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Entry date: 2-14-2022 - Happy Valentine's? - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Ah, Valentines Day. A holiday created by greeting card companies.

I guess it says something about me as a romantic that I sit here and do not really remember any particularly great Valentine’s Day. Rhondi will not argue with me when I say that I am not the best at being romantic. I tend to show love in smaller ways like doing things for my love that make her day easier and forget to do the occasional grand gesture or even a nice date night. Since I am putting this in writing, I should probably say here that I will do better at this during 2022.

I remember the first time I had a girlfriend in high school. I was a bit of a late bloomer and did not date or even kiss anyone until I was fifteen. My first girlfriend and I started dating in November of 1984 and we broke up right before Valentine’s Day mainly because I did not want to get her a gift. The writing was on the wall for me, and I wasn’t going to drop $20 on a Care Bear.

In fact, I was a total dick to her and set the Care Bear she had gotten me on fire and hung it in effigy at her house. I feel badly about it all now. I was mean for no real reason except that I did not understand how to have an honest, adult conversation about what I was feeling. As I look back, I have only fond memories of those days and wish I would have been more mature because she did not deserve that.

When I was in my late teens and early twenty’s this was a big holiday around Easy Street. My mom and aunt would always have a Valentine’s party at the sandwich shop for their family of friends and they were often fun. I enjoyed the group of friends that frequented Easy Street and the food was always amazing as my mom and aunt know their way around a kitchen. The wine and beer would be flowing, and everyone was celebrating love.

My mom had a huge collection of heart shaped objects in those days, so it was really her day. She would always have this glow about her at the Valentine’s parties and it was fun to see her happy. The crew of people who would be at those parties were her adopted family, too, and I loved all of them. John, Jay, John, Marty, and Tim were like my adopted older brothers who all happened to be gay. Easy Street had a huge gay and lesbian clientele, and I could never understand why anybody would be bothered by something as random as sexual orientation.

They were just my friends, and we all loved a good Valentine’s party.

In 1989, though, my most memorable and now hilarious Valentine’s memory occurred when my mom cock-blocked me.

Yes, you read that right. I was nineteen and had just moved into a studio apartment on 7th Avenue and Earll near Phoenix College where I was going to school. I was single, too, because I had some awful luck with the ladies in the previous six months.

In the summer of 1988, Jeff and I got our apartment on 27th street and Clarendon in July and almost immediately, Brian moved in, too, taking over the living room. When we moved, I had been dating my friend Jennifer for a bit, even though I think we both knew that we were much better as friends. My ex-girlfriend, Suzy Q, hated Jennifer and there was all kinds of drama. One of the first weekends we were in our new pad, we all went to Out of Water for after hours and Jennifer hit Suzy in the head with a bottle. Stupidly, I sided with Suzy, effectively ending things with Jennifer, and starting a path to destruction on my love life.

I was eighteen and not really in a place to be anyone’s steady boyfriend, but I also had no idea how to be single. Suzy and I were off and on, mostly off, unless she wanted to swing by and make sure I was not possibly happy with anyone else. I started dating a girl named Julie who I really liked but she wanted me to be someone I was not ready to be at the time.

Faithful is probably what she really wanted me to be, but as I had a hard time with that in those days, and I kept meeting young ladies I liked, I was not a great catch. My shenanigans all came to a head around October, I think, or early November when I met a girl named Shanan who broke my heart. I am fairly certain she was dating a number of people and doing the same thing I was, but I really wanted to believe the things she told me. Meeting her totally ruined all the other situations I was in and when she continued to blow me off for most of the holiday season and such, I was done.

So, I was available and ready for something interesting on Valentine’s Day 1989. I was at the party and enjoying myself. At some point, I found myself talking to a friend of my mom who was in her late twenties at the time. If I remember correctly, she was someone my mom had known back in her insurance days.

We were having a great conversation and being flirty and I was starting to think I was going to experience my first “older woman.” I had some different kinds of party supplies at my apartment and gauged her interest, innocently, of course, before letting it slip that I needed a ride home from the party. She was game and I was getting my hopes before I heard my mom say, “Don’t worry about that. Matt will take Tom home. It’s on the way for him.”

I protested and said something that gave away my intentions, but that was that. My mom had spoken, and I was going home alone. Rosy Palm would be my date for that Valentine’s Day, but at least I had my earlier conversation with an attractive, slightly older lady to fuel the fire.

I was so irked. She fully cock blocked me, and she gave me this look that I will never forget. It was a cross between a smile and a smirk, and it took me a long time to not be mad at her. She was saving me from something I couldn’t handle at the time. At least Matt commiserated with me on the drive home. He knew what was up, too, although I think he may have gone back and hooked up with her.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

See you tomorrow.

One of my favorite Valentines these days. The one and only Sky! I love her.

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