Maxed Out 

Meandering on the path to true love

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Oh to be in Whistler now that Valentine’s Day is near.

I don’t know anyone who won’t admit to being just the tiniest bit ambivalent about Valentine’s Day. Straight, gay, happily ensconced in a long term relationship or on the prowl, Valentine’s Day is a time to wallow in the grab bag of mixed emotions, the highs and lows, the slides up and down and the tumbledry passages in between, that are affairs of the heart. Amorè.

All we need, according to St. John, is love. But love is life’s big lottery. It’s easy to play and hard to win. Harder still in a town such as this where, if you’re a guy, you stumble into any relationship with the heavy burden of proving you’re not a hopeless ski bum, a Peter Pan, a substance-abusing jerk looking for a quick lay, or a closet conservative. Ironically, the harder you try to overcome that burden, the more you prove the point. QED, dude.

But don’t take heart, girls. Your path to true love’s even harder. Though mathematically, at least in this town, you’re on the winning end of the lottery, you’ve probably spent way too much of your life being brainwashed into believing whatever you have isn’t quite good enough. Ouch! Too harsh? Then what is it exactly keeping the whole Cosmo, beauty-care, esthetics, eating-disorder, self-help juggernaut in business? And if you’ve thrown off the shackles of that guilt trip, let us not forget the rallying cry of ski town girls everywhere: The odds may be good but the goods are definitely odd.

Let’s be honest. Who among us has wandered the path of love in an unwavering, sober line, a true course, a Saskatchewan highway? Chances are better than rain in October your personal path of love looks more like the meandering of a blind dog sniffing his way through a Whistler neighborhood, a strong scent here, a weak scent there, memories of old friends and vicious fights and finally, hopefully, a loving mate and maybe a warm home.

Valentine’s Day for me was, and to some extent still is, a time of fear and loathing. Somehow, organically, a twisted bit of rogue DNA made me prone to affairs of the heart at a tender age. Had the words sexual and harassment been linked during my childhood, those many years ago, I probably would have been shipped off to a reform school kindergarten.

I rarely met a five-year-old girl incapable of turning my head. At milk break I would jealously guard the squatting spots on both sides of me. The right side – the side of my heart – was for my amour du jour; the left, for my amour du tomorrow. I was fickle but evenhanded; I truly believed I had a heart big enough for every girl in my class. I played the field long before I understood the game.

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