Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cupid Must Die



Some days, I’m really glad I’m an adult. Valentine’s Day is one of those days. Sure, after five years of marriage the day isn’t the 24-hour love-fest that Hallmark wants it to be, but anything is better than the Valentine’s Days of my adolescence, when I pined over boys who didn’t know I existed and usually ended with me holed up in my bedroom smoking pot alone and crying. Hey, this was the early-90’s, before it became de rigueur to prescribe much-needed anti-depressants to anyone under the age of say, 40.

The “will you be my Valentine” anxiety didn’t present itself until high school. You see, for grades K-8 I attended one of those typical California crunchy-granola private schools where a bunch of liberal parents sent their kids for “an excellent, well-rounded education” which is just code for “I’m afraid that if Leon goes to the local public school he’ll get the shit kicked out him.” At Branley, my grade school, they ran the place like a small dictatorial country, and issued edicts such as all lunches must be packed in recyclable earth-friendly bags, and you must bring Valentine cards for everyone in class. Yes, even for Leon, who smells like pee and talks to himself at lunch. While I disagree with Dictatorships in the larger political sense, it definitely avoided a lot of hurt feelings in the pre-pubescent set. But it did not prepare me for the cruel, cold world of high school. Ah, high school. Where hormones are raging and it seems that every other person in the school is getting some except for you.

Every year on Valentine’s Day at my high school, the student council ran some stupid fundraiser where you could anonymously send a rose to the object of your love (or rather, lust. We’re talking teenagers here). I dreamed for days of being one of those chosen girls who received a long-stemmed red rose in the middle of Algebra. This rose delivery would then lead to hours of telephone conversations that night while my friends and I discussed at length which of the pimply, scrawny, overly-sexed guys at our school might possibly be my secret admirer. Alas, my Valentine fantasies never came true. I sat in Algebra, balancing equations, while my classmates received roses from admirers and squealed with delight. And, true to form, I spent romantic Valentine evenings with my thrice-divorced Mother, my cat, and my V-Day present to myself, a new hand-blown glass bong.

They say that hindsight is 20-20, and I can honestly tell you that I now understand why none of the boys bought me a rose. Hey, I’ve seen pictures of myself. I had a uni-brow, an asymmetrical haircut, and clothes that were a men’s size extra large. Truthfully, I’m not even sure the boys in my school knew I was a girl. Thankfully, in the years since high school I have learned about waxing, gotten a better hairstylist, and purchased some clothes that are cut for women. I’ve also bagged myself a rather adorable dude who loves me and wanted to marry me despite having seen my yearbook photos. So I’m happy I’ve reached the stage in my life where Valentine’s Day is no longer a guaranteed trip down depression lane. I’m content with a nice glass of wine, a quiet dinner at home, and no anxiety. Of course, I’m definitely expecting some long-stemmed red roses from the Hubby next year. Algebra class delivery optional.

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