Monday, February 21, 2011

Tales from Valentines Day

Handing out around 200 Valentines means I got to meet a lot of "interesting" people, and I thought I might share some of those stories. Most people were very nice and either accepted or declined the Valentines graciously, one guy got upset when I offered him a Valentine, told me he didn't believe in that shit and walked away.

I have to say I think Valentines is the weirdest holiday to get mad over. It's a malleable holiday because it doesn't actually MEAN anything. You can make it about a significant other, or family and friends, it can be Singles Awareness Day, or like Heather and I did it can be about making other people feel a little good. You can just pretend it's like any other day because it is! But don't get pissy at the people who do choose to celebrate. You wouldn't yell at a Jew for celebrating Yom Kippur if you weren't Jewish (and if you would, stop reading my blog this instant). So don't get upset with me for wanting to celebrate something with a little flash and sass.

One type of valentine we handed out was from the newer Indiana Jones movie The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. This guy walked over to me and I handed him a valentine, he was on the bigger side (tall and wide), probably in his early thirties, and most likely had a mental disability. He seemed happy to get his Valentine and walked off. Maybe 15 minutes later he returned and starts yelling at me, "What's with this valentine?"
I said, "I'm sorry, what's wrong with it?" I couldn't believe anyone could find anything we wrote to be offensive. And come on it's just a Valentine.
"It says Indian Mutt on it!"
I paused for a moment, confused. "I'm sure it doesn't."
"Yes it does, it says Indian Mutt!"
I asked him to let me see the card. It said Happy Valentines from Indy & Mutt, with a picture of Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeoufs characters on it. I explained to him that the characters name was actually Mutt and he just walked away.

Anyone walking in my general direction I offered a Valentine to, three people around my age walked toward me so I asked if they wanted one. They said yes, they were vagrants but relatively clean ones, and everyone needs a Valentine, right? After talking with them a little bit I noticed something moving on one of their backs. I didn't see it at first because there was a lot of stuff up there but when they started walking away I saw it was a cat strapped to the guys back.

I girl walked toward me, I smiled and offered her a Valentine. She didn't smile back, just looked at me dourly and said, "I'm really hungry." Now this girl was clean, had on nice, if slightly hippyish clothing. She had on pretty good, bright (if not well applied makeup), and didn't have a suitcase or some other caring case like most of the homeless do around here.
"I'm sorry, would you like a Valentine?"
She stared at me without a change in expression not even looking at my out stretched hand and goes, "Is it food?" I said no I don't have any food, and she walked away. Heather and I actually considered handing out a bag of mini Tootsie Pops. But there's all sorts of permits you have to get before you can just hand food out, even if it's free.

Another guy Heather and I offered a Valentine to together gave us the third degree after he'd already accepted it.
"Is it a coupon."
"No sir, it's just a Valentine."
"Why are you doing this?"
"Because it's fun."
"No I mean who are you working for?"
"It's just us, we wanted to make people feel good."
"Do you have a boyfriend?"
And then he walked off. And that's exactly how the conversation went too. I'm not omitting anything, he asked those questions, in that order, one right after the other.

  • I had a few people ask to buy our balloons, which were not for sale. We only had 5 of them.
  • A kid took his Valentine and then headed straight for my purse looking for candy. This kid was 8, he should have known better.
  • Some guy tried to hand me money I think. It was in his fist and I couldn't see it and he held it at my eye lever waiting for me to put my hand out for it. After volunteering for the Salvation Army for the holidays a few years ago I was wary of this and explained once again that is was a free valentine, and he could just take it.
  • Another guy kissed my hand when I gave him his Valentine. It was sweet, but I was glad I was wearing gloves.
  • I offered another guy a valentine and he began speaking in rapid French. I looked confused and shook my head. He asked if I spoke any French and I said so. He said he didn't speak much English so I just handed him a card. I hope he found someone to translate for him.
  • Several Japanese tourists were obsessed with getting pictures of me.
  • Two guys walking together will not accept Valentines.
  • Groups of more then two men will though.
  • Middle aged women in stylish business attire and heels won't accept Valentines.
  • Almost every other type of women will though.
  • Don't even bother with people wearing headphones.
So there are a few stories from my Valentines adventure. I hope you find them entertaining.


  1. Wow, with that degree of crabbiness, was it worth it?

    I'm personally not a big fan of Valentine's, whether I'm single at the time or not. Normally I'm all about celebrating holidays, I think they're fun, but there's something really boring to me about Valentine's Day. I'm glad you guys found a way to spice things up a little, even if you got a lot of weirdness in response to it.

  2. People are weird. I have a million stories like that after living in Panama City. Like a couple of weeks ago, my mom and I went to lunch at Panera and when she went to go heat up her bread in the microwave, some aging guido asked her how she knew how to use the microwave. "Do you work here or something?"
    "... No."

    It's because people from up north assume that everyone in the south is an idiot. Whereas we moved down here and nobody believed I was from Georgia because I didn't have a southern accent, which isn't something you pick up in suburban Atlanta.

  3. Maura: That was just a small portion of the people, I still think it was worth it.

    dull-flame: Yeah some people suck. But there are a lot of people out there who are really nice. It's just easier to remember the crabby ones.

  4. Glad you mostly enjoyed Valentines Day! I love that the Japanese tourists were so excited. It makes me happy :D

    I also like all the pictures you used!

  5. That's good! I like to think most Portlanders are a bit cooler than that.