Since the 90s, every year on 11/11 young single people in China celebrate their fabulous unattached selves by shopping and partying (in hopes of finding someone and being disqualified for the next year). I love the origins of the day, which come from the “bare branch” label people gave bachelors–hence the four 1s in a row. In Korea, you even get snacks from couples.
In my neck of the woods, I’d realized I celebrated after the fact, with a slew of consumerism. And since I can’t date right and have yet to earn the title of “girlfriend” at 25, I’m giving myself a pat on the back for being a good singleton. My version of Valentines was great, thanks. I had Vietnamese food with my friend, bought candy at Trader Joe’s, met up with another single friend downtown to shop for five hours and capped it off with Chipotle.
The day itself was kind of like Chipotle. I went into it expecting greatness, spent a lot of money, and felt a little unsatisfied in the end. But I celebrated a commercialized (anti)romantic day for the first time in my life!
To be tragically honest I celebrated Valentine’s Day in sixth grade. That was the year all the boys started wanting to be gentlemen and asked girls they liked to be their Valentine. Or in my case, a boy who didn’t like like me at all was nice enough to ask me because he knew I was sprung.
A few days before the V-Day, you’d see random boys around the playground get down on one knee in the snow, while a crowd gathered around the couple and made gross noises.
Everyone knew how much I loved Kaleb. It started when he joined our advanced math class, and acted so cool and collected despite our teasing (because fifth grade math nerds haze newcomers too.) He was cute and nice and not too popular and he was the first boy who we knew as killer at sports and math. Everything he did became perfect to me.
When word got out, he didn’t avoid me like the plague or confront me and say I was an awkward unattractive geek. He just asked me to skate with him at skating parties*, making me love and fear him even more. I don’t know how I managed to hold his hand and skate around for three minutes to Top 40 without falling, especially since I barely knew how to skate.
“Kaleb’s coming to ask you to be his Valentine now!” my friend said.
Nausea, panic, cold wind stinging my face. I focused on the physical sensations so I wouldn’t keel over. I’ve never read The Agony and the Ecstasy, but I definitely know they’re not mutually exclusive.