First of all, I’m aware it’s September.
Second, I love cheerful holiday greetings. I support them pretty much 100% of the time. Spontaneous texts to and from friends bearing messages such as “Happy Thanksgiving!” or “Merry Christmas!” are some of my favorites.
I also appreciate greetings on the holidays deemed less important. The holidays that don’t warrant a nationally recognized day off from pesky responsibilities like work or school. I’m always the first on conference calls to say, “Happy Valentine’s Day!” or at least acknowledge, “Hey, it’s Groundhog’s Day.”
One could therefore wager that receiving a text on March 17 that reads “Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Shamrock emoji” would bring a smile to my face, and a little delight to my soul.
On March 17, 2015 however, the exact aforementioned text was met by me with immediate frustration, confusion, and borderline rage.
Let me start at the beginning.
A couple of jobs ago I worked on the marketing department of a CLT-based restaurant chain. We worked with some great local vendors, including a small agency that did a large portion of our digital marketing.
I began in my role in June of 2014. I met the digital marketing team shortly thereafter, and one thing was immediately clear: I officially had a major crush on their SEO guy.
He was a cute, funny nerd. In other words, there was only a 2% chance I was leaving there WITHOUT having a crush on him.
I don’t know what the legal or moral rules are for sharing his name, (lol, like more than 4 people will even read this) so let’s just call him Ken.
For a couple of months nothing happened out of the norm. I would see him maybe twice a month for our meetings, and each time would leave thinking to myself, “he’s SO CUTE.”
His birthday was in October, and my boss wanted our team to do something really unique to show our appreciation for him, because he was our SEO Savior. Knowing my boss was aware I had a crush on him, I said, “we should write him a poem! And have it delivered as a telegram! Haha, lol, jk…maybe?”
She loved the idea, and I wasted literally zero time. I began writing the poem IMMEDIATELY.
Before you even ask, tragically I do not have the poem anymore. I wrote it on my work computer and was foolish enough not to transfer that gem over to my personal computer or ‘the cloud.’
But it rhymed and everything. And we absolutely followed through in having it delivered to his office as a telegram. Our team was in Atlanta at the time for a conference, but the agency’s account manager secretly called us on speaker phone so we could listen. The telegram girl (telegramist?) didn’t have the cadence quite right, but it was still amazing.
I WROTE THIS DUDE A POEM AND WE HAD IT READ ALOUD TO HIM IN HIS OFFICE.
One day in November, I was given a sign from the universe* to TEXT HIM, thus opening the floodgates for more frequent, personal, and casual conversation.
* sign from the universe /sīn frəm T͟Hē,T͟Hə ˈyo͞onəˌvərs/ (noun) a super questionable motive to go out on a limb and do something that I’d been looking for every opportunity to do
The ’sign’ in this case: I had called him for a work question, and he didn’t answer. A recording let me know that his voice mailbox was full. I was giddy with excitement as I typed a casual “Hey Ken, it’s Tori! Just an FYI, your voice mailbox is full.” The texting had begun.
Slowly, because I have very little game of ability to play hard to get, I began texting him when it seemed even remotely like an opportunistic time. In the beginning I never got much in the way of replies. But one Friday night, after I told myself this would be my last attempt, I sent him a photo of a package of peppermint Oreos I was eating. (We’d bonded previously in meetings about our love for peppermint Oreos.)
The Oreos did the trick.
The next few weeks were filled with regular text conversations, selfies, inarguable flirting. This was becoming a thing.
Our company holiday party was approaching and I had a bold idea: to ask Ken to be my +1.
Because my company was his company’s client, I ran it by my co-worker and eventually boss. They both thought it sounded like a fab idea.
I asked him over text. I don’t remember how I worded it exactly, but to give him the out and save myself any embarrassment it definitely went something like, “No worries if not! I totally get it. Just thought it would be fun!” etc. His response exactly was, “I’d love to :)”
“OMG OMG OMGGGGG” -me for the next week. Not only was he going as my +1 to this holiday dinner, he was texting every day about how excited he was and kept asking, “Is it Tuesday yet?” Adorable, right?
