When I look back with my mind's eye upon Valentine's Day in the '90s, I see myself in a flouncy red dress and black patent Mary Jane pumps (very Cher Horowitz) — simultaneously nervous and excited enough to nearly sweat off the glitter-infused body lotion from Claire's that made my skin glisten in a way I was sure would make everyone swoon. Why was I so anxious? Over the things every '90s kid hoped for from their crush on Valentine's Day, of course. As the years have come to pass, I've often found myself dreading this heart-shaped holiday, depending on my dating status at the time. But back in the '90s, every Valentine's Day seemed rife with romantic possibility.
Was this an overly sentimental-slash-idealistic perspective to have? Sure. Can you really blame '90s kids, though? We grew up watching John Hughes movies with grand romantic gestures. We idolized cutest teen TV couples like Boy Meets World's Cory and Topanga. And, truth be told, dating in the '90s was — dare I go there? — da bomb. It was as though the universe conspired to convince our generation that dating would always be that thrilling. (Fast forward to the Tinder years, when we realized we don't always get our John Hughes endings).
So regardless of how you feel about this holiday now, slip on your rose-colored glasses and remember for a minute, if you will, how wonderful it was to wait in nervous anticipation in the '90s to see what your crush might surprise you with on Valentine's Day.