You have just got to face the facts. Loathe it or not, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. For weeks now, when scanning the calendar, you struggled to remain focused on the Sports Illustrated model suggestively posing from atop the days of the week as you desperately tried to avert your eyes from the little box labeled Feb. 14. But, somehow, as if magnetically pulled to the second Friday of the month, you caught yourself glaring at the date. You wished that if you sat and stared at it long enough, the day would come and go, pass you by, to leave you whole and unscathed, ready to move on with your life.

You back away from the foreboding calendar, cursing Miss February for leaving you dateless, as she thoughtlessly blows kisses to every passerby. Turning on the television, you flip to ESPN hoping to catch the rest of the game. But there’s just no avoiding the impending holiday. Following a Budweiser commercial (starring a model who undoubtedly has big plans lined up for Valentine’s Day), is a little song and dance routine led by Cupid and his fellow cherubs, reminding all viewers to shop at their friendly neighborhood drugstore for any and all of their Valentine’s Day needs. Within seconds the TV is off – this is not what you need. As you head to your bed where you can at least dream of better days, your roommate bursts into the room, and asks you, in not so many words, a) what your plans are for next Friday, b) would you mind staying out of the room and c) have you met his new friend, Veronica?

It’s not that you are upset, really. I mean, being a single guy on Valentine’s Day doesn’t exactly bother you. You don’t need those kinds of worries anyway. You’re well aware that millions of guys across the globe are frantically dialing up fancy shmancy restaurants to reserve an intimate table for two. You can picture them now, ordering red roses by the dozen and spending countless hours searching the internet fruitlessly for “unique, creative, never before thought of ideas on how to win a girl’s heart,” which will ultimately result in the ever-original dinner and a movie. You are just thankful you don’t have those problems.

Just look at what you have going – you’ve got the brains, the style and the looks that could make any girl puddy in your hands. So, come on, who needs all the hassle that goes along with this alleged holiday? Not you. Hell, you’ve got pizza to order and XBox games to win on Friday night.

As you’ve learned from the past, chances of avoiding Valentine’s Day are slim to none. You think back to kindergarten, how all of the girls would painstakingly cut out hearts of red construction paper and meticulously glue glitter to frilly doilies. You ate paste. In elementary school, your fellow classmates would run around homeroom, giving Scooby Doo and Batman valentines to each other. One girl handed you a couple of conversation hearts with the messages scratched off. She said it was an accident.

It wasn’t much better in junior high, notorious for its weeklong relationships and first kisses. You had had a girlfriend for three days before the night of the big Valentine’s Day Dance. You can’t recall now how it happened, but you remember she walked into the gym with you, and walked out holding some other guy’s hand. You somehow managed to get through four Valentine’s Days in high school. You tried to focus on class, but you couldn’t escape from drowning in a sea full of red sweaters. Biology was constantly interrupted by a high-pitched squeal and giddy laughter: “Do you even know who bought Heather carnations!” and, “Oh (breath) my (breath) God (breath)! I heard from Hilary that Vicki thought that Gabby heard that Steve might ask Kerry out!!”

So, yes, you are quite certain that you can do without Valentine’s Day. But, maybe you don’t have it all straight. Maybe you just missed that girl in high school who thought that her red sweater would catch your attention. It’s possible you didn’t even see that there was a middle school girl looking on from the bleachers at that 7th grade dance, crossing her fingers that you might look her way. You might not have been aware of the pig-tailed grade schooler who stuffed her Little Mermaid valentine back into her pocket, too embarrassed to let you see the message she had so carefully written on the back. And, who knows, there was probably even a little girl who tasted paste in kindergarten every now and then, too.

It’s an all too common pattern. When Valentine’s Day rolls around each year, you somehow feel as though the entire universe has paired up, and you are the only one left behind, watching from the sidelines. You brush it off, pretend it doesn’t bother you. But when you come across a couple laughing together as they walk arm in arm, you fight the urge to push them down the stairs. The whole world is playing some sick, sadistic joke on you. You wish, hope, and search for someone, somewhere, and somehow. The days pass by and the Feb. 14ths come and go. But, the irony is that, all the while, somehow there is someone somewhere wishing, hoping, and searching for you. So, maybe a year from now you’ll put the Grand Theft Auto aside and, instead, find yourself glued to the computer screen. Putting all your faith in Yahoo, you, too, may join the masses of weary, disgruntled men who unsuccessfully seek that ingenious plan for the ultimate Valentine’s Day date.

Polly Burokas is a sophomore in the College. Focus with Burokas appears every other Friday.

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