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By Gretchen Gales
Valentine's Day is devoted to the cootie covered, mono-carrying vermin couples and the people that hate them. While lovers frolic their way to fancy restaurants and exchange overpriced chocolate, others must wallow in single-dom. Tradition dictates that those without a significant other must cry themselves a pity party on the couch, watching reruns of Full House or some other heartfelt 80s or 90s show. And as much as I love Full House, you can cry over the beauty of John Stamos any day. Instead, start a fun new tradition with a lifelong friend.
Like mine for example. I've been single most of my life, and though that is not the case at the moment, I am still loyal to my true Valentine, Sarah. We met in 2006 as classmates in chorus, but got to know each other at a friend's Halloween party. We braced the chaos of Busch Gardens after being abandoned by our chaperon so she could ride the new coaster. We fumbled through puberty and became exceptionally hot as a result. We essentially live at each other's houses. Ten years of friendship, and decades more to come.
But this tradition started sophomore year of high school. We were more than likely sitting around, moaning that we couldn't get dates and everyone else could. We were two eligible bachelorettes that were much more entertaining than most girlfriends...at least in our own mind. Now, I don't remember how we got the idea, but if I had to guess, it went something like this:
"I mean, we're hot, right?"
"We're entertaining, yes?"
"So why don't we have Valentines?"
"...We just be each other's Valentines?"
It was brilliant.
But as high school kids, we obviously didn't have the money to buy each other the emerald necklace and blue corvette we both deserved. But we did have the money to buy each other stupid, yet heartfelt gifts, just like we did on other major holidays (it has been a 10 year tradition that she gives me a potato and a pack of chicken ramen, but that's another story for another time). So every year since, we've exchanged everything from chicken nuggets, a handmade poster with inspirational Dove chocolate wrappers, and of course flowers.
But briefly I was blinded. It was just last year, the first Valentine's Day I wasn't single. After 18 years, I had a real Valentine. I couldn't believe it, and gushed to Sarah that for once, I could call someone that wasn't a celebrity or one of my dogs. She glared at me for a moment.
"No. You're MY Valentine!" she growled.
I brushed it off. "How about you be my BROlentine instead? It's basically the same thing."
She scowled. "No, that's stupid."
I sighed. "We're still exchanging gifts, but I kind of have to call my boyfriend my Valentine, Broski."
"Fine..." Sarah pouted.
But as usual, we exchanged gifts.
"I don't care what you say, you're still my Valentine," said Sarah, handing me a marker decorated shoebox.
I struggled with the layers of duct tape she used to seal the box shut. I finally managed to pry it open to an explosion of hand-cut Valentine's Day cards she searched hours for on Google and Tumblr. Some were Harry Potter themed, others showcased Spongebob characters. Gems such as "Will u be Macklemine?" accompanied by a picture of Macklemore and "I want you more than an Oscar" with Leonardo DiCaprio were just a fraction of the hilarity.
"Do you know," Sarah started. "how long it took to find ALL of these cards, paste them into PowerPoint, AND cut ALL of them out?"
I paused for a moment to think. "Uhhhh..."
"Hours, Gretchen." she answered. "So. Many. Hours."
After reading every single card and laughing until I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach, I looked at my other gifts.
"I got you a stuffed dinosaur. Because it's cute. And you love dinosaurs." she explained. Somewhere down in the mass of cards, I also found chocolate and other candy. I gave her a huge hug and was thankful to have such an amazing friend.
A few months later, my supposed real Valentine ended up being a poor comparison to the devotion my best friend has given me.
As it turns out, sushi dinner and a necklace were no comparison to the box filled with dozens of hand-cut internet themed Valentines, a stuffed dinosaur, and delicious candy.
And since January, we've both been plotting our Valentine's gifts to each other. But this year, she took some precautionary measures.
"I'm your Valentine, OKAY?" she texted me one night.
"100%." I replied.
"He's not even your part-time Valentine. I am your Valentine. That's how it always will be."
"Of course honey." I texted only halfway sarcastically.
#Real #ValentinesDay #MyStory #PersonalExperience #PersonalEssay #PersonalStories #Love #Dating #Relationships
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