This is part of the weekly challenge.
I used to be one of those people who just absolutely hates Valentine’s Day. This was when I was in my early 20s and thought the world owed me things—things like a perfect boyfriend, perfect friends, and parents who were perfectly understanding like so many sitcom parents.
I don’t hate Valentine’s Day anymore, and watching people get all worked up over it kind of baffles me. The only thing I ever really get worked up over regarding Valentine’s Day is the fact that it’s Easter Candy Eve. And Easter Candy is the best candy.
When I reflect on Valentine’s Days past, the overwhelming feeling I get is awkwardness.
Valentine’s Day was so fun in elementary school: making Valentine’s…receptacles (?), shopping for cool Valentines, and getting a Valentine’s party where we got to eat tons of sweets.
When I was in 6th grade, I remember the night of Valentine’s I was unable to fall asleep for a long time, probably because I ate too much candy that evening. The next day when I told my parents about not being able to fall asleep, my mom said to my dad in that loud, embarrassing whisper she uses when she talks about any kind of medical issue, “I think she’s about to start her monthlies…” I don’t know who was more horrified: my dad or me.
My mother grew up in Hungary and has trouble with English pronunciation. She sometimes calls it Wellentyme’s Day.
When I was 19 or 20, I was half-assedly dating a guy and it really didn’t go anywhere. I remember we didn’t do anything for Valentine’s Day but get each other cards, however, when my birthday came around two months later, he bought me the Twin Peaks boxed set, which I think cost $100 at the time. That made me feel weird because I was about to break up with him. I had the boxed set for years, though, until I got rid of my VCR and all my VHS tapes.
Last year, some morning radio DJs were having listeners call in with their horrible Valentine’s Day stories. They were all perfect clichés: a wife or girlfriend who has a major meltdown because her husband/boyfriend doesn’t read her mind and create for her the perfect Valentine’s Day experience. But I know people like that. Last year a guy I know tried to come up with something to do that his wife would enjoy. She rejected all his ideas and wouldn’t supply any of her own (he claims). They ended up having a fight for Valentine’s Day.
My first roommate when I was 21 serially dated guys she had absolutely nothing in common with. Every time Christmas, her birthday, or Valentine’s Day rolled around, it became a test for the unfortunate soul she happened to be seeing at the time. She had very specific parameters for gifts that no guy could ever accurately meet: their gifts were always too cheap, too dull, or too “Oh, my God. Seriously?”
She expected the guy to just know exactly what the perfect thing for her would be. She didn’t drop hints or anything because it was his job to know her well enough to just get it. I’m not sure she even had anything specific in mind half the time—she just expected that a good boyfriend would be able to produce the ideal present. (Why is it the guy’s responsibility to make Valentine’s Day happen?).
When I was around that same age, I remember crying because my parents sent me a Valentine. I was so resentful and angry that I didn’t have anyone else (a significant other) to send me a Valentine. I’m pretty sure I told them never to send me a Valentine again. (A few years later I heard that Jenny Lewis song where she sings, “It’s like a Valentine/ From your mother/ It’s bound to melt your heart,” and I remembered that incident and felt like a real shithead).
I think that was the same year my friend Kelly and I bought each other boxes of Valentine’s chocolates so we wouldn’t feel bereft. Although they were identical boxes so we basically bought them for ourselves.