Flashback about, oh, thirty years: a wee ErinGoBrawl was interviewed by the local paper for a piece on Valentine’s Day, simply because she happened to be in the classroom that the reporter visited. When asked about what she liked most about Valentine’s Day, she didn’t bring up the candy or the cards, she simply stated: “I love it when people love you on Valentine’s Day.”
Thirty years later, I am pretty sure that I still love that in theory, but it’s safe to say that I love nothing else about Valentine’s Day. Except the heavily discounted candy the next day – and, arguably, that is a Day After Valentine’s Day thing, NOT a Valentine’s Day thing.
You see, in just about a decade and change, my starry-eyed love of Valentine’s Day took more body hits than Apollo Creed in Rocky IV. It’s not often that I have acknowledged Valentine’s Day in my post-childhood life, but whenever I did it was disastrous. And this is no Lonely Hearts Club rant – I was partnered up for most of the worst Valentine’s Days in my short history, but that never mattered. You see, I’ve sworn it off since the age of 19 and have not looked back.
BigBrawler is totally down with this and has supported my boycott. The only thing I worry about is raising my LittleBrawlers in such a dark household. I won’t begrudge them the splendor that is V-Day treats and cards in elementary school (do they even do that anymore?) and I won’t try to color their take on the holiday. I figure they’ll get to the same conclusion on their own. After all, Valentine’s Day is the worst.
In support of my theory, please allow me to present five pieces of “anecdata” otherwise known as my Worst Valentine’s Days.
5) Our Lust’s in Jeopardy, Baby: I really only add this because it was devastating at the time, but really hilarious now. This could take the top spot, to be sure, but I’ll give BigBrawler some credit because we are actually together 15 years later. I met BigBrawler in late January at a college party. I was instantly taken with him, but that could have been due to the tequila shots I had been hammering at the time. He at least pretended he was taken with me as he dropped some (really terrible, but hilarious) lines on me. And then we made out. Like, a lot. You can ask PinotNinja, I was in lovvvvveeee. At the time I had zero expectations for V-Day, but didn’t imagine active heartache happening that day.
Turns out, BigBrawler was in love, too, but mostly with the idea of being single after a long relationship.
I really had no expectations of exclusivity at the time, which was good because then it wasn’t too much of a shitshow when I heard about him making out with a friend of mine… on Valentine’s Day. I mean, the making out was the weekend prior, but I heard on V-Day while sharing a drink with the friend who tearfully admitted she kissed BB but she had no idea I liked him. I forgave both parties immediately, but not without some good-natured joking. And I like to trot it out every once in awhile to remind BB JUST HOW AWESOME AND COOL I AM AND HOW LUCKY HE IS.
4) Middle School Match Up: Student council would have a fundraiser that was the predecessor of OKCupid or eHarmony and/or child brides. Every kid would fill out a questionnaire about likes/dislikes, etc. For $5 you could get a list of your perfect matches in your grade; $5 more and you’d get your perfect matches throughout the school. My curiosity and lack of first kiss prospects got the better of me each year as I ponied up some hard-earned babysitting cash (ask me about the night where a neighbor’s demon cat trapped me in the bathroom after I put the kids to sleep).
Spoiler: it never ended well. I managed to squirrel away the evidence of terrible potential mates before anyone could see how dire my future in our little town would be… except for one year. When a friend (not a friend) got my shame sheets and somehow put copies up all over the locker rooms. And I was teased mercilessly at the Valentine’s Dance because (of course) I was rolling solo. Damnit.
3) Hold Me Closer, Tiny Stalker: My love affair with Valentine’s Day saw its initial road bump at the ripe old age of 11. This was still the time of punched out cards and conversation hearts dropped into a carefully decorated shoe box with your name on it. Basically, it was a time to feel loved and ride an all day sugar high. Bliss.
There was one kid, David, who had an extremely creepy crush on me. It was the kind of situation that gets administrators worried these days, but back then every adult thought it was “adorable.” I had fended him off for months – switching seats in the classroom (only to have his switched the next day) and rebuffing his advances on the playground (he always managed to get his lips awfully close to my face). But my plan had a gaping hole: V-Day. I couldn’t play defense at my shoe box while dropping off candy and cards for others! I would definitely get an inappropriate card from the kid. Boy, did I ever. For a bonus, he asked me out on a date in said card. My mother made me agree to the date over a painful phone call to David later that day.
