2.11.2009

Valentine's

Valentine's Day is a mixed bag of emotion for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I'll fully appreciate it one day. Maybe soon. Maybe never. But up 'til now, Valentine's has been a mish-mash of red and pink candy, broken-heartedness, Ninja Turtle Valentines, and candy hearts with oft-too personal impersonal messages. What says "I Love You" better than sugary chalk? Valentine's is a cruel reminder, for some, of their solitary status. Easy example: I have never dated nor been dating anyone during the Valentine's season. Ever. That said, February 14th rolls around and I usually find myself on the couch, nursing a half-empty bottle of Martinelli's, clinging to a box of extra-dark Swiss chocolates, and sniffling through "Breakfast at Tiffany's." It's those nights that I think "No wonder Valentine's gets put in the middle of the shortest, coldest month of the year!" For others, Valentine's is a frantic rush to show their affection in a more commercial fantastic way than they normally do. Guys often feel big time pressure to show their significant others just how much they really adore them. Trust me--we generally do really adore our significant others. But when that pressure is put on all of us to perform at our best all at the same time, on the same day, doing basically the same stuff, well...we feel like some of the magic is taken away from showing our sweethearts just how sweet they are to us. And yet, I still harbor hope that for some, maybe the lucky few, Valentine's is a day to soak up the love in their life. To reflect on the love of their life. To sit down with that love, or take that love dancing, or go out with that love for a romantic dinner, and basically just bask in the other person. To revel in Twue Wuv. Romanticized? Sure. Awesome? Yes. Real? I hope so. With this background in mind, I give you some of my favorite, and most memorable, Valentine's Day Memories: Second Grade. I had a Crush on Natalie Tucker--first one of my young life. I don't remember why I had a Crush on her exactly, but it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. So, when Valentine's Day rolled around, I declared my undying second grade love for Natalie in the smoothest way I could think of: slipping her not one, but two Leonardo Ninja Turtle Valentines, and an extra candy heart in the envelope that said "I Like You." LEONARDO, people. In my mind, I was the Eight-Year-Old Rico Suave of Bonneville Elementary. 'Nuf said. How Natalie could have missed the signs, is beyond me...but she did, and it broke my little second grade heart. Later that day, after she made no notice of my Ninja Turtle love, I slipped a note into her desk: "Natalie--I like you. Eric V." She didn't find that note until the end of the school year. When she found it, she laughed. Years later in high school, I was secretly glad when she moved away. Fifth Grade. New Crush this year, but after the Tucker fiasco of second grade, I still didn't have the confidence to make my move on my new Crush--Liz Maxwell. I had scoped out her interest via her neighbor, Mark Thornton:
  • Me: "Dude, Mark, do you think Liz likes me?"
  • Mark: "Probably not, man."
  • Me: "Ok..."
So with that Crush crushed as well, I decided to just wow my classmates with my Valentine's Day Box creating skills. I made a dragon. It was an AWESOME dragon--conceptually. In the creation of the dragon, though, I'm pretty sure my lack of artistic skills shone through. Papier Mache, paints, and sculpting are all three something I can do separately with some level of success. Combine them, though, and instead of a dragon, you got a large red lumpy mass with a hole for shoving cards into. Mr. Miller, my homeroom teacher, asked me if I had made a British Post Box. I said something "smart" back to him and had to do 15 push ups for that man. I did a lot of push ups that year. Junior Year, East High. Disney didn't choose East High School to be the site of High School Musical by chance. We were a music-loving, choir-geek oasis in the middle of Salt Lake City. Our choir teacher, Anne Applegate, was an all-star, and she taught us not only how to sing, but how to perform. By the time we graduated, we were smokin' hot singin' fools! With that background, how could the Junior guys of 2000 not grab their sunglasses, red ties, and sheet music to go visit the girls in our high school--the girls who may have been lonely or simply alone on Valentine's night? That's right, we serenaded the ladies on Valentine's Day. Our repertoire consisted of three songs, choreography included: Burt Bacharach's Close to You, Billy Joel's Goodnight my Angel, and Stevie Wonder's Isn't She Lovely? We did it because we loved to sing, we didn't have dates ourselves, and because each and every one of us dreamed that at one of these houses, one of the girls would pick one of us out of the crowd, whisper "came back later," and true love would blossom. Sadly, that never happened. February 14, 2002. It was a somewhat callous irony that I shipped off for my LDS mission to Brazil near the most romantic of holidays. As a missionary, I had to say goodbye to two years of my romantic life (not that this was really a struggle as girls terrified me at the time). While I was waiting in the airport with a gaggle of other 19-year-old boys for our flight to Sao Paulo, a pilot from some other flight passed us, casually said "Happy Valentine's, Elders" and gave us a box of deluxe chocolates to share. That little touch of humanity right before we left, like some kind of cigarette to a prisoner facing the firing squad, is something I'll never forget. Junior Year of College. For this Valentine's Day, I had just had my heart ripped out by a sweet young girl. To add insult to injury, she went straight from me to another guy she had had her eye on for some time. For some reason, her brother told me that for Valentine's, the guy she left me for called her from a study session and said "Oh, yeah. Almost forgot! Happy Valentine's." I thought that was just.... This Year. Hasn't happened yet. We'll see what comes. Eh...Really, who am I kidding? No offense to Audrey Hepburn, but I'd love to spend it with someone else.

11 comments:

jennyt said...

but you know what eric, even when i have had a boyfriend the holiday has been a bust - mostly because i choose losers.

last year my ex sent me a myspace comment and another ex called me the morning of to ask for my work address. of course the flowers didnt come until the next day.

so lets enjoy being single and not having any expectations! haha

ps - loved your stories!

ebv said...

Thanks, Jenn! I can always use some perspective. :D

Rachel said...

Remember last year when on Valentine's Day we serenaded Brig's wife? And then I had dinner with Benjamin, Haley, and Jason. It was super romantic. This year I am going to Phoenix to crash Brooktynn's first Valentine's Day as a married woman.

madelyn said...

LOVED you elementary school stories! I should learn not to read your blog at work because I laughed out loud...in my office...by myself. I miss the days of being serenaded by the Junior Boys on my doorstep. East High definitely had the sweetest boys.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

Holy cow, I'm laughing! (But not at your pain, I wouldn't do that...) I love Mark's response to you... it sounds just like him!

Jerkolas said...

I dated the same girl on 2 Valentine's days. When the second one rolled around she said "This is exciting. I have never dated someone on Valentine's Day before!" I imagine she can't remember last year's either.

Christin said...

I love those memories. My favorite was 2nd grade! I felt sad for you because I am sure that you thought by now V-Day wouldn't be S.A.D (single awareness day) any more. Maybe next year right?

ebv said...

Someday, Christin. Someday.

Cody said...

I had a crush on Natalie Tucker too... 7th grade.

I wonder what ever happened to her?

ebv said...

Maybe cosmic karma kicked in from the 2nd Grad thing...and she's lost in a glass box of emotion.

Steve, Liz, Jaxon and Peyton said...

Eric I loved reading that. Oh those were the days! Steve suprised me with a very romantic Valentines Day while we were dating and then after we were married he said, "Don't you think Valentines Day is kind of for single people?" (as in not married?) Being the cool wife that I am, I agreed with him. Valentines Day was much more fun when we were younger.