“Are you chafing as usual on this auspicious day?” he asked me. This was years ago, before Ryan, back when I was chronically single (oh, eighteen-year-old me, how much you have to learn). Before I’d ever been gifted with a daffodil or an orchid or my first kiss. Before Leslie Knope blessed us with the idea of Galentine’s Day. Before I had any reason to consider Valentine’s Day with any feeling aside from revulsion and utter loathing.
My hatred of Valentine’s Day really started in high school. When you’re a child, teachers generally have a “if you’re bringing a Valentine for one person, you’re bringing them for the whole class” policy, and people tend to be respectful of that rule. Not so in high school.
It was especially bad (or so I thought) at my high school. Because my high school sold carnations. For a few dollars, you could buy a carnation for your crush or your best friend or some random person in the hall. You could declare your feelings or make someone’s day… or, in the absence of said flower, cause someone to walk around with their heart in their shoes for the next few days.
It’s not that I never received any carnations. I had a few good friends, so I was guaranteed one or two. But I wasn’t one of the people walking around the hall with an armful of blue-and-white blossoms, feigning put-upon consternation while secretly being pleased to lord my haul over lesser beings. I hated having my relative unpopularity–and, more importantly, my lack of boyfriend–pointed out to me in this public way. (Not that anyone cared or noticed–but, when you’re sixteen, that never does occur to you.)
Was I “chafing”? Yes. Constantly. And it was utterly ridiculous.