My first kiss: I was 12 years old and “dating” in the way only a 12 year old does—saying “I like you” and then doing approximately nothing else, even talking. Well, eventually you have to walk the walk and actually kiss the person you’re dating when you’re 12, so it was a big event. On the median between Madison and Park Avenues on 84th Street, still within view of my middle school, he planted one on me in front of 10 of our closest friends who were there for the show. It was drizzling, and one of my friends was holding an umbrella over us like a bodyguard would over a famous person. I was wearing flare jeans, frayed and soaked at the bottoms from being far too long for my 5-foot frame, and paired with Project (RED) Converse that squelched when I stood on my toes to reach the boy’s lips. There was little, if any, fanfare, and my friends and I immediately departed to catch a showing of Land of the Lost (lest we forget that this was in 2009, okay).
My first blind date: Though this occurred almost four years after, I was still sporting patterned Converse, even with the bodycon skirt I had picked out specifically to meet a friend of a friend at a high school dance. I even got my eyebrows waxed at the second-floor walkup nail salon a few blocks from my apartment. To my dismay, the technician did not know how to wax someone’s eyebrows properly, and I left the salon with fewer layers of skin than I came in with, my face sporting severe burns that could not be covered up. Anyway, I arrived, saw the curly-headed kid I was supposed to meet, and out of complete fear of my mangled eyebrows, said, “I can’t do this,” and ran away. But don’t worry. It worked out for him in the end.
My second blind date: One of my best friends from high school was dying to set me up with her boyfriend’s friend, mostly because he too was a big fan of The Office (though, in 2012, who wasn’t?). For some reason I cannot remember, I immediately was not attracted to him, and made my friend and her boyfriend sit in between us at the theater for the movie I picked—Big Miracle, a film about whales trapped under ice, starring John Krasinski and Drew Barrymore with a generous 72 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. After the movie, we had Shake Shack, which is still my favorite burger place, and he spilled Coke all over the table and into my lap. We never spoke again, and my friend will never let me live it down.
Valentine’s Day 2015: Ah, long-distance relationships. I spent freshman year at Notre Dame, which is located in a relatively isolated area coming from Manhattan. The main draw for students was a Holy Grail of an avenue right off campus, the home of a Five Guys, pasta bar, chocolate and ice cream shop, 7-11, and Chipotle. A chicken burrito with chips and salsa cost an absurd $6, a far cry from Midtown’s $11. It was a huge hit among my friends and I, so when I found myself alone on Valentine’s Day—my roommate’s mom had visited for the weekend—I walked a mile through a snowstorm to get a burrito. I braved the rough winds of the open plains and subzero temperatures for the pinnacle of chain Tex-Mex food, knowing full well the woman behind the counter would inevitably short me a few pieces of chicken. Or so I thought, because when I walked down Eddy Street, up to my ankles in snow, I noticed Chipotle’s interior was dimmed. Panic set in, and an audible groan escaped my lips when I saw the sheet of paper taped to the door. The mayor had called a state of emergency due to the terrible weather. I ate a microwaveable dinner from 7-11 instead.
Domino’s night: Again during my freshman year, my roommate and her boyfriend decided to go on a “break,” which is the thing people do before they break up for good, usually. Our small room on the top floor of our dorm (built in 1897 and would last about two minutes before burning to the ground in the event of a fire) was no longer filled with Skype calls and late-night chats on the phone, talking about our significant others far away. So we ordered Domino’s—a lot of it. We’re talking multiple pan pizzas and requests for “more icing for our Cinnastix, please” in the delivery instructions online. We sat on the floor, legs crossed, laughing at the sheer size of our order and our stomachs, shoving the stale, cinnamon-sugar-covered bread into the tiny canisters of white frosting. We had leftovers for days, and didn’t throw out the extra icing, distributed evenly between the two of us, fingers dipped every so often, for three weeks.
It’s the least romantic thing on this list: the sadness of love lost, the gluttony that is intrinsic to a pizza you consider personal for no reason but your own hunger. But love isn’t just about romantic moments, chocolates you bought at CVS and poems you’re embarrassed to write. It’s switching your flight a day early the night before so you can celebrate your dad’s birthday in person. It’s timing your commute to school so that you can talk to your best friend right when he gets off the M86 bus. And yes, it’s even found on the floor of a dorm room in Indiana, somewhere between grease-covered napkins and empty Domino’s boxes, while “Wait For You” by Elliott Yamin plays at full volume.
Featured Image by Meg Dolan / Heights Editor