Valentine’s Day in secondary school was always a fun day. I remember how right from the assembly ground you could feel the excitement in the air. A lot of people would have a touch of red on, maybe red socks under the white one so the red would show at the top, or maybe just a small red badge.
We’d proceed to class and the teachers would come in and make terrible Valentine’s Day jokes in between teaching. We had this Government teacher, I’ve forgotten her name now, who would tell lewd jokes and warn girls not to get pregnant. Put the fear of God in them and tell them it would ruin their lives.
Break Time would come (finally!) and the presents would all of a sudden begin to arrive. Most common was that plastic rose thing that smelled like camphor. There would be lots of chocolates, too, and cards. There would be perfumes, boxers, singlets, random gifts. Of course, there would be one or two special ones.
It’s funny, it’s the terrible special ones that remain in my memory. I remember when I was in SSS1, there was this girl day student girl in SSS3 they bought wine and St. Louis sugar for. The wine was fine, Eva, I think. When she opened the St. Louis sugar, though, that was another thing. What was inside was dried shit. As in faeces. You know how it is in secondary school, we found things like funny. The gist quickly went around school and, my God, we were just laughing.
Anyway. We asked BellaNaijarians to share their unforgettable stories with us, and some of the responses we got were super sweet, while some were tragic, and some were full of naivety. All of them, though, were unforgettable. Enjoy.
So when I was in Atlantic Hall for SSS3 study extension, we had Valentine’s Day and the teachers wanted to make it special for us since we couldn’t go home.
We were all getting ready in Girl’s dorm, looking for “a touch of red.” I didn’t have any so I wore white and khaki.
All the babes with boyfriends had already started receiving gifts as early as 12 AM (when guys send their female friends to help out ?).
I had no boyfriend so I had no reason to come out early, but as the day went by and we got closer to our Valentine’s Day dinner and socials, people started coming to me that there’s a delivery for me in the dining hall. Like 6 people. I’m like, Huh? In my mind I was hoping someone wanted to give me gift but I was still pissed like, Ahnhan why couldn’t he just send someone to give me ? (lazy girl).
So I got dressed and started making my way to the dining hall, and on my way random classmates that I didn’t even talk to started shouting and following me. I started panicking ? and asking for my actual friends, and they were like everyone is in the hall waiting for me, I should just go. Come to think of it, I was really scared for no reason. I was just freaking out, and that walk from the dorm to the hall felt like the longest, with the way the girls who knew what was going on were shouting. It was so irritating.
Okay, I got there, and my friends started throwing confetti over me (tiny pieces of paper, just littering the dining hall), then this guy walks up to me, let’s call him Nosa.
Nosa and I don’t talk. He’d never made a move. I’d never noticed him, nothing … so I was really shocked.
So he walked up to me and said, Surprise! I hope you were scared or freaked out, and I was like, Yes, I am! And he was like, Okay then you’re ready for the surprise and he goes behind a table and brings out this HUGE red box the size of a coffee table or something. He put it on the table and said that’s for me, smiling. I didn’t know what was inside but I just hugged him anyway and said thank you. We spoke for a bit (our first real conversation, he was so shy). When all the excitement died down, everyone wanting to know what was inside, I carried the heavy box back to my dorm myself and kept it in my house mother’s room (because babes are ruthless ?).
Naturally, I sat next to him for the special dinner and he was still really shy so the conversation wasn’t great. I remember wishing I was sitting with my gyals. Then after dinner it was time for the party, and as expected he wanted to dance with me and I knew, so I just went to my friends to chill/gist because I thought he’d be too shy to come ask for a dance. That way, I’d have fun with my friends. Only for them to start telling me it wasn’t fair that I needed to go dance with him. Huh?
I ate dinner with you and I was bored out of my mind. Because you gave my valentine hamper doesn’t mean I have to spend the whole day with you having a boring time ?.
Some of his friends even came to tell me I was wicked, that I should dance with him, etc, and I never danced at these things so why now? Because of box? Okay.
So I went towards him and if you see the way he sprung up, it was like he sat on a nail before ?. Bruh, when he started dancing ??♀ no coordination whatsoever. People even started laughing and I literally thought to myself that I’d actually never seen him/noticed him dance before. I endured for like one song. He kept trying to grind, but nope, your girl wasn’t down like that in school. So later I went back to my friends’ table and continued in my comfort zone.
After some time he came to me and was trying to talk again, cracking jokes that I have to teach him how to dance o, blah blah blah. We struggled to speak a bit, then he said we don’t have to be in a relationship if I don’t want to (before nko?), but he really likes me and just wanted to do something for quiet Sandra, and he wanted us to be friends. I thought that was sweet. I still do. And we became friends.
He asked me out to prom and I said no. I went alone ? and everyone kept saying, oh, it’s not fair, after he gave me the hamper, but, to be honest, I have no regrets because I did what made me happy and I’m still happy I went alone. I didn’t want my prom to be boring ?.
We still spoke and danced, I just didn’t want to be tied to him the whole night, or anyone else for that matter, so I just kept telling everyone no.
I didn’t say what was in the hamper. So when I went back after the party I opened the hamper and everything was inside. Boxes of chocolate, biscuits, candy, a teddy bear, wine, a mixtape, cute notebooks and pens, a towel with my name on it, two perfumes, a heart keychain that had a light inside (very nice), and that’s all I can remember.
– Sandra, Atlantic Hall.
This guy I was seeing back then welcomed me to class with a full American breakfast. Pancakes, sausages, toast and everything. The class went wild. I was so embarrassed.
– Sophia, Rahinna Secondary School.
