I had been debating for weeks over whether or not I should let Ryan take my virginity. I’d always thought I wanted to wait until marriage, but the peer pressure from my more experienced friends, plus Ryan’s obvious lust was rapidly pushing me towards the school of thought that said “ Oh, just freaking do it and get it over with, you’re 21 for God’s sake!” My own mother was even telling me to put out; she’d randomly drop gems such as “Don’t buy the car without taking a test drive!” into our dinner conversation.

This was going to be my very first real Valentine’s Day. The kind of Valentine’s Day a proper adult woman had. No homemade cards or heart shaped boxes of candy this year. I bought a fancy foil card from Hallmark and bought tickets for my new boyfriend’s favorite sports team.  My girlfriends and I went to the mall to prepare; manis and pedis for us all, after hours spent searching for the perfect lingerie to fulfill the school-girl fantasy I knew he had. I wanted things to be Perfect. How could I possibly lose my virginity unless everything felt like a movie?

Ryan came to pick me up that day in his truck, and held my hand as I tottered in my 5 inch heels. Even though we lived in the same town, he had decided to rent a hotel room for Valentine’s Day. Gulp. Surely he would be okay with spending all that money even if we only ended up cuddling, right? I had a constant low voltage electricity running through my veins as we drove towards the hotel.

Peering out the window, I couldn’t believe it when we pulled into a mechanic’s garage. Ryan explained his truck needed an oil change.

On Valentine’s Day!?

I was too nervous to protest, and was equally as meek when we went to a convenience store next to buy condoms. Seriously!? He hadn’t even bought the condoms yet?! I was mortified and couldn’t even look the cashier in the eye.

After finally arriving to the hotel and settling into our room, Ryan and I decided we couldn’t wait any longer to exchange gifts. Everything else melted away when we saw that we had both written “I love you” for the first time in our cards to each other(*Note* Not until later did I realize the tricky bastard had remembered I stated I wouldn’t have sex until I heard ‘I love you’ escape his lips) He loved the tickets and he surprised me with a designer bag I hadn’t been expecting at all. Lovey dovey feelings were had by all (well, mostly from me and his penis) as we kept repeating those magical three words to each other.

The night that followed was magical, in a stereotypical clichéd sort of way. Ryan had roses and champagne delivered to our room after dinner. He wasn’t especially gentle or romantic during the sex itself, and I kept asking in my head if this was really happening. Yes, I really was giving my guarded and precious 21 year old virginity to the guy I was only dating in the hopes of getting over the guy I actually loved, Jake. An old soul who wrote me poems on coffee ringed napkins, and whose bottomless wanderlust caused him to leave me 6 months earlier with a broken heart, Jake was the guy Iwas still desperately head over heels for. Ryan was just conveniently…there.

Following the obligatory post cherry-popping cry, and staring at the oh-so-symbolic streak of pink on the snow white towel in the bathroom, we sat up talking. Me, wearing nothing but the bed sheet wrapped toga style around my breasts, and him rubbing my legs as we (okay, I) ate chocolate covered strawberries.

It really was a beautiful night. I know Ryan and I loved each other in our own way, albeit mostly in a benign and dutiful manner. I don’t even begrudge Ryan for being a horny guy, willing to shell out any price just to wear down his girlfriend’s grip on her V card. Because for one night, I got to play princess. I got to be the star in my own movie. The fancy hotel, the expensive gift, the bubbly champagne and twinkling stars- it all adds up for a great story. And I learned that night what I truly wanted from a guy-everything.