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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Another damn Valentine’s column

    Andi Berlinarts columnist
    Andi Berlin
    arts columnist

    I guess I’ll start today’s column off apologizing to everyone for writing yet another clichéd story about the relentless and unapologetic holiday, and to give you my realistic admission that you’ll probably read the headline and skip right through to sports as usual. I understand that, but for those of you who’ve made it a tradition to stigmatize yourselves annually with the half-guilty masochism of the day, here’s something to read that hopefully won’t be as obnoxious.

    In honor of my 22nd Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d go through some of the pivotal experiences in the last ten years, for better or worse.

    Age 12: Sixth grade for me was part of that awkward abyss of adolescence, where all the kids in my class made fun of my boobies and called me Lizard Girl, for lack of a better name. A ratty kid with a rat-tail, Jeremy, passed out “”Snow White”” cards to the whole class, but walked past me on purpose for comic effect.

    “”I’m giving Valentines to everyone except Lizard Girl, ’cause she’s weird,”” he said to the laughter of the class. Already in a testy mood, I began to cry and ratty kid pointed at me and snickered mockingly.

    “”Screw you!”” I shouted, even though it was sixth grade and the faux-curse word was deplorably illegal. With that, I ran out of the room and didn’t come back until the teacher came and got me.

    Age 13: My first Valentine’s Day sexual experience. While I was walking home from my junior high, I saw a Mexican landscaper crouching on the sidewalk and juggling a piece of flesh-colored clay. As I got closer, I could hear him chanting, “”Heya heya heya,”” as if to say, “”Come here and witness my creation.”” I walked by, and I realized that he had his zipper undone and his penis was sticking out. He was tossing it back and forth between his palms like a chef making a meatball. I sprinted away as fast as I could and later had to describe his penis to the cops. They never caught him.

    Age 14: I had been dating a kid in the band for a week and a half, so I wanted to get him something special for our gift exchange. My mom insisted that he would like one of those stuffed Chihuahuas from Taco Bell that said, with a stereotypical Mexican accent, “”Te amo. Yo quiero Taco Bell.”” In turn, he got me a heart necklace from Mervyn’s, and when he dumped me two weeks later, I threw it in his face.

    Age 15: I had fallen in love with my first gay man, named (and I’m changing the first name so it won’t pop up on Google for him a year later) Richard LeFlame, from Canada. Despite the name, the heritage and the penchant for good theater, I was clueless. When I finally found out, I spent my Valentine’s Day crying into my hand.

    Age 16-18: No boyfriend. The listless years.

    Age 19: When a boy I liked took my virginity my freshman year, I had been calling him daily, only to be blown off for a myriad of illnesses. I finally got the point on Valentine’s Day night when I offered to bring him chicken soup and he turned me down. As I was crying, my drama major roommate decided to sketch me because she thought it was “”a torrid moment.”” She showed me the drawing a week later, and I tore it up when she was at rehearsal. Later that night, I went to a party and got unbelievably drunk.

    Age 20: After spending the day at Epic Café, I got into one of those anti-commercialization kicks and spent the night eating pita bread and organic onions alone, chanting to some wind goddess. Later, I realized it was stupid and stopped listening to Ani DiFranco.

    Age 21: Had a boyfriend, but had to work.

    Age now: Made a reservation for the classy Vivace Restaurant, 4310 N. Campbell Ave., but had to settle for 4 p.m. because everything else was booked. Later, I’m going to a bar and – despite the lack of loneliness – still might get unbelievably drunk. The good thing about alcohol is that it’s low maintenance and undiscriminating, so at the least I wish you all a happy hangover the next morning.

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