It was Valentine’s Day, and I didn’t have a boyfriend, which I was telling myself was actually pretty nice. The last boyfriend had gotten me a heart-shaped box of chocolates. I don’t like chocolates. I don’t like hearts. He had also written some ill-conceived poetry, comparing my face to the moon, or something. Or maybe he was comparing my boobs to the sun. Whatever.
I was 17, and was finally allowed to drive without adult supervision. I had a crazy idea. I jumped in the minivan and drove myself to the mall. This was back in suburban Jersey, where someone thought malls should replace everything decent and pretty about the world. I marched inside with a determined set to my jaw and a noble mission in my heart. I was going to buy myself Valentine’s Day presents. They were going to be pink or red. They were going to be sexy. And they were going to be the things I really wanted.
Like all properly cared for and educated children of suburbia, I had plenty of underwear. I had gray underwear and blue underwear, and underwear with polka dots on it. Not a single pair was sexy. Not a single pair had lace on it. But all of that was about to change.
First stop: Macy’s lingerie department. I thought the saleswoman was giving me a judgmental look as I ducked into the fitting rooms with a handful of lacey things. She probably thought this was all about sex. I had never had sex. This was all about lace.
I loved the red pair. And the pale pink lace thong. A thong! Oh my god. I was such a rebel. Such a sexy rebel. But then I wasn’t sure I could do it. I wasn’t sure I could go up to the register with the thong. And when would I actually even wear it? Probably never. And I worked hard for my money. So I put it back in its bin and went next door, to Claire’s, where I bought a pair of pearly pink dangling earrings. There. That was a good Valentine’s Day gift to myself.
Next, I went to Express. I tried on some red shirts. Nothing special. I went to Old Navy and tried on a pink jumper dress. Ugh. It looked awful on me. I ended up buying some pink lip gloss for $2.
And suddenly, I felt totally lame. I didn’t have a boyfriend. I was in a mall, on Valentine’s Day, wandering around. Looking for stuff that was pink. Maybe my ex’s poetry wasn’t terrible, after all. He had compared my body to an angel’s body, I think. That was kinda flattering.
And stupid. Really stupid. How the hell did he know what an angel’s body would look like? I thought of the Victoria’s Secret angels. Did he wish I looked more like that? My boobs were too little, clearly.
I stood by myself, looking down over the railing at moms tugging their children after them, frustrated expressions on tired faces. And teenagers sulking all in black, on the benches. This was the worst Valentine’s Day ever. After this, I was going to go home and eat dinner with my parents. Who are really nice, but still.
A guy and a girl walked by, holding hands and giggling. The girl was carrying a Victoria’s Secret bag.
And then I knew what I had to do. I marched back into the Macy’s intimates department and bought the red lace underwear and the pink lace thong and a matching pink lace bra. I got a discount. I looked the saleswoman right in the eye. I had every right to wear that thong. Every right, damn it.
I triumphantly swung the plastic bag with its scandalous contents and headed for the exit to the parking lot. But on the way, Hot Topic caught my eye and I dipped inside and bought a pair of bright pink raver pants. The ones with like fifty different pockets and snaps and strings and zippers. The ones that sag a little. Now my sexy outfit was complete.
I drove my mom’s minivan home.
“You going out tonight?” she asked when I came in.
“Well, it’s Valentine’s…” she said, and then added, “Not that you should be going out! I’m making dinner.”
I ran up the stairs to my room, locked the door and put on the sexiest outfit in the world. A lace thong, lace bra, dangly pink earrings, pink lip gloss, and bright pink raver pants. I modeled the outfit in front of my mirror. Pure hotness. Any guy would be lucky to have this. Ha! Too bad for them!
And happy Valentine’s Day, me!
“Dinner!” my mom called.
“Be down soon!” I yelled. First, I had to do a photo shoot, for my private collection.
Now, I don’t want to insult any of the great guys I’ve been with since that day when I was 17 and could finally drive on my own, but when I think back on it, that might just have been my best Valentine’s Day ever.
Eight years later, I still have that thong and that bra (my sophomore year roommate stole the red panties and the raver pants went to Good Will), and they are still really sexy. Maybe I’ll get them out this year, and see what my husband thinks.
Or maybe I’ll just model them for myself. Because I really know how to pick ‘em. And at the end of the (Valentine’s) day, it’s pretty nice to know that I’ll always be there for myself. Rockin’ the pink.