The other night Maverick and I were discussing Valentine’s Day, as couples in February sometimes do. Which brought me back to my Valentine’s Day last year and in remembering it I also remembered that I had meant to write it all down at the time. I didn’t post about it because it was all too fresh and raw and real.
Obligatory romantic apple bite I once took that was shaped like a heart. True story.
I had been dating this particular guy for a couple of months. We had gone on approximately 8 dates. They all had started to blur together because they were always the same. We would go to a location, we would eat or drink or both, we would talk. It wasn’t unpleasant. It was actually very nice, but around date 7 I finally realized that this guy, while kind and patient and chivalrous, was just not my guy.
I found myself in a quandary. We had been dating long enough that to just drop off the face of the earth seemed too tricky, but I also didn’t know if I was socially obligated to “break up with him.”
Conveniently we both got busy and I started the process of that time tested dating tradition: the slow fade.
Except just when I thought it was working I would receive a text message from him. Something very sweet which would make me feel like an awful person for not being into him.
I wanted nothing more than to have feelings for this guy if only it meant that I would be in a stable, happy, relationship with someone “good” and not be single any goddamn more.
These feelings are why, when he texted me in early February asking if I was “free next Tuesday?” I replied that I was. I figured I’d give it one more shot. I reasoned that I hadn’t seen him in such a long time maybe I had just forgotten how much I liked him! After all I had liked him so much in the beginning!
As a warning to all single humans out there: if you think its conceivable that you might “forget” how much you like a crush as a result of not seeing them recently then you best wake up from your dream world Isis because you are just not that into them.
I went into my calendar app to set myself a reminder of our tuesday date and thats when it dawned on me. Next Tuesday was Valentines Day and immediately my stomach turned over.
He had made no mention of Valentine’s day in our planning, only invited me over to his house to bake cookies together. Presumably he had been listening when I said I enjoyed baking, and then stopped listening right when I said I don’t love eating my baked goods as much as baking them. Or the part when I said I wasn’t that into making cookies.
I was so full of dread. I had intended this date to either make or break what we had been plugging away at that winter. If it was good I was going to suck it up and make an effort. If it was bad I was going to try to run for the hills. Valentines threw a wrench in the works, nobody should be judged romantically in any direction on Valentine’s day because that is just way too much
Every Kiss Begins With Kay consumerism pressure man! I also wasn’t feeling particularly….in love with this guy, so the thought of spending Valentine’s Day together was in a word: unappealing.
I went back and forth with myself, wondering if I should reschedule to a different, non Valentine’s date. I chickened out in the end, I reasoned that it was possible he wasn’t planning any romantic gestures and my attempting to reschedule might alert him to the fact it was Valentines Day. Are you following this? Good. I am remembering the confusion and pain with acute clarity.
I drove to his house as if I were I driving to my own funeral. I should point out here that at the time we were both living at home with our parents. Something I never once judged him, or anyone else for. So I definitely knew that his parents resided in the house I was walking up the stone path toward. But…I dunno. Okay, maybe this is just me but I feel like meeting a love interest’s parents is sort of a big deal. A big nerve-wracking deal where you want to make the best impression possible. An occasion where a warning a necessary. I guess I just figured he had the house to himself.
You’ve probably guessed by now that I was wrong. So very wrong.
I rang the door bell. Nobody answered.
I stood there awhile, holding my breath, wondering if this was like class in college. Maybe if I stood here for 15 minutes and nobody appeared I could just leave! But after a second, tentative door bell ring he appeared at the door.
“Sorry! We’re just finishing dinner!” He said.
And everything went downhill from that “we’re.”
I was paraded into the kitchen whereupon I met his parents. His parents who like him were so very nice and generous and lovely. His mother immediately set to work trying to get me to eat dinner, which was pork chops. WHY MUST IT ALWAYS BE PORK CHOPS?!
I declined, repeatedly, because pork chops are one of the few meat items I literally cannot even force myself to fake eat. They just gross me out. Don’t ask me why. I don’t have a good answer. I placated her by nibbling a frozen potato hashbrown side dish awkwardly while she cleaned the kitchen. I made small talk and wished I hadn’t worn a low cut sweater. I scanned the room for flowers and was relieved to see none. I wished furtively for my death.
Finally my suitor gave him mother some sort of look. A look that must have communicated “leave us alone so I can spit my game” and she shuffled into the t.v. room while blowing up her son’s spot, declaring “I guess I’ll leave you kids alone! wink! nudge! god love ya!”
We chatted, we drank wine. I remembered that I didn’t hate him. I remembered that he was totally pleasant. We looked over his cookie recipe. A recipe for chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips. I blinked my eyes in aggravation because I had totally mentioned to him, more than once the fact that I didn’t eat white chocolate on account of it always making me sick. I swallowed my irritation and asked if he would mind using something else? We settled on peanut butter chips. In what I assume was an effort to impress me he went about most of the assembling of the recipe himself. I offered to help and he waved me off. I sat and drank my wine, smiled at his mother when she repeatedly entered the kitchen for forgotten items.
We put the cookies in the oven. He sat down near me. He leaned in but didn’t take my hands. He kissed me. I felt nothing.
Happy Valentines Day. There was an awkward silence and I thought of ways to fill it. On our previous identical dates we had always discussed his beloved dog. He had often said he was excited for me to meet him. Just as I opened my mouth to ask where the dog was his father entered the kitchen, “Your uncle sent us a condolence card, take a look.”
I shouldn’t have asked.
But of course, you know that I did.
His eyes brimmed with tears as he told me the dog had passed away earlier in the week.
I was officially the worst girl in the world. How in the hell was I going to tell this guy I didn’t want to see him anymore?!
Thankfully I was saved by the oven timer.
When the cookies emerged from the oven this is what they looked like:
That silver part shaped like a duck is the baking pan underneath what we scraped away. All of that black substance is our “cookies” which had spread out in the oven and congealed and burned into one giant pan o’ failure. I woud like to document here in writing that I had very little to do with the execution of this recipe.
I started to get particularly irritated when he suggested that we could still eat them. He wasn’t joking. He scraped little piles of cremated cookies out of the pan for each of us. I have to reiterate he wasn’t kidding.
He ate his cookie ashes. I ate mine.
“Oh!” He said, as if he had forgotten to tell me something, “I just want you to know that I had no idea it was Valentine’s Day today…soo….um…” and then he trailed off.
I just sat there dumbfounded. I think I mumbled something about it being a Tuesday.
Meanwhile by this point I just felt sad.
Because frankly I didn’t buy that he “didn’t know.” And even if he hadn’t I just wished he hadn’t brought it up.
I looked at his eyes. Felt my very still heart.
I left shortly after, lying and saying that we’d see each other again because I just didn’t know what else to say or do.
Looking back I know now, more than ever, that no matter how hard I tried he was never ever going to the right guy.
Because with the right guy I would have been delighted to bake cookies made of white chocolate and crayons. When they melted into a nice waxy pool in the oven I would have let him spoon feed me. The holiday wouldn’t have mattered. I would have snuck him kisses the second his mother turned his back. We would be laying in my bed now laughing about the “time we burnt the cookies.”
Because above all if it isn’t right, it just isn’t right.
And when it is?
Then every damn day can be Valentine’s day.