My friend’s boyfriend left school early and went to finish in England. Then on Valentine’s Day he sent her this huge teddy bear and these flowers and Calvin Klein perfume “The One.” There was a handwritten letter, too.
I think the one that happened to me was they would empty your locker and put all your stuff somewhere else and leave a note that said nothing for you or some stuff like that.
– Sheila, Loyola.
Before secondary school, I knew nothing of Valentine’s Day. So the discovery for me was like nothing compared to others I had previously made. It was the year of boys, boyfriends, crushes and love letters. Although, unlike my peers, I wasn’t bold enough to have a boyfriend, but I secretly crushed on some boys. One in particular held me spellbound for two years. I couldn’t explain it. As at that time, in my undeveloped mind and naivety, I thought it was real love. With him the feeling wasn’t mutual, so I mourned him for these two years. If my older siblings had ever gotten a peek into my mind, I imagine what the reaction my eldest sister, Patience, whose temperament was the complete opposite of her birth name??, would have been.
Patience: So as small as you are, you are crying over a boy. Is that what they sent you to school to learn
Young me: Aunty (I was too scared of her to add her name after the aunty) no o, it’s not true o.
Patience: Shut up (moves towards me).
Me: (Shifting backwards, shielding my face from the heavy slap getting ready to grace my cheeks.)
I digress, but you get the point of how seriously I was crushing on this particular boy. His name was Uchechi. So after two years, close to the month of February, I started to leave codes notes under his desk. He would see it and freak out. The more he freaked out, the more it broke my heart, the more I left more notes. On Valentine’s Day, I made my banana hairstyle with cornrows falling to the side of my face, so I could flip whenever I wanted to make yanga. It was all part of the glow up to get my crush to notice me. I wore new socks and pressed my uniform. Morning period came and left, nothing from my crush. Ahnhan! What’s wrong with him now? I was getting upset. By break period I was hopeful he would approach me. But I never saw his shadow, let alone his human form, stand before of me.
When break period was almost over, another boy in my class strolled to me. Now, let me tell you about this boy. His name was Abayomi and he was invisible to me. The end of the story. He walked up to me and handed me the signature stem of an artificial rose flower and a cute pink card with pink envelope.
Now you guys must understand that I was already drowning in a bunch of emotions ranging from jealousy to anger and rejection, all because of my crush. At that particular moment, it didn’t feel wrong to slap Abayomi. I actually slapped him. It was so spontaneous. I shocked myself.
Abayomi was so stunned he just stood there with his mouth open, clutching with his left hand the cheek I had slaped with my tiny soft hands and staring at me. A moment passed before my classmates who saw what happened rushed towards us, and on impulse restrained Abayomi. Not that I cared he was going to retaliate. I threw the items back at him and walked inside the class with teary eyes caused by the aforementioned emotions.
That day came and left, with no crush coming to lay down roses at my feet as I had daydreamed. I even let a potential boyfriend go because of my choice. Years later, I am now married to another classmate who was also invisible to me. I had a conversation with Abayomi who told me that after that incident with me, he was scarred for life, that he couldn’t approach any girl without the fear of being attacked. I felt so bad, even after all my apologies and his sincere acknowledgement that he had forgiven me a long time ago.
– Sarah, Federal Government College, Warri.
My first Valentine’s Day present was given to me by a boy named Ogor in JSS 2. I was 11 years old and I think he was older. He gifted me a rose and a greeting card with some sweet words. I just collected it and was happy, not knowing with Valentine’s Day was all about, or love for that matter.
The first person I took it was my mum. Funny, right? That’s to show you how naive I was. I didn’t reciprocate the gesture, but as I grew older, I started understanding the meaning of that gift and what Valentine’s Day is all about.
The problem now is that this guy that gave me my first Valentine’s Day present is nowhere to be found, and I wish to see him and say thank you to him for the present, together with a few words.
– Francisca, Holy Infant International Secondary School.
Boys delivered eba cake (complete with toothpaste icing) to Miss Bello who was, I think, our Economics teacher or something. Secondary school boys are cruel.
– Lekan, International School, Lagos.
Lmao. I did something terrible. I was a boarder (secondary school was in Ikere Ekiti) and so I asked my day student best friend to help me buy expensive biscuit (Danish Cookies and things) on short notice to give my secondary school sweetheart o. As per idiot. Anyway, my friend went and bought one funny ass Rich Tea biscuit like that. No problem. I took the biscuit, gave it to my boy (another friend) and asked him to give it to babe, who was in the commercial department. There was a crucial exception though. I told him to say it was from my best friend. Inevitably, the blowback arrives. The biscuit is thrust into my best friend’s chest, a bevy of commercial and arts ladies arriving to berate his life.
I have two high school Valentine’s Day stories, actually.
The first was when I was in SSS2 and I was so sick. My boo at the time never came by the school clinic to say hi or spend time with me. He didn’t even drop gifts.
I found out later that night, after prep, that he spent the day with some other girl, gave her chocolates.
The next year, I got my favorite chocolate cookies, more chocolates, pretty bangles, and a card from someone new. It was a happy day for me, but I guess over the years I’ve learned that Valentine’s Day isn’t really about the gifts.
– Crystabel, Anglican Comprehensive Kpeyghi.
Because it was a girls boarding school, the only option we had was to “Val” a senior who we wanted to be friends with. The most popular thing to do was buy this cheap wine called Blue Cocktail, wrap it nicely and put on her bed.
This particular year some girls wanted to show one senior pepper ? so they sent her Blue Cocktail – but it really was Omo detergent mixed nicely in a bottle, resealed and packaged.
– Towsyn, Queen’s College, Lagos.