About twenty-five years ago, give or take, I joined with some friends to form a small theater ensemble. The idea was that we would perform guerrilla theater and somehow get people to pay us big bucks in the process. Where we got such a hare-brained scheme, I’ll never know, but that was our goal. It was a very quixotic venture that never really went anywhere, but it was fun hanging out together and fantasizing about what we would do when we hit it big.
Now this little bundle of talent was formed up initially of three couples and me, the odd man out. Until just recently, I had been part of a couple, but things had gone south, and the relationship of three years was in tatters and for the first time in for ever, I was devastated. I was envious of the easy camaraderie of my fellow thespians. Then things got very, very strange.
Within a period of about two months, every relationship around me disintegrated. In our little troop, the husband in one couple ran off with the wife in another. The third couple split up over who knows what. All of my tethered friends were coming undone. It was like a miasma of misery had blown into town on an ill wind. I felt like the Typhoid Mary of Love.
All of these newly single souls started clumping together like some chemistry experiment on colloidal suspension. Misery loves company illustrated. But who wants to hang out with a bunch of depressed, heartsick people? What’s there to talk about? One more way to brutally dispatch that heartless fuck who walked out on you? It got old way fast.
So, it was with interest, that I listened to two of these forced bachelors as we walked down the frozen main street of our little town, talking over the sorry state of our cursed love lives, when we had an “animal house” experience. When life is getting you down, when all seemed to turn against you, what do you do? That’s right – partay.
As it turns out, the other two gentlemen had already talked over the basic concept, agreed upon the theme, put together an initial invitation list, selected a date, and needed only the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place before making the commitment, find someone who was dumb enough to host it. With that, a legend was born – The Valentine’s Day Memorial Broken Hearts Partay.
At that time, I was living and working (kind of) in a studio located on the top floor of an otherwise non-productive factory/warehouse. It was a large space with no pesky neighbors, right downtown, but off the beaten track. Perfect for a large blowout. So we sat down, listed off all of our romantically challenged friends, threw in a couple of local celebrities who were always looking for “slumming” opportunities to bolster their own illusions of grandeur, ordered a keg or two of beer, and were off to the races.
We all had such a good time that we did it again the next year and on a slightly larger scale. It turns out that there are a lot of people who don’t have that special someone to snuggle up to on Valentine’s Day and this was the perfect alternative. Not only was it a fun way to spend VD, but it also put you in the company of many other single skeptics of love, who just may find you interesting. More than one person disqualified themselves for the spirit of the following year’s festivities by meeting a fellow BH at the partay.
I, myself was disqualified a couple of years later, but it was such great fun that we continued to have the partay’s long after we moved to the big city. The guest list changed some, but the spirit remained. Somewhere along the line it petered out though. I think it was having children that did it. We could still pretend that we were just temporarily in love, probably going to be breaking up any minute now and therefore could plan, host, and enjoy the annual BH Partay, but when we had our first baby, we could no longer maintain the charade. We were good and truly not broken hearted any more.
Just this morning, my soon-to-be seventeen year old daughter asked if she could have a friend over for a Broken Hearts Partay tonight. She said her friend didn’t want to be alone tonight, and even though her heart (my daughter’s) was not broken, mine was for sure and broken enough for two, so could we?
Why not, I said.