Love is in the ‘ugh’

An Anti-Valentine’s Day Survival Guide for Those Who Have Really Had It Up to Here With This Fake-Ass Holiday

By Jason Webber

Cupid should be shot with his own arrow. Happy Valentine's Day!

If there is a more universally reviled holiday than Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t exist on this planet. How many people do you know who will actually stand up and admit that they are a fan of the day celebrating chalky conversation hearts and contrived Hallmark sentiment? It’s so forced, fake and clichéd that it baffles the mind that any of us actually participate in Valentine’s Day. But we do.

On the afternoon of February 14, just watch all those dismal-looking souls standing at the Rite Aid counter with sour faces, all holding the same heart-shaped box of Russell Stover candies. Then they go home to their sweetie pie, who feigns enthusiasm over receiving the same gift they got last Valentine’s Day. But of course, I am not immune to participating in this gross custom. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do — especially if he’s in a relationship. So what if I feel like I need a Karen Silkwood shower the next day? Love is about compromise and sacrifice, no?

Whatever. I’m tired of it and I just want to get through it with a certain amount of dark humor about the whole disgusting custom. And for those of you who are just as disaffected as me, here’s your guide to surviving and thriving in the season of the cartoony heart.

Anti-Love Actually: Valentine’s movies for the rest of us

Movies for the Recently Dumped

“(500) Days of Summer”

Sort of an “Annie Hall” for the iPod generation, this is the perfect salve for soothing a recently broken heart. It’s funny, crammed with a great soundtrack, features two attractive leads (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel), and tells a hip, bittersweet story about how life can – and does – go on after a relationship ends.

“Annie Hall”

Since I name-dropped “(500) Days of Summer,” I’d be remiss if I failed to mention Woody Allen’s Oscar-winning classic about a man looking back at a failed relationship. This movie all but invented the modern urban romantic comedy and I still quote it regularly to this day. From Buick-sized spiders to a death-obsessed Christopher Walken (what a concept) to examining the joys of Kafkaesque sex, we still need this joyous movie. And the eggs.

Movies for the cynical, burnt-out and possibly Xanax-addled

“Looking For Mr. Goodbar”

Available on Netflix instant streaming, this nihilistic and creepy thriller almost singlehandedly signaled the death knell for the your-place-or-mine late 70s. Diane Keaton is a meek teacher by day and a swinging coke-sniffing party girl by night, looking for Mr. Right or at least Mr. Right Now. This movie will make you never want to date ever again and possibly join a convent or the priesthood. If you’re really depraved, send a copy of the film anonymously to your recent ex who dumped you for someone else. You will ruin their weekend. Guaranteed.

“Sid and Nancy”

See where love gets you? Strung out on smack, living in squalor in the Chelsea Hotel, stuck with a royally effed up codependent partner and ultimately, dead. Who the hell needs it?

“Antichrist”

For those of you who are spending this Valentine’s Day emotionally trapped in the ninth plane of Hell, Lars Von Trier has made the perfect movie for you. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg play a married couple who retreat to their cabin in the woods to emotionally recover and move on following the death of their son. But when you have self-devouring foxes, sex scenes involving smashed testicles, drilled shinbones, and an act involving rusty scissors so horrific I won’t mention it here, you have the most perfect anti-relationship movie ever made. Watch at your own risk.

Party Out of Bounds: Tips for an Anti-Valentine’s Day Party

* Put on the syrupiest romantic comedy you can think of and have everyone do a shot when something completely unrealistic occurs onscreen.

* Have everyone bring over the old cards, love letters, etc. left over from their failed relationships and use them to start a bonfire.

* Get out the construction paper, glue, scissors, and whatnot and make greeting cards for occasions that aren’t celebrated at Hallmark. Possible examples: “We’re Breaking Up, You Loser,” “My New BF/GF Is A Better Lay Than You Were,” “Congrats On Your New Marriage. Hope She Knows About the Herpes.”

(Disclaimer: do not actually send these. This is for macabre fun and therapy only. If you send them, you’re sicker than I am and you will deserve the lawsuit).

Reach DCP freelance writer Jason Webber at contactus@daytoncitypaper.com.

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