David and his mother picked me up and we went to a movie and got pizza. He tried to hold my hand the entire time. He made us go into this little gift shop where he picked out the creepiest looking cat figurine and bought it for me. My mom wouldn’t let me hide it away, I had to keep it on the shelf in my room, openly staring at me with its creepy eyes. In retrospect, this was the best Valentine’s Day I’d ever have – which is TOTALLY messed up. Pretty sure David is a hedge fund manager somewhere. I wonder if he’s landed the girl of his dreams.
2) Life is Like a Half-Eaten Box of Chocolates: Alternative title: You Deserve Dead Flowers. My senior year boyfriend was a sweet, but not that bright, doofus of a kid. Okay, he also ran with a particularly stupid group of misogynistic football players, if we are being honest here. Fine, kid was a dummy.
Because of this kid’s inability to function like a normal human being, I literally had zero expectations for Valentine’s Day. This was a good thing.
Little did I know at the time that dude was looking for an exit strategy because: (1) it was senior year and (2) he was headed off to play Division I football. Girlfriends were a total drag in the scenario, obviously.
Turns out his mother gave him some cash and told him to go out and get me a gift. So, on February 13, he went to “the Sev” in our small town (7-Eleven for all you n00bs) and got a box of chocolates and a handful of carnations. He then used the leftover $20 to buy some Yuengling for himself and his friends.
On February 14th he handed me a handful of dead flowers (“you’re supposed to put them in water overnight?”) and a half-eaten box of chocolates (that his mom wrapped back up in pink tissue paper to prevent total mortification). The worst part: he ate all the good chocolates and left me with cherry-filled abominations. I didn’t even get any Yuengling!
About a week later, he dumped me over the phone, totally wasted during a night out with his friends. He actually drove drunk to my house to talk to me after that. I shoved him off of our deck before dramatically collapsing onto my stairs. I really should have gotten an award for my theatrics, at least. Or some Yuengling.
1) Once Again, But With More Disappointment!: At the age of 16, I had seen some shitty V-Days but was generally all about small, thoughtful gestures. So my junior year I got a small candy container and filled it up with my boyfriend’s favorite candies and made him a mix tape (we still did that back then, it was the NINETIES). I had no real expectations of getting anything in return; at this point I was pretty hardened to the holiday. I was looking forward to the usual hanging out on the couch and watching mindless television – nothing fancy needed. So, when the then boyfriend said that he had plans for us, I was honestly surprised and excited – maybe we’d get pizza? See a movie?
So, we piled in the car and he drove off to… the basketball courts at our high school. Eh? What? Okay, well this worked for me because I was on varsity at the time and thought a quick game of one on one would be fun, actually! I was totally game until he told me that he was meeting his friends and I was welcome to watch them play in the freezing rain. So I sat in his car shivering and ate his damn candy while listening to my mix tape, which was now alarmingly depressing, instead of hauntingly romantic.
I’m not saying that these are the worst possible Valentine’s stories out there, but it was enough to shake my love of love to the very core. Feel free to share your stories in the comments so we can have one big group hug/laugh.
Luckily, I am now matched up with a dude that, in spite of his appearance on my countdown, is more than happy to sidestep any real festivities or observance in favor of a good old fashioned high five and some Netflix.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all.
February 13, 2014 at 9:48 AM
I think what shook my love of Valentines day was the one that fell a week after my daughter was born. My boyfriend came over around 4 pm , and brought his gift which was fast food from a restaurant that I didn’t like. Then he stayed an hour and left to go home and play video games.
February 13, 2014 at 9:52 AM
Nikki, that is a rough V-Day! Lord knows that first week post partum is a freaking cauldron of emotion – dude is lucky you didn’t end him right then and there. Bless you.
February 13, 2014 at 10:01 AM
Whoa whoa whoa… I’m no molecular biologist, but I can’t imagine how the 5th grade OKCupid thing could be good for young psyches. That’d scar me even more than I currently am since that 5th grade accidental flatilence in my crush’s face.
