It’s possible the sorry state of my love life has little to do with Elton John’s connection to Google-invested Portuguese royalty. I’m a reasonable man. I will turn inward for answers. It’s probably my apartment’s fault.

The most romantic thing in my apartment right now is the 3/4 empty bottle of Lucky Star pinot noir sitting on the counter. Well, that and the copy of Alan Moore’s Lost Girls in the book pile on our coffee table.

Boy, what a lineup. Nothing says ‘romance’ like a William Appleman Williams reader, right?

Williams did once write an essay titled “Historical Romance of Senator Neuberger’s Election” for the Oregon Historical Quarterly, which I’m sure has a fine record of romantic writing itself. And Neuberger’s own romantic history includes a marriage to Maurine Brown, who took the seat her husband vacated by way of a stroke in 1960, making them the Senate's first husband-and-wife legislative team! Though, tag-team is perhaps more apt, but I digress.

Where was I? Oh yes, the empty bottle of Lucky Star pinot noir lying on the floor next to me. If I am to be the Lothario I fancy myself (men will one day die from sadness writing accounts of my seductive prowess), I need to outfit my habitat accordingly. If those late night sex-music infomercials are to be believed, this means a fireplace, candles, a bathtub and rose petals are in order. Well, there is no fireplace here, so short of arson, that’s out. The bathtub is too small to fit even one person comfortably; that’s out too. Candles and rose petals I can do though.

Candles are easy. I have a whole box here left over from the halcyon years of Yankee Candle, before Forstmann Little came in, took the company public and ruined the product — you see, YC candles used to be the top of the market , boasting a nasal ton of fragrance at a reasonable price, but then … you know, I should save this gem of a story for the lucky lady who gets to smell these.

I appear to have digressed again. Back to the point: Why did my roommate think he could hide this second bottle of Lucky Star pinot noir behind the bagels? I have clearly found it. Also, is Mrs. Dalloway a buzzkill to have in the living room? I mean, her party does end up going pretty well…

Rose petals. Where the hell do you even buy rose petals? Do you buy roses and de-petal them? That sounds incredibly expensive. Flowers are way too expensive. They grow in dirt. Back when I had girlfriends (the aughts) I had a sub rosa approach to gifting flowers. I would head to a grocery store, pretend to thumb through some cards, sidle over to the flower section, then pull a single flower from a premade bouquet and run like hell.

(Two Chuck Klosterman books seems like overkill. Especially since David Foster Wallace is, in a few ways, sitting right above him.)

I’m a grown man now, so my flower-stealing days are over; I am going to buy rose petals from the internet. Let’s just head over to freshrosepetals.com and … boy, those are expensive, aren’t they?

Ahem.

I’m a grown man now, so my flower-stealing days are over; I am going to buy fake rose petals from the internet. Let’s just head over to Amazon and check these out:

Perfect. Now I’ll just check the reviews to be sure of my purchase and hello … who have we here?

I respect a man who orders 200 heart shaped red rose petals and counts them. Z.S. Proctor has put a lot of thought into this. He clearly has a beautiful mind. He will purchase more if needed. Clearly this is somebody with whom I would like to associate.

See? Romance!

Okay. This needs to stop. How did I get here? Who are these yahoos? No offense, J. House, but how the hell is J. House getting married while I’m stuck here marrying together the remnants of these two empty bottles of Lucky Star pinot noir? No offense, J. House, but I’m completely out on this rose petal idea.

I give up. I’ll just make sure to invite nobody to my apartment, ever, unless they want to help me wade through the viscous sea of proper nouns Mordecai Richler so fancies. I’m going to call it an early night, light a candle, and thumb through Lost Girls for a hot minute…