As people around the United States revel in the loviest, smushiest, snuggliest holiday of the year, I, Haleystarr, can't help but make fun of them. Yeah, I like Valentine's Day itself just fine-- I like red and pink stuff, flowers, hearts and crossbows. (Sutt refuses to draw any heart without an arrow through it and a crossbow drawn nearby. I like to think it's because even at his tender age he realizes that love is synonymous with pain, and love-gone-wrong often results in brandishing various weaponry, particularly in the South.) I do not sit around and wonder if B is going to present to me some splendid, romantic gesture, nor do I moon around all googly-eyed waiting for the florist to arrive on my doorstep or a velvet jewelry box to turn up on my pillow. The chicks who do that shit--those bitches are crazy. I mostly just hang out and use the day as an excuse to drink pink martinis (along with every other day in February), red wine (same), and watch the kids get all excited over the bag of those tacky, perforated, character-themed valentines that they all pass out at school which they then hide in their rooms and hoard for months until one day when I sneak in and throw them away while they are at school as THEY ARE A FIRE HAZARD, PEOPLE. Plus, they often come with stickers, and we all know how I feel about stickers. Ugh.
Anyway, since I am not a Cuddly Girl, I decided to share with you some of my fondest Valentine's Day Memories, via a list. A list of Valentine's Awesomeness, if you will, entitled:
HALEY'S LIST OF VALENTINE'S DAY AWESOMENESS, DRAWN FROM VALENTINE'S DAYS PAST AND WITNESSED FIRSTHAND BY HALEYSTARR HERSELF, USUALLY TO HER EXTREME ENTERTAINMENT, THOUGH OCCASIONALLY TO HER BRIEF DISMAY, "BRIEF DISMAY" ONLY LASTING LONG ENOUGH FOR HER TO INGEST ENOUGH ALCOHOL SO THAT THE TIDES TURNED FROM DISMAY TO ENTERTAINMENT, WHICH, DESPITE MY BIG TALK, REALLY DOESN'T TAKE THAT MUCH AS I AM A PRETTY SMALL CHICK WHO GETS DRUNK QUICKLY
1. Bitter Is The New Bard~ A few years back, during grad school, I had the day off from student teaching on V-day, so I went into my BFF Ray's school to watch her wrangle her 10th graders into English Literature submission. Ray is the kind of teacher who always had control of the classroom, always kept everyone on task, and radiated both confidence and enthusiasm as she taught. That day's lesson, however, wasn't quite going as planned. The 10th graders were super psyched about Valentine's Day and couldn't focus worth a damn, too busy chatting about who was dating whom and who had gotten cards/gifts/flowers from whom. Ray, on the other hand, WAS NOT FEELING THE LOVE. She had recently dated a string of duds, and her love life seemed to be going nowhere fast. Which means when one little sophomore girl raised her hand, gave a deep sigh, and said, "Why do we HAVE to learn today? Why can't we just make valentines?" Ray nearly LOST HER DAMN MIND. Turning, in a mad fury, she said the now-famous, BEST VALENTINE'S DAY LINE EVER (which I also got to include in my toast as the Matron of Honor at her wedding): "NO, you can't JUST MAKE VALENTINES! You don't NEED LOVE, YOU NEED LITERATURE!."
Best. Line. Ever.
2. Eat Your Feelings~ One Valentine's Day, I settled into work without really giving much consideration to the fact that it was a holiday (pseudo, perhaps, but a holiday nonetheless) and started plowing through the pile of work on my desk, oblivious to everything around me. A co-worker wandered in shortly after, dropped her things beside her desk and collapsed into her chair. Without saying a word, or even starting with her work, she proceeded to take from her bag and eat not one, but TWO boxes of Girl Scout Cookies, cookie by cookie, one after the other, with no breaks between cookies.
As she finished, she looked up and saw me watching her, speechless, as I had never seen a being inhale Do-si-dos in such an efficient manner (it was impressive, really). Brushing off her hands, she swallowed her last bite, looked me straight in the eye and said, "Valentine's Day fucking sucks."
I didn't ask.
3. (Do Not) Love The One You're With~One year during high school, I didn't have a date for the Valentine's Dance, didn't care, and had no intention of trolling for some pimply teenaged boy, rife with hormones, that would be willing to take me to a stupid dance where nobody actually danced and everybody left early to go hook up in their cars before rushing home to meet their midnight curfews. A few days before the dance, a relatively good guy friend of mine found out that I wasn't planning on going and asked me if I'd like to go with him "JUST AS FRIENDS" as he claimed there was no one he was interested in asking for a real date. I had less than zero interest in him, had known him a long time, and was 100% certain he had less than zero interest in me as well. However, I WAS somewhat interested in another guy who I had found out was going with a group of his friends, so I agreed to go, bought a dress, and double-checked-- JUST AS FRIENDS, right? RIGHT.
