Happy Heinous Holiday!
I sat in the third seat back on the left side of the classroom in Mrs. Pasley’s Algebra 2 class. It was Valentine’s Day. There was a knock on the door and she let them in. While I was relieved to have a break from quadratic equations, (that’s literally the only algebra term I can remember and I had to look it up to make sure it was actually a valid term), I knew what their entrance meant.
It was the annual Delivering of the Valentines.
As a fund-raiser, student council would sell Valentines and then distribute them during class. Each year, I didn’t have a sweetheart, but I always hoped that maybe there was some mystery boy out there who would send me one. There never was. I watched as the student council members wove their way through the rows, placing the Valentines like blue ribbons on the popular kids’ desks.
I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed. The majority of us were left to just stare at those damn quadratic equations, not love notes.
Moving on to college, the scene changed only slightly. Same shit different setting. In the dorm, we had to get our mail from the mailboxes behind the front desk. On Valentine’s Day, we would all check to see if we received the little slip that said, “You have a package to pick up at the front desk.” We all knew what that meant. Flowers. Each young woman who received them carried her trophy back to her room feeling validated within an inch of her life.
I was one of them one year and while it felt great, it was tempered by the fact that I knew how it felt to not receive anything. I almost wanted to hide them under my coat. On a shallow level, I don’t even like store bought flowers.
My experiences have not all been negative. I’ve given and received lovely cards and gifts and gone out to dinner and the whole nine yards. I love love. When I see people falling in love it fills me with joy. But to me, Valentine’s Day makes it seem like we’re celebrating a club that only the lucky ones get to be a member of. “We’re in love and you’re not.”
Even when I’ve been involved in romantic relationships, the overwhelming emotion I feel associated with Valentine’s Day is fear. My thoughts race depending on where we are in our courtship. Will my significant other like the card I got him? Is this card too romantic for where we are in this relationship? Is it romantic enough? Should I even get a card? Is this gift too intimate or not intimate enough? Will he spend more on me than I’ve spent on him or vice versa? We’re sort of in a rocky spot in our relationship. Is there a card for that?? We just started seeing each other. What the hell am I supposed to do for that? The card he got me shows me that he’s waaaay further along than I am. How do I set the record straight? Exhausting!
I hate it from all sides. I don’t want the man I’m with to go through the same thing either.
I’d rather just avoid it all and I know I’m not the only one. To celebrate the day, I wear black from head to toe and I invite you to join me. It makes me feel like a powerful rebel and let’s face it, who doesn’t look great dressed in all black?
Let’s not celebrate Valentine’s Day by laughing at some Valentine’s fails: