Sun, 13 Feb 2000

Call your Valentine and have a party

By E. Effendi

JAKARTA (JP): Recently, I contacted all my friends from college. As a social being, I feel obligated to maintain all of my relationships. Plus, I wanted them to invite me to their Valentine's Day parties.

Because I am a 27-year-old guy who is still single, the only thing that excites me about this whole celebration of love is the parties. In fact, I still remember the first time I was invited to a Valentine's Day party. I was 12 years old, and my mind, just like the mind of every other 12 year-old boy, was focused on only two things: Geometry and science projects.

Hahaha! How funny is that. No, that was what my father thought I was thinking, whereas what was really on my and other boy's deep and complex minds were:

1. Girls

2. Trying to see girls naked

Of course I am making a generalization here. There were some boys who were actually thinking about finding a cure for cancer and achieving world peace. These boys became the best of friends with all the high school bullies during lunch break, and you can easily recall their screams, "No! Don't put my head in the toilet! Please!"

However, all the other boys were thinking about girls. They had high spirits and were in their primes, meaning that every object they saw, including dead squirrels, reminded them of sex. Our future leaders, ladies and gentlemen.

It was this spirit that took me to my first Valentine's party. At first, I was not sure I wanted to go since I didn't have a date, but then I realized that this was the chance to broaden my social sphere and make some connections, plus there would be free junk food. So, my mind, the same mind that thought funny armpit noises were cool, told me to go to the party.

I put on my best clothes and slathered on the hair gel and about 14 bottles of cologne, and tried my best to look like a rock star. Then I screamed into my brother's room, asking him to drive me to the party, because, although this rock star's voice was already louder than Robert Plant's, he was still too young to drive.

My brain, in high spirits and filled with sexual desire, was ready to make some lethal Don Juan moves on the girls there, until I realized something: I was only 12 years old. At that age, boys are not supposed to make moves on girls; they are supposed to think of these Barbie-loving girls as their worst enemies.

So the party was divided into two groups, the boys and, eeeuuww, the girls. Even if a boy was clearly attracted to a girl, he had to look at her with disgust and try to stay as far away from her as possible, as if she was a nuclear bomb ready to explode. The only chance for us boys was when it was time for the special Valentine's Day dance, and a teacher named Mr. Handojo, aware of our agony, randomly selected a girl for every guy to dance with. Despite his geeky glasses and dirty hair, that night we all agreed that Mr. Handojo was the coolest person.

I myself secretly had my eyes set on the queen of the party, Anita, as did all the other boys in the room. Lucky for me, Mr. Handojo picked her to be my dance partner, causing my brain to lower the temperature in my hands and turn my face white.

This was a big chance for me. Therefore, trying to impress her, I showed her something that never failed to amaze the boys: a scar on my elbow that I got from falling off the stairs. It was shaped like Java island, only uglier. That was the first time I realized males and females had very different brain waves. The rest of the night was all a blur.

Fortunately, we no longer need Mr. Handojo to help us with the girls at our Valentine's Day parties, besides, considering his eye problems, Mr. Handojo would probably match the guys with indoor plants.

The guests at the Valentine's Day parties I attend these days are mostly grown-ups. That gives them one advantage over little kids -- they can have beer. Therefore, after knocking back five cans of brew, a man can forget about his shyness and walk up to any girl he likes. And after the party, as the alcohol leaves his system, he can look sweetly at the girl and realize she is actually Mr. Handojo.

But for those guests with less alcohol in them, the night can offer many opportunities for love.

However, this does not happen very often because at this age most of the guests bring a date to the party, usually their spouse. That is why the programs at these Valentine's Day parties are designed for couples only. The parties feature several games that can only be participated in by couples: the couple's dance, the couple's karaoke contest, the couple's running with the bulls contest and so on. And at the end of the party, prizes are given for best couple, best-dressed couple, sexiest couple, best couple with their pet, best couple who will be divorced soon and spending Rp 250 million on therapy.

Sadly, there is no category for best lonely man who came to the party alone, the winner of which would be given something that many single men think of as the highest priority in their lives, Playstation. But that's a whole different issue.

As we near the end, I would like to say that it is sad after the party when everything returns to normal, which means no more special events celebrating the wonder of love.

However, you should not let this stop you from expressing your love to your sweetheart. Call her now just to say how much you love her. Go to her house just to see her sweet face. Give her gifts that will remind her how special she is to you. Take her out for a candlelit dinner in a fancy restaurant. And on your way, please take the time to send me Anita's phone number and tell her that the scar has healed.