Twenty-five years ago today, Magnum and I had our first date.
Yes, it was Valentine's Day. No, that wasn't on purpose. We were both over-worked college students. Plus, I had a part-time retail job, and he was in the National Guard. It just so happened that Valentine's Day, after my shift in retail land, was one of the few shared openings in our calendars.
To be honest, I don't remember a whole lot about that date. We met at a bar and grill that was just a few doors down from the sporting goods store where I worked. Up until then, I'd mainly just known him from chatting in the couple of classes we had together. These were the ancient days before social media.
At the time, I was also kind of "seeing" a co-worker from the store, but nothing serious. Just sometimes a group from work would do some after work socializing, and the two of us ended up as a sort-of-but-not-really couple. Mark wasn't a college student like most of my co-workers. He was a rather burley outdoorsy guy. He worked in the hunting department at the store and did some taxidermy work on the side. Seemed like a wholesome kind of guy.
As Magnum's interest didn't wane after that first date, I found myself wondering if I should choose one path or the other. Right about that time, I was talking to another co-worker. I don't even remember what the conversation was about, but he said, "Yeah, Mark's on a first-name basis with half the girls at Shotgun Willies".
Oh... really? Shotgun Willies is a titty bar in Denver, commonly referred to by some friends and I as "Silicone Willies"
Now lemme just say that I don't have a problem with titty bars, or titty bar patrons. That whole "first-name basis" thing, though? Well, it tipped the scales in Magnum's favor. He had a hard enough time just talking to me, let alone...
And now LOOK! Here we are, twenty-four Valentine's Days later.
The elementary school is having Valentine parties today, with my little pedestrian customers each carrying bags of little cards for each classmate.
The history of St. Valentine, I understand, is a bit murky. The day itself also has origins in the pagan fertility festival "Lupercalia" where:
"many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped in delivery, and the barren to pregnancy"
Uhm, I'm pretty sure the school is just sticking with the little cards and probably some sweets.