Speaking of crushing, couldn’t player be a state of mind and crushing be as simple physical manifestation of that state? Thus making it possible to keep them completely separate?
February 13, 2014 at 11:23 AM
I love this story about 5th grade flatulence.
I quite enjoy the next-level discussion about Big Pun’s lyrics. This is exactly what he would want.
February 13, 2014 at 11:28 AM
Over a coupla cheeseburgers, right?
February 13, 2014 at 11:01 AM
Valentine’s day never meant much to me. I’m a nerd and wasn’t well liked or treated in my school. I never even entertained the idea that I would have anyone besides my friends to spend Valentine’s Day with. Even though I’m in a relationship, now, I’m still ambivalent about it all. It’s just an excuse to go on a date. ^_^
February 13, 2014 at 11:26 AM
I think ambivalence is the way to go. No one gets invested; no one gets hurt, right?
Date Night can be absolutely glorious. I’m still wary of coupling Date Nights with holidays. Most recently, New Year’s Eve Date Night devolved into a seriously angry discussion about math. Yup, math.
February 13, 2014 at 11:34 AM
I would be okay with discussing math…. but I’m also bad at it. I’m not sure how much worth I could add to that discussion.
February 13, 2014 at 11:08 AM
I’ve never had a memorable valentine’s day, for better or worse, but my mother did make me go on a date in junior high school with a total creepster. In exchange, my dad promised me a whole new wardrobe. That part never happened, but the date did. Ugh. At that moment, I vowed never to do that to my issue, but now that I’m a parent, I can see the utter entertainment in it. Can’t wait!
February 13, 2014 at 11:27 AM
I am pretty sure that you need to craft a convincing IOU to collect on that wardrobe!
I have also sworn not to do it to the little guys, but if they cross me terribly I may start setting them up at will.
February 13, 2014 at 1:51 PM
I dated a jock in high school and totally recognize number 2. Why are these losers all the same? What’s worse is I’m friends with him on the face place, and he keeps trying to get me into his Cult of Visalus, and it feels sort of stalkerish and weird.
February 13, 2014 at 2:00 PM
Even worse, why did we date them in the first place? UGH. I don’t think my Not Moxon is on the face place, which is a relief – no Body by Vi onslaught. I’m pretty sure he’d be more of an Amway guy at this point, anyway.
February 13, 2014 at 2:47 PM
What the hell is Yuengling?
February 13, 2014 at 3:22 PM
Oh my, Maggie. Lucky for you, I am fully equipped to answer your question. Yuengling is a delicious lager brewed in Pennsylvania, and was the brew of my formative years. It’s not available everywhere – was only a PA specialty for years and years (and is America’s Oldest Brewery!) – but is now available throughout the east coast. It’s not my favorite beer, but it is a classic!
February 15, 2014 at 5:27 PM
Childhood used to be so much creepier, it seems! I can’t believe they did a perfect-mate match up thing in Middle School… and that your Mom made you go on a date with that boy and display his card in your bedroom? So freakin’ weird.
February 18, 2014 at 4:35 PM
It’s really weird! I like to think that the weird stuff help fortify us to deal with bigger weirdness later in life, right? There *had* to be a purpose.
February 16, 2014 at 10:34 PM
I love that David bought you a cat figurine and that your mom made you display it!! I hope you still have it! So funny!
February 18, 2014 at 4:36 PM
I had it for years and years, actually! I am sure it’s in the depths of a box in my mom’s basement at this point. The poor cat had lost its tail and an ear when I saw it last, but it was still creepy. Ah, young stalker love is resilient.
February 19, 2014 at 9:24 PM
You’re so lucky! I had a stalker for a little while, but never got any gifts out of it. Bummer…
February 18, 2014 at 9:45 AM
Little known fun fact — ErinGoBrawl and BigBrawler definitely and repeatedly “danced” to Big Pun during that period of college where they pretended (and they were not fooling anyone) that they were not in love with each other. And by “danced,” I mean made out in the corner of a crowded party while vaguely moving to the beat. Oh 1999, you were the best…
February 18, 2014 at 4:38 PM
TOTALLY THE BEST! Yes, Big Pun, OF COURSE. But “Can I Get A…” was the soundtrack to much, much mischief and ne’er do well-ness.