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There are two things that I can tell you about my little, Steph, that can give you a general idea of the kind of girl she is:
1. She sends me a hand written note for EVERY, and I mean EVERY holiday. Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day, and of course, Valentine’s Day.
2. She loves Lauren Conrad (way classier than most of my celeb girl-crushes)
So it is of absolutely no surprise that she indirectly inspired me to write this by liking LC’s Best and Worst Valentine’s Dates.
Here’s the thing, I was basically a sorority girl before my time in that I’ve always loved any holiday where you could dress in theme and celebrate with baked goods and giving presents. Like, I was that obnoxious girl in high school who got WAY into spirit week. It stayed that way in college with Bid Day, Sweetheart Weekend, Big/ Lil night, and endless mixers. I guess it did all start in grade school with Valentine’s Day, though. A holiday centered around candy and the color pink? Hi. It was a serious issue- who got the best stickers on their Valentines? Would I go with traditional pink decorations for my Valentine box or go with silver and glitter? (Glitter. Obvs.) But when did it stop being about fun and pink and start stressing me the eff out?
My first real Valentine happened in 7th grade. He got me a necklace. With a G on it. My name is Caroline. “It stands for girl!” (He won it out of a machine.) That “relationship” lasted a whole 1 month. But he was also my senior prom date and we just went out for Chipotle so all’s well that ends well. Sweet kid. LOVE YOU PATRICK. ❤
My relationship with the heart holiday started going downhill when I was a freshman in high school. I came into a school as a 9th grader where most of the kids had known each other since 6th grade, or younger. Immediately, I fell in with a group of older kids because I was on the dance company with a few of the girls in the grade above me. One of the guys in that group was absolutely intriguing to me. He rebelliously wore graphic Ts, against our strict dress code, had blue eyes, and that hair that they all had when we were in high school. (To put quote my best friend: “What does he do like put a bowl on his head and blow dry it?”) Anyway, I thought he was awesome, he thought I was cute, we snuck into a rated R movie and then I guess we were dating- as much as a 14 year old and 15 year old can be. I was smitten.
I’m about to get really heavy and serious for a minute so hang in there with me. January of that year, I lost my little sister to psychotic episode. There is really so much more to it but that’s for another time. The point is, I was that new girl at this close-knit, tiny school, and my sister had died and everyone knew it. I walked around mostly in a daze, obviously my grades fell, and I cried all the time. The week of Valentine’s Day, I give the kid a hug and he tells me he needs to call me later. He broke up with me over the phone the night I picked up his engraved ID bracelet from the jeweler. He couldn’t look at me the next day. But he did have a mutual friend give me probably one of the most meaningful presents I have every gotten from a guy: the green friendship bracelet he never took off. Unfortunately, it was huge on me and I lost it almost immediately. Looking back, he was as much of a little kid as I was. We were kids. It was a horrible, horrible situation. But I think it was much easier to flip out about the kid who broke my tiny, child heart than to cope with something as confusing as the death of a sibling. It was a very surreal time in my life, and I feel like most of that year is either blocked out of my memory or plays in slow motion.
Woof. Ok. Now that part’s done. The rest of high school, I pretended to hate Valentine’s Day but always ended up giving out Valentines and wearing pink and hearts and all that jazz. In college, I dated the same guy for four years. In all honestly, I can’t really remember any specific Valentine’s plans. I brought him heart-shaped bagels from our favorite bagel place one year, and one year we went for hibachi with some friends, but between our schedules I don’t know if we ever celebrated on the actual date. This went for birthdays and anniversaries as well. My favorite thing I ever did for him was put together a box of his favorite snacks, condiments, and childhood movies. That was a big hit with the whole frat. Power Ranger watch-a-thons ensued.
Post-college, I dated this one idiot on and off for a year or so that truly deserved none of my time. For Valentine’s Day, I made him and his roommate red velvet cheesecake cupcakes. I think we got wine drunk and fell asleep watching Archer. Lame. I much preferred my date earlier that night with a friend from film school for cotton candy milkshakes on the GW campus. Last year, I was sort of dating this guy who I was going to just buy a bottle of whiskey for and put a red bow on it. I also tried to send a “friend” in California a box of Altoid Smalls because he called me Smalls, and I found out several months later the reason he wouldn’t give me his address was because he was engaged and forgot to tell me. It’s way more difficult to navigate the appropriateness of Valentine presents when you aren’t practically married to the guy and know that he’d be just as happy with a Lunchable from Wawa as a pair of new cuff-links.
men idiots would probably make really interesting stories for later. Remind me.
Let me get off my ranty horse now and tell you why I still love the holiday as a fabulously single young lady, and how you can enjoy it too:
- It gives you and excuse to tell EVERYONE in your life how much you love them. Not that you need one. But how fun would it be to give all your favorite co-workers good old fashioned Barbie valentines?
- Baking. That is all. Bake for your friends. Bake for your parents. Bake for your co-workers. Go on Pinterest, find those pink recipes, and bake your little heart out.
- Candy. I don’t even particularly like candy, but little baby Whitman’s samplers? I’m in.
- I told you. I will probably tell you many more times. Dressing in theme is the best. Let your Zooey Deschanel flag fly and pile on as many hearts as you want.
- There’s a Cupid Bar Crawl this weekend. Who wants to go?
What are your plans for the 14th? How are you telling your loved ones that you love them?