V-Day: The day boys became friends and friends became enemies

So I should have posted this Friday, but I was en route to my own Valentine’s Day celebration in south Louisiana – a Star Wars marathon, complete with both Ewok movies.

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My honey sent my goodies on Monday so I could enjoy them the whole week.

Three days late and a dozen roses short, I guess.

Anyway,  the weather that was Icepocalypse 2014 was over just in time for thousands of roses to make their way to the desks of women everywhere.

It’s Valentine’s Day – the day our calendars remind us to tell our significant other that they mean something to us be it through an elaborate spray of roses, dinner date or nocturnal activity.

That’s all well and good, but let’s be honest. It’s Valentine’s Day that is the day we as women learned just how complicated relationships can be, the day we learned the opposite sex would either surprise or disappoint, the day we learned to dislike our own friends.

And it all goes back to the innocence of elementary school for it was on this day that those envelopes made of paper plates graced the walls of our classrooms and we learned just who was crushing on who.

I remember what a big deal it was going to Walmart to pick out cards to take to school. Selection was so important – we were all judged based upon what cartoon character was on those cards.

Though I have no recollection of what I chose, I’m sure I strayed from the typical girl character and went for He-Man or Transformers.

At any rate, once cards had been chosen, there was the stress of choosing just the right card for that crush. And unlike the rest of the cards, where you simply wrote “to” and “from”, this one might have a carefully drawn heart or other special inscription.

When we arrived at school, we “delivered” our cards and were forced to wait until the afternoon to learn if our crushes were reciprocated. There was no greater feeling than opening the card from that cute boy to find he had carefully signed his own name “with love.”

There was also no greater heartbreak to find it was his mother who had signed his name and his personal note was on the card that belonged to your best friend.

The first scenario played out well with a quick kiss on the cheek in the tunnel at final recess. (For those of you who don’t know about the “tunnel”, it’s common practice in the south that concrete culverts are placed on school playgrounds as “equipment.” They really serve no purpose other than an awkward first kiss.)

The latter – we found ourselves crying on the shoulder of the girl who, just a few hours earlier, was an enemy but now our best friend because our previous best friend was in the tunnel with our crush.

As we grew up, things didn’t change much. In middle school, the kiss on the cheek progressed to the lips or we made more frienemies. In high school, we got a single rose or stuffed animal at school which led to a skipped class or even more of those frienemies. As adults, we get a dozen roses at work, which leads to us having a headache later or comparing our arrangements to the woman at the next desk.

I suppose I should drop the cynicism. I write this as the sweet smell of a dozen red roses wafts through the newsroom, and this time there’s no one crying in the bathroom.

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