Baby, Baby, Baby, Where Did Our Love Go? – Fiction

Baby, Baby, Baby, Where Did Our Love Go?

by Chaz Thorndike
illustration by Andrew Goldstein

St. Valentine’s Day is as annoying a holiday as Christmas. Unlike the latter when everyone is expected to be cheerful as they spend themselves broke despite the moronic masses everywhere that obviously failed Traffic Control 101 – pushing, slapping, bratty kids around, complaining loudly about inflated prices for soon-to-be-neglected merchandise – all in the holiday spirit.

Luckily, Valentine’s Day’s target market group is lovers. And oh, the efforts they expend to blow their wads on their loved ones. But what about those (of us) who are not hitched by those love-strings like a horse tied just outside a saloon? Can you hear the revelry inside? Dusty, stinky gunslingers doing the solo-male-bonding-thing: Drinking ’til they puke or pass out, playing poker while smoking their lungs black, trying to impress/get it up for jaded bar wenches in fetching finery; and, more likely than not, beating the living shit out of each other over matters as direly important to life as we know it as “tastes great vs. less filling.”

Those lucky saps in monogamous relationships chuckle heartily or tsk! sympathetically for the single components that are

1) buying in bulk for their harem of applicants for “the real thing” or,

2) growling impatiently at checkout lines blocked by gaudy candy displays when all we (ahem, they) want is a damn pack of cancer sticks to smoke through another day of uncommitted freedom and go to sleep alone. Again.

And they ask why I resent them getting all kissy-kissy in front of my single self. Duh! As if it’s envy and I feel so inferior and lonely in their combined presence. The nerve! I tell them I loathe their temporary bliss and mushy-mouthed chit-chat and have the urge to hose them down whenever they pet and snuggle in front of me. They give that pitying look that says, “We’ve got to find you a good woman.” I consider hitting them with a really big stick, but figure jail might introduce me to even less appealing sexual relationships.

What they don’t understand is that I like being bitter, alone, and utterly pissed off at everything and everyone. I don’t need fixing, sister, and your Psych 101 drivel is like a mosquito in my ear. Your snooky-wooky teddy bear will be calling me soon enough, pouring out the torments of his broken heart, and I’ll fight the urge to laugh contemptuously in his tear-streaked face. Then we’ll get totally shitfaced and have a bonding woman-hating session; he’ll start chasing them skirts again and latch onto a decent one who’ll help him pass the time for a while, and we’ll be right back here again.

So why do people always try to fix you up with someone when you’re perfectly pissed off all by yourself? Relationships are like jobs. I’d rather stumble across a fun job than take some minimum wage time-kill that pays the bills but that ya hate almost instantly. Quitting makes you feel incompetent or unwilling to commit, and getting fired, even from a shit job, sucks hard. Either one usually ends violently and you’ve suddenly got time on your hands and bills to pay. So I stay unemployed in love. Yeah, so I’m a slacker. Why don’t you try to sell me something new?