The good, the bad and the most ugly Valentine's Day experiences, by Mammoth Times staffers, and John Muir.
Basketball, Utah and Valentine’s Day
By George Shirk
Times News Editor
Nothing good can come out of Valentine’s Day.
This is a true sentiment for most guys. About the best you can hope for is to scrape by. If you’re lucky, you’re on the road and don’t really have to think about much more than a phone call home.
One year, I was on the road, covering pro basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The 76ers were in Salt Lake City that night.
As a promotion, the Jazz basketball-marketing people put together a Valentine’s Day thing. Every person entering the Salt Palace got a heat-shaped lapel sticker with the words “I Love The Jazz.”
It was corny as Kansas in August—cute in that Salt Lake City kind of way. “Cute” is not a word normally associated with Philadelphia, though. Philly was, and is, a tough town.
Anyway, Julius Erving and the Sixers were busy blowing out the Jazz while I was busy trying to hit an East Coast deadline.
“You haven’t really experienced a Valentine’s Day until you see a Mormon with a heart on.”
Deadlines being deadlines, the off-color line cleared the copy desk. Either the copy editors didn’t get it, or they thought it was funny. Either way, the line made it into the paper.
I got a call from the editor of the paper the next day. Not the sports editor, mind you, but the Grand Poohbah himself.
He scolded me out something terrible, and probably would have fired me except the Newspaper Guild had my back.
But I learned a valuable lesson, to wit, there is no cure for the Valentine’s Blues.
The next year, the Sixers were home.
I got by with chocolates and a dinner for my wife, and was darned happy about it.
Big screen TVs, pitchers of beer and hot wings
By Nadia Garcia
It was nearing the Valentine’s Day hoopla—a day of candles, kisses and chocolates. Well, not for me. I was single.
I was in college and one of my best friends, Jose, who was also single, suggested to go out on the town.
Naturally I accepted. Singles should be able to celebrate V-day too.
We raised our glasses to friendship and celebrated together in a non-romantic, non-date. At the time, Jose’s line of work allowed him to establish close business relationships with local restaurants and lounges in the area. He thought it would be a good idea to celebrate our newly coined “Friendship Day” at a place he had some hook-ups.
Um. Yes. Great idea!
As he began to list his restaurant suggestions, I noticed most of them had that dimmed-light, candle flickering, couples setting.
Puzzled, I grew concerned. This is not what I signed up for! We were friends, celebrating friendship!
Quick to think, I remembered that Hooter’s was one of his clients and suggested we go there. Big screen TVs, pitchers of beer, hot wings … very non-romantic! It would be perfect.
Jose turned to me wide-eyed and after a moment screamed, “Okay!”
Not sure what sold him on it (although I think I can guess), but that doesn’t matter. We had a blast and still talk about it to this day. Happy wing’s day everyone!
Driving me to the point of tears
By Shaylyn Riley
Six years ago, a guy that I had really liked decided not to ask me to be his Valentine. I was crushed, but determined not to be alone on Valentine’s Day.
My friends helped and set me up with a guy named John.
I was nervous. Going on a blind date for Valentine’s Day has its pressures.
I wanted to make sure I looked cute so I naturally picked out my favorite dress and some sexy heels. When he showed up at my door, I was disappointed to say the least.
He was three inches shorter than me, and I am 5”2. I was so angry with my friends for doing this to me!
We proceeded to go on our date but I quickly found out that all it would consist of was him trying to teach me how to drive stick shift in his crappy little Honda.
He yelled at me the entire time that I wasn’t following any of his instructions and by the end of it all, I started to cry because all I wanted was to be done with the horrendous date and be with guys I was crushing on … who didn’t want to be with me. Pathetic.
My First True Love
By Wendilyn Grasseschi
Times Staff Writer
My first true love, in college, Humboldt State University.
The tall white Calla Lilies were blooming, the chocolate there deep and true and dark.
Putting a Ziploc baggie under the windshield, sealed tight against the pouring rain, filled with chocolate and the perfect waxed beauty of Camellia petals.
Waiting for the phone call that would come that night.
Look me in the eyes and tell me that you love me!
By Aleksandra Gajewski
Mammoth Times Editor
I worked as a copy editor for The Signal newspaper for several years after college. One year, our advertising department needed some models to pose for a Valentine’s-Day-themed ad campaign.
My editor, naturally, volunteered me and another copy editor, Perry.
Perry was new to the company. He had just started working with me a few days prior.
Talk about moving fast.
We were sent to a local wine bar for our photo shoot and it was clear that Perry was a little uncomfortable. He was a tall, lanky, red-head with a killer smile and cold, yet balmy, hands.
We were told to sit at a table. A cheese platter and some glasses of wine were delivered to us as our photographer prepped the area to take his shots.
Perry sat down and starred at the ground.
I ran my fingers through his hair.
“What are you doing?”
“Getting in the mood. The photos have the be believable.”
He starred at me, uncertain of what to say. It’s too bad we couldn’t drink the wine (we were on the clock and it was against company policy). I’m sure he would have chugged the entire bottle of wine.
I wondered how awkward I could make him feel.
Dan, the photographer, posed us in various, cheesy positions: hands interlaced, one hand on the shoulder, another hand on the thigh (rawr!), holding our (full) wine glasses in the air, laughing, looking into each other’s eyes.
Perry did as he was instructed and gazed into my eyes.
“Tell me that you love me,” I said.
“LOOK INTO MY EYES AND TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME!” I screamed.
Perry froze, bug-eyed, and struggled to find words. After a few seconds, Dan and I couldn’t hold it in and we both busted out laughing.
It’s been said first impressions are important, and I can attest to that.
Ever since our fake date, Perry and I continued to pretend to be lovers. Every time I hung up the phone, he asked me who it was. When I left for my lunch break, he would inquire with whom I was going to eat with.
He was such a good, jealous, fake lover.
I should call him.
My worst Valentine’s Day experience
By Andy Rostar
One of my ex-girlfriends decided to tag along with me on a surf trip to Florida during Valentine’s Day week back in 1997, a couple of years before I wound up moving there from North Carolina.
After about seven hours on the road, it was nonstop, “Are we there yet?”
At the $300 per night hotel, it was nonstop, “Couldn’t you have found anything better?”
On the beach, it was nonstop, “Why can’t you surf at beaches that have warmer water?”
At the restaurant, it was nonstop, “This seafood isn’t fresh enough!”
At the bar, it was nonstop, “There’s not enough liquor in my drink!”
After about four days, it was a nonstop state of my brain being overwhelmed, so on Valentine’s Day, I bought her a plane ticket back home, took her to the airport, and broke up with her.
At the airport, it was nonstop, “What? You didn’t book me in first class?”
My response: “What? Are you trying to kill me?”
The next four days produced some of the best waves on the planet, and that’s when I had learned—the hard way—never to bring a girlfriend on a surf trip—Valentine’s Day or not!
John Muir on love, 1870
“To ask me whether I could endure to live without friends is absurd. It is easy enough to live out of material sight of friends, but to live without human love is impossible. Quench love, and what is left of a man’s life but the folding of a few jointed bones and square inches of flesh? Who could call that life?”