If I could live in the Consumer Value Store, I would. For
the most part, this is not a hyperbolical statement. My truly absurd reliance
on CVS (see I actually went through the effort
of finding out what the letters stand for
, I really do care), however, is
the topic for another article and probably several sessions of counseling. That
being said: there is about a five-week period (January 17th to February 14th) that
I would take a vacation from living in my hypothetical CVS home. Like any blissfully single
19-year-old girl, I abhor Valentine’s Day with every fiber of my (50% cotton,
50% polyester) being.

I did not grow up in this Hallmark card crazy, conversation
heart loving, “Be My Valentine (or Else My Loneliness Is A Real Thing)”
country. My memories of February 14th in America involve every single person in
my kindergarten class getting every other kid a Valentine and the class parents
(let’s be real, I’m being politically correct, they were class mothers) giving
us cupcakes. Then I moved to Asia (where they have much cooler
celebrations)”¦ and there was no CVS! (But perhaps more
relevant to this article: Valentine’s Day is not quite as big
a deal

2011 marked my first American Valentine’s Day in over a
decade. It was a complete let down and not just because I am terminally single.
Here, my fellow 90s babies, are reasons Valentine’s Day was way better before
the new millennium.

1. The cards/mailboxes

A couple years ago I found one of the heart-shaped boxes (stop
groaning, that’s one of the best hyperlinks you’ve clicked on today) that
housed all the seriously nostalgia inducing Valentine’s cards from my youth.
Not only did my classmates seriously love me*, but the cards are basically 90s
artifacts. When anthropologists of the future sit in their inevitably absurdly
high-tech offices trying to sort out the cultural enigma that is the 1990s,
they could just take a peek inside my Valentine mailbox from “98 and gain full
understanding of the decade. Their opening the mailbox would look a lot like this, but
without Nazis, the Wilhelm scream, and the melting faces. (It would, however,
ideally include as many shots of young
Harrison Ford

It’s been over ten years since I’ve
received a colorful, Disney cartoon laden Valentine card. This is one of the
great tragedies of my life.


(Those of you who want to change that for me:
since CVS is the world’s most magical store, they sell them there).

2. Your parents

When I still carried a lunchbox to school,
I was moderately obsessed (somewhere in between my obsession for young Harrison
Ford and CVS if that helps at all) with minor holidays because my Mom is an
expert holiday celebrator. Every Valentine’s Day without fail, the 2% milk in
my Thermos would be dyed pink. This was far more exciting than it sounds. Pink
milk everyone. Think about it.

Beyond the colorful milk, Valentine’s Day
was exciting for the randomness of the gifts I would receive from my parents.
With my birthday or Christmas, I always was expecting certain
, but Valentine’s Day was always a complete surprise. I believe I
received this legendary,
much coveted
gift on February 14th in the mid-90s. It remains the best
present I’ve gotten on Valentine’s Day. (Again, those looking to change my
decade-long V-Day dry spell, click

3. Your teachers

If a professor gave you a Valentine, it
would be pretty creepy and probably warrant a sexual harassment claim. However,
back when I thought Kenan & Kel was
the best-written show on TV, the teachers at my elementary school were February
14th fanatics. Looking back, this is a little confusing. If I were
an elementary school teacher, I would dread a day that allows kids to freely
ingest as many sugar laden treats as possible.

Maybe it was the promise of a
romantic night afterschool ““ yes, I am assuming all the teachers were in fruitful,
monogamous relationships
and not single, TV-dinner-eating-older-versions-of-me ““ that made
them so invested in celebrating with their students (“T-minus ten hours until
my husband, candlelit dinner, and sex,” they thought as they watched our grubby
little hands exchange cards). Or I guess if they were single, TV-dinner-eating-older-versions-of-me,
a bunch of six-year-olds are their Valentine’s Day outlet, giving their
loveless lives meaning. (I hope I am not offending elementary school teachers, since
I respect your work and you’ve got about five-thousand times more patience than
I do. I know elementary school teachers are my most popular demographic, so I
do feel the need to clarify this.)

Regardless of their motives, here’s
a shout out to Ms. Loveheart (yes, that was my pregnant kindergarten teacher’s
name), Mrs. McGuire, and Miss Pruitt for ruining all future Valentine’s Days
for me!

4. Fearlessness

Love lives in elementary school
were much simpler. If you liked someone (which for me was generally based on
how good they were at spelling or how many books they read), you told them. You
tracked them down at recess and let them know how it was beneath the jungle
gym. If you were feeling especially romantic, you might go down the slide after
them and “accidentally” bump into them. Elementary school Valentine’s Day
recess: the most fearless day of the year.

5. The candy

Conversation hearts are a D-list
confectionary treat at best (Ferrero Rocher are A-list for anyone keeping tabs).
But the magic of elementary school Valentine’s Day transformed even the stalest
of heart-shaped candies into glorious, sugar-rush inducing treats. (There is no
better time to bond with people than during a sugar-high. Proof: recess +
Valentine’s Day/Halloween = perfection).

Literally any other day of the year,
conversation hearts are a complete waste of calories, but on February 14th I’ve
seen respectable candy eaters down a pound of them. Plus, no other candy is
quite as (literally) seductive. A truffle from See’s has never asked to “be

As a child, I was always impressed with the
versatility of the heart-shape: lollipops, chocolates, Peeps”¦ And all of it literally
placed in front of me one day a year between the ages of five and seven.

6. This movie didn’t exist

If someone were to set up a Cinematic Hell
modeled after Dante’s
, the ninth level would project
Valentine’s Day on an IMAX screen. On a loop. For all eternity.

I would obviously return to living at the Figueroa CVS on February 15th.
That’s when all the candy is discounted. I’ll eat it all — except the conversation hearts.

*Popular messages included and were mostly limited to

Hi Cailin:

You are nice.



Times have changed since then and the college version would
read more like:

Hi Cailin:

You are sometimes nice.

Enjoy being single,


Also I just mostly included that asterisks because I wanted
to post this on the Internet:

Happy (kind of almost) Valentine’s Day, everyone. You can find me loitering outside CVS on Figueroa with withdrawal symptoms everyday until the 15th.