The last Valentine’s Day I celebrated was in 2003. It was with my first real boyfriend, Raul. I’m not sure if we were actually boyfriend and girlfriend because he told me he couldn’t call me his girlfriend in front of people because that would make the title lose meaning. Still, I consider Raul my first relationship, and it began six Valentine’s Days ago.
We had been having drama since winter break ended. By Valentine’s Day, we were still trying to work out our problems over AOL Instant Messenger. That day, we agreed to get hall passes to go to the bathroom at the same time so we could meet in the quad and talk. He waited for me on a bench with a smile straight out of an Accutane commercial. His Billabong t-shirt and heavy chain that connected his Quiksilver wallet to his belt buckle was gleaming in the sun. My heart skipped a few beats. I only hoped that he would finally agree to call me his girlfriend so I could stop telling my mom that I was going to his house to tutor him for woodshop class.
We began to talk about his commitment issues and my refusal to kiss with tongue. Finally, to my sheer delight and after skillful convincing, we agreed to go public with our love. As soon as we’d sealed the deal with a peck on the cheek, a giant, kid cone-sized dollop of bird poop landed right on my leg.
After the poop splattered, I looked up and saw a seagull flap its wings and dart off, probably to the beach 20 miles west from my high school. It was as if the gull had flown inland simply to drop a deuce on me and fly away, leaving me to question the future of my first real relationship and also throw away my pair of l.e.i jeans.
Since that day, I’ve never celebrated a Valentine’s Day on the day of; they’re either conveniently out of town, away at ‘school,’ or we’re on a break for what seems like just that weekend. The only person who has given me flowers in the last six years is my dad, and the only person who has given me chocolates has been the person with his back turned at the Office of Career Services while I take a generous handful from the jar on the counter.
What’s even more curious about the Valentine’s Day poo incident is that a seagull has pooped on me at one point in every courtship I’ve had since Raul, regardless of the day. Whether we were on a date, walking to class or lounging on the beach, a stinky, feathered creature has relieved himself on my person while in the presence of my significant other. One time, I was in the College of Arts and Sciences building and a frightened bird that was caught in the lobby unloaded his fears on my sweater.
My mom says getting pooped on is good luck, but it’s happened to me not just a handful, but a big steaming slew of times, and all I have to look back on is a string of failed relationships in which I kept making the same mistakes that I did when I was 16 and sitting on that bench in the quad.
Like every singleton on Valentine’s Day, I just need a change of perspective. If seagull poop is good luck, then it was all luck in the sense that I would soon see a messy ending to a relationship that wasn’t going to give me happiness anyway, subsequently getting me out of having to date some mindless and stupid boy so I could be more productive with my life. This Valentine’s Day, I can reorganize my sweaters or catch up on past episodes of ‘Tool Academy’ instead of walking around the North End with a rose that my clueless boyfriend bought from a guy outside of Mike’s Pastry.
This Valentine’s Day, millions of single women like me will flock to the movie theaters to cheer themselves up with movies like that ‘How to Get a Guy That’s Just Not That Into You In Ten Days’ film. The theaters will be filled, and the energy coming from those women will be akin to the excitement and attention I felt when I saw ‘Star Wars’ at midnight on opening day in 1999. The sickeningly cute content of the film and Drew Barrymore’s droopy ‘have-faith-in-love’ face will inspire them to go out and start relationships with men whom they will probably break up with or be dumped by before 2010.
I could be one of those women, and for the last six years I was one of them, clinging on to some hopeless boy just to see if he’ll outlast next year’s Feb. 14. But this year, I will sit indoors, afraid of falling bird feces. Not that I don’t want to be cursed with ‘good luck’ again – I just don’t want to have to throw away any more clothes.