A Love Letter to Girls Who Didn't Date in High School
Valentine’s Day never fails to remind me of one of my least favorite things about myself.
I will almost certainly never be a boy’s first love. The thought springs into my mind every year on the dreaded day as I scroll through instagram and watch couples who are all my age but have somehow already been together for three or four years. It’s a stupid, fleeting thought that I probably shouldn’t think about as a self-proclaimed “independent woman.” But even as a try to banish that thought from my mind, it keeps on creeping up. Some boy out there will be my first love, but I won’t be his. Valentine’s Day will fill me with the butterflies of my first love, but he will have done this time and again–before me.
Why do I care? Why should I care? It all leads back to my second least favorite thing about myself: I never dated in high school.
I would like to raise a toast to the girls who never dated in high school, on Valentine’s Day and everyday. We girls who went all four years of high school without getting the highly coveted homecoming-proposal poster or Valentine’s flowers in our lockers are built different. We are stronger, especially because for most of us, a lot our friends did date in high school. We stood by as our friends excitedly received a homecoming proposal and perhaps even helped a somewhat-clueless high school boy arrange the perfect time and place. Girls who did not date in high school are almost always expert wingwomen. We know all too well the questions, “is [friend] single?” or, “do you think you could set me up?” My phone is filled with texts from boys I had crushes on asking me for intel on my all friends and never asking a thing about me.
Coming into college without that experience makes Valentine’s Day all the more bitter. On that love-filled day when people reminisce on old relationships and excitedly prepare for new ones, I sit silently, supporting my friends, as always, but never being able to add much to the conversation.
In the back of my mind, I know there is absolutely nothing wrong with never having dated in high school. I know that despite what the movies and TV shows say, most people don’t meet the love of their lives at sixteen, but still, not having that experience can make you feel…wrong. It makes you feel different, and weird, and unable to relate to your favorite Taylor Swift song because no one ever even told you they loved you at fifteen or even at nineteen. I feel behind my friends who have experienced heartbreak and betrayal even though I know deep down I don’t want to experience those things. Still, before the heartbreak, they experienced excitement and a whirlwind rush of feelings and the happiness that comes with having your favorite chocolates delivered to your door. They say heartbreak helps you grow, and I can’t help but think I never will.
So, what can I do about it? What can I do to make myself feel better about the lack of romance in my high school years?
Absolutely nothing. Unless someone has invented time travel, there is nothing I can do about it now. I could hate my high school self for her awkwardness and lack of a love life, but I won’t. I won’t hate her for always being the wingwoman and the promposal picture-taker. Being loved by a boy will never define me even when I do find love in the future.
So, every day but especially, Valentine’s Day, I raise a glass to all the girls who didn’t date in high school.