It hit me yesterday that different life stages have warranted very different reactions about Valentine’s Day. I noted yesterday that the last 13 of my V-Days were spent alone or in the comfort of friends who commiserated along side me. And after writing the post I realized that there’s been an evolution of my own V-Days.
Who doesn’t love this holiday? It was always one of the biggest class parties where math and science afternoon lessons were cut short in lieu of cake, candy and the exchanging of cards. We always made our V-day baggies/mailboxes to hang at the foot of the chalkboard and throughout the day we would stick notes of love affirmations for the boy(s) we had crushes on. Essentially, everyone in the class received the same goods. It was always Even Stephen.
No clue who these kids are, but it sorta looks circa 1985ish and let's pretend I was in elementary school in this photo.
This day always brought on the rise of adolescent insecurities and anxieties about how to tell the boy you were crushing on you liked him, yet knowing deep down inside you never had the courage to. Some girls received cards or teddy bears from their boyfriends, but mostly it was just an excuse to wear some ESPIRIT or Guess pink and red outfit that you got to pick out at the mall.
This was definitely a day that divided The Haves and The Have-Nots. I was always a Have Not. Boys decorated their girlfriends locker with streamers or balloons, gave flowers to show off their affections and at the end of the day some of the largest balloon arrangements were always delivered. Carnations were sold for $1 the days leading up to the big event and the more carnations you received, the better off you were. They were then delivered to classrooms with notes attached throughout the day by student staff assistants. My junior year I received one delivered during Algebra class. I gasped thinking that the one boy I had been crushing on for nearly 6 months had figured out he had liked me as well. I opened the note attached to the white carnation only to find out my brother bought it for me. Wondering if my father spotted him the dollar bill to purchase it for me knowing that coming home from school empty handed would have been devastating for me.
These four years were more fun spent with sorority sisters lounging around in the chapter house watching chic flicks in our PJs. Some of us had boyfriends, but for whatever reason it was always more fun to actually spend V-Day with a group of drunken girls.
Twenty-Something Career Professional
I worked for and ad agency I refer to as Satan’s Sweatshop during a good portion of my twenties. Happy hour rarely ever started prior to 6:45 if any of us ever had the energy to even attend it. Those V-days were mainly filled with efforts to avoid the front lobby so that I didn’t have to spot yet another delivery of an expensive, overdone floral arrangement. Another abundant reminder that I went home to a dark apartment to a beagle I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with and a life outside of work that seemed it was almost non-existent. I started to realize that this day made me feel more single than I already felt, though I was in an abusive relationship with my job. Abusive meaning I got the shit beat out of me in terms of workloads and insane requests. However, I wouldn’t have changed it and I was damn good at it to.
These days I just view this day as another notch on the winter calendar. It is also a reminder that I don’t wear any red or pink and my closet is again filling up with lots of navy and black. The last few years I’ve worked from the comfort of my home office so I don’t have to expose myself to deliveries of red roses and cookie bouquets. I realized that this is really just a day to celebrate love of all kinds and this year I called my parents on the night before to tell them I loved them and to confirm that after 36 years, I was still their Valentine.
To top it off a sweet, handsome gentleman knocked on my front door at 6:45 with a bottle of our favorite wine, a tub of hot queso, fresh salsa and warm chips for appetizer munchies prior to our home-cooked and low-key dinner. Who needs giant stuffed teddy bears that eventually get relegated to the closet or the neighbors spring garage sale any way?