Let’s take a detour to 1992, when I was fifteen, and less a fully formed person, than a disparate set of neuroses, held together with paper clips.
It was Valentine’s Day, and I was expecting the usual attention, nada. I would say it was so high school, but seriously, it actually was. So imagine my surprise when, in the middle of biology class, I received an envelope from the office, with a chocolate rose attached.
Believe it or not, my social persona nowadays is a learned behaviour, back then I was part of the introverted geek side of the common room, happier discussing the latest faith no more album, Warhammer 40K, or dungeons and dragons – yes, yes, I know – than actually throwing myself into the centre of attention.
And here I am with a valentine, in front of the whole class, which had never happened before.
I was going to leave it until break time, but the cool kids down the back shouted to open it. So I did, slowly, and it was a series of crudities that my teenage self was mortified by. I mean, nowadays I swear and drop double entendres and innuendos without a second’s thought, but then I was more a prude, pretty well naïve.
And then, while I’m processing that I didn’t actually have a secret crush, that it was all a joke, one of my classmates snatched it from my hand.
And READ IT OUT LOUD.
I doubt I have blushed so hard, nor had hotter tears of embarrassment, nor wanted the ground to swallow me up so much, to the point of obliteration. It was obviously a set up, from one, or more, of the cool kids, to make fun of one of the weirdos.
So yeah, I’m not a fan of February 14. I know that was a lifetime ago, but it is my abiding memory of all of these dates over the years and decades. Nothing since has knocked it off that perch. Sorry not sorry to any of my exes who may have done V-Day type things that were much less striking.
I guess it doesn’t really count as getting back at all the bullies when, during my Gotterdammerung/total collapse stage, I overdosed on anti-depressants, IN ACTUAL CLASS, eighteen months later?
Oops, we’ll save a retelling of THAT particular story for another time lol.