At the risk of sounding like a romantic killjoy, I have never been big on Valentine’s Day. It probably stems from the fact that I went to an all girls school as a child, where telling a female classmate you wanted her to “Be Mine” just felt, well … weird.
But I played along in the early years, handing out homemade heart-shaped cut-outs in kindergarten to the rest of the girls in my class. But somewhere around the third grade, those labours of love got stigmatized for being passé, too tired, as if toiling for hours over glittered construction paper and doily fringe somehow begged the question, “What, you were too LAZY to go to the drugstore and just BUY them?”
Even then, when I finally did give in to the pop culture card craze, the array of unfortunate choices always left me scratching my preadolescent head. Should I go with the grossly inappropriate “You’re sweet enough to eat!” Raggedy Ann and Andy series, or the equally confusing Boy Wonder cards, with Robin sashaying in his manly tights bellowing, “HOLY HEARTTHROB Batman, we’d make a swinging couple!” Either way, ew.
However, I have enjoyed watching my children write out their Valentines each year, though I suspect their enthusiasm for the ritual has almost run its course by now. From here, we likely head toward preadolescent crushes and teen dating. God help us all.
I remember grappling with my own allegiance to Valentine’s Day the February I turned nine when a boy named Connor asked me to ‘go around’ with him. I had no idea what that meant, but I felt all tingly and nauseous when he asked me, so it seemed like a good idea. I’d met him at my friend Hayley’s house that afternoon, and with only twenty minutes of shared airspace, he popped the big question. We ‘went around’ for about three hours that day, then as our play date was wrapping up, he promptly broke up with me. I returned home having loved and lost without so much as a card or fistful of sticky cinnamon hearts to show for it. The bastard.
Ah well, at least I’m not bitter about it. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!