This has always been a weird thing for me. I grew up in a fairly Filipino household, but my parents wanted me to be culturally mixed. They let me play around with the cultures I was to be a part of and never questioned too much of it. This includes Valentines Day. I remember growing up Valentines day was this odd day to make a bunch of heart shaped cubbies and stuff them with Valentines. I remember writing obvious notes to my crush – who I believed I would grow up to marry. I remember writing love notes on my friends’ behalf and stuffing their object-of-affection’s cubby.
Then I moved schools, and it all kind of came crashing? I got really jaded to Valentines day. Maybe it’s cause my friends in my old school were far more fun and a lot more playful. In this school, everyone was stuck up and took themselves far too seriously. Anyways, I got pretty embittered and realized that Valentines day was some childish game. Though, I did learn one of the many variations of St. Valentines, ultimately I figured: Valentines Day is a stupid holiday.
It’s not the best attitude for a nine year old. It’s not like I outwardly retaliated against it. I didn’t run around shoving it in anyone’s face. It just turned into apathy. I didn’t care for the holiday, the cute cards with the stickers or kisses. I didn’t care for passing around cookies or cup cakes in festive enthusiasm. It was just another day to me. It continued like this, even when I had my first… boy friend. Quick digression: Depending on how you look at it, this would have been my second boyfriend… but he was not. Anyways, when we were dating, Valentines day came 9 months into our relationship. I was well aware of the day approaching. It was hard to be oblivious to a well-advertised capitalist holiday. I will admit some part of me was somewhat excited over having a boy friend during Valentines Day. But we were in high school. I got box of chocolate and a teddy bear, which was exciting I suppose.
The following year, I wasn’t expecting anything and I don’t remember if he did anything. I will say this, in grade 11 my high school did flower grams. Basically, students order flowers from other students. They can send a small message attached to one flower – remember in mean girls? You go, Glen Coco. Except… flowers and not candy canes. Anyways, I remember the student council released the announcement and some girls had started chatting. Some saying, “I don’t think I will get one“, as they beat their eyelashes at their unsuspecting and oblivious boyfriends. My boyfriend turned to me and asked if I liked pink or red, because the carnations were pink or red. I specifically said, “Look, I know other girls are hinting and stuff, but don’t get me flowers.”
The following day, he again asks if I prefer pink or red and which class was my period 3 class. Again, I knew he was asking so flowers would be sent my way. Again, I told him. “Seriously, don’t get me flowers. I don’t like flowers. I have allergies”
A week goes on and no questions about flowers comes up. My cousin approaches me and asks if he can drop something off at my period 3 class. You can predict what will happen, yeah? Well, he actually did drop something off for me in my period 3 class, so I let my guard down.
February 12, 2010 arrives. I dismiss it. My cousin really did hand me something in period 3, and my boyfriend had since stopped pestering me. The Friday goes by. With the way my class rotation worked my period 3 class happened in block 2, so right before lunch. The student council cupid arrives, and hands out the flower grams. Eager students run up, receiving their flowers. Some girls walked up with a confident strut. Some shocked, mouth agape, before allowing a beaming grin to stretch ear to ear. The room was filled with rosy-cheeked girls. Groups gathering to ask about the flowers. Had this happened nowadays, I’m sure snapchat and instagram stories would be flooded with whatever stupid filter, and girls showing off their flower grams. Occasionally, a boy would be called up and he would either be surprised, then laugh at the joke his friends had sent or be pleasantly smiling to himself at whatever his note would say. I look at the clock, relieved to see cupid was running out flowers and relieved that I had to wait a mere 15 minutes to lunch. “Aaaaand, the last one goes to…” All eyes are on me now. I hate it. My boyfriend and I, at this point were together for 2 years, voted cutest couple the year prior. We were well known for being… I don’t even know, I guess the 2018/19 term would be we were a real OTP, a major ship in the school. We were not the “it” couple, but we were just really popular. I think it’s because we were two cute little asian nerds who had our straight-out-of-a-kdrama romance, and stayed together. I honestly could not tell you. Deep down everyone else believes, is confident, that it’s for me. I keep my head down. Anticipation building in us, for different reasons. Finally the name is called, my classmates look up and watch the quiet girl stand up and stumble to the cupid, trembling hands reach out. I sigh a sigh of deep relief, and a smile paints across my face. I did not expect him to listen. I’m not sure if my classmates pitied me, or were embarrassed for me, but I was honestly happy.
The bell rings and the teacher gives us a dismissal for lunch. I hear some classmates asking if they should check on me. I hear some girls gossiping about if we broke up or not. I turn around and flash a quick smile, waving to my classmates wishing them a happy valentines day. I don’t know if that was believably happy, but it was genuine. I remember running to my locker. My cousin calls for me, joining me and we chatter happily. He hadn’t received any, but he hadn’t expected it. He seems genuine. He asks me, “X (my anonymous boyfriend) didn’t get you any flower gram?”
“Nah, I didn’t want one.”
Of course he asks why, and I reply, “I’m really allergic to some flowers. They swell up my eyes and congest my throat.”
We continue our merry way onwards. Our other friends approach, one girl carrying a bunch of flowers all bought by her boyfriend. The other two had one flower, each. One of our friends – who I will call Nick – hands me a small box of chocolates. “I remember you didn’t want flowers, so I got you this.” He had gotten the other three girls a flower, but not wanting me to feel left out he gave me a small box of kisses. I turn back to my locker, to glimpse around. No sign of X. I finish the combination and pull the lock, then unhook it from the lock handle. Before I can open my locker, X comes out with balloons and greets me happy Valentines day, I smile and tell him he didn’t have to – not the cordial, surprised ‘you didn’t have to’, but the ‘seriously, I wish you didn’t’ – he holds onto the balloons for me, knowing I have to grab my stuff. Finally I open the door to my locker. To my surprise, pink and red carnations fall on me. X is grinning, turns out he had the flower grams delivered to himself, then stuffed them into my locker. I remember turning to my cousin and asking him to take me to the nurse. He and Nick help me stumble over. X is confused and I hear my girl friends telling him I’m actually really allergic to most flowers.
Anyways, to shorten this already long story, I went home and spent the rest of Valentines day in bed. The weekend rolls in and X is calling me apologizing profusely. I won’t sugar coat it, I was pissed off the whole time, fuming and just unforgiving. It was bad. I didn’t forgive him until like, the Tuesday after and even then, I held it over his head for a long time. It was a pretty bad time, and overall it did not help my already pacifist outlook on Valentines’ Day. Eventually, I went from being bitter and resentful back to just not caring and letting it be another day.
TL;DR, you can be in a relationship and still really disdain Valentines day.
If you read this, I hope you had fun even at the expense of my real life experience. I can only wish I hadn’t made all this up. But, hey, it made a great story.
Happy Valentines’ Day!