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As Valentine’s Day nears, I wonder, am I single?

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Justice

Single on Valentine’s Day? You can always go to a strip club and rent some company. Last year, one guy spent a whole shift with me. People get really emotional on these made-up holidays. I’m not sure if I am an exception. I don’t know if I will even be at work that day this year. My relationship status is not exactly clear to me. Maybe I’m two parts single and three parts taken. There is mounting evidence that I might not be single anymore. He used the word “girlfriend” one time but he threw up a lot of vodka soon after saying it, which probably nullifies that contract. I use the word “boyfriend” in reference to him but not in his presence. I once left a toothbrush in his bathroom. A simple plastic tool left by the sink has a great deal of weight behind it. It’s like planting a flag in the soil of a new territory and claiming it as your own. The way dogs urinate on fire hydrants, women strategically plant their toothbrushes. Years ago, I found a toothbrush in a boyfriend’s bathroom and it wasn’t his or mine. “Whose toothbrush is that?” I investigated. “It’s my friend’s” he defended. A likely story.

I deposit other relationship artifacts at his house too. I retire my stripper shoes to his house. When the soles of 6-inch stripper shoes wear out, it can be hazardous to keep wearing them to work but they’re still great for home use, especially if we have nearly a whole foot in height difference. Many shiny black and red high heels litter his house. They peak out from under the couch and from the side of the nightstand. Relationship debris lurks around every corner.

It could also be argued that I am still single. The toothbrush is no longer there and wasn’t there for very long. There was nothing especially strategic about it either. I just failed to remove the evidence. Every shoe or pair of panties that is or has been there got there by necessity or accident. There are other indicators of a low level of seriousness too. We haven’t been seeing each other for more than a few months. He has never met my dog and has never given me a ride to the airport. Perhaps we bond because we both share a deep fear of commitment. Sometimes I go out with male friends just to remind myself that I’m independent. I’m physically and emotionally exclusive to just the one guy, though.

Anyway, judgment day is coming, or as the rest of you call it, “Valentine’s Day.” I have had a handful of customers offer to bring me flowers that day. I have to admit; it might feel weird if the only people who get me flowers this year are customers. It’s going to be hard but I’ll try not to put too many expectations on the weekend. If it doesn’t pan out, if there are no red roses or chalky candy hearts, I can always go to work where my company is appreciated.

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