Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Lady Rolo

On Valentine's Day, I came home, took off my blazer, flung my bag into a corner, sat down, pulled out my diary and a pen, and started to write.

My school has been doing it for years, although I've no idea whose idea it was originally. It must have been fairly cheap, too - all they needed to do was buy a couple of packs of Rolos and some silver wrapping paper. If you wanted to, you could pay 50p to the school council, whereupon they would send a Rolo to the person you had a crush on, along with a note if you so wished.

I rather wanted to point out that this involved telling the school council who you fancied, and exactly why this was a terrible idea, and in any case Rolos are made by Nestlé, so you shouldn't be buying them anyway. I'd been trying to get the tuck shop to stop selling Nestlé stuff for years, which (of course) they didn't.

I wasn't really expecting to be sent a Rolo, and therefore, I wasn't surprised when none arrived for me. I was surprised when the school council turned up during form time and delivered a Rolo to the naughty, dysfunctional kid named Wayne who sat in the corner and muttered dark things to anyone who passed. But I wasn't going to get anything. I wasn't fanciable, anyway - I was too nice, too intelligent, and too much of an outcast. And people kept telling me I was ugly, so there was that as well.

By period four, the novelty of being given one single sweet (and one more dead baby) wrapped in cheap silver paper had worn off. I wasn't seriously expecting anyone to hook up; there weren't that many couples as it was, and those who did have significant others had taken to looking elsewhere for them. And then there were people like me. But then, it did provide a talking point as a bit of idle chatter, and so I asked a friend - who I knew had a boyfriend, so her answer should have been 'no' anyway - if she had been sent any Rolos.

She said she hadn't, but that Bob had been sent three.

THREE! Most people didn't even get one!

My mind went into overdrive. I'd kind of worked out who had sent Rolos to who - Wayne's was easy; she'd signed her note - but I had no idea about Bob. I had no idea if anyone had a crush on her - except me, but I didn't send any - although, because I could see why one would fancy her, I shouldn't have been surprised.

But I was surprised. Three Rolos. Three!

I didn't wait around that afternoon. I went home immediately without waiting around for Einstein or Lightsinthesky. My dad knew better than to ask me if I had been sent any Rolos. He'd bought my mum a Valentine's card, which I thought was quite sweet. I said that I wanted to go upstairs and write my diary entry, and that I'd talk to him later. Off I went.

I sat on my bed, wondering what to write. What do I say? My diary was always for public consumption - I let people read it, and read bits of it aloud to people. Pretty much everything I write has been intended for an audience. I hadn't mentioned that I had a crush on Bob, and in fact, had been telling myself for years that I didn't. I couldn't put something so scandalous in my diary, and besides, I knew from experience how painful it was being fancied by me. (Although the silver girl and the girl-I-used-to-have-a-crush-on appear to have gotten over it by now, I still feel sorry about it.) But I knew - although I wasn't entirely sure why - I needed to write about this.

I mean, three Rolos. That's at least three people. Four, if you count me. At least four.

I took my pen, put it to paper, and wrote her name over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and...


arnie said...

You are adorable. It’s so nice to hear your point of view. Honest,hilarious…good job

Anonymous said...

At my high school you could either buy little flower and balloon arrangements, or cans of Orange Crush. They would be delivered to the object of your affection at the beginning of the first class of the day. (I always thought the cans were clever, but couldn't bear telling dopey kids on the quad my personal business.) I never got one, which is just as well because people would have accused me of buying them to give to myself anyway...

Innocent Loverboy said...

@ Arnie:

Thank you - possibly spam, but it's nice to be called 'adorable'. And I do try to be honest.

@ Anonymous:

Orange Crush is clever (because it has the word 'crush' in it, I suppose), although I don't recognise the brand - maybe it's an American product? It's useful, anyway, because it's a can of drink to be consumed, which I'm willing to wager is more satisfying than one Rolo, no matter how much silver paper it's wrapped in.

I never got anything on Valentine's either - not just a Rolo, but no cards, flowers or anything else. Cards were sometimes delivered, although surreptitiously, and bunches of flowers were occasionally flourished ostentatiously by those who could afford it: I still remember a guy turning up (as a delivery boy; he wasn't the one delivering the flowers) holding a bunch bigger than himself, only to discover the girl he was delivering them to wasn't at school that day.

My friend Einstein (who now works for the government and has a doctorate in astrophysics) once got a note via the note-delivering service that predated the Rolos. I've no idea who sent it to him, and neither does he. I genuinely don't think he's interested, anyway, but at least he got further than me.

I'm assuming Lightsinthesky sent notes, and/or Rolos, to everyone. Just so he could cross more names off his list.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Orange Crush is an American soda, which I haven't tried in decades. (I remember it as both tasting and looking the way you'd think a burnt orange Crayola crayon would, in spite of the sweetness.) I only remember it and Strawberry Crush (which I also tried but once, and have blocked out from my memory), but a bit of Googling has revealed grape, peach, pineapple, and grapefruit soda flavors.

They'd only give ONE Rolo? How would they do that without it getting smushed? Weirdly, the US is the only country where Rolo ISN'T made by Nestle...Hershey's has licensed it here. (Though that probably means that ours probably taste the worst, since Hershey in the US insists on using this godawful, slightly sour-tasting milk in the chocolate. It's passable melted in a s'more, and good in NOTHING else. Don't even ask me about the secret shame of the US versions of Cadbury, also made by Hershey...we have to go to stores that stock British or Canadian versions for them to taste decent.)

Innocent Loverboy said...

It's often been said that European chocolate - and British varieties especially - are the superior confectionery when compared to the American variants. I haven't actually tried a lot of American chocolate - we have Hershey bars imported, but from what I've heard, it's not worth trying if you value your tastebuds. I tend to eat stuff made by Mars - Nestlé is a no-go for obvious reasons, and Cadbury got bought by Kraft, which I think was a bad move.

I've got a friend who moved from Luton to LA, and he runs a webseries in which he's a British man trying American "candy". I don't envy him this job from how he dscribes it.

The "one Rolo" thing is a reference to our British Rolo campaign - "do you love anyone enough to give them your last Rolo?". A bit silly, really, because it's incredibly unlikely that what you'd be getting was a "last" Rolo - with about 15 in the packet, you'd probably just be getting "a" Rolo. I'm still convinced that the school council spent all their money on wrapping paper and ribbons; judging by the number of Rolos they ended up sending, they probably only bought one pack. Maybe two just to be on the safe side.

Anonymous said...

Mars would usually be my choice for US convenience-store chocolate, though (like the rest) it does seem awfully sweet. I never understood why your Mars bar is our Milky Way (our Mars bar has almonds, but I don't know what its UK equivalent is). I remember reading some book about the histories