Oh, Valentine's Day! Where would bitter people be without you? Probably in a state of happiness due to not being reminded of their singledom. How much would your absence affect Hallmark's annual sales? Would Cupid lose income from lack of image usage?
Whatever those answers may be, Valentine's Day is here for 2008. Will this sentimental holiday pass over this blog like an overcast cloud or will it be a shower of love? Well, kind of both. We asked some musicians and DJs from Portland's Music scene to recall love-related moments from their life, from the clumsy instances to the sweet and the sketchy and all the in-betweens. A few LocalCutters also weigh in.
Now onto the heart of the matter:
Brendan Scott, DJ Pocketrock-it
When I was attending art school in Oakland, California, there was a glass blower who was completely infatuated with me. He would show up at my house unannounced and hang out for uncomfortable amounts of time. Trying to win me over, he would leave gifts at my front door. On my 21st birthday, he left 21 red roses along with a hand-crafted glass rose that was immaculate. The gift was perfect, but he wasn't perfect for me. As much as the situation creeped me out, it was kind of nice to constantly be looking over my shoulder watching out for a mentally unstable stalker.... Links: Pocketrock-itSpace Hang the DJ: DJ Pocketrock-it
Danny Delegato, The Hugs
I graduated from Cleveland High School last June. I had a sweet, gentle "high school lover" that I wrote songs about a lot. The last six months of high school and we used to skip 7th period together, as I had yearbook and she had newspaper. We would go sneak up into the auditorium, all high up above into the rafter-type things and make out and laugh and sneak around. Then with hickeys on our neck, we would proceed to return to class 5-10 minutes before the 3:00 pm bell would ring. Everyone sorta knew what we were up to but the teachers! I wrote a lot about this girl—she opened my mind to being wild and crazy in high school. I don't see her anymore, but those times will be in my head forever; it was truly a lovely moment in my life when she was around. I was in love and inspired like no other! I miss those days. The Hugs songs: "North," "High School Lover," "Go Wild," "Shoe Swappin," "Frozen Frogs" and "Momma Marci" all came about from her and high school and those vibes. Links: The HugsSpace Danny DelegatoSpace
Chelsea Morrisey, Dirty Mittens
I'm not sure why I hadn't just thrown the underwear out sooner; there were plenty of opportunities. But, somehow like a cyst they had stuck around. They were my “comfortable” option and a dangerously tempting one when I wanted to postpone laundry one more day. But there is no excuse; they were shimmering blue with sparkles and the size of a large tarp, as the elastic had completely broken in everyplace it was originally intended to have purpose.
On the way out of the house that night, as I could feel them baggy and twisted in my jeans, I knew I shouldn't wear them. But lets be real, I hadn't gone home with anyone in several months and well, it didn't seems like the BIGGEST risk.
But, like a cruel joke, what do you know? Much later that night I was being presented with the opportunity for a one-night-stand and of course, the first thing I thought was, God damnit, I'm wearing those fucking underwear! So, drunkenly, I just decided I would slip them off beneath the sheets without being noticed. And with some unexplained awkward worm-like maneuvering, I did. Launching them into some dark inaccessible corner of the room. Out of sight, out of mind.
In morning having completely forgotten the previous night's drama (as I'm like frantically texting my friends to rescue me), I saw that she was struggling with something around her toe. After very little focus, it became obvious that it was the glorious underwear. Apparently, the seemingly "dark inaccessible corner of the room" I envisioned from the night before was actually the middle of a barren floor and now they were waiting to be admired, sprawled out on display like a fucking parachute and glimmering in the daylight. Links: Dirty MittensSpace Cut of the Day: "Mid-July"
Billy Webb, The Newspapers
My ex-girlfriend was innocent before we met, but soon turned wild after we broke up. We [the Newspapers] were on tour (four of us including a merch guy, [as] the drummer went home since it was a close-in gig), and we decided to bring her along (good idea?). Anyways, halfway through the night when we were watching The Shining and tripping on acid she muttered, "I could take you all on." Needless to say, I realized a lot about young love. Links: The NewspapersSpace
Jon Ragel, Boy Eats Drum Machine
My worst Valentine's memory is getting dumped in the 7th grade. I remember slumping next to my locker with a mild ringing collecting in my ears. I think blood collects there when you get bad news. I looked at my feet, then the paper box filled with chocolates. It was shaped like a heart.
She had handed me the chocolates and said "Happy Birthday" before the look on her face changed directions. It was as though her expression changed gears before making its turn around some unholy corner. We hugged goodbye. To add injury to angst, the chocolates she gave me were of the cheapest variety imaginable. They were either stiff on the outside and waxy white on the inside or stiff on the outside and chalky red on the inside. Who invented those foul chocolates? Links: Boy Eats Drum MachineSpace
Leigh Feldman, Hot Mess
When she first walked on the bus, I noticed her eyes. Well, actually, I noticed her hat, because I have always thought girls in that style of hat (newsboy) are incredibly attractive.
