By Peter Armado
One of the moments I miss about elementary school is Valentine’s Day. We would take out an empty box or paper bag and decorate it with pink, red, and purple hearts.
Then we’d walk around the classroom and deliver cards to our classmates, and the only reason we even gave one to somebody we didn’t like was because they were the ones who had the cards with the mini Lifesavers candy inserts.
Some kids would even hand out boxes of Sweethearts, the stale, heart-shaped pieces of colored chalk with the poorly printed messages of love. I never knew if they ever had an expiration date, as they never tasted that great. However, nowadays you can tell it’s a more recent batch if they say, “Tweet Me” or “Text Me”.
I wonder if they still keep the more cynical ones like “My Way”, “Wise Up”, and “I’m Sure”. Those always left a bad taste in my mouth. But no matter how gross those candies were I still loved getting them.
I guess the most challenging part about Valentine’s Day was figuring out who would get which card. We’d generally get those boxes of pre-printed, perforated cards with the heart-shaped stickers to seal them. But I couldn’t give the “Be My Valentine” one to my best friend. That’s just awkward. And I couldn’t give it to the girl that always wiped snot onto her sleeve. She might be expecting a marriage proposal! So each recipient had to be carefully chosen, as I did not want anybody getting the wrong idea.
I mean it was just elementary school; I had years to grow into my floozy self. There was, however, one person I did want to be my Valentine. It was when I was in fifth grade, and her name was Sandy. By that point in my life, I had already come out to my mother… at least on some level. When I was six years old I told her that I would get rich, buy her a big mansion, and paint it hot pink ALL OVER. Of course, I didn’t know I was gay back then. I just thought hot pink was the sensible thing for a woman like her.
Sandy was my crush, she reminded me of Min from Barney & Friends. She had a pretty smile and the cutest dimples that I’ve ever seen. The card I chose for her had a cartoon teddy bear holding a heart with “Be Mine” on it. I even discarded the duplicates. At the end of the day, I spilled the cards out onto my desk and immediately searched for the card that Sandy gave me. I ripped open the heart-shaped seal, and there it was: “I’m so glad to have you as a friend.” I immediately felt the pain that Ralph felt when Lisa Simpson shot him down. Bang… bang.
Nowadays, Valentine’s Day isn’t that exciting to me, at least as far as dating goes. I don’t think taking a guy out for Valentine’s Day is special at all, particularly when everybody else is doing it. It’s like saying, “Hey, I’m only doing this because I’m supposed to.” I think birthdays and anniversaries are much better events to spend with somebody and truly make them feel special and unique.
And what’s better than a spontaneous, romantic dinner? Valentine’s Day to me is a day to remind my friends and family how much I love them; I stand by this whether or not I’m in a relationship. It sucked for my ex-boyfriends, I know. It’s not that I don’t like romance. I just find spontaneity and creativity to be much more romantic.
It did seem to affect my last boyfriend a bit more. Hank was a 25-year-old math teacher with an infectious smile and a positive attitude. I was his (almost) first everything. He had never had a boyfriend, and he had never had sex. I on the other hand, had quite a few boyfriends before Hank, and when it came to sex, well… let’s just say I was a bit more experienced.
Hank was pretty disappointed that I don’t take dates out on Valentine’s Day. I explained my point of view, and he explained his. I honestly can’t remember what we did that day, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t go out to dinner, and I’m damn sure we didn’t work on him losing his virginity. But you know who’s to blame? Sandy. That bitch.
So what am I doing for Valentine’s Day this year? Probably spending time with friends. Or who knows? Maybe I will go on a date. Either way, I’m going to take the time to let people know that I care. Spread the love, and have a Happy Valentine’s Day!
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