I’ll never forget the Valentine’s Day when I was fourteen. My family had just moved back to the High Desert after a couple years away, and I’d only been at my new high school for about six weeks. Although I’d grown up in the same town, I’d quickly discovered that people change a lot from age twelve to age fourteen and I wasn’t reconnecting with my middle school friends as well as I’d expected. Anyway, I didn’t have many classes with kids I knew.
For Valentine’s Day, the school offered a few different things kids could buy for one another to profess their adolescent love. Candy grams, roses, and singing telegrams were all on sale for purchase and delivery on the big day. Since I didn’t have a boyfriend I wasn’t really expecting anything, and I didn’t know any boys well enough to hope that maybe, just maybe, they’d think of me.
I was sitting in fourth-period history, minding my own business, when a member of the school choir interrupted class. She had a singing telegram to give…to me. I slunk lower and lower in my seat as she (quite beautifully) serenaded me with Martina McBride’s “My Valentine”. Oh, the embarrassment. The horror. Anyone who knew me at all would know that in my tender, fragile fourteen-year-old state, the last thing at all that I would want would be to have some girl singing to me in a class full of kids I barely knew.
How did this happen to me??
When the singing was over, the singer produced a card and handed it to me. Red-faced, I took it and read it. It was signed Terry, who was a quiet kid in my class. He sat next to me and was always wearing the same hooded sweatshirt. As I mentally attempted to disappear, he leaned over to me and whispered “Did you like it?”
“NO,” I hissed back, hunched over, whispering. “I’m not your girlfriend and I’m not going to be!!”
(I was not tactful at fourteen, by the way.)
That long-ago experience was my first brush with receiving attention from a guy whose attention I didn’t want. Over the years, like many women, I’ve turned down dance invitations and date requests, and a couple times I’ve received flowers that weren’t sent to me by my boyfriend. I can say from experience that these experiences, especially that last one, are incredibly uncomfortable. I don’t know why some men view it acceptable to send someone else’s girlfriend/wife romantic gifts. There’s nothing worse than contemplating what to do with the flowers that were given to you by somebody who isn’t your significant other.
Today is another Valentine’s Day, and while I personally was lucky to avoid that awkward unwanted-gift, but one of my friends did not escape this fate. She received not only an arrangement of red roses special-delivered to her desk, but the sender also snuck to her desk while we were at lunch to leave her candy. Not only is my friend seeing a guy, but the sender of the flowers knows this.
Guys, just for the record, it is NOT considered romantic to send flowers/candy/gifts to a girl who isn’t single. It’s considered sleazy and it makes you look like a douchebag.
Much like I rejected Terry back in ninth-grade history class, my friend rejected her flower-sending suitor. And we’re talking full-on rejected, not the gentle let’s-just-be-friends line. Because, really, who wants to be friends with someone who sends unwanted Valentine’s Day gifts?