Saturday, 14 February 2015

Pic n' Mix, Poo and Potter: A Valentines Story

The first time I had a boyfriend at Valentines Day was a momentous occasion. Finally - finally FINALLY - I would get a card, and maybe even some flowers. You may have detected a hint of desperation for this to finally happen and you're not wrong. I was 17 at the time. In my mind, I was very late to the Valentines party and I was tired of pretending I didn't want to attend (I really, really did).

So when I eventually did have a boyfriend at Valentines it was a big effing deal. This was going to be the best day ever.

He was 21 and I felt so bloomin' scandalous because hello - a 4 year age gap. Before we even kissed, my best friend and I discussed at length whether his age would be a problem. Would he expect me to have sex with him? Would we have anything in common? Would he find me too immature and inexperienced? It required a whole sleepover and two bags of maltesers to reach a decision. We concluded that yes, it would be acceptable for me to go out with him.

You see, there were undeniable positives to having an older boyfriend. He could drive us around. He could buy us alcohol. And the cool girls at school would totally respect me more than the other nerds for having a boyfriend over 20.

His pseudonym will be Giggity. Yes, you are correct. As in Quagmire from Family Guy's catchphrase "Giggity", and you'll see why.

My best friend also had a boyfriend at Valentines for the first time (we did everything together). It came to the time to buy cards and gifts for our beaus and so we arranged a trip to Clintons. Neither of us had been seeing these boys very long, certainly not long enough to use the "L" word, and I have to admit we were a little disappointed with our options.

We probably spent about 45 minutes in that shop, literally working our way from one end of the Valentines aisle to the other, picking up every card and reading the soppy message inside with growing panic. None of these cards were suitable! The shop assistants must have thought we were tragic.

Finally we both came across a simple but sweet card, that said, "Me + You = Us". It was perfect! No dramatic declarations of love, no gag-worthy poetry. Ideal for young, blossoming romance. There was only one card left.

"You have it," I said to my friend. "You and Steve have been going out longer."

I 100% expected her to respond with, "No, you have it!" But she didn't. What a bitch, right? (I'm kidding, love you).

Eventually I went for a comedy valentines card - you know the ones with the black and white "vintage" photo and funny caption? Seemed like my best bet - didn't want him to think I was too keen or anything. For a present, I had the genius idea of buying an empty jar from Sainsburys and filling it with all the best pic n' mix (flying saucers, fried eggs, sour colas, those bananas that taste like sugary yellow cardboard). I even stuck Giggity's name on it in glitter stickers. How effing cute was I?

So V-day came around (finally). I had bought a really nice wrap top from Jane Norman with epic cleavage and Giggity was picking me up in his car at 7pm. I spent about 2 hours getting ready but I still felt under-dressed because he arrived in a full on SUIT.

Where the hell were we going? I knew he'd booked a table, it must be somewhere really swanky. I wasn't disappointed...

It was only bloody Bella Italia(!!!).

I was dead impressed. They had a special Valentines menu and everything. The food was really nice and because he had actual facial hair, I got a glass of wine without being ID'd. Win.

After dessert he went to the loo for a really long time. And because I was 17 and not as mature as I felt, on my first grown-up Valentines dinner date, I text the bestie, "I think my date's doing a poo... LOL! xxxx"

Upon his return, he paid the bill and we strolled on down to the beach to walk along the pier. It would have been dead romantic except it was bloody freezing and my heels kept getting stuck in the decking. But there was a big moon and it was Valentines and I had a boyfriend and I felt so grown up.

We exchanged cards and gifts; he'd bought me Me to You bear (obviously) and he was dead chuffed with his jar of sweets. His card was a bit too soppy for my taste but I knew I'd make out with him anyway, because my raging hormones just couldn't even.

Giggity drove us to a cliff top and parked up. We climbed into the back seat and spent about an hour giving each other hickeys and dry-humping. At one point I wiped my hand across the rear window, you know, just like she does in Titanic, and we found it dead funny. I even let him undo my bra but insisted that my t-shirt stay on because it was cold, and ended up with a weird and uncomfortable 4-boob situation going on.

"Giggity," he said in appreciation, as he would Every. Single. Time and hence the nickname. I didn't mind at the time though, because getting touched up in my older boyfriend's car was like the most exciting thing to ever happen to me.

If we'd stayed in that spot any later I suspect the evening would have taken a darker turn... But innocent little me didn't even know what dogging was back then. Fortunately, as other cars began to arrive at our cliff-top viewing point, Giggity decided it was best to take me home.

When he pulled up outside my house we made out some more, until my dad stuck his head out the front door and told me to get inside. I completely died of embarrassment and kissed Giggity one final goodbye.

After shouting at my dad for being so hideously cringeworthy, I stomped upstairs to my room and put my Valentines card proudly on my dressing table. I decided I liked February the 14th and pulled my wonky bra out from my t-shirt.

Sadly Giggity and I broke up just a few weeks later. It turned out that despite the 4 year age gap, he was actually a great deal less mature than I. Besides, I had A-Levels to smash and I didn't want any distractions. When I broke up with him he vowed to drive off the cliff where we had spent our Valentines; I told him to stop being daft. Our paths didn't cross again until about four years later, at the alternative goth club of my hometown. He was wearing eyeliner and when he saw me, left with a girl wearing a tail. Facebook says he's married now. I hope he doesn't still say Giggity every time she takes her top off - or, if he does, I hope she's a massive Family Guy fan. But from what they were wearing in that club, I think they probably have kinkier bedroom habits.

I do owe my subsequent Valentines Day enthusiasm to Giggity though; I always look forward to Feb 14th. The following year I took my lucky boyfriend to Paris. He had forgotten to even buy me a card but I forgave him, enjoying the romance of being at the top of the Eiffel Tower and expecting him to woo me with some sweet terms of endearment.

"Are there toilets up here?" he asked. "I really need to take a dump."

Sighing, I accepted that boys would only ever shit on my Valentines dreams. And it's proven true - over the years I have cooked 3-course dinners, turned up in lingerie and a trench-coat, covered my breasts in whipped cream and arranged elaborate days out for my sweethearts. I struggle to think of a time when I was the recipient of a truly romantic and thoughtful gesture.

Until 2015.

Before Christmas I dated a really amazing guy but, for various reasons, we did not work out. Then a couple of weeks ago an envelope arrived at my house, containing two tickets to the Harry Potter Studios Tour, booked for Valentines morning. The note attached read, "Love from Gellar."

I instantly text him to say I couldn't accept, completely confused. He rang and explained he had bought the tickets when we were dating, as a surprise. He didn't expect anything but he wanted me to have the tickets and take whoever I wanted, because he knew how much I wanted to go. I was just so touched and once again in total awe of his generosity.

So today I am going on the HP tour and it might possibly be the most romantic gesture I will ever experience, without the guy even being there. I am taking my best friend and after the tour we are going for cocktails and then to watch Fifty Shades of Grey. Because if you're gonna have a girl's day out, you may as well do it properly.

It might just be the best Valentines yet. Really I just hope there's no poo involved. Happy February 14th everyone!