love bites

comments on the best holiday ever

I was really fat as a kid. My pediatrician warned my mom that I was on a one-way street to diabetes. So, for a while, our pantry was filled with “snacks” that were sugar- or fat-free, which didn’t interest me in the slightest. For almost every holiday, my mom has made my sister and me baskets of seasonally themed treats and gifts. This particular Valentine’s Day, laid out on the counter when we woke up were two baskets of red and pink candy with stuffed animals. One was a decadent box of dark chocolates, and one was a sadly off-color box of sugar-free “chocolates.” Guess which one was for me? I cried like a little brat. What I didn’t appreciate at the time was that it was out of love for the holiday and my health. Aw. -MV


My senior year of high school I was asked out on Valentine’s Day—or actually the day after Valentine’s Day, because I’d anticipated and successfully ducked the question the previous day by showing up to the place he’d asked me to meet five minutes late and very close to the start of first period. He asked me out to dinner, I declined (saying I thought of him as a friend), he suggested we go anyway, I said wouldn’t it kind of still be a date, he made an uncomfortable face, I apologized, he left. Poor kid. I felt a little bad, but I’d have felt worse if he didn’t have a history of being kind of a jerk to, like, everyone. The fact that I had a huge crush on a girl in my lit class probably didn’t help his chances, either. -AM


My boyfriend and I are the least romantic people I know, which doesn’t fare well for our Valentine’s Day plans. Last year, we were conveniently “on a break” for this special day, but unfortunately we’re too happy with each other this year to take advantage of that out. For the past couple weeks, we’ve been avoiding eye contact every time something V-dayey appears—which is often. CVS is off limits. So are most of our favorite time-wasting websites. People think Valentine’s Day is only tough for single people, but I think we’ll both be relieved when this stupid holiday is over. We’ll probably survive it by doing what we usually do on vaguely special occasions: sushi and movies. And maybe we’ll, like, hold hands or something. Ew. -VS


I said Valentine’s Day was a day for sad people who were alone. He said this was untrue—there was no reason to think that true romantics, of whom we all know a few and for whom Valentine’s Day was exciting and important, enjoyed the day less than the lonely people were saddened by it. I said I was not among the set of people who knew true romantics—though I was inclined to believe that they were more likely to exist than not—and Valentine’s Day was not likely to make much of a lasting impression on the mental landscape of happy people who enjoy it in the context of their already likely general happiness and romantic inclinations. He said this was a change in the conception of happiness he had been using, from a feature of memory rather than experiential. I said I didn’t know why he was picking bones. He said he thought unsubstantiated and general comments ought to be examined. I said I knew that, but it didn’t explain why he was picking this instance, given that he did the same thing when he was feeling misanthropic. He said it wasn’t a reason he was picking this instance. I said that was boring. And that I supposed happy people were free to enjoy Valentine’s Day at least as much as the miserable were prepared to be bitter. -YW


I think the key to Valentine’s Day is not to overthink it. If you’re in a relationship, do something fun that’s maybe a little fancier than what you’d normally do. If you’re single, it’s literally just another day. I’ll be spending the day in the Rock working on my thesis because that’s how the timing worked out. I have a draft of the first chapter due on Sunday night, and I want to have the day before to look it over before I submit it for the judgment of my advisor (who, let me tell you, is a titan of Latin love elegy). Granted, there’s something depressingly coincidental about spending Valentine’s Day alone in a library, reading and writing about the poetry of Propertius, a man who acquired fame and fortune in Augustan Rome by talking about his tire fire of a love life in elegiac couplets. I mean, really, this is a dude who began his first book of poems with an image of personified Love stomping his head into the ground—which to me seems like as apt a metaphor for dating in 2015 AD as it was in 25 BC. But I digress. Whatever your relationship status, this Valentine’s Day, you do you. Or your significant other, I guess. -AA


My first boyfriend was planning to ask me out on Valentine’s Day of my junior year of high school. I knew this because it was the talk of town by mid-January; he’d apparently decided that the best way to deal with his impatience was tell every other member of our class the plan before he told me. I guess he ran out of people two days too early because he caught me by surprise by a kitchen counter on February 12, lips pursed, beckoning, almost hinting insistence. But after 16 years of anticipation, the sky didn’t fill with colors on the night of my first kiss. No symphony orchestra blared sentimental melodies behind the awkward groping that ensued, and the blast of passion and sleek bliss so present in movie kiss scenes just kind of never came. We put our mouths together, then took them apart, and after he went home for the night, I rinsed my mouth out seven times, because he tasted like Mentos, and I hate the taste of Mentos more than almost any other. -MC