The Love Sux Dinner started in 1994 when my friend Derek and I were both grad students at Stanford. As Valentine's Day approached our love lives were looking pretty bleak. My long-distance girlfriend had dumped me a few months back, Derek's fiance was back in Boston, and the rest of our friends were CS grad students and therefore also single. So Derek had the brilliant idea of starting a tradition...

We explained to our various single friends that every year either of us had been single we had hosted a Love Sux Dinner at a local brew-pub, and that this would be our third annual. We had actually just made up the whole thing the night before, but everyone was so happy to join us in such a good tradition we really hated to disillusion anyone. There were about 8 of us that first dinner (including, if I remember correctly, a subsequent founder of a well-known search engine company).

Derek and I both came back to Boston the following year and took our "tradition" back with us, and we kept making up new traditions, rules and exceptions as they suited our fancy. But the most important tradition we kept from the very first event: this was never a pity party, but a celebration of singlehood. Sure, some attendees might have felt lonely or sorry for themselves, but for at least one night our goal was to create a kind of George-Bernard-Shaw "safe, sane and single" mood for everyone. Thus the toast we always gave since the very start: "Here's to good friends, good food... and to staying single so we can enjoy them!"

Of course, I'm not actually so curmudgeonly as all that, and it's looking like I've finally hosted my last Love Sux Dinner. Hopefully, others will take up the mantle, and will raise a glass to me and all their other fallen comrades every February 14th for years to come.

To help them along, here's the invitation template I've used over the years:


Love is like racing across the frozen tundra on a snowmobile which flips over, trapping you underneath. At night, the ice-weasels come.  — Matt Groenig

It's that time again! Yes, a year has gone by and a week from this coming Monday all those couples that look so disgustingly cute during the rest of the year are gonna get even more disgusterpatingly twitterpated and doe-eyed. But we know better, and when they come crying to us about how miserable they are in their relationships we shall laugh, yes LAUGH in their faces! In the meantime, come revel in our singlehood at the 14th annual

LOVE SUX DINNER

Every year I've been single on V-day I've hosted such a dinner, and I'm proud to say that this is my 14th year in a row!1 So come celebrate single-hood at The Tied House on Feb 14th, as we sit back over food & soda/beer and swap stories of love, life, and relationships past, and how much better off we are without them.

In years past we've had anywhere from 8 to 50 people, and as always there's been some attrition these past 12 months,2 plus a few wise souls who have rejoined our ranks.3 So join us as we drink a toast to our fallen comrades, and generally make fun of them in their absence.


Who: You4 5, plus a date6 and anyone else you think needs it.
When: Feb 14th, 7:30
Where: The Tied House, Mountain View, CA
Bring: Anything you feel appropriate: readings, quotes, sacrificial offerings, voodoo dolls, etc.
Why: Because Love Sucks!

Footnotes

  1. Minus a few years of temporary insanity. I'm much better now, thank you.
  2. I take no responsibility for this tendency to coupledom. OK, except maybe for the one marriage a few years ago where the couple met at a previous Love Sux dinner, but that was an exception and I've tried hard since then to break couples up to compensate for that momentary lapse. As for the couple, they tell people they met at the symphony so their kids won't have to live with the shame.
  3. And no doubt a few who have jumped on and off the wagon several times this past year.
  4. Single-folk only (people in relationships have better things to be doing this day anyway). Greater than ~1000 miles counts as single, especially if you're unhappy about it ('cause long distance *really* sucks!). The rest of us will, of course, try to convince you that you'd be better off single. (If you received this and are, in fact, attached and I didn't know it, then just don't tell anyone or we'll make fun of you. With the way some of you act, it's getting hard for me to tell who's attached anymore. Or just break up before Monday — simple, no?).
  5. Oh, and if you're in a complex kind of relationship where you really can't tell if you're single or not, you qualify. Just come by and complain to us how he's really sweet but he's with his wife and her girlfriend the circus-trainer for Valentines day, and we'll sympathize and let you know exactly how much better off you'd be if you'd just dump him. White-boards not provided, you'll have to draw on the placemats.
  6. Yes, a date. However, in the spirit of the evening it must be someone you would never in a million years go out with, and they also should be single. If you later wind up going out with said person, the rest of us reserve the right to make fun of you till the end of time. If you don't have time to find someone (or if you're one of those people who really wouldn't mind going out with anyone you know), you will be randomly matched with someone you're not allowed to go out with. (I think at this point I'm not allowed to go out with any of the waitresses and half the waiters at Buca di Beppo — thus the move to The Tied House!) In honor of the Bay Area dating scene, polyamorous attendees will be matched with several people they're not allowed to go out with.

  7. RSVP please so I can give the restaurant a head-count. However, even if you don't RSVP (like, say, you get dumped on Friday at 6:45) feel free to show up. Also I'm sure there are plenty of people who should be there I don't know about. Make sure to bring them along.

    Bradley "ineligible bachelor" Rhodes