I also hate VD.
One girl at my school, Z, received four or five anonymous cards, year in and year out. Along with several red roses and boxes of chocolates. She somehow managed to meet and go out with mysterious older men, in addition to holding most of the boys in our school year enthralled. I was sweet sixteen and still waiting for that elusive first kiss, which wasn’t forthcoming until I was almost seventeen. How insanely jealous I was of Z at the time: what was it that she had that I didn’t? How unreasonable of her to monopolise the attentions of at least five boys at once!
All I had come to expect from Valentine’s day was a Thorntons’ chocolate heart-shaped lollypop (anonymously posted with a Dundee postmark, where, by a stroke of coincidence, my father had been working the previous week.) And a feeling of bitter disappointment that there was no hopelessly romantic (New Order fan) and potential soulmate harbouring a secret crush on me.
Going through some odds and ends that I left at my parents’ house (safe from my own tendency to ruthlessly throw things away only to regret my haste once the dustbin men have been and gone), I happened upon three diaries written by a teenage petite. I re-read a few sample entries, cringing at the melodramatic tone, but strangely nostalgic for the intensity of adolescent emotions. I was also flabbergasted at how much I had since forgotten, given how earth-shatteringly important the events seemed to me at the time.
I re-discovered, for example, that when my first ‘proper’ boyfriend asked me out, he did so on the last day of comprehensive school before we left for Sixth Form College. The end of an era. Everyone was autographing one another’s school uniform shirts with felt-tipped pens and the large-nosed, undeserving object of my unrequited affections for the entire school year signed my white shirt, adding ‘will you go out with me?’ I let him sweat a bit, before adding ‘yes!’ in the space below. He walked me home after school that day. But I was too shy to let him kiss me straight away: embarrassed and worried that I’d be no good at it.
I turned my bedroom upside down after reading that entry, eventually to emerge triumphantly brandishing the shirt. There it was, written orange on white for the whole world to see. I’m amazed that I could possibly have consigned a landmark memory like that to my personal recycle bin.
I read on and learned that my first ‘proper’ kiss ever occurred in a graveyard, at night. I do have a vague recollection of a clumsy clash of teeth, tongues and noses, and that this occurred outdoors, but I had no memory whatsoever of that graveyard.
Which is why I’m consigning it to the interwebnet today, lest I ever re-forget.
As for Valentine’s day 2005, suffice to say that I received my Thornton’s chocolate heart (York postmark). And Tadpole even got one too.
I sent one of these. Can you guess which one?