It’s 1:00 on an unusually cold and rainy summer night. You just got home from your best friend’s wedding (a friend – by the way – whom nobody ever predicted would be in a committed relationship. Yet, there he is, in marital bliss).
Earlier that day, you ran into your ex who once cruelly gave you a vasectomy of the heart. Nevertheless, Mr. Karma has passed right over her and probably hasn’t even jotted her name down in his book. She seems to be doing quite well and has moved on to another man; a man who is taller than you, better built than you, wealthier than you, owns a top-of-the-line motorcycle, a sailboat, and a lakefront house, serves as a deacon at his church, coaches little league, volunteers his time at a local charity, is a personal trainer, and who recently appeared on a billboard.
The food at the wedding sucked, and there wasn’t enough of it.
Half-drunk and overwhelmed with misery, you stop by a store on the way home to grab an early copy of the newspaper and a bag of Doritos. A long night in your king-size bed awaits you, so you grab some items you’ll need to make the time pass.
A long night. Alone.
You have no voicemail messages on your phone.
You have no email messages awaiting you, except for junk mail from Nigerian scammers and some crap about how your 10:00 meeting at work was moved to 11:00.
The napkin you used to jot down that one cute bridesmaid’s number got destroyed in your wet pants.
Hoping to cheer yourself up, you pick up the copy of Maxim your friend gave you as he was “purging” himself for his big day. Out of curiosity, you look to Miss (whatever your birth month is) to see if the model does your month justice. She does. She’s beautiful. She appears to be pretty lively. She enjoys sports, romantic evenings, and sitcoms. You can totally see yourself with somebody like her. But, as you look over her factoid (OK, her factoid and her pictures), one other vital piece of information jumps out at you:
Twenty-two years old. According to your calculations, when you were a freshman in college, she was in the fifth grade. Not that you ever had a chance with her, but the age deviation brought home a very sad reality: you’re now the old dude in the crowd.
You put the magazine away and head off to bed. But before you go to sleep, you make one more critical mistake: you turn on the TV. You see Justin Bieber sitting courtside at the Miami Heat game while Dwayne Wade and Lebron James have scored combined for 67 points by halftime. You also realize that each of these extremely rich, highly loved social icons all achieved their status before they turned 25. And, thus, another opportunity to feel small and insignificant.
But all is not completely lost. The events of the day have helped you to realize that it’s time to start growing up. This is the day you decide to tone down on the Maxim and the ESPN, and finally get around to ordering that subscription to Forbes magazine.
It’s 6:00 on a dark Saturday evening. You just left your best friend’s bridal shower, which coincided with the celebration of her promotion to regional manager at Wells Fargo. Her husband-to-be; a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency, and nationally renowned scholar, has just been named Dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters at the University of Michigan.
You kicked him to the curb during your next to last year in college for being “too corny.”
As you congratulate them on their engagement and all of their success, they respond by thanking you for “making it all possible.”
There was too much too food at the shower. But in a bout with futility, you fight to avoid eating so much as a piece of cake. But you have no problem downing five cosmopolitans.
Half-drunk and overwhelmed with misery, you stop by a store on the way home to grab a pint of expensive ice cream, a TV guide, and the latest edition of People magazine. On the way home, you pass what you would swear were at least five hundred couples holding hands as they walk or kissing in public; all within a four mile drive from the store to your apartment.
As you finally arrive home, you lose a heel on your favorite shoes from that hole in the steps the landlord has been promising to fix for three months now.
You have no voicemail messages on your phone.
You have no email messages awaiting you, except for junk mail you get from Jones New York and some pictures of your sister’s handsome and super smart five-year-old son, who just tested at a 7th grade reading level.
You misplaced the phone number from that divorced accountant who you met on Tuesday and was supposed to go out with tonight. Your hard and fast rule of not giving out your number until the second date has backfired.
As you plop yourself on the couch, you realize that it’s too late to hit the mall, but it’s much too early to call it a night. There isn’t a thing to watch on TV and the Jennifer Aniston movie you wanted to see is no longer in the theater.
Desperate for something to cheer yourself up, you pick up the copy of People magazine to vicariously live the life of luxury through your favorite celebrities. Things are going well in your fantasy world until your thoughts are interrupted by your “I’m Every Woman” ringtone.
“Hello?” you answer.
It’s not Idris Elba.
It’s not LL Cool J.
It’s not Ryan Gosling.
It’s not even that divorced accountant dude.
It’s your mother.
“Hi honey. How was the party?”
“It was pretty nice. I got her a set of champagne flute glasses.”
“Honey, you really need to find yourself a nice man,” your mother unapologetically suggest.
Hanging up the phone (while silently thanking God that the conversation was interrupted by another caller, even if it was a wrong number), you call around, hoping to find someone with whom you can spend some time. Your married friends are all unavailable due to various domestic obligations and your single friends – limited as they are – are on dates themselves. You even considered giving your platonic neighbor a call, except things got weird between you two after his new (and sort of psychotic) girlfriend saw you guys walking back from the laundry room together.
Out of sheer boredom, you pull out that pint of ice cream while contemplating whether or not to get started on that “important project” at work, which actually isn’t due for another four months.
You concede to the moment by calling your mother back to tell her it’s OK to give your phone number to Mort, the organic ice cream vendor at the Farmer’s Market.
She informs you that even he’s been taken.
Hanging up again, you now conclude that there is no justice in the world. Just plenty of ice cream, your job, Lifetime, and men who are somebody else’s mate.
But all is not completely lost. The events of the day have helped you to realize that it’s time to start growing up. This is the day you decide to tone down on the People magazine and also finally get around to ordering that subscription to Forbes.
On that note, um, Happy Valentines’ Day.