Feb. 14, or National Condom Awareness Day, is a day I’ll be spending alone with the cast of Downton Abbey and my metaphorical harem of cats, wistfully looking back at more actively romantic times in my life. In honor of those better days, I offer a condensed catalogue of relationships past.
1. At the tender age of four, I had a “boyfriend” in preschool that I married. Innocent, youthful bliss — how cute, one might think. He brought me conversation hearts and flowers on Valentine’s Day, so I guess my four-year-old self was doing a heck of a lot better than my current self. We had a playground marital ceremony, about which I remember little (God-willing and with enough liquor, this will be the case with my real future wedding as well).
But one day when we were in the back seat of my mother’s Volvo, my mom looked back and had to cover her mouth to keep from screaming in horror: I was on top of this kid, doing things I shouldn’t have known how to do as a four-year-old (congrats, your daughter’s a slore!).
2. Nine years later, I was at a friend’s party and didn’t know everyone, so as an icebreaker, she decided we’d all play “Seven Minutes in Heaven,” a game in which two parties engage in activities that don’t normally save enough space for the Holy Spirit, what with the game’s perimeters being restricted to the dimensions of the average household closet. I whispered in my friend’s ear the person with whom I wanted to play the game and after some manipulation of the rules on her part, into the closet he and I went.
Since I didn’t have any gum, I requested that we both chew a Starburst before commencing our seven minutes, but I didn’t anticipate the awkward 45 seconds of chewing that would occur in the meantime. After this short period of angsty awkwardness, all went accordingly and, needless to say, we won. In fact, during the course of the evening we would make several more trips into said closet, and we ended up dating for several months.
3. My first grown-up date was … with a professor. Oops. So maybe I lied about my age (I said I’m a 22-year-old grad student … okay if you actually believe that, well, I wish you were the cashier at Wine Press). He taught at a university in Rhode Island and was from Turkey. I was only in it for the free food, so I had already composed my made-up plans pour après-date in my mind. At the end of the night, he asked me if I wanted to come back home with him — I’m assuming he wanted to play chess or discuss the latest read from Oprah’s Book Club — to which I replied I was “busy.” He lived in Cambridge, anyway, which we all know merits an automatic “no” to the private after-party invitation.
However forlorn I expect to be on Thursday, I gratefully look back upon more romantic occasions and then remember that, ah yes, I just figuratively killed five Owls with one stone at a Finals club last weekend. Come to think of it, I should probably be spending this holiday in confession.
Sydney Shea is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.