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Valentine’s Day Special: Mandatory Courting

February 14, 2011



“Um, Emily? You wanna be my Valentine?” (It’s November.)



DO I?!”


From that moment on, we were computer partners every Tuesday and Thursday, and we played house with my Tommy Pickles doll every day during Recess. He was the subject of my morning journals and not one of our friends weighed in on whether or not we were meant to be.


Three weeks later, my mother found out that her first grader was going steady, and told me I should opt instead for being “special friends” with Mr. King (yes, that was his name. We pretended I was Mrs. Queen in our house games).


But Bob was a trooper. For the next five years before he moved away to a distant land, he diligently bought me a box of chocolates, a rose, and a card, every Valentine’s Day, and chased me around the playground trying to kiss me every Recess.




“So I was thinking… Do you want to go to the Valentine’s Day Dance with me?”


Good Lord. I took a deep breath – my heart was pounding. It took me a whole five minutes of phone conversation to get that out. Of course, you’d think that at some point during that banter, I would have noticed I WAS ON SPEAKERPHONE.



At the family dinner table, no less.


“Jonathan – you should go! She’s such a sweet girl,” his mother told him in Spanish.


“No, mom. My friends wouldn’t like that,” he replied, also in Spanish.


Unfortunately, he had forgotten that three years ago, when he arrived here from Guatemala, I had taught him English. Meaning I knew enough Spanish to get it.


I hung up. He went to the dance with some other girl.




I was very sick on Valentine’s Day, but my boyfriend and I agreed to go out once I was well again to make up for it.


A couple weeks later I picked him up. In my car.


We ate at Fancy Restaurant. You may notice a slight disparity between our outfits.



We went to see a movie and were the only two people in the theater. The whole time I sat, anxious, wondering where we were as a couple, debating whether he would try to make out with me in an empty theater, and hoping to God he wouldn’t try to make out with me in an empty theater because I didn’t think we were there yet.


Then we exchanged gifts. He gave me a card. It said something about how I was pretty cool. I gave him a blanket. I had handmade it in our school colors and even copied our school emblem onto the back. Then he kissed me, and all I could do was panic about how long a kiss was appropriate in this situation, whether we should even be kissing in my car, and hoping he wasn’t messing up my make-up.


(Technically) Adult


I’m sitting at home, with my curtains drawn and doors locked, watching Sweeney Todd and stuffing my face with brownies.


Something’s gone dreadfully wrong.


What turned this amazing holiday into something I fear, dread, and avoid like a llamaraptor with a machete and an invisibility cloak?


I started talking about it with a friend and discovered that I’m rather jaded when it comes to V-Day.


I just really miss the predictability. You go to school and the teacher lets you play arts and crafts all day long while consuming massive amounts of candy and receiving balloons and flowers from those you love and care about.


So I was all, “Why can’t we have that kind of predictability when it comes to grown-up love, too?”


And he so kindly reminded me that “that’s called courtship.”



So. I’m declaring that we either get rid of Valentine’s Day entirely, or make courting mandatory.


Because girls, just admit it. If you have a boyfriend, you spend the whole preceding week wondering what kind of plans he’s making, what kind of gift to get him that’s precisely reciprocal to the one he’s getting you, and exactly where you two are, because you don’t want to say something like “I love you” and scare the crap out of him, but you also can’t let him be more emotional than you.


And if you’re single, no matter how much you try to keep your hopes down, those darn movies and cards and commercials and Disney ideals completely convince you that by the end of the day, your knight in shining armor will knock on your door, bearing flowers and chocolates, take you out to dinner and a movie, then drive you home, holding your hand and talking about nothing, and drop you at your door after kissing you sweetly on the cheek… And you’ll be married in the morning, if you’re really holding to those Disney ideals.


But in all seriousness, don’t we all deserve that? It doesn’t come with any worries about the relationship or questions of  appropriate behavior.


All that matters is that you enjoyed his company for the evening.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2011 2:23 am

    ‘…stuffing my face with brownies…’ Oh, how I can relate! The worst is when you have to catch public transport on Valentine’s Day and watch all the smug bitches struggle home from work with their bunches of roses.

    • April 2, 2011 2:55 pm

      Gawd. Now THAT would be a test of my will-power! Hence why I stay in on V-Day… and stuff my face with brownies… and watch movies about people killing each other…

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