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February 14, 2007

Love is in the air, and so is pollution.

Married Coworker: So! Got any hot dates lined up for tonight? (facial expression involves raised eyebrows and goofy smile)

Me: Pardon?

Married Coworker: Tonight? You know! What are your big plans?

Me: OH! Yeah, of course. Well, my current boyfriend gets out of his latest underwear modeling photoshoot at five, then we're just doing our normal weekend routine but on a Wednesday it being VALENTINE'S DAY AND ALL. You know, drink some good champagne, roll around nekkid in some chocolate, I just love that scene from "9 1/2 Weeks" don't you? Where they get naked in the kitchen? Plus it is SO MUCH EASIER to clean up. But you being married and all I'm sure you already know that. So!! How 'bout you? Big plans, too, eh?

Married Coworker:

Married Coworker: I'm going to go get some coffee, you need anything? Bye!

- - - - -


I think it is telling and also rather funny that for the past two years I have spent Valentine's Day not in a steamy embrace or rolling around nekkid in the aforementioned chocolate, no. I have spent it right here, telling my deepest and wickedest secrets to total strangers. I thank you, Al Gore, every day for inventing this here innernets website thing.

Last year, I shared the story of my fancy panties, which probably both grossed out and scandalized my parents, and in 2005 I spent my Valentine's Day romantic evening out at the Michael's in Encino buying acrylic yarn, because that is how I roll, people. Also notice I had zero comments, which I think is a love letter in itself, just the very idea that you can do something because you love it so much (for me, that's writing stuff down) and eventually it all works out exactly as it's meant to, even if you do find yourself wandering yarn aisles at a craft store on Valentine's Night, then drinking 9/10 of a bottle of cabernet with your cat(s).

Last night I wrote something for Annie's website since she is on the road this week, and then I was pretty sure I had no more funny stories to tell anyone about Valentine's Day because you know, it's not that hilarious of a day. But then I started thinking about it and as it turns out there was this one Valentine's Day which I almost successfully erased from memory but there it was this morning, popping right up like a pimple on my cerebral cortex.

I was in my sophomore year of high school and I got invited to a Valentine's Dance and I was SO EXCITED because the invitation was extended to me by the very tall, cute, man-about-campus Brent T. who I am sure had many fine, redeeming qualities but I was 15 at the time and he had A CAR AND A DRIVER'S LICENSE. He was also very goodlooking and did I mention had a car? A Pontiac Firebird in shiny silver grey metallic. I almost get tingles even now thinking on how much I loved the look of that car. And the idea of the look of me in that car.

Now, I wasn't old enough to officially "date" yet (my father had proclaimed I would be allowed to date when I finally had the "good sense God gave a mule," which by his estimation was approximately 136 years away, the end) but because this Valentine's Dance happened at a church, An Offical House Of God, my parents decided I could go. With one caveat: there had to be another couple along with us in the car. Aparently being alone with a boy in a car was ... problematic?

My poor parents. They totally thought I was at the movies from ages 13 through 17.

I was not at the movies.

But anyway, there I was all dressed up in my fancy clothes and sprayed from head to toe with Anais-Anais perfume so a thick cloud of it permeated every room I entered, and I had my hair hot-rollered and my lips smackered and my eyeshadow and Merle Norman foundation just so. I was gussied up and ready to go.

Brent showed up at my door and picked me up, looking very nice in a blazer with his khakis (we called them "Ducks," I do not know why) and he said hey-to to my parents, and off we went. Except...

... except we walked down the driveway to his hot car and the couple accompanying us were his parents. Mr. and Mrs. Brent T, Sr. Or rather more specifically, Pastor T. and his wife.

And when we arrived at the church it was NOT A DANCE AT ALL. Oh sure there was someone at the piano and I suppose there were a few children under the age of six dancing together by the punch bowl, but it was not the lights-down-low and play-me-that-slow-song-by-Journey kind of dance.

No.

It was one of those promise ceremonies where girls were pledging vows to God and everyone that they would hang onto their virginity with their Revlon Red fingernails, swearing solemnly to never shimmy out of their panties until they were totally, 100% married in the Lord's church. And before long someone handed me one of these papers to sign and I believe I made a little gasping noise, because this was not at all what I expected, and I was not about to be making promises with God based on MY PANTIES and where they might be discarded at an undisclosed time in the NEXT TWENTY YEARS.

Brent and his mom and his preacher daddy stood right there, smiling, sweet as could be, talking to me about my hootchie. Uh, I mean, my virginity. They had only the best and kindest and Christian of intentions -- don't get me wrong -- they were lovely people. They meant only to help me find my way in this evil and compromising world the best they could. But I am not from a family where we just sit around and discuss the future tenants of my VaJayJay.

I did not know what to do. I was flustered. I had already promised God I would stop pinching my little brother when he annoyed me and I had broken that one so many times I was sure the fiery flames of hell were already licking at my feet and NO WAY could I promise something new to God, especially something like my VaJayJay, without first thinking through how long exactly it might be before I got married. Realistically.

And they were all watching me, waiting for me to sign on the dotted line. And I started to sweat right through my crushed velvet Laura Ashley knockoff dress. I prayed. I prayed like I had never prayed before. Not for wisdom or guidance, but for lightening to strike right there and set something immediately on fire so we would have to exit expediently and leave the poor, burning church house.

Nothing caught fire. I sighed. I was on my own.

So I looked right at them with the sweetest Christian smile I could muster and said, "Pastor T., I'll have to take this home. My daddy says I can't sign any documents without parental consent."

And they nodded and smiled and since I was in a house of worship, let it be known I wasn't really telling a lie. My daddy did say that, except he was talking about the time I signed my own report card at school once. Whoopsie.

And I went home and never told my dad that Brent and his mama and daddy had tried to get me to sign a deed on my cootchie for the Lord. But it was the very last Valentine's "Dance" I ever attended.

And only the Lord knows what happened to my virginity.

Amen.

Posted by laurie at February 14, 2007 10:05 AM