Single in the mind, but not in the heart
It must be nice to be a recognized saint. You have the iconography, being immortalized in stained glass and of course, getting your own feast day.
The downside is typically being martyred. Such is the case with our beloved St. Valentine. It seems St. Valentine was beheaded on Feb. 14 sometime around the year 278. Does that put you in the mood?
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To be fair, according to tradition, our patron saint of the boxed chocolates did meet his fate because he defied the orders of Claudius the Cruel and continued to marry young lovers even though the Ruler of Rome had issued a ban on all marriages. It sounds vaguely familiar doesn’t it? Do you think St. Valentine or one of his contemporaries would be symbolically executed by the conservative media today for performing marriages for same-sex couples? I can almost see the live feed from FOX News now. I suppose a person should know that defying someone dubbed “The Cruel” can never end well. I’ve been there; I defied my former mother-in-law by putting reindeer around our Hanukkah Bush.
Even when I was a kid there was pressure. Our teachers managed to fill their blank lesson plans by having all of us decorate those white paper bags from the bakery and transform them into personalized mailboxes, which were actually small beacons of hope for our innocent little hearts. From that point, we were sent home to pester our parents until they took us to the store to purchase boxes of valentines to give to our classmates.
In the spirit of being fair and inclusive, we were always encouraged to give a card to everyone. I personally never had a problem with this and it probably won’t surprise many of you to know that I always put a little extra effort into choosing the perfect G.I. Joe cards to give to my guy friends. For some reason I needed to impress them way back then. Who knew this was setting up a pattern that would last a lifetime? Even though I believe that being single is the intelligent choice, something from those early years keeps hounding me to partner up again.
Even cable TV is no longer safe. Through the years, I have developed an automatic mute button in my head that allows me to silence all of the saccharine romance-themed commercials that are populating the airwaves at this time of year. From the GEICO lizard using product placement to endorse Helzberg Diamonds to Jane Seymour selling her Open Heart Collection at a jewelry outlet, there seems to be no programming lineup free from overemotional pitch people. Seymour, by the way, gleans her stage name from the third wife of Henry VIII who really wasn’t the most zealous defender of enduring love. Somehow, the love connection there doesn’t seem to ring true. Although, I suppose we should give Henry a big fist bump for being an early pioneer in the effort to redefine marriage.
The relationship status is now more visible and apparently, more of an issue than it ever has been. We can thank Facebook for that. Just change your status to “It’s complicated” and you are certain to be bombarded with questions from your friends. Folks who are making changes in this area are finding that there is more help out there for them than ever before. From Christian Mingle to JDate there are services out there touting their abilities to help us find our perfect matches based on our core values and personality traits. You can even link your matches on these sites to your Facebook profile. That’s a really bad idea, by the way.
You may be surprised to learn that on Christian Mingle and eHarmony, I am extremely compatible and I have numerous matches. There’s only one small issue: none of my matches are guys. Apparently, by some relationship standards I am the perfect middle-aged hetero husband. I suppose since I checked the option that I am still open to the idea of children I’m marketable. I have been told before that I would make a great mother. Or something to that effect.
Valentine’s Day is best approached with grounded expectations. It’s not entirely fair to expect the same happy endings portrayed in the media. As much as I love a good romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock, I have to admit that when it comes to love, my movie scripts are more likely to resemble the baptism scene from “The Godfather.” I suppose somewhere in the middle, there has to be a safe place that prevents us from leaving our Healthcare Power of Attorney to the receptionist at the dentist’s office.
So, on this very special day, I’m not sure what the proper observation should be. Since it falls directly after the beginning of Lent, I’ve given up drinking and debauchery or the pursuit thereof and I am absolutely no fun to be around.
I also have an exceptional amount of free time on my hands. This puts me in the time of the year when I am gay in theory if not in practice. I think I will spend this time meditating on the examples of St. Valentine and Henry VIII. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not willing to go to the extremes that they did for their commitments to love and marriage. However, I can use this day to be thankful for the progress we’ve made and look forward to more equality in the future.
OUT & ABOUT
Friday, Feb. 15 – Club Pulse hosts the Miss Heartbeat 2013 Pageant on Friday. The event will be emceed by Breonna Tenae and featuring entertainers Kristina Deevine, Jessica Blair Lords and Kelly Ray. The entry fee is $25. The prizes are: $150 and the crown for the Winner; $75 for First Runner-Up ; and $50 for Second Runner-Up. All contestants must confirm entry by Thursday (Feb. 14). For additional information, contact Ken Phillips at 315-0019. Pulse Ultra Club is at 803 Main Street, Myrtle Beach.
Saturday, April 27 – Looking ahead to the first fundraiser of the year for CareTeam, this is touted as the Grand Strand’s Largest Dinner Party. Dinner parties are held at homes all up and down the Grand Strand. Invited guests are asked to bring a donation check payable to CareTeam, the local non-profit HIV/AIDS foundation. After the dinner parties, everyone can progress to the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center on Fantasy Harbour Blvd. for the Finale Desert Party, which begins at 8 p.m. and includes a performance by Sea-Cruz. There will be a cash bar.
Additional people are needed to host parties. Individuals, churches, synagogues or civic organizations can host parties. This event is dedicated to supporting CareTeam, the local organization whose mission is to empower the community with the means to STOP the spread of HIV through prevention, education, treatment and support. If you are interested in hosting a party, contact Terry Livingston at: Terry@GambleLivingston.com or CareTeam at 236-9000.
Have a thought, comment or Out & About event? Send Drew Levy-Neal an e-mail to Drew.Levy.Neal@gmail.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @Drew_Levy_Neal.