(All screenshots of messages are recreations of actual messages)
I think I can speak for most girls out there when I say that when a best friend texts you “Gurrrrrl,” you drop everything to see what’s up. Despite my attempts at being a studious sophomore in high school, when I got such a text from my best friend Samantha during my boring World History class, you bet my thumbs were flying away under my desk.
Of course it would be about a boy, but I thought that Sam was talking about a crush of hers. But wow, she was really looking out for me?
Now, he wasn’t very cute to me, but I figured that hanging out was worth a shot. If anything, I thought it would be nice to have more mutual friends with Sam. During that time, she and I had grown apart – we started out as neighbors who visited each other ever day, but in high school, I moved across town, only ever able to see her once every three weeks, if even that. Although we still considered each other the other’s best friend, we were forming our own social groups away from one another. We needed someone like Greg to strengthen our ties…
…but a potential boyfriend was a lovely idea too.
Sam and I planned all the details of our meet-up, and yet I still felt so lost riding in my dad’s ’57 chevy en route to the designated Barnes and Noble.
I was super nervous; after all, I had never experienced anything like this before. Heck, I’d never even been on a date before! My knees trembled, my teeth chattered, my eyes darted around the bookstore half-hoping I’d never find Greg. The whole time, my bestie simply rolled her eyes at me. “You’ll be fine, calm down,” she tried to assure me on our way up the store’s escalators.
And there he was on the second floor, waiting for us. What came over me at first was a fearful “OH CRAP,” followed by a, “Wow, he actually looks decent.” Ah, the priorities of a high school student, and it was all in the clothes, all in the black converse all-stars, all in the navy blue turtleneck. Greg appeared nerdy but sophisticated, traits I attributed to myself.
Cupping a hand around my ear, Sam whispered, “I told him to wear that.” This girl was reading my mind in all kinds of ways.
What ensued was very awkward conversation, if there was ever any conversation from my end. As we meandered through the aisles, I could hardly think of what to say. The cat hadn’t caught my tongue, I wasn’t in love – I was overwhelmed. Fortunately, I had Sam to help break the ice…although, she both helped and hurt, jabbing at me, “Jeez, I thought I would be the third wheel.”
I realize that I have said very little about Greg, and in all honesty, that’s because there wasn’t much to say about him to begin with. His stares didn’t send butterflies soaring in my stomach, his voice didn’t echo in my ears, and the image of his face hardly stuck in my mind. He was “alright,” and that was alright. I didn’t need to rush into anything. I didn’t even need to like the dude…
…but there was one problem with that.
In my high school, if you were single on Valentine’s Day, you might as well consider yourself an old maid. At the very least, your hormones would catapult you into a flood of tears before the day was done. I didn’t want to be lonely, and the idea of chocolates, teddy bears, and roses was very pretty to me.
Greg and I began to chat every day, and it wasn’t long before I was being sent “Hey beautiful 😊”s each morning. I was a little uncomfortable with how quickly this flirty behavior was coming out. It was a little…creepy…or did this Greg just really like me a whole lot? The latter was what I decided to believe, so I simply went along with the flirtations. I began to enjoy the attention I was receiving.
The big day had finally come, a date had been successfully arranged the night prior. I was eagerly standing outside of a movie theatre, studying all the promo pictures for each new blockbuster. This was of course only to distract me from how nervous I was. I felt as though I had swallowed a whole bag of ice, but at least I was keeping my cool when Greg’s ride finally pulled up.
We bought our tickets, grabbed our popcorn, and hurried to our seats, making it just in time for the final preview. My palms began sweating…what if Greg tried holding my hand, or doing the classic “stretch-and-embrace” maneuver? The footage on the big screen played, but my mind was full of static, my expression blank.
What was my deal? I didn’t want to be lonely on Valentine’s Day. I had always liked the idea of holding hands. I always knew I’d blush like crazy if someone ever draped their arm around me. What was wrong with me? What was so wrong with Greg? Why did I have the sudden urge to whisk away into the restroom and call my mom to come pick me up?
Absolutely nothing from my fears happened, and very little was said between us…it was a movie date after all. Yet, the date had been doomed from the start, whether it was because I was being overly negative or because I had jumped the gun with someone I didn’t even have feelings for.
Looking back, I know that I kind of used a guy for a Valentine’s Day date. I was foolish to lead Greg on like I did, but I learned a valuable lesson: we should never force ourselves to feel emotions that we don’t. We only end up lying to ourselves and lying to others.
When we watch couples get excited for Valentine’s Day, those of us who are single often feel bitter or jealous. Some of us trap ourselves in our rooms with a whole carton of ice cream, while others make hasty decisions just to make themselves feel happy for a short period of time, if happiness can be achieved in this manner to begin with. Having experienced both sides of the situation, I’d much rather spend the day with Ben and Jerry than lie to another Greg ever again.