For the first time in a couple of years, I'll be single again for Valentine's day.

No, this is not a lament. In fact, I'm enjoying the carefree break of not having to plan anything special this year. You know how it is; regardless of how gender-neutral and politically correct our society is becoming these days, one day out of the year, we''re all back to the 18th-century romantic age. You'll be damned if you let that day go by and not acknowledge it properly to even the most radical Angela Davis-loving-Betta''-call-Tyrone-CD-blastin'-sistah-girlfriend you're dating.

You mess up, and the next CD playing in the car will be Janet''s "What have you done for me lately" ... and if she's really pissed, TLC's "Scrubs."

I myself evaded the bullet just last year after my then girlfriend said that we should take Valentine's day easy and not go all out. Knowing better, I called our favourite Italian restaurant to make reservations and let her know about it right after work. By the time I got to her place, she was already decked out in a dress I''d never seen before, hair done and everything.

Moral of the story guys: don't believe the hype about the easygoing Valentine''s day. It'll come back to haunt you ... eventually.

Don't get me wrong ladies, I'm not hatin' on Valentine's day. I'm always eager to go the extra mile on that day. The fancy hotel suites, the surprise stuffed bear with flowers in her car seat, balloons delivered at her workplace, etc etc. Been there, done that.

The reason why I'm saying that I not only don't mind, but actually enjoy, being single this year isn't just because of a reduced credit card bill at the end of the month. But simply because I refuse to give in to the sometimes equally taxing irritations of being single on Valentine's day.

You know what those are ...

1- That Valentine's day phone call from my mother which I haven't gotten in a couple of years ... reminding me that my younger sister is already married with four kids. And wishing me a "better" Valentine's day next year. Mom, give it a rest ...

2- That look of pity from that waitress at my favourite restaurant, or any other place, when I answer "just for one" when I go out for dinner on the night of February 14th. Heck, if I want to check out a movie or go out for dinner solo as a happily single bachelor, do I need to check my calendar first and barricade myself at home just because it happens to be a Saturday date night or Valentine''s day? Hell no ...

3- That friendly Valentine's day card from my best female friend living out of town who figures I need to get "something" on those Valentine days when I'm single. You know who you are. I love you like a sister, but chill out, I won't be needing Dr Phil anytime soon.

4- That strange call from a booty call from a while back who just happens to be single too and looking to temporarily "upgrade" our arrangement for that night with a date at a fancy restaurant. Girl please ...

5- Genuine female friends who want to "honour our friendship" on that special day. Are you sure "I'm" the one who needs Dr Phil?

If all this may sound a bit bitter, it's truly not. I'm just a glass half-full guy who enjoys life regardless of circumstances. I won't let Valentine's day, or the expectations around it, cause me to artificially
feel or act any different. If I don't feel like cooking that night, I won't think twice about going to a restaurant solo or with one of the boys like we always do anyways.

If anybody wants to feel sorry for us or hand us rainbow flowers ... more power to them. Cuz I'm too sexy for Valentine's day.

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