9.4 Valentine's Day

I spent Valentine’s Day alone. Don’t worry, I was happily at the theatre, so don’t cry for me, Argentina. I hadn’t planned to venture out into public on that particular day. I mean, when you’re single, the last thing you want to do is be out amongst the beautiful, shiny, happy couples celebrating their coupledom. Alas, I wanted to see this particular play and the only ticket available was on February 14th.

I didn’t really notice until walking to the theatre and being obnoxiously confronted with people carrying heart balloons and bouquets of flowers. Right. Valentine’s Day. Somewhat secure in my ability to do public things alone, I approached the box office to pick up my ticket. The person at the counter found my name and said, “Here is your one ticket.” Now, I might be reading into things, maybe even getting a little defensive here, but a simple ‘thank you’ or ‘enjoy the show’ would have sufficed rather than ‘Here’s your ONE ticket’. Of course, I interpreted it as though he was emphasizing the ‘one’, but I could just be projecting.



I’ve expressed before my love of theatre. Yes, the drama, the acting, the writing and so on. Perhaps most important, they are really strict when it comes to starting at the appointed time and have policies in place that do not allow latecomers to enter. I like this because no matter how quiet you are, no matter how slow you move, arriving late is disruptive. We’re adults here: just be on time. Jeez.

The seats were unassigned and being a frequent patron of this particular theatre, I had my favourite seat at the end of the row beside the wall. The row I like was at a weird angle which resulted in a very spacious and comfortable seating arrangement. Then the ‘single person alone in public’ mindset hit me hard.

The row I was sitting in had four seats. Pretty soon after I sat down, a couple took two of the seats in my row. Now I had a problem: if the show was sold out, I’m splitting seats. Meaning, in my row of four, there was one open seat. Either another single person would have to take that seat or a couple, god forbid, would have to split up.

So, I gathered my coat and moved to the row in front of me, still next to the wall. The problem with this row was that it only had three seats and the leg room was not nearly as spacious. And, if a couple took the other two seats, they might take pity on me and attempt to engage in conversation. The horror. I wanted to be there by myself. I wanted to sit before and during the intermission with my book and read. Couples seem to sometimes think that us single people live sad and lonely lives. They are doing us a favour by trying to talk to us. Don’t.

Once again, I gathered my coat and moved back up to the row I first sat down in. The couple in the row were surely thinking they had a weirdo on their hands. I didn’t care - I wanted the extra leg room. Plus, there was a heater right beside the seat.

And then something glorious happened.

A single young man sat down in front of me. A couple sat down next to him. They were a perfect row of three. The one half of the couple that sat down next to the single man instantly started talking to him. They made small talk. Small talk. That could have been me. The lights went down and NO ONE SAT NEXT TO ME.

To recap: I had so much space I could almost lay down, I successfully avoided the chatting couple in the row in front of me and I had an empty seat next to me. As a single person, really, it doesn’t get any better than this.

During the intermission, I read my book and no one bothered me. The single guy in front of me, on the other hand, had to engage with this couple in between them taking selfies together. The play was fantastic and I got a slice of pizza on my way home.

So, yeah, being single sucks, right?

Paul Dore