That Friday at school, the day before the dance, I heard my name called to the gym to pick up a Valentine delivery. This was unexpected. My parents are not the type who send flowers and balloons. I had no boyfriend. Perhaps a stalker? Oooh, that would be fun. But when I got to the gym, they were from my "friend"-- an enormous bouquet of two dozen perfect red roses, arranged in a vase, and looking like an ad from a magazine. Hmmm. After school I caught up with him, thanked him for the beautiful flowers, and asked, "What the hell?" He said he just wanted to send me flowers to wish me a happy Valentine's Day, thank me for being his date for the dance, no big deal.
Suspicious, but okay.
That night, he picked me up for the dance, and immediately took me back to his house to spend time with his parents. Who photographed us unmercifully. And repeatedly. Very repeatedly. Kind of creepy. We went to dinner, went to the dance, and all was going okay. He was a gentleman, but he acted normal. Just my guy friend, who always opened doors and minded his manners. All was well. Until near the end of the dance when, right in the middle of one of Foreigner's Greatest Hits, he tangled a hand into my well-sprayed, hot rolled Southern curls and mouth-raped me with his lizard tongue. YES, THAT'S RIGHT. MOUTH-RAPED ME WITH HIS LIZARD TONGUE. It was cold, it was flickery. IT. WAS. AWFUL. So what did I do? I bit him. Hard. Much bleeding ensued.
It was instinctual. Oops.
I'm not sure we ever spoke again after that night. And he possibly had to have his tongue reattached, or at the very least stitched.
So much for being friends.
4. Pussy Whipped~ In college, I did something I never thought I would do. I owned a cat. Mr. Pig was a stray kitten that my aunt found and whom I adopted because he was little, he was cute, and he was the meanest fucking cat on the face of the earth, which was the selling point for me. People used to be scared to stay at my apartment at night because he would lie in wait in the dark, then when you got up to pee he would run across the room, a rabid gray blur, and sink his teeth and claws into your ankles before dashing away. All in less than 2.4 seconds, start to finish, you would be left bleeding and enraged. Mr. Pig was BADASS.
Mr. Pig hated my boyfriend. Later, when he became my husband, Pig would hate him with even more vehemence, but at that time, Pig vaguely tolerated Boyfriend with an onslaught of death stares and claw slashes. I belonged to Pig, not Boyfriend, and everybody should know it.
For Valentine's Day that year, I had made a chocolate cake for Boyfriend-- his favorite--with chocolate icing and "Happy Valentine's Day" in my best script of red frosting and sprinkles. I fixed up the dining room table to look festive-- red tablecloth, pretty dishes, and the cake, which I set right next to the dozen red roses Boyfriend had sent me for the occasion. Boyfriend was working that night, but he was coming over after work, where I planned for him to find me pretty, surprise him with cake, and spend a romantic evening. Once everything was as I wanted it, I hurried into the bathroom to shower and do my makeup, get dressed, and generally make myself as hot as possible (which, honestly, is pretty much my standard anyway).
Thirty or so minutes later, I heard the door open and I came through to greet Boyfriend. Giving him a lingering hug, I thanked him for the flowers, then grabbed his hand and led him into the kitchen to give him his cake. He had a huge sweet tooth and I had seen him eat nearly a whole cake at one sitting, so I knew he would be pleased. But....it wasn't meant to be (the Valentine's Extravaganza, nor the marriage).
The cake was smashed. It looked like Pig had jumped into the middle of it, rolled around, then eaten as much as he could stuff into his little kitty face. The pile of chocolate goo had gray cat hairs in it, and teethmarks around the edges. The roses had been attacked, nearly every petal was off every stem, some with bite marks in them as well, next to the knocked-over vase, water still dripping off the table into a huge puddle on the floor. The "icing on the cake" (pardon the pun) was the chocolate footprints all over the table, the counters, and the kitchen floor. Apparently, after he mauled the cake and shredded the flowers, he also did a victory dance all over the damn kitchen.
Pig was sitting on the linoleum, grooming himself. I swear I saw him smile.
Pig, one. Boyfriend, zero.
Little romance took place on that evening.
So there you go, four (I HATE EVEN NUMBERS, but I'm getting a headache) little glimpses of Valentine's Days past. Just one more taste of my crazy, messed-up, sweet life.
Happy Valentine's Day.