To say her eyes sparkled is obviously cliche, but there was some way that the light hit them that made them have more life than everyone else's. She smiled and laughed and listened to music while leaning into her boyfriend. I didn't even care that she was with some other guy, sitting two rows of seats behind me and obviously happy. All I cared about was the fact that I couldn't stop looking at her. I have been told, probably like many, that when you are in love you will just know it, you will just feel it, you will just understand that everything around you is different. I turned around to catch glimpses of her every way possible. I pretended to get something important out of my backpack and unzip it in the aisle, I looked around for an imaginary garbage can to throw away a napkin. I even tried to roll one of the batteries from my disc man back towards them so that I could start a conversation after retrieving it.
When we finally arrived in Dublin, everyone got off the bus to retrieve their bags from underneath. I watched her boyfriend grab the first of their duffel bags and walk towards the curb to set it down while she danced around to whatever song was coming out of her headphones. I went up and touched her arm, which admittedly is not the best way to meet someone. She looked at me and I said, "I know this sounds crazy, but I love you. I love your style and I love your smile and chances are good I would love everything about you" and walked away without turning back for another look, but I had to say it and I knew I couldn't look at her anymore. I don't know if she heard me or could even understand me, but that was the first time I thought I felt love. Links: Hot MessSpace Hot Mess WW's Feature on Hot Mess: Bangers ‘n' Mash
Jason Simms, Dagger of the Mind
Lord Simms of Dagger of the Mind doth profess most wisely on the dangers of performing within incestuous dating pools...
Customarily, the young scholars of Lewis & Clark College celebrate most exuberantly upon the conclusion of each annum of study. The year two-thousand and six was no exception, and on the fourth of May of this year (my last at the institution), there was a grand gathering at a famed and now non-extant house of revalrie known as the Alamo, and there did my bande of merry Shakespearean metallists perfourm.
The space wherein a band may perfourme at the Alamo was most small. As a musician, thou wert nose to nose those with those closest you if there were more than a score of bodies below, and I dare say that night there four score or more. So imagine my delight upon seeing five beautiful young ladies lined in the front of mine group as we dideth prepare to begin.
But imagine my dismay as I realized that each, at one time in my tenure at the college, had once been called my lady with the exception of the one who was currently my lady, though secretly so for the sake of another minstril who dideth perform that night and whose lady she most recently was. My tights were soaked in sweat before we began...Was this a plot? Had they banded together to bring my destruction here at my finest hour?
Luckily, methinks each did not wit the presence of the others (or, perhaps their former connection to me) and the perfourmance proceeded most enjoyably until our pianist, Sir Meriweather, was lifted with his instrument to ceiling, but that, my lords, is another story.
I do wonder, how many members of the audience will I have known primitively at our perfourmance this Sunday at Dante's at 9 pm with the Wet Spots. Come and see if thou canst intuit. Links: Dagger of the MindSpace
Nilina Mason-Campbell, LocalCut
Back in April 2007, I wandered into Whole Foods on a mission to quench my thirst for Orangina, sample some soup and maybe decide to splurge on marinated tofu from the deli. I picked up all those things, hopped into a checkout line and promptly fell for my cashier. Big time! As soon as my debit card swiping, pin punching and grocery receiving were done, I instantly checked my receipt to learn his name. I walked away from his register in a state of euphoria over our connection, but with the knowledge that anything was unlikely to happen given I couldn't exactly pick him up in his line. Asking for his number in front of other customers? Awkward! I consoled myself with the thought that if it was meant to be, maybe I'd run into him at a concert even though I didn't know if he liked music.
I'm a bit obsessed with Orangina to the tune of drinking a bottle a day. The only thing is, I can only carry two of the one liter bottles per grocery trip, so I would return nearly every other day to feed my habit. And I never saw him again... Until the first weekend of June.
I turned the corner from the produce section and saw him bagging groceries. I tend to get a bit over-excited over things and a huge grin quickly spread across my face. While he wasn't looking directly at me, he was looking in my direction, so I turned down another aisle to distance myself from the moment and let the flush of my face calm down. As soon as my 30 second retreat was over, he was no where to be found!
So I got my drinks and my Annie Chun noodles and headed for the bus-stop at the foot of the Broadway Bridge. For 40 minutes the 9 never came. I would have just stayed there only my company for the wait was this crazed man who proceeded to launch himself at every bus that passed yelling, "You corrupt bastards!" while pounding his fists on the windows. He then turned his attention to me. Needless to say, I made my way to another bus stop further into Old Town to catch another. I hadn't planned on having to wait at Chinatown's gates, so I had worn a mini skirt and tank top. Not exactly the appropriate attire to wear to avoid unwanted attention from the cast of characters that typically populate the area. On my way I chanted "Please don't look at me. Please don't talk to me," to myself in an effort to give off that vibe.
I got to the bus stop and what do you know? Out of the corner of my eye, I could see someone leering at me. I covered the side of my face to deflect the staring. In a moment where I briefly lowered my hand to check for the bus (that would be coming from his direction) I could see him still staring and making a movement like he was contemplating saying something to me. I began the silent chant again.
Eventually the 8 arrived and the guy boarded ahead of me. And as fate would have it, who was I giving such anti-social vibes to? My cashier crush! Ahhhh!
