Me and Bae

18 Feb

For the first, oh, I don’t know, ten years of my life, I was blissfully unaware of the fact that Valentine’s Day is a “romantic” holiday. Like all other (holi)days, I thought it was a day for eating cake as an afternoon snack and watching ABC Family original movies.

In elementary school, before there were Fifty Shades of Grey premiers and fancy dinners and “Galentines Day” parties, there was chocolate and hand-made valentines.

Actually, “hand-made” valentines were for crafty girls, with neat penmanship and good scissor skills. My handwriting in elementary school looked like I wrote with paws, and I was about as far away from having good scissor skills as I was from celebrating my 30th birthday (still waiting to develop those scissor skills). So, my valentines were purchased from CVS. Some years I went with SpongeBob, other years I had more traditional ones, with pink and red hearts. No matter the design, you can bet my parents spent hundreds of dollars on flimsy paper cards and accompanying lollipops that would be thrown away within the same afternoon…Or eaten before arriving at their intended audiences. No, not the cards themselves! The lollipops! What kind of animal do you think I am! (Mom, don’t tell anyone about the *incident.*)

In those days, there was never any debate about who would receive a valentine from me; everyone in the class got a valentine! Giving cards to my friends was a no-brainer. Giving a card to my crush-of-the-month was an important gesture, as I always hoped that maybe he would give me a valentine saying, “Dear, Sophie, you are beautiful and I love the way you can make paisley patterned stretch pants and sneakers work for every occasion. Please marry me this afternoon. We can hold hands.” Giving a card to that weird kid who sucked on his shirt collar and ate dirt was to appease my mom.

What wasn’t as important as who received the cards was what the cards said. I wanted my messages to be clever and funny, but not too sentimental. I couldn’t go around giving out cards that said “Love, Sophie” because “Love” was such a strong word. (See “hand holding.”) But, I also couldn’t say “From, Sophie” because “From” sounded too impersonal.

I usually went with neither “Love,” nor “From,” and instead just wrote my name somewhere on the card.

So, all of my cards had the person’ s name, a picture of SpongeBob, and then the name “Sophie” written on them…like a floating homage to myself. (In the event that I didn’t get any valentines, I could easily turn my own upside down and pretend they were all given to me by my adoring classmates. Brilliant.)

Besides cake and valentines, Valentine’s Day also meant a visit from the Valentine’s Day Fairy. The V-Day Fairy paid me a visit the night before every V-Day. In the morning, I would wake up to a basket of goodies; chocolates, socks, a pink shirt, a little card…kind of like an amplified Tooth Fairy, except without tooth loss and with more pink.

Between the cake and the self-directed valentines and the fairy gifts from my parents, I was blissfully unaware of the fact that Valentine’s Day is a “romantic” holiday.

This past V-Day, I gleefully accepted by Valentine’s Fairy care package. (Insert “package” joke here.)

Candy. Socks. Flash tattoos. A book of stickers. It was all accounted for.

Romance? Pshh. Nope, no romance here! None whatsoever. Big goose egg. Just a girl and some socks, applying her own flash tats and sticking stickers onto notebooks.

I was on my fifth flash tat when I received about my tenth snapchat from people going to see Fifty Shades of Grey with their lovers.

Hmmm, I thought. Am I missing something? Am I supposed to want more than metallic body art and chocolate? Should I be trying to find someone to “woo” me?

As I let my thoughts ruminate, Boston spent Valentine’s Day gearing up to experience its sixth blizzard of the season.

AHA, I thought. This is perfect! A blizzard is coming and it is Valentine’s Day. Together, those elements mean that I am going to find the love of my life tonight, and our romance will be the most epic story since Cory and Topanga’s in “Boy Meets World.”

Do I like to torture myself by creating the least possible fantasies of all time and then convincing myself that they will come true, simply because they came from my brain and my brain is a fertile land of unrealistic possibility? Do I enjoy pretending to live in a Norah Ephron romantic comedy, only to discover that life is more like a Spielberg bioepic? Yes. I think I do.

Anyway, I decided that Valentine’s Day – in a BLIZZARD – was the night I was going to go out and meet a mate. And I’d be damned if anyone – even a BLIZZARD – tried to stop me. My flash tats were ready.

…And that’s how we ended up at an empty club, where the drinks cost more than my outfit and there was a “VIP Lounge” with more books in it than Belle’s library in Beauty and the Beast.

I mean, who puts books in the VIP lounge of a club?? Are they trying to better cater to their customers? If that’s the case, then I’d rather they cater to the avid eaters in the bunch and have a bowl of chocolate covered pretzels at every corner.

So there we were. Sitting in an empty club.

Oh wait, how could I forget! There was, indeed, one man on the dance floor. He was doing the robot. And also a weird mix of the Cha-Cha and a sexual waltz.

Naturally, I joined him.

That’s when my friends decided we were leaving.

But no! I couldn’t leave! How would I ever meet the love of my life if I didn’t wait at this club for hours and hours and hope that he sauntered in, carrying a bag of chocolate covered pretzels and ready to read to me in the VIP room?? They were ruining my personal narrative!

Alas, I had no choice. As we wandered out into the blizzard, I felt my resolve melting away with every step. (Let me tell you, my resolve was the only thing melting in that four-degree weather.)

And then, like a beacon of hope, one of my flash tats flickered in the light of a street lamp, and I knew I couldn’t give up. I had to keep trying to find Mr. Right!

My friends and I decided to continue the evening and trudge our way to another club.

This was it! As soon as I walked in, I was going to lock eyes with my soul mate and we would frolic in the snow and he’d notice my flash tats and be impressed by my artistic expression, and then he’d summon his horse (and I’d ask to ride it because that shit is a great leg workout,) and I’d ride us off into the blizzard and nothing bad would happen because our horse would turn into a unicorn with wings and would fly us out of Boston and onto Maui, at which point I’d realize – without the obstruction of snow – that my soul mate is Ryan Gosling, and then we’d go scuba diving (because I’d suddenly be really into adventurous pursuits,) and we’d eat pineapple and go hiking, and I’d discover a new species of flower in the woods, and then I’d be awarded an Oscar just for being me (sorry Meryl) and then we’d laugh and laugh because aren’t we the greatest thing to exist since sliced bread? And then I’d chug a Mai Thai…

It was a gay club.

I was in a gay club at midnight on Valentine’s Day.

As I sat at the bar drinking my $5 Bud Light and reflecting on my life, I decided that I would most likely not be finding my soul mate that night. There would be no unicorns or Ryan Goslings (although there was a man sitting next to me who looked an awful lot like Ryan Gosling, but something tells me we wouldn’t have “connected,”) or impromptu voyages to Hawaii or pineapple or new flower species or Oscars. For a moment, I grieved the loss of the perfect story I came so close to making real. (Those damn blizzards, always preventing humans from meeting unicorns!)

But the more I sat there, bemoaning my Norah Ephron love story, the more I felt like a loser. Not because I hadn’t found the love of my life on Valentine’s Day and was instead sitting at a bar where no one was interested in me, but because I was sitting at a bar with great friends and there was a club in the next room that was playing “Bang Bang” and I was not in there threatening to do the Worm.

So we all got up, walked in, and danced like fools for two hours.

And you know what? It was a great night.

I had flash tats, candy, music, dancing, and great friends.

And I even went home with someone!

vday sandwich

Happy V-Day everyone!



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