Today is Valentine’s Day. And unless you’ve been living under a rock, having only resurfaced to read this post and have therefore lost all sense of time, reality, and self, this is no news to you.
To celebrate this holiday, I’m doing a few things: (1.) buying myself a dinner of Chipotle burritos while I
whine dine with other singles, (2.) browsing my true loves on the shelves at Borders, (3.) relishing the emptiness of the bookstore because no one takes a date to Borders on Valentine’s Day, and (4.) paying for my own Valentine’s present because no one knows me better than me because that’s what strong, independent, single women do because I want one.
Are you OK being single? you may ask. Actually, yes. I could tell you things like “I’m happy being single” and “I’m taking time for myself right now” and “I don’t have time to date right now.” And all of these things are true, but my purpose in pointing out my singledom is to tell you just how much my future Valentine has to live up to. Because it’s a lot. To exemplify this statement, let me present you with some chronological evidence:
First Grade, Age 7:
This is the first year I remember making Valentine’s for my classmates. We each decorated a shoebox to put on our desks for the day. I’m sure mine was coated in black spray paint, which no doubt made me high as a kite while decorating. A tradition foreign to no one, each classmate was to bring a valentine card or treat or whatnot for each of his or her peers. I probably wanted something cool or nerdy like Tiny Toon Adventures valentines; Mom probably made me use a box of Hello Kitty love notes she found at Sanrio. To tell you the truth, I don’t remember the theme of the valentines; I was too focused on what I wanted to write to my peers who, frankly, annoyed the heck out of me and deserved no statements as to my faux affections for them. I followed the rules and provided something to put in each student’s box; Mom followed the rules and made me write nice things on the cards. I remember Alice (I think that was her name, anyway) snubbing her nose at me when I dropped her card in her box. There were pink hearts perfectly lined across the sides of her box, which matched the pink hearts perfectly printed on her dress, which matched the pink letters she perfectly formed on every single thing she wrote. I hated her; she hated me. And I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because I spearheaded my own campaign for thieving pencil grips and erasers from
Mrs. Dillpickle’s Mrs. Dillman’s supply bucket. But who knows, and who cares.
Second Grade, Age 8:
This is the year I had my first boyfriend. His name was Chris, and he was shorter, skinnier, and overall smaller than I was. Thank goodness my only concept of self-esteem was wrapped nicely around my brain and the knowledge that I was smarter than most people between ages 10 and 15. That sounds like I was cocky. I wasn’t; I was just confident that I read more than the average anyone. I’m pretty sure Chris and I had a short-lived relationship, and that it didn’t happen anywhere near Valentine’s Day. We wouldn’t admit we were a couple; we just sat against the wall during story time and held hands behind our backs. He frequently wore his hot dog condiments on his shirts; I frequently held my breath around him out of my hatred of mustard. Our relationship was so romantic, especially when I got bored one day waiting in line for lunch and kicked him in the crotch. When interrogated by our teacher, I completely denied having done it and continued with my crime-free record, even though our entire class saw the event happen in real time and no doubt had a play-by-play reeling in their minds for days. Some of the guys even passed me in the halls holding their crotches for protection.
Eighth-Eleventh Grades, Ages 14-17:
These are the years I spent harboring a major crush on my best friend, a guy named S. We didn’t go to the same school, so we spent hours on the phone each night talking about our amazing and dramatic lives. Really, I just pretended to listen to him drone on and on about C, the girl he was in love with, while secretly plotting her demise and my rise to pageant queen beauty and the top of his affections. My dreams finally came true during our junior year. It was like a scene out of My Best Friend’s Wedding, but before the real ending happens and Julia Roberts says goodbye to her BFF and his new bride. Our relationship blossomed, but it all began after Valentine’s Day and therefore S missed his chance to tell me how perfect I am and how much he equates his love for me with a bouquet of roses and a box of really bad heart-shaped sugar.
Twelfth Grade, Age 18:
I began this final year of high school still dating S. But it wasn’t going well. We ended things in November, but spent the remainder of the school year trying to define this new stage of our relationship. In the meantime, I had moved on to another boy, L. This new relationship actually happened near the holiday of love, but not near enough for us to acknowledge that our affections for each other required spending money on each other. That, and we were keeping our relationship completely off the books, out of fear that L’s ex-girlfriend would find out and burn us at the stake. Prom season came around, and this new relationship fizzled. L left me to reunite with his ex, and I called S for an emergency prom date. He agreed to come with, but then broke that promise two weeks before prom. I was devastated; my dress was too.
College, Ages 18-22:
I spent my college years having an on- and off-again relationship with one guy, R. Conveniently, our off periods fell on Valentine’s Day, so we didn’t celebrate the holiday. Instead I spent those holidays hoping I’d open my school mailbox and be pummeled by cards and gifts all screaming of his affections for me. But usually, I had one or two pity cards from friends, and once I received a belated care package from my mother. My luck in this blasted love department changed in my senior year. R and I were giving our relationship yet another go-around, and this time, Valentine’s Day was happening and being acknowledged. We talked about going out to eat, so when he said he’d make the reservations, I assumed he would have the night planned out and ready. The morning of the big day, I woke with a smile on my face. I was going to have my first valentine. Turns out, R didn’t make reservations. He forgot about our conversation. He wasn’t planning on doing anything. My reaction to this new revelation wasn’t a happy reaction, which royally pissed him off. He nearly broke up with me. Somehow the relationship and the holiday were salvaged and dinner was back on–at R’s parents’ house. R and his roommate decided to cook dinner for their girlfriends, which meant I was sharing my very first Valentine’s Day experience with someone I didn’t really know and really didn’t care to know. The menu was fettuccine alfredo, with some frozen chicken they threw in for kicks. I think we had peas for a side dish. Miraculously, they knew to thaw and reheat the previously-grilled-by-the-manufacturer chicken. Also miraculously, I came away from that night having rolled my eyes at the roommate’s girlfriend only seven times, rather than my usual 20.
Post-College, Ages 22-Present:
It’s kind of sad to say, but there have been no romantic happenings in these recent years. In fact, the only action I’ve seen is a make out session here or there with a few serial make out artists, most of whom did not give me the slightest desire to write them love notes of any kind.
So, to conclude this lengthy list of evidentiary facts presented to you for your information, there is a lot to be lived up to by the future Mr. EB. You, sir, must: (1.) be breathing, (2.) have a backbone, (3.) share my requirement of using napkins when eating, and (4.) actually stick around for Valentine’s Day.
Hope you have a happy Valentine’s Day!