentine's Day, allow me to offer a brief, by my standards, explanation.

Not related, but still confusing - my blood sugars are high - high enough to go on a pill... so if I'm so full of sugar, why aren't I sweeter in disposition.

I am... when allowed to be.

First off, I'm not going to bother to use color of skin as a reason. That's a cop-out, and even I don't buy it.

But… I did grow up very shy. Regardless of often being the only brown guy in the neighborhood (I wasn't), I was nearly two years younger than everyone else in whatever school grade you want to use.

I was 4-years-old when Grade 1 began.
I was 12-years-old when I entered Grade 8.

It was that later age where things got silly. I was just hitting puberty, but everyone else had a big head start on me. Being younger and suddenly tossed into a new school (a high school), with new bullies to circumnavigate, different types of classes (chemistry?!), and different expectations from everyone, instead of coming out of my shell, I retreated farther back into it.

As such, I remained shy. Whether it was my imagination or not, there was only one girl who ever talked to me in high school. Liz... why? She was my clarinet partner in Music class. She was also a year older than everyone else, so she didn't fit in with them, but at least we had the clarinet in common. So there was a beautiful, big-boobed 15-year-old talking with a 12-year-old with a perpetual hard-on. It must have been thrilling for her.

Now… despite the epic shyness, I did like women. I had my hands on my father's Playboys for years prior to high school (it's why I always have loved Eastern European women - thanks to a spread entitled the Girls of Munich - 40+years later, I can still recall the title). I eventually acquired my own collection of adult magazines and after much one-handed reading, I actually read all the articles - and learned about sex and other myriad things, from so-called experts.

But… still… no dates.

That lasted through university, where I was befriended by a Swedish goddess named Ingrid (who was from my high school) and the Vietnamese-background Sunshine Girl Wendy Lum… and while the subject of dating never came up, I did learn how to flirt from both of them. I would never have embarrassed either ruining a friendship to be rebuffed.

After five years of university studying political science, I went to a community college and studied journalism. The only reason I went to college was because of a girl, and the only reason I applied to the JET Programme to teach in Japan was because of another girl. I was good enough to be their friend, but not good enough to be their boyfriend. I still had not had a girlfriend... except...

Somewhere in there… at the age of 22, I had my first date and my first girlfriend, Bryndis… Icelandic for child of war, or so she said. But that was a summer romance.

And still… I was purer than the undriven snow. My right forearm became extremely muscular (it still is) and it wasn't because I played the accordion, though I dis play the accordion for nearly 10 years.

Then Japan at the near age of 26. Although Kristine helped give me courage on my first day in Japan simply by saying hello, it was Ashley who made me realize that I wasn't kryptonite to women.

And here's the thing… when you have a girlfriend (or a wife), suddenly other women want to know just what it is about you that is 'date-able'. In other words - you can't find a new job unless you have proven you can hold a job.

With my virginal issues settled multiple times, I spent February 14, 1991 in Japan… Ashley was my girlfriend. But for whatever reason she had, when that day came, she wasn't my girlfriend. Trust me, there was no way in hell I would have ended a relationship.

It's was too bad... I had gone all out and cooked dinner, bought her flowers and presents and some special booze I knew she liked… and was going to make it an ultra romantic night.

My valentine.

The next year (1992) Ashley and I weren't a couple, but we were sleeping with each other. We did spend Valentine's together - but just for sex… it was sex without meaning… and to be perfectly frank, I had had enough of that in Japan (that second year I not only came into myself, I came into a lot of women)… I wanted sex with meaning… to find my lover.

I wanted a valentine.

The next year - year three - 1993… I had not yet met Noboko, and basically, I ended up spending the day alone.

At that time I was sleeping with half the young adult female population in my city, and I did not want to date anyone on Valentine's Day or White Day for fear of it giving anyone the wrong impression. We were just using each other for sex - and that was fine.

But I wanted a valentine.

After that… I was back in Toronto… and while it sounds stupid… I was dating strippers and massage girls - nice women, and certainly not what people expect (I try not to judge). I went to dinner with some, took another to a hockey game where she said she would remove her top if the home side scored five goals (we got to four… but no biggie, I had already seen them).

But while the sex and eye candy was pleasant... no real valentine.

In the ensuing years, I've been married, but owing to circumstances beyond my control, the date has been forever marred for me.

I've tried to forget. I've tried to be distracted. But nothing seems to work. And now, older than I look, and still young at heart, I tell myself that I would like the date to have meaning... but history tells me otherwise.

What's more galling, is that there have been a few women out there for whom I would have gladly killed a yak for their supper - now that's a valentine-worthy love - but my timing always seems to suck. Too bad. Yak is actually quite tasty.
And, for the record, no one actually clamored for this story.

Everybody's got something to hide 'cept for me and my monkey,
Andrew Joseph

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