Remembrance of Februaries past

[This should have been posted last March but was shelved as I had been busy with other things.]

Alternate titles: Dates or Why I Dreaded Februaries

dates

This is not only about dates and love, or lack thereof. Or maybe it is.

Way back in college, my Feb 14s were usually spent on “dates” with my co-majors and roommates. We would have videoke sessions, eat banana cue or just walk around the campus giggling at those who were awkwardly dating.

Well, except for that time when I was dragged by my juniors for a “date.” But how do I start that story?

In 2010, our department held a “Date your Date” raffle to raise funds.

The mechanics was simple: Buy a one-peso ticket and if you win, you only have to name your date, dress up and show up. The organizers would be the one to fetch or convince your date, prepare the venue, set the table, serve food, play music, take pictures/videos and giggle at you.

 Well, except for that time when I was dragged by my juniors for a “date.” But how do I start that story?

I was in an Internet café busy editing my thesis when two juniors arrived and said I had to do something for our department. At first I thought they wanted me to take photos; after all, I badly needed to atone for forgetting to sell my tickets. But it turned out, one of the winners picked me as his date!

After egging them, they told me he was the guy who had anonymously sent flowers and letters more than a year ago, one who I wasn’t able to seriously talk with because of the teasing in the college. (Later he said he’s scared I would punch him in the face.)

I decided to do it. I finished my tasks an hour later, went to the dorm to change shirt and showed up to my first (and so far, my only) date ever.

It was one of the most awkward moments of my life. He was initiating small talk and I was getting fidgety, literally shaking my legs and having a lump on my throat while fighting the urge to grimace at the people giggling at us.

After a few minutes, we managed to relax and I summoned the courage to tell him that we would be better off as friends. After all. that’s what we’re supposed to be. He was my classmate who I would discuss Harry Potter with before our professor arrived. I had also thought he was homosexual.

Needless to say, we continued to be friends after that date. End of story.

This year was my first Feb 14 outside the university after a long time and I had missed the fanfare.

Valentines Day in MSU would mean being woken up by serenades from boys going around the campus to give the traditional harana. Some would do it for their girlfriends or friends; others would do it just for the sake of tradition.

wallflowers

When I was already teaching, Valentines’ would then be spent with my students and at times there would be cards and flowers on my table. (One card had said, “Happy Teacher’s Day!”) Evenings would then mean dinner with my brother and roommates.

But this year I realized more than half of my batchmates had already gotten married and had kids. Most that had been “loveless” in college were already into relationships and I’m one of the few wall flowers left.

I remembered the time when my Communication Theories professor asked who among us had never been in a romantic relationship. I raised my hand thinking many would be up. To my horror, only mine was there and I resisted the urge to disappear. It didn’t help when my professor said “Really? What a poor girl!”

I felt like a poor girl, the last cookie in the jar. It also didn’t help recalling how my uncle—my mother’s cousin—fussed about my “lovelessness” to the point of suggesting that I go on blind dates, speed dating and flings!

In my mind, I had said: “Oh my God! I am still 24! I WILL NOT have a boyfriend just for the sake of having one!”

But I only managed to utter: “Ha?! Hahaha.”

It’s a blessing though that my Feb 14 was spent preparing for my trip to Cebu. Spending post-Valentines with my dear friends was the best R&R I had so far this year and I’m so grateful.

I realized I shouldn’t dread February. After all, it’s a month of love which I can also share with my friends. ❤

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