Monday, February 13, 2012

A Quarter Century: Tainted Love

For recommended audio accompaniment to this post click here.


I'll dispose of the normal chronological format for this Quarter Century post since, given the subject, it would be pointless. In my life I've had (what I consider) my fair share of romantic flings but in all 25 years of my life there have only been two women that I called "girlfriend." Of those two, only one coincided with a period of time that overlapped Valentine's Day -- and even then, just barely -- and so my Valentine's score is a hefty 1 for 25.

I suppose that's not entirely accurate. The elementary years being what they were I believe there was at least one time that I had a "valentine" so we'll bump it up to 2 for 25.

Why is the picture for this post me, alone, on a mountain? Because all things considered that's how I'd like to spend the day. My all-time favorite Feb. 14 was my freshman year of college. None of us guys had anyone expecting us to spend our money on them so we all went down to the Fieldhouse for a rousing night of Racquetball followed by, if I'm remembering correctly, a viewing of Transporter 2. World, you can keep your chocolates, I'll take the courts and Jason Statham with the guys any day of the week.

Don't mistake my tone, I do not mean to imply any sadness in having missed out on 23 opportunities to spend inordinate amounts of money on a female simply because the gift card companies would like me to. Valentine's Day is a joke. Every other gift-giving holiday has a semblance of reason behind -- someone's birthday, the anniversary of your marriage, the birth and resurrection of the "alleged" (I don't want to get political here) savior of mankind. But a day to celebrate love? Come on.

I remember very few of my earlier V-Days. At Valley Elementary the tradition was for every student to bring a personalized box to school. You would place it along the wall of the gymnasium and put a Valentine Card in each one. I support this practice. One year my box was Buzz Lightyear's spaceship, I was pretty proud of that one.

I remember in 2nd grade I pestered a nice girl named Rose to be "my Valentine." I think she said yes (scoreboard) and I'm fairly certain that as of February 15 1993 I never spoke to her again.

The next year I asked a nice girl named Karen to be my Valentine. She said yes, but un-Valentined me when she found out that I really had my heart set on someone else. That was pretty much the last time I put any effort into the holiday until 2010.

I don't remember a single Valentine's Day during high school, which baffles me. My senior year was spent mostly with the same girl who I think over the course of 1.5 academic years I broke up with 7 different times. Frankly, after 5 you just start to lose track. Somehow, miraculously, we never really struck "boyfriend" status and somehow, somehow, we must have leap-frogged over V-Day during one off our "off" periods. Valentine's at High School was mostly consumed by the school dance anyway, which was girls choice and since I lived in the valley I rarely got asked out to girl's choice dances.

That sounds worse than it is. Girls at Weber High School were a little lazy (and snobby) in my day and a 30-minute drive was just too much effort for most. On top of that, many of the wonderful (sarcasm) North Ogden parents don't allow their children to drive to the Valley because of how dangerous the canyons are -- as evidenced by the fact that 400 of us did it every, single, day to get to school.

What happened in 2010 you ask? That was one of the two official girlfriends. I was pleased at myself for a) having an official girlfriend and b) having an official girlfriend during February so I figured "hey, I probably won't get another shot at this. Might as well go all out."

So I did. And wouldn't you know it, I was right. I haven't gotten another shot at it.

I bought her flowers (Asiatic lilies in a red vase, she dug it), we went on a short wintery walk along the river, I put on a suit and she put on a little black dress and I took her to the most expensive restaurant in Logan (Le Noni, soooooo good) where we dined on Salmon Crepes, Gnochi and Creme Brule -- sidenote, I believe in "companionship" and "love" and all that good stuff but truly, I just want a girlfriend so I have an excuse to eat good food -- and then we went back to my apartment for a low-key viewing of Annie Hall. It was, in fact, a very enjoyable evening.

We broke up two weeks later.


Not that I don't have my own traditions. In recent years I've enjoyed buying children's Valentine's Cards and distributing them ironically to my friends. In 2009 it was Marvel Super Heroes, 2010 it was Transformers and last year it was Justin Bieber. That set was especially cool because it came with a JB Poster that I gave to my friends Emily and Kasey, it's still hanging on the wall in their apartment. This year I don't even have that little activity to cheer me up. Since I just relocated less than a month ago -- and since all of my friends are, like me, recent college graduates -- I have more friends abroad than domestic at the moment. It would take WAY more effort than I'm willing to give to an ironic gesture.

So what am I doing this year? Well, besides writing the obligatory Valentines day article for The Deseret News (every newspaper has one) I'm going to have some Ben time. I might go see a movie, I might treat myself to a nice meal, I might even stop by Gallivan and see how crowded the ice is. I haven't really made up my mind.

Maybe Transporter 3 is at the Redbox?

1 comment:

  1. Fav part was the canyon comment, so true. Don't forget how magically it took them longer to drive up to see us then it took us to drive down to see them. Some sort of Star Trekkie space time continuum conundrum I'm sure.

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