Why Valentine's Day Got Better After I Came Out

I will never forget the first time someone asked me to be their Valentine. A boy in my 6th grade class had handed out Scooby-Doo themed Valentine’s Day notes to everyone, and mine was the only one with chocolate taped onto it, asking me if I would be his Valentine. Unfortunately, I had said no and he took back my chocolates and gave it to another girl in our class about 10 minutes later.

As I got older, Valentine’s Day continued to always be somewhat of a let down when there was never anyone I wanted to romantically celebrate it with. I’d celebrate with friends from time to time, but as I got older, more people had their own boyfriends and girlfriends to celebrate with. It’s not that I hated Valentine’s Day or got off on rejecting the boys who would ask me out. It didn’t make me bitter or sad, as I was always happy that I was able to watch friends of mine be happy with someone who made them smile and laugh in a way that friends couldn’t. However, I did feel lonely. I felt like I was missing out on an essential part of life, but I have never been one to feel the need to force that kind of thing. The only way I could have felt lonelier than not having anyone to celebrate with was if I had forced it with someone I really didn’t have feelings for.

Skip to my first year of college when I got my first real boyfriend second semester of freshman year. It was nice at first, he was cute and I felt special that he had liked me back after several girls on our dorm floor had expressed their own interest in him. We were less than a month into dating and Valentine’s Day was approaching fast. I was nervous and excited to see what the hype was all about. I wore a pretty red shirt and a nice pair of jeans and asked my makeup expert roommate to help me apply more than just the usual cover up that I go with.

However, the date could not have gone worse. The food was good, but unexpectedly (on my part) seeing Fifty Shades of Grey while a girl from my Psych 104 class sat behind us and made very loud and crude jokes throughout the movie was not. Don’t get me wrong, she was hilarious, but it only made the interaction between me and my date that much more awkward (for me anyways). He’d scoot closer during the movie and I’d scoot as far away as one could in a packed movie theater.

By the end of the movie, I was so close to the girl seated on the other side of me that we ended up laughing and making jokes the entire time as I forgot about the jerk who only took me to see that movie thinking it would get him laid (as he later revealed). She had come with a group of her friends, and I always remember how cute she looked with her blue dress and perfectly applied dark red lipstick. That night, I went home with my date and broke up with him. You can say it was mean or that I should have held off, but he just wanted sex, and my mind was stuck on the girl I had sat next to in the movie theater who had made me genuinley smile and laugh for the first time that night. And once again, much like the 6th grade Valentine's Day chocolate situation (but a much more mature version), the guy went and had sex with another girl on our dorm floor that very night.

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Since that day, I have accepted that dating boys is not my cup of tea and have stopped feeling bad about what I want. This is what led me to my second Valentine’s Day date two years later.

She and I both had a mutual friend that I had known since freshman year of college and she had lived next door to her back home. I was often invited to tag along whenever she came into town, and everytime we talked, without fail, she always turned me into a flustered giddy mess. She gave me the feeling of butterflies in my stomach in a way that I had never experienced before. When she came into town for a wedding the week of Valentine’s Day, I knew that was my chance. However, she asked me before I could ask her and I said yes without hesitation.

That Valentine’s Day, I got dressed up for my second Valentine’s Day date ever and waited for her to pick me up in her car outside my house. My roommates teased me about how nervous I was as I paced back and forth in our front entrance, looking out the window every time I heard a car pass by. My dad (my forever biggest supporter and best friend) made me promise to call him after the date to tell him how it went and I probably texted him every half hour of the date to tell him how well it was going. That night she had planned the entire date which consisted of dinner, laser tag and a good night kiss on the front porch. I blushed as hard as one could (without actually turning into a tomato) when we spotted my roommates poorly spying on us through one of the downstairs windows of the house (they were all very single that year).

After that night, I finally knew what the hype about Valentine’s Day was all about. I finally got why people love cheesy romance movies and romantic clichés that revolve around February 14th. I finally understood how this one day of the year could make all the difference.

The relationship lasted up until mid January of this year when we had to split because of distance. To this very important woman in my life, I thank you. Thank you for showing me how great this one day of the year can truly be and for letting me enjoy it as myself with no regret and nothing holding me back for three very wonderful and loving years. I know that from this point on, Valentine’s Day dates will come and go, but I will never feel as lonely or out of place as I did before I came out.

I wish everyone a very Happy Valentine’s Day and I hope you enjoy it with whoever you choose to spend it with.



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