What was I to do? How was I to proceed? By going up and talking to him as to not miss my moment of opportunity, regardless of how out of character the approach was. A week after our public transport union, I ended up procuring his number in his check-out line after all. We ended up getting involved, albeit briefly as he'd put in for a job transfer four days before our bus ride and was gone a month later.
Lo and behold, I still have that receipt from April...
Michael Mannheimer, LocalCut
Back in seventh grade I had a huge crush on this girl in my class and I had the totally irrational and somewhat romantic idea to finally ask her out on Valentine's day. We were friends at the time, but I doubt she had a clue that I was so into her. I think the "love calculator" said we had a really good chance to make a successful couple, and it would never lie, right? She was into music at the time so I did the thing any burgeoning music geek would do--construct the perfect V-Day mix tape filled with popular alt-rock songs of the time (Third Eye Blind, Duncan Sheik's "Barely Breathing," the Everclear song off the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack) and a few of the indie rock bands I was getting into (Built to Spill and the Pixies, most likely). I waited until that night at the dance to pop the big question. All I remember is that god-awful K-Ci and JoJo song playing in the background as she unleashed the whole "I really like you but we should just be friends" spiel. I took it pretty well but when I got home I kinda broke down and took solace in my headphones. It's pretty funny looking back, but that's gotta be my first definitive music-as-girl-relief night. I never gave her the mix tape, and to this day, I fucking hate K-Ci and JoJo. "All My Life" my ass...
Amy McCullough, LocalCut
Reading Brendan's entry about his rose-delivering college admirer made me realize that I, myself, engaged in some stalker-y behavior during my collegiate years. As a freshman at Illinois State University (where I went for a few years before dropping out, moving to Chicago and finishing elsewhere), I developed a huge crush on a boy in my English 101 class. My roommate, ‘Pril (the only girlfriend from my teeny weenie hometown that I'm still in touch with, as it happens), and I simply referred to him as “English Boy.” I talked about him pretty much all year, relaying every minute, inconsequential detail of our in-class interaction to ‘Pril, hoping to dissect it for any signs of romance. Because I'm a huge wuss, apparently, I never asked him out, nor did I make my interest all that clear (I'm a so-subtle-it's-nonexistent type of flirt, for the most part). The semester ended, and the town, Normal, Ill. (yes, really), went back to student-lacking sleep for the summer.
By the time sophomore year rolled around, ‘Pril and I had gotten ourselves into Waterson Towers, widely considered the best dorm on campus (it had a Ben & Jerry's in the food court, for crissakes). It's also quite the storied building: Legends regarding its height and capacity—it's said to be the tallest point between the Sear's Tower and the St. Louis arch; it's also one of the largest capacity dorms in the world, apparently, ranking after a few behemoths in Japan—not to mention its maker (the building's architect, people say, realized it was a fire hazard/death trap and jumped off the top of the building) abound. And it's rumored to sink in to the ground a half an inch every year. Needless to say, we were happy to be a part of the madness, and I soon discovered via my stalker-ish eye that English Boy lived there, too. Problem is, the building's so f-ing huge that your changes of casually running into a ‘neighbor' are slim to none. So, I had to resort to being creepy.
One day, I noticed him walking through the quad from a particular class building toward Waterson, and I trailed him. Now I had an angle: I knew he'd be coming back to the dorm from a particular class on a particular day at a particular time. I used this to spy on him from the Alamo, our campus book store, which was en route from the quad to the dorms. I'd go into the Alamo and pretend to be browsing through pens or backpacks or greeting cards, any department that gave me a good vantage point to spot English Boy and prospectively make my move.
Finally, one day when I knew he was coming, I left the Alamo and timed my arrival at Waterson to coincide with his. I made myself totally obvious by walking only feet in front of him and acting distracted with other things: the time, the weather—then I had it! We both smoked. I pulled out a cigarette and glanced around oh-so-casually, in need of a light. He gave me a look of recognition and I popped the question: Did he have a lighter? We ended up sitting at the picnic tables outside Waterson for close to an hour, talking about everything from classes to our summers to family and dogs. Then that was it. We smoked and talked and then went our separate ways into the depths of Waterson.
Months passed and Spring semester started with no further interaction. I was devastated; I had a crush in the worst way, but lacked the guts to do anything about it. ‘Pril told me I better call him up (all of our numbers were in the student directory) or forget about it. She was tired of hearing me inactively whine, and she was right. I had to do something. So I weirdly called him up from inside the building (without his ever giving me his number), and asked him if he wanted to join me for a cigarette down at the picnic tables. He said "sure."
Again, we smoked. But this time we made plans: I invited him to join my friends and I for some pitchers of green beer on St. Patrick's Day. He had the look of an Irish boy—dark hair and beautiful blue eyes—and I imagined group drinking is an easy draw for any coed. That St. Patrick's day, at a horrible, fratty college bar where you could get away with bad fake IDs at 19 years old, English Boy kissed me. With glittery green shamrock antenna perched on my head, I literally fell on the floor with glee the minute he turned his back to leave. Stalker mission accomplished.