by Crystal Wong
Every time someone asks how my boyfriend and I met, I always laugh before answering, “It’s kind of a funny story. He asked me if I played League.”
I remember sitting in the common room of our freshman year dorm on the very first night of move-in week. Our hall had just finished watching the movie Pitch Perfect, and people were calling it a night and retreating to their rooms. I had come into college without any close friends, so I had made it a goal for me to step out of my comfort zone and attempt to make friends and get to know new people. With that goal in mind, I decided that the first night of move-in week would be the perfect night to mingle.
Sitting on the couch, I scanned the room to realize that only about five people were left in the room, myself included. I sat in silence, listening in on conversations and clutching my phone nervously, wondering which conversation I would be able to easily hop into. The last thing I expected to save me that night would be the phrase “League of Legends.”
I honestly did not expect League of Legends, my one nerdy secret, would manage to snag me not only one of my first friends at UCI, but also my current boyfriend of two and a half years.
Without even thinking, I butted in on the conversation he was having with someone else, blurting out that I played League of Legends. The next thing I knew, the conversation between him and our hallmate and had shifted to us (sorry dude).
I remember spending the next couple of minutes of just smiling and laughing and talking about League; finally, he asked me for my in-game name. Refusing to give it to him as I was only level 14 at that moment, I told him to add me on Facebook instead. With that, he bid me goodnight and we both parted into our rooms.
Two and a half years later, and I still laugh every time I tell the story of how we met. Oh, and did I mention that he took me out on a date to an internet cafe to play League? Nerdy, yes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
by Nicole Block
February 14 was coming up, and like most girls, I was eager for an upcoming exhibition of Francisco Goya’s prints at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. On Friday the 14th the museum was staying open late for the exhibition, but I didn’t want to go alone. I was home from UCI for the weekend to visit my family, but none of my friends who appreciated art history were around.
But my best friend’s cousin, Jonah, was a senior in high school in the next town over. We had gone to the beach and hung out together with my friend’s family a few times and I thought he might like to come despite having no particular interest in art. We had been texting and Snapchatting and I invited him to come with me, platonically.
I picked him up because he didn’t even have his driver’s license yet and drove us to Pasadena for this exhibition. Let it be noted that Goya’s work is extremely dark in content and often quite graphic. It’s not exactly pretty pictures… but nonetheless Jonah let me tell him about art history and this museum, which is one of my favorites.
We sat together on a bench looking at a big colorful watercolor mural and someone took pictures of us from behind, unintentionally, and then showed it to us. I wish I had asked the stranger to send me the photo.
Afterwards, we figured we ought to get some food so we wound up walking around downtown Pasadena on Valentine’s Day, while millions of other couples were on their planned, romantic dates, holding hands and roses. We decided to eat at the emptiest restaurant we found — mediocre Thai food and boba for our non-date — and then drove home and talked the whole time.
Outside his house, we had a dramatic conversation about how bad the timing was, how hard it would be for us to date while I was in school and he would be choosing a college soon.
We kissed under the streetlight next to my car and forgot about those problems for a while, and spent the weekend watching “Casablanca,” going on hikes, and cementing the fact that we wanted to be together. We’ve been dating three years now, long distance, and we celebrate our anniversary on Valentine’s Day with all the other cheesy couples.
by Jessica Resendez
It’s been ten years since my first Valentine’s date with my significant other. In those ten years, we’ve enjoyed a lot of late night conversations, walks on the beach, and kissing in the rain. But back when we were two teenagers fresh out of high school, looking to commit to a serious relationship, we didn’t have a clue what we were doing. Our first Valentine’s Day as a couple is the one we remember as the one that left me in tears and him in shock.
It all started the week before Valentine’s Day in 2007. Sitting in my room, I heard the phone ring and flipped open my T-Mobile Sidekick (the coolest cell phone of its time) to answer. It was my boyfriend.
“What kind of gift do you want for Valentine’s Day?” he asked me.
“Gift? What gift?” I prompted.
I didn’t need no stinkin’ gift. I wasn’t that kind of girl. Who did he think I was? I didn’t need material things to make me happy.
“I’m a simple girl, with simple needs,” I told him. “Don’t worry about getting me a gift. It’s not important to me,” I said.
“Are you sure,” he asked.
“Of course,” I assured.
Wrong! When Valentine’s Day came that year, all I could focus on were the multitudes of women walking around my community college with their heart shaped balloons, red roses, and boxes of chocolates. They were smiling, laughing, even gushing over their prized love-tokens as if they had purposely set out to do so, just to rub it in my face.
There was a part of me that hoped my boyfriend would pull through at the last minute. Maybe he would make me a card, write me a poem, buy me a stuffed animal? Anything would’ve been better than nothing, but when the time came and he showed up empty-handed, I lost control. A heavy onset of tears poured down my cheeks and each time he asked me “What’s wrong?” I wanted to rip his head off. Didn’t he understand I didn’t mean what I said?
Ten years later, my boyfriend has never made the same mistake again.
by Summer Wong
My ex-boyfriend Richard was a film student at New York University when I was a sophomore in high school, so our long-distance relationship definitely presented challenges. Because we were 3,000 miles away from each other, we decided to mail each other our Valentine’s Day presents since we wouldn’t be able to see each other.
I carefully wrapped Richard’s favorite Ghirardelli sea salt milk chocolates, a framed picture of the two of us, a green Tommy Hilfiger quarter-zip sweater, and included a handmade card as a final touch. When his present arrived, I was cheerfully expecting my favorite flowers — white roses with chocolate truffles from See’s Candies, but instead, received a very unexpected surprise.
When the mailman arrived with my package, I eagerly grabbed a pair of scissors and ripped it open. Aghast at what I saw, I accidently dropped the entire box onto the floor. Inside were piles of men’s boxers and briefs, with razors, shaving cream, cologne, dirty tennis shoes caked with mud, and a couple of gym membership cards thrown into a jumbled heap. For some reason, the idea that this whole thing might have been a mistake never crossed my mind. At the time, I assumed it was his idea of a harmless joke, which did not humor me in the slightest. I was fuming the entire day, ignoring his persistent texts and calls, angrily stomping around the house in agitation. I had spent so much time and effort on my present, and I was frustrated that he did not do the same for our first Valentine’s.
Eventually hearing my phone receive the fifteenth notification from Richard, I decided it was time to give him a chance to explain. In the messages, he apologized because instead of sending me the flowers and chocolates, he sent me all the stuff he owed his ex-roommate Chris. Unfortunately for me, Chris received the roses and the chocolates. I laughed in relief but felt guilty afterwards when I realized I assumed the worst of Richard without believing that he really did take our relationship seriously. It was a lesson for us both, but it was just yet another experience we could laugh about later.