4 Awkward Things No One Told Me About Valentine’s Day

In elementary school, Valentine’s Day meant Looney Toons cards for everyone. In middle school, it started to get weird. Why didn’t anyone warn me?

The Tweety days are over.

1. Don’t miss class when Valentines are given out.

Sixth grade was the year everything changed. In middle school, valentines and carnations could be sent to anyone in the building. In sixth grade, I missed my first class of the day for a music lesson. “Kimberly, this came for you,” said my second-period teacher, smiling. It was a valentine. I tore it open. It read:

“U R 2 CUTE 4 WORDS.”

Oh. My. God.

Someone thought that I, the girl with the braces and giant purple glasses, was cute. I shuddered with excitement. How was I supposed to sit still in class when someone THOUGHT I WAS CUTE? But who could this eloquent admirer be? An avid reader of Nancy Drew books, I immediately got on the case. It was time for a handwriting analysis. The handwriting was neat. I racked my brain for sixth-grade boys I knew with neat handwriting, but could think of none. There was something familiar about the 4.

At lunchtime, the morning’s valentines were the talk of the table. “I got one,” I bragged. “I guess I have a secret admirer!” I added smugly. “Kim, that was from Mr. Hawthorne*,” said a guy across the table over a mouthful of Doritos. “Even I got one.”

Oh.

Right.

That was where I had seen that 4. The 94 I had gotten on last week’s math test. In conclusion, do not miss class for any reason on Valentine’s day. Imagine if Glen Coco missed the four candy cane grams he got in Mean Girls. I rest my case.

2. Perfume leaves grease spots on paper.

The next year, I decided I would send an anonymous valentine of my own. I had figured out where my crush-of-the-moment’s locker was. I spent about two hours drafting the perfect love note and drawing non-threatening “Bee Mine” bumblebees on it.

bumblebee
example of a non-threatening bumblebee

The note still seemed lacking. It needed something extra; this was about seduction. What could be more seductive to a seventh-grade boy than a spritz of Abercrombie for Women perfume? One spritz later, and the note sure did have something extra: a ton of perfume-grease spots. It looked like it was written at a McDonald’s, so I was back at square one. After several practice sprays, I rewrote the Valentine and delivered it in total stealth mode to my crush’s locker. Of course, I’ll never know if my hours of labor were worth it since I didn’t sign my name, but maybe that was for the best.

3. Anonymous or not, keep it light.

awkward valentine
In eighth grade, I was the editor of the school newspaper. For the fantastically low price of ten cents, anyone could dedicate a song to anyone else and all of the dedications would be printed in the Valentine’s Day issue. I had had a crush on Scott* since elementary school. I decided I would dedicate the Lauryn Hill version of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” to him, which in retrospect was actually a horrible idea since that song was the eighth-grade equivalent of a marriage proposal.

In a newspaper staff meeting, a bunch of us were reading the dedications out loud. “So, Scott, looks like you have a secret admirer,” said an editor. My face burned. Scott refused to meet my gaze. OhGod. OhGodOhGod. He knew.

There was a song dedicated to me, too: “Can’t Stop Loving You.” It was from a guy I knew from elementary school named Nathan*. I’m sorry, what? We hadn’t spoken to each other in at least two years! What was I supposed to say to him now? Way to make things awkward with a declaration of your undying love, Nathan! At least I had made my dedication anonymously! (well, sort of.)

4. Love is in the air. So are germs.

It was senior year, a few days before Valentine’s Day, and I knew who I wanted to be my Valentine: Dylan*. I thought he liked me, too, and I was done with this anonymous Valentine’s Day stuff. I invited Dylan over and we had an intense makeout session on the couch with Aaliyah’s I Care 4 U album playing on low in the background. This was awesome. Why couldn’t it always be this easy, liking someone and having them like you back?

The rest of the day, I felt flushed, then dizzy. I must be lovesick! In reality, I was actually sick… with the flu. Two days later, so was Dylan, and he was absent on Valentine’s Day.

*Names have been changed.

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