A Valentine's Day Disaster
By Stephanie Lynn, age 21, Massachusetts
I will never forget Valentine's Day about a dozen years ago. It was one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life. I was in fourth grade, and kids in class all gave each other Valentine's Day cards. I mean, in fourth grade everyone gives a Valentine to everyone, even the Ralph Wiggum kid who picks his nose with his pencil.
Anyway, I asked my mother to buy some Valentine's Day cards. I told her anything but Barbie. In second grade I had been obsessed with Barbie. Of course my mom, being my mom, knew that. But by fourth grade, Barbie was soooh uncool, at least in my school. I guess we thought that Barbie and her Malibu Dreamhouse were immature now that we'd reached the sophisticated age of nine.
I thought so too, which is why I specifically told her anything but Barbie. But my mom, who is currently living in the year 2002 (but I really love you, mom!), forgot that I'd asked for cards featuring the latest Disney movie. Maybe The Lion King - I don't remember now. You know moms. They're like your other relatives in that they remember how you were years ago, and don't realize you're changing all the time. We'll probably do the same thing to our kids and grandkids, even though we swear we won't.
Okay, so everyone in class went around giving everyone else a card. 22 kids, 22 cards. Then we opened them all up. Then one kid (a boy, of course) exclaimed, "Ewww! Steph gave me a Barbie card!" Pretty soon a bunch of kids were commenting about my Barbie cards and laughing at me. I was sooooh embarrassed. I wanted to run away and hide.
Yeah, Valentine's Day is great ... and it sometimes can be kinda sucky. Especially if you're not in a relationship or you don't get any Valentine's Day cards. Believe me, I've been there.
I'm sure you've all had your share of bad Valentine's Day experiences. Feel free to write and share them. The good news is that even if February 14, 2007 isn't your Valentine's Day to remember, maybe 2008 will be. True love often happens when we least expect it.
As for the day itself, I think maybe society (including teen society) has created expectations and built it up into something that almost no one's experience can live up to ... sort of like the Griswold Family Christmas. At best, Valentine's Day is a time for people to express feelings of love and like and appreciation. At worst, it implies that if you don't have that special somebody, then you're nobody special yourself.
But, as I said, fortunes can change quickly, even reverse. The nerd, the geek, and the Ugly Betty in middle school or high school often become successful, happy adults with wonderful husbands and wives they met in college or at work. And sometimes The Plastics in high school end up not doing so well in the real world. I'm 21 now, and I see it happening. It's happened that way for me, the nerd who seldom got a Valentine past elementary school when everyone got one by law.
Cool is fleeting, popularity short lived, but character remains. Happy Valentine's Day!