Valentine's Day: If your heart doesn't get broken, it's not really high school
Valentine's Day. Ninth Grade. Jenny. Smart, confident, reasonably popular, and quite sexy in that post-puberty pre-sag freshman jail bait sort of way. Best of all, she was MY girlfriend. Bet you can guess where we're headed. Oh, true love...
I went on a rant about Valentine's Day on the air last night, which wasn't really fair. I don't hate Valentine's Day. It's a sweet, special day for lovers, especially those still new enough to still be discovering all about each other. I just hate the implication that being unattached on Valentine's Day automatically means you're a pathetic loser.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I must also make note of one of the principal reasons for my bitterness.
Allow me to introduce, live in Hi-Definition on Steven's Memory Channel, one Jenny Lancaster. Jenny was my girlfriend for a short time starting in late January of ninth grade, not that I understood why. But I wasn't about to question true love. I was SO infatuated with her. She was charismatic, strong and poised -- the freshman trifecta.
Jenny had enough intelligence and class to know how to laugh and smile at you without making you feel small. And she also was... does the phrase 'brick shithouse' bring anything to mind? (The boys' nickname for her was "bowling balls" -- now you see why I have to remember her in Hi-Def.)
For the first time in my life, I had a real girlfriend on Valentine's Day. And this was one hell of a Valentine's Day. I gave her a beautiful necklace. 30 dollars from a real jewelry store. Big bucks for a 15-year-old in 1972. We had a nice dinner, and went to see "Friends," a romantic movie about Michelle and Paul, 15-year-old runaways who make a life together in the south of France.
"Friends" has fallen into obscurity over the years, but at the time it was the rage among teens. Of course it was. It was about the secret dream we all had. To telI the world goodbye and strike out on our own, with just each other. I mean, it was France -- that meant it had to be romantic and sexy, right? And it had a great Elton John soundtrack long before Elton became a silly parody of himself. In those early days, his songs were quiet, introspective and made you feel the way you wanted to feel when you were 15 with a real girlfriend.
Jenny loved the necklace, and she loved the movie. Today, we'd call it a chick flick, but what, you've never taken a date to a chick movie? Actually, I loved it, too. To this day, I have a weakness for women named Michelle.
Anyway, as I said, it was a hell of a day. Hell of a night, too. I fell asleep with fantasies about Jenny, me and France. Not that either of our lives were unhappy enough to run away, but it was fun to think about.
You probably have already figured out the rest. The next night, we were supposed to go out again. She didn't show. Yes, February 15, one day after receiving an expensive gift from me, she stood me up. February 16, she dumped me. It is really necessary to mention she kept the necklace? But the best is yet to come. A few weeks later, I found out that the reason she stood me up was that she was busy making out with one of my friends. That friend's name was Nancy. Apparently I was so suave, I soured her on my entire gender.
And you were worried about YOUR Valentine's Day...?
Jenny's family moved away about a year later. I never heard from her again. And I never made it to France. I did find someone incredible to share those dreams, and better dreams. Our time together was rich beyond words.
Anyway, I hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day (unless you're Jenny, in which case you can go suck the big one -- maybe in your case, the big two.)
Oh, and if you've not seen Henry Yu's clever video "My Totally Shitty Valentine's Day" yet, please be sure to go back to my blog page and watch it. He says it's okay to laugh at his misfortune. I know I sure did. I hope you enjoy it, too.
Oh, and uh, Jenny... if you ever read this... call me sometime. I have "Friends" on video.