I was thinking about Valentines Day, and after reading 15 Minute Lunch (warning: some language) I just couldn’t resist writing my own post about this beautiful, romantic holiday.
Valentine’s Day is a bizarre holiday, let’s face it. It’s supposed to be a celebration of romantic love, right? But come on, at every grade school in the country, kids are forced by teacher mandate to make valentines for every kid in the class, male or female. So, what conclusion are kids supposed to come to from that? Sounds more like a celebration of hippie free-love. But ok, it’s grade school. We won’t over-analyze it. The odd thing is that, after celebrating this universal love-in from kindergarten through sixth grade, once you hit junior high, it’s over. No celebrations. No assemblies. No valentine boxes. Nada. Some high schools have Valentine’s Day dances, but most junior highs or middle schools (from what I can tell) do not. As far as junior high is concerned, Valentines Day doesn’t exist. What are the kids supposed to make of that?
Well, apparently, some of them feel this absence deeply and try to do something about it. There was a sort of valentine incident at my son’s junior high yesterday. Some romantically-minded young guy tried to deliver a sweet valentine to his lady-love and, well, sort of got his butt handed to him. It went down like this:
Our hero (let’s call him Leonard) is a bit of a rebel, an outsider. His style is a little different. Special. Outside the norm. By junior high standards, this could mean only that he wears climate-appropriate clothing, but in fact, in Leonard’s case, it means more than that. He has weird hair. His clothing is not, you know, top-shelf. By the time Leonard is in high school, he will probably have become a full blown punker, or goth, or metal-head, but for now, he’s just a little different. Picture this different-sort-of-guy having a crush on a very normal-looking 7th grade girl (let’s call her Violet). This is a girl who would probably be embarrassed by the idea of a guy, any guy, actually speaking to her in public. In an awkward situation, a more experienced girl might have the social skills to make somone like Leonard feel valued, while still telling him politely to get bent, but that is not Violet. Not remotely. Leonard, however, is undeterred by all this and, girding his young loins, he aproaches her, weird hair and all, at lunch, in the cafeteria, in front of everyone, and tries to deliver to her a lovely, chocolatey, valentine treat, with his fondest feelings of romance, no doubt, attached.
Well, besides Leonard’s unconventional appearance and the girl’s relative social inexperience, there are a couple of other problems here. First of all, this is, apparently, not the first time Leonard has attempted to declare his fervent love to Violet. He has attempted to do so on multiple occasions, in fact, including (of all places) at church. In fact, it turns out that Leonard has (possibly inadvertently) become something of a stalker. The second problem is Leonard’s choice of valentine. He has gone to the trouble to buy a large, gooey, chocolatey, cookie thing. But he didn’t just buy it and give it to Violet in it’s pristine state with, maybe, a ribbon and a card. No, that’s not our guy’s style. He bought the cookie thing but immediately noticed that there were actually two cookies, not one, in the package. Being hungry (or possibly suffering from delerium caused by low blood sugar), he opened the package and ate one of the cookies, leaving the other gooey chocolatey cookie treat for Violet. He then reclosed the package by scrunching it up with his chocolatey fingers, and offered this beautifully wrought valentine love-mess to his gal. Genius, right? Well, Violet’s reaction to this whole scenario was all too predictable: Yuck!
Leonard just stood there, pitifully trying to push his chocolatey love treat on his girl, and demanding her affection in return, while Violet apparently hid her face and shook her head in horror. Lucky for Violet, she has a best friend. A stand-by-your-girl kind of friend who is not afraid to intervene in a crisis. This golden gal-pal picked up the gooey chocolate love offering and did what any best friend would do in that situation: flung it violently at our hero, Leonard, on whom it stuck, sliding slowly and ignominiously down his scrawny body until it met the floor. Leonard, at this point, shrugged his bony shoulders and resignedly retreated from the field, a sadder but hopefully wiser young dude.
So much for Valentine’s Day in junior high.