Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

Getting over Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2014

Raise your hands if you’re glad Valentine’s Day is over. I am not a fan of Feb. 14, and I’m glad to be seeing the backside of it. It’s a very stressful day for a lot of people.

Here’s a list of people who hate the holiday: there are the terminally single, the dating poor (who are forced to spend money they don’t have), the harried marrieds (who can’t get a babysitter but feel obligated to do something), and the we-don’t-know-where-we-are-in-our-relationship people.

I am currently in the single category, but I’ve checked off two other boxes on the list in the past. I was talking to a friend at work who was stressing about the impending day of red-dread (overuse of scarlet and vermilion hues also gets on my nerves). My colleague was in the we-don’t-know-where-we-are-in-our-relationship box. She had met a guy New Year’s Eve and wasn’t sure what to do about the day. I’ve been there.

“I don’t want to make any big gesture, in case he doesn’t reciprocate,” she said.

I harkened back to an episode of “Seinfeld” where Elaine Benes said, “I’m trying to get a little squirrel to come over to me here. I don’t want to make any big, sudden movements.”

I gave her a vague, “You’ll know what to do when the time comes,” and ran away. Instead of just looking busy, I actually did work to avoid talking to her about it. Doing work at work sucks.

I’ve been a member of the dating poor, feeling obligated to do something “nice” for the day. Nice always equals expensive. Restaurants know they’ve got you, and jack up all the prices. They’re also really crowded. I almost broke up with someone one Valentine’s Day as I was circling the neighborhood for the seventh time, looking for a good parking spot somewhere in the same county as the designated bistro.

The only romantic thing I’ve ever done that was inexpensive was a picnic. It required a blanket, a basket, a bottle of wine and some sandwiches (paninis I pressed myself). We sat and watched the sunset. Oh, it also required sunshine. Um. Valentine’s Day is in February. The picnic option was off the picnic table.

I have also been deeply in love with someone who made more money than I did. That is a tough spot for any man. It made Valentine’s Day particularly difficult. Mostly, because I felt I had to give a gift of equal or greater value. Did I mention I’m competitive? It can be a great attribute in a career, sports or video games, but not so fun in a relationship. When we broke up, I remember saying, “Just so you know, I broke up with you, so technically, I win.” Yeah. I can be a little competitive. Just a smidge.

The worst Valentine’s Day was the time I was with someone I didn’t really even like that much. The holiday was an ugly reminder about love, and I wasn’t feeling it.

Remembering Valentine’s Days past has made being single not look so bad. I am, however, looking forward to Presidents Day.



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