Have no date? Take heart

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
February 8, 2000

For those of you lucky enough to have loving, significant others, Valentine’s Day is a dream come true.

But for the rest of us, it’s a dreaded night second only to New Year’s Eve.

The expectations are so high that disappointment is as likely as anything else. Not only are we supposed to have a date, but it’s supposed to be with the perfect guy. And we can’t just go out for a nice meal. It has to be a special meal.

Then there’s the matter of gifts. What do you get him? Will he bring you flowers? And if he doesn’t, will you come across as needy for having something for him?

Argh! As if dating isn’t trying enough, who can deal with this kind of pressure?

Not that I haven’t been anticipating V-Day 2000.

This year, rather than taking a passive role, I did a little reconnaissance work. I took up friends’ offers to set me up with their friends. I went out with the guy ordering the double espresso in front of me at Starbucks who asked for my number. And when an old college buddy invited me out to dinner, I said, “Yes.”

Not bad for one month’s work.

Here’s what I came up with:

The European scientist who told me from the get-go that he believed in equality. What this actually meant, it turned out, was that he didn’t like springing for dinner, even though he was the one who insisted on it instead of opting for my choice for a quick (and cheaper!) coffee meeting.

The engineer whose girlfriend was moving away. He loved her and wanted to make it work…but he wanted to see if he might like me better.

The pereceptive consultant who told me over pie that I looked like I was having a bad time.

The computer business guy who liked me…a lot, but planned on spending the day with his family. (Ah yes, I had forgotten how Valentine’s Day was right up there with Christmas and Thanksgiving as a family get-together day.)

The network engineer who couldn’t get through a sentence without screeching out, “Heh?!”

You get the picture.

You’d think that I would’ve been capable of landing at least one of those as a Valentine, right?

But there gets to be a point in your life where spending time with someone isn’t worth it unless he’s the right one.

And I’ve just reached it.

So damn those diamond commercials that imply that your Valentine will be plopping down a paycheck for a bauble for you. And the lingerie ads that tell you what he wants to see you wearing that night. And all your coupled up friends who keep asking who’s taking you where.

I say buck the system and have a good, old dateless Valentine’s Day. Go out with your best uncoupled friends and enjoy a great meal together. Toast your freedom. Flirt, without worrying about being caught.

And be thankful that you’re not one of those awkward couples trying to convince themselves that this is the night of their lives.
But if you are one of the lucky ones who has found the perfect mate, my hat’s off to you.

(As of press time, Jae-Ha Kim had a date for Valentine’s Day. And no, he isn’t one of the men from this column.)


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