A few days before the event he asked about attire for the evening, and I let him know that semi-casual was fine, but bonus points if he threw in jingle bells somehow.
The day came and I was pretty sure I was going to vomit. I didn’t, that’s not where this story is going – but I was a butterfly-filled mess.
We met as his office to ride together to the restaurant. Before we got into the car he said, “Hold on, I have to grab something.” When he came back around the corner, he was holding two bracelets. One red, one green, cuff style and probably from the dollar store, both covered in jingle bells.
My heart. I’m still proud of myself for not blurting out “I love you” or fainting on the spot.
I wore the bracelets for the entire evening. An evening full of fun conversation, delicious food, and Ken getting an extra spoon with his dessert so we could share it. I was sure I was getting a kiss at the end the night.
I was slightly disappointed that he didn’t try to hold my hand on the walk back to the car, but I knew that when we got back into the office parking lot to make our goodbyes, he was going to make a move.
When we reached the parking lot, we sat awkwardly in the car, both exuding awkward body language and having awkward conversation. I have no idea what was going through his head, but I know mine was circling “IS HE GOING TO KISS ME? IS HE GOING TO KISSSSSSSSSSSS ME? Also, why is this so awkward?”
Finally he said, “Well I had a great time! Thank you so much for inviting me.”
“Of course! So much fun.”
Then, from the driver’s seat, he reached his arm around my shoulders to give me the actual most awkward hug OF. ALL. TIME.
And…that’s it. No kiss. Not even on the cheek. Nothing.
Overwhelmed with disappointment as I drove home, I thought maybe he’d send me a goodnight text or something. Nope.
He did however text me the following day – I’d brought him a cupcake the night before (from a batch I baked for the office) and he promptly texted to inform me, ‘best cupcake he’s ever had.’
There was some back and forth for the rest of the day, but as the weeks went on it slowly started to fizzle. The texting only happened about once a week, and were pretty much always initiated by me.
Eventually, I got the hint. Don’t get me wrong – it took me awhile. But by early January, I’d officially given up.
I saw him less and less in work meetings as my boss left and things began shifting, and in February got a new job altogether. He did come to my ‘goodbye Tori’ party – but again, nothing.
I started my new job and had pretty much blocked him from my mind, aside from the random “BUT WHAT DID THE BRACELETS MEAN?” thoughts. For almost two months, I didn’t see or hear from him.
Then, it happened.
“Happy St Patrick’s Day!”
I stared at my phone in disbelief. Once it registered in my brain, about 27 different emotions filled my head. Excitement, anger, shock, giddiness, confusion, and…well 22 others.
“I don’t hear from this dude for two months and of all the things for him to text me…Happy St Patrick’s Day?” I said aloud probably seven times. “But maybe,” I thought, “he realized FINALLY that I’m awesome and he misses me and he’s into me and he’s ready to admit it and wants to date me!”
In hindsight, I realize that’s a lot to get out of a four word holiday greeting with three emojis.
I waited awhile before responding, because you know, BE COOL TORI, and returned the greeting. We texted back and forth a bit more, then I BOLDLY made the gesture of us hanging out. He expressed interest, then said, “We’ll figure something out. Enjoy the rest of your St. Pats! Gotta get back to work.”
WHO ENDS TEXTS CONVERSATIONS FIRST OF ALL? THIS IS NOT A PHONE CALL BRO.
And second of all, you’d think I’d have the common sense/self-respect to never text him again after that but, this is me we’re talking about.
I continued to be thirsty for a few more weeks and randomly text him about hanging. “Maybe he’s just shy.”
He did always cordially respond to my obvious attempts but always with a reason for not being able to hang, and never proposing an alternative plan.
So eventually, truly, and finally, I gave up. And that was the end. Have not seen or heard from him since. And if you can’t tell, I’m still not 100% over it. Stupid boys.
And that’s the story of how a St. Patrick’s Day text sent me from 0 to 100 in the quickest way possible.
Here’s hoping the next holiday greeting text you get is well-received and invokes a far less emotional reaction.