To those who saw this post before it was finished – genius in progress? Nah. Bad speller?  Yup. Sorry.

I never know what to do about Valentine’s Day: celebrating love is nice, expectations are not. I worry that a little box of treats for the kids on V-Day drives their expectations that you have to get something for it to be special, or even that it needs to be special- which it doesn’t. I don’t know how to answer who it’s meant for: is Valentine’s Day for friends? Family? Lovers? Where does the line stop and start, and if someone isn’t included, does that mean they’re not loved? The obvious answer is “no” but the less-clear reality is that it’s everywhere, and Kate is already acquainted with the indoctrination of “chocolate = love.”

The way we’ve decided to both combat and embrace this most un-holy of “holidays” is to make it just one more day we show love. For the kids, we give them kisses, real and chocolate. And since there are always lots of kisses in our house, it’s hardly especially special, just nice. And since Marc and I don’t fall into the V-Day category my friend Sonya describes as “those who have sex on the 14th because they don’t the rest of the year”, we steal the kids’ kisses (real and chocolate) and leave it at that.

So at Christmas when my sister Alicia gave me one half of a pair of tickets to see John Mayer this Valentine’s Day, my only concern was that it was a John Mayer concert, not that it was on Valentine’s Day (get that guy a new publicist, and a twitter ban, puh-lease)!

Since no Valentine’s Day date is complete without a Valentine’s dinner, I was charged with making that elusive, impossible to find reservation at a not-garbage restaurant for the Big Night. So way back in January I made the embarrassing phone call to my favourite restaurant to request a reservation for the 14th. The only thing that saved me from bursting into tears on the phone was that I was booking a table for four (joined by two of Alicia’s John-Mayer-loving friends), which made it feel decidedly less like I was booking a table for Valentine’s Day 6 weeks in advance (which is totally what I was doing).

Assuming some anonymity, I was surprised to receive a “welcome back Andrea, where would you like to sit” email a few days later. Apparently they remembered me from the birthday party I had there a few months ago. And since I haven’t been back, apparently they think I only go out for dinner on really special occasions, like my birthday (and Valentine’s Day). And apparently I worry a little too much what the people at The Harbord Room think of me.

We sat by the window, which is awesome, but can be chilly. To compensate the seats here have little heaters under them, and this is my sister enjoying the warmth (and me enjoying the hipstamatic app on my iPhone):

toasty - in sepia, 2010

Alicia drove so I drank on her behalf. It made me want to take pictures of candles and write on chalk boards in bathrooms.

attempt at iPhone art while tipsy, 2010

And even though Marc wasn’t there, he was always on my mind. At least in the bathroom.

andrea loves marc (sometimes)

Dinner was expectedly delicious, but the dining room composition was slightly less expected – not only were we the only foursome, we were the only all-girl table. Despite what Hallmark would have you believe, what with all the “grandma loves you” and “you’re my best friend at Valentine’s” cards, V-Day at its core is just for lovers. Heterosexual lovers. (As determined by my sample of the 20 people dining with us).

Primed for more, we headed due south (okay, that’s a lie) to the Air Canada Centre, to what I expected would be a moderately attended concert. Not so much. Every seat had a screaming, insane fan, itching for their chance to have John Mayer make inappropriate comments about them in Playboy.

As is the case with a group of girls, trips to bathrooms are plentiful and understood. Before finding our seats I found some cops and asked for a picture. They looked both surprised and pleased and then asked me not to post the picture on YouTube. Okay, I guess I’ll post it on my blog instead. Where pictures go, unlike YouTube. Which is for videos. Not pictures. Toronto’s finest indeed.

looking preggers (which i'm NOT) and hugging coppers, 2010

 Our seats were close to beer, bathrooms and expensive t-shirt stands – which I made everyone buy, declaring us Team Mayer. Fuck, if I’m going to a concert, I’m going to be a FAN! I wore it right away and all day today. I almost feel like I like his music. But I don’t.

This was our proximity to the stage (which seems far, but isn’t).

everyone sitting. like normal people.

These are the bitches who stood in front of us while 14000 people sat.

bitches, 2010

The Head-Bitch sat in gum, which we all laughed and laughed and laughed about. Then she went to security to blame us, which made us laugh even harder. They were totally her favourite jeans too.

We went home happy and smiling, because live music, from a good entertainer (which it was, and he is) is always fun. We talked a lot about the girls with matching tank tops who stood in front of us, and even more about how fucked up John Mayer’s face looks when he sings, and how that made not seeing  not such a big deal afterall.

I love Valentine’s Day!