How do you feel about Valentine’s Day? Do you consider it to be a special day, one where you express your deep love and appreciation for your significant other? Or is it just a commercialized “Hallmark Holiday” where you feel pressured to spend money on cards, flowers, candy, jewelry, and/or expensive dinners in order to stay on the good side of the one you love? Either way, what, if anything, are your plans for Valentine’s Day this year?FANDANGO
When I was in high school, back when Valentine’s Day mattered so much to the point that our projects were to make cards, have song dedications in the morning programs… blah blah blah… I never really experienced being asked out. I was thin and of super dark complexion in a culture where you have to be pasty white to be regarded as “pretty.” So to make it short — I was ugly.
There was a time when some Fil-Am kids came to visit their relatives from our neighborhood and they were super golden tan and I heard people talking behind them with judgy faces saying, “I thought they’re American, why are they brown?” — when in fact, they’re suntanned. Their perfectly tanned skin was not good enough for them, believe me. So imagine that kind of toxic culture + how I looked…
NO DATES EVER.
There were few who attempted, but I guess my self-confidence was so destroyed I didn’t believe they’re for real. Part of me thought that perhaps, they’d just make fun of me. Man! I was that girl from She’s All That (the movie) — “channeling my inner Rachael Leigh Cook.”
Now, I believe they were true. They probably did like me for real. I got to be extra nice to them in case we see each other again. I cannot apologize for something that’s happened in the 90s, they may not even have any recollection of it at all at this point. Being extra nice to them should suffice.
There’s this one guy though. I’d never forget about him. Not because I was in love with him or something but he was the only one who made high school memorable for me. He was from a different school. At that time, I still didn’t know his name, but his face was quite familiar —we’ve competed a lot of times before in district wide quiz bees and Olympiads. We were in a tactical training hosted by my school. It went for 3 days & come Valentine’s Day was the mixer. I was busy looking at the people on the dance floor that I didn’t notice a tall guy, super handsome (by high school standards), in front of me — apparently asking me to dance with him. I was catatonic for a while til I was able to get a grip and walk with him towards the dance floor. It was so awkward because I haven’t officially met him. While dancing, he told me he wanted to talk to me ever since the training began because he was so curious as to how I was like, he wanted to ask why I’ve been beating him since we were in Primary School and he’s actually asked how many medals and trophies I’ve collected over the years while he sulks and loses for not bringing home the bacon, yet again. It was a fun conversation. It was light and despite how he looked, he was so humble. I remember we were dancing one Michael Learns to Rock song, “Paint My Love” — I vividly remembered the song because my friends who were at the mixer never made me forget. I have my posse too. They were like bees buzzing & teasing me about the dance.
In my school, vultures were hovering around me asking why that jock / his school’s top student asked me to dance with him. Like he must have a sketchy motive, right? The girls were all over him, introducing themselves to him, writing him letters (yes, pen friendship was once a thing) thinking that since someone like me had a shot — perhaps they, people who think they’re prettier, may stand bigger chances, right? OMG, I am just realizing now how he’s exactly like Freddie Prinze Jr’s character in She’s All That.
So yeah, he didn’t care about them.
But it was my last year in the Philippines and had to leave for Riyadh. Nothing further really happened after the dance except for some more awkward conversations.
Two years later, I was back in the Philippines for college, we saw each other by the bus terminal from province to the city. He looked the same but I looked a little different somehow. I bet he recognized me but he didn’t come forward as he was unsure. As for me, I still didn’t have the courage that time so I stayed put. It’s like I was in a time machine. Had it been the year after, perhaps I went ahead and talked to him, initiated things, whatever, (because by that time, I had met my bestfriend Joanne already, my source of confidence).
So yeah… that’s basically it.
To answer Fandango’s question:
How do you feel about Valentine’s Day? I think this is yet another way for unpopular kids to feel rejected. Because some kids are cruel.
Do you consider it to be a special day, one where you express your deep love and appreciation for your significant other? – No. In college, we just made fun of couples who were so into it. As an adult, my exes never cared. As a married person, my husband won’t even give me a petal you know. I guess I attract the least romantic people on earth. Perhaps because birds of the same feather flock together?
Or is it just a commercialized “Hallmark Holiday” where you feel pressured to spend money on cards, flowers, candy, jewelry, and/or expensive dinners in order to stay on the good side of the one you love? Either way, what, if anything, are your plans for Valentine’s Day this year? – At one point it’s been commercialized. But people are now turning into robots… I feel that the celebration of the tradition has become more and more impersonal. I feel that the Valentine’s Day hype has mellowed down significantly over the years.