That true and inerrant sage who goes by the mortal name of “Hugh Grant” once said, “Love, actually, is all around.” And it’s true. I mean, seriously: Have you seen Love Actually? Like 17 total tools make love connections in that movie. And they’re all, like, paunchy old Brits with pock marks and receding hairlines. Fine — a few not-unfortunate-looking youngsters, too, and of course Grant, the Prime Minister. Of my heart, but never mind.
They make these movies, in which hundreds of irritating people who are all part of a web of friends and family and coworkers pile up on each other over the course of a short time period not because communities are occasionally stricken with a pheromone-enhancing plague but because — don’t you know? — that’s just the way love rolls, cats. Ensemble-style. So if you’re flying solo this Valentine’s, I have but one question: What the hell is wrong with you?
Truly. I mean it must be something bad, right? It can’t just be something silly, like — I don’t know, you have a tendency to be an adulterous whore — because so was Bradley Cooper in He’s Just Not That Into You. And Jennifer Connelly and Scarlett Johannson both would have stuck that shit out if he hadn’t made it with Connelly at his work desk while Johannson was locked in a nearby closet. (Also, he was a secret smoker.) But are you really a douche-y American Spirit-puffing chimney capable of chair-sex-with-hot-wife-while-hot-girlfriend-is-stashed-with-office-supplies-type shenanigans? No. I thought not.
Taken to blaming body-image issues for your solitary state? Please. Even the PM liked a healthy butt, if you recall. And don’t give me that “socially awkward,” crap either. Like, “Boohoo, I’m only capable of speaking face-to-face with people who are attracted to a sex that I am not, so, um, sometimes late at night when I’m reeeaaally drunk I use MySpace.” (Yeah, MySpace.) You can’t possibly be a Lonesome McDove because of that, or Drew Barrymore wouldn’t have landed Scarlett’s charming castoff in HJNTIY. See? And nuh-uh it was not because she’s a Barrymore or because that movie was just not that into reality. (Not a single black lead in an ensemble romance set in the predominantly African-American city of Baltimore — uncanny!) It’s because she was crazy and human and not too proud for sloppy seconds. That’s real love. And it’s all around.
Honestly, dear reader, your soulmate’s probably right in front of you, and you’re too stupid to notice. She’s probably your best friend. Except, maybe, I don’t know, she’s sleeping with a married doctor who happens to ask you to deliver flowers — you’re a florist, keep up — to both his wife and your BFF on Valentine’s Day, which is, serendipitously, the exact day you finally asked your live-in to marry you. (You said, on bended knee, “If you ever are with a girl that’s too good for you, marry her.” Wait, let me guess, her grammar is better? Zing!)
Cross my heart: This very thing happened to a pair of nice (if slightly simple) kids by the names of Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Garner in Valentine’s Day. Lucky for Kutcher, his fiancé recanted later that day, and because he totally didn’t cry about it at all, he had his game face on to chase Garner down because, in fact, she’s “like sunshine” to him.
Trust me, you can be engaged to the wrong person before breakfast, break up, and be romantically necking on a footbridge with The One before midnight if you just heed my advice. But it won’t be my fault if you’re a sad, isolated homebody on Cupid’s birthday (while everyone else in your entire address book is hooking up) because you’re not sunshine-y enough. I’m telling you right now without the sunshine factor, no one is going to leave his/her shoes at the airport security checkpoint and hoof it to your terminal to stop you from making a huge mistake. In short, no one will ever love you.
Oh, and despite what Love Actually and HJNTIY might have led you to believe, thanks to the almost documentarian narrative of Valentine’s Day, we now know it’s possible for homosexuals to participate in these ongoing love fests as something more than sassy best friends. That’s right! You are not excused from jumping aboard this crowded, crowded love train. All you have to do, like Eric Dane’s gay Valentine’s Day character, is come out on television! Is that so difficult?
So there you have it. Girl, boy, gay, straight, overwhelmingly white — love truly is all around clusters of idiots.
Unless, like I said, there’s something seriously, abhorrently wrong with you. Beyond irritating. Like, say you’re a middle-aged woman. In that case, I hope you like listening to Joni Mitchell and spending the holidays, including this one, with your children — if you’ve been blessed enough to pop some out — because they’re the only ones who will hold your hand as you skate away on your river toward a bitter, inevitably lovelorn end. See Queen Latifah and Julia Roberts in Valentine’s Day. And Emma Thompson’s Love Actually character will tell you all about it, too. Just don’t believe anything she tries to tell you about this “real life” of hers. I’m so sure she married a hot younger actor while in her 40s. Like that’s when love happens.
Next you’ll tell me Hugh Grant is available. •