Seth Brown | The Pun Also Rises: Love and No-Mance

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When I was young, I hated Valentine's Day. I had never had a girlfriend, and I was a little bitter about it. Certainly this experience was not unique. I dealt with it mainly by mocking myself and writing bad poetry, a traditional 20th century reaction which I maintain is still superior to a common 21st century reaction, namely posting on the internet while being angry at women.

As it turns out, my own sour reaction was lemons from which I could make lemonade; the bad poetry eventually gave way to not-so-bad poetry, and the self-mockery got slightly funnier and slightly less bitter. Conversely, I worry that some of these young boys no older than 18 or 35 are doing themselves no favors in their search for love if they surround themselves with hate. Nothing is more attractive to women than a dude angry at women because he feels like they owe him something. (Which is to say, given the option, most women will understandably say, "I'll take the Nothing, thanks!")

Hate so rarely leads to love. And I've never liked the idea of owing people anything, which is why I still haven't paid this water bill on my desk. I will pay it though, because that will guarantee I get the water I want, because water is a public utility. Human beings are the opposite of public utilities. They are private individuals, with their own volitions and desires and preferred pizza toppings. Absent a contractual agreement, they do not owe you anything, and especially with extra cheese do not owe you any sort of affection.

And this isn't relegated to the realm of love. I have an acquaintance who I've only hung out with a few times, but he grew on me really fast and seems like a really fungi. He says he doesn't have mushroom in his schedule for gaming, and has turned down all my gaming invites due to that and my town spore location for him. And then last week I take a break from being a YouTuber to push the facebook button and see a picture of him in my town playing boardgames. Crimini! Is this a morel failing?

No. He is not a public utility, and does not owe me friendship or attention. Likewise the numerous other people I would like to spend more time with and know better; even if I am nice to them and think they would really enjoy my constant "Police Squad" references, they do not owe me one second of their time. And this goes double, with extra cheese, for love. Even if I'm convinced that her current boyfriend is a boring dolt obsessed with his car, and that she would be much happier with me because I have no car to obsess over and can serenade her in Pig Latin. Even if I had the looks of George Clooney instead of Andy Rooney. She does not owe me her attention, much less her affection.

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Before I found love, I hated Valentine's Day. Now that I have found love, I still hate Valentine's Day. Partially because it pushes the idea of owing things to your loved ones, which I dislike. But also because I know how annoying a holiday it is for single people. Luckily I know the best tradition for dealing with that — self-mockery and bad poetry:

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Behold the tale of poor young Seth,

No less romantic man drew breath.

In 7th grade, he took the chance

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To go attend his first school dance.

But lest you ask what date he took,

I swear 'tis true: He brought ... a book.

Seth Brown is an award-winning humor writer, the author of "From God To Verse," and is craving a mushroom pizza with extra cheese. His website is


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