Thursday, February 13, 2003
Remember prom? It was my senior year. My date and I were rocking back and forth to Bryan Adams. My arms were wrapped around his neck and his were around my waist. We looked like a pair of those stuffed Velcro monkeys.
I had a wilting orchid strapped to my wrist and my hairspray was melting under the lights of the high school cafeteria.
If I remember my high school self well enough, I'm sure that everyone in that room just wanted to get this early life mating ritual over so we could go make out in the back seat of whatever borrowed car our date was driving.
But teachers were blocking all the exits and we were to continue drinking Kool-Aid for at least a few more songs.
For some reason, Valentine's Day reminds me of prom.
When my editor suggested that I write a Front & Center story on Valentine's Day, my first reaction was that I would rather get dragged down Lincoln Avenue behind a horse without a set of skis than give this holiday any press.
Don't get me wrong.
I believe that wives should show up at their husband's offices when they are working late with a paper bag full of freshly cooked crab legs and a Tupperware dish of garlic butter.
Boyfriends should hide bottles of wine in their backpacks for a surprise romantic evening on the trail.
Couples should risk life and limb to climb onto the roof of their house to see the stars and take long, wandering, handholding walks through neighborhoods they could never afford.
But I've seen enough people get in fights on Romance-Or-Else Day that I have to wonder if love isn't the wrong territory for holidays to tread.
On the other hand, in the modern-day mating scene where romance often takes the form of barroom hook-ups and online dating, it may be necessary to force people to have real-life, dress-shoes-and-lipstick, on-time, doorbell-ringing dates.
If it must exist, if grocery stores must fill an entire aisle with plastic heart-shaped boxes full of cheap, waxy chocolates, then make the best of it.
As for me, I wave my magic wand and excuse myself from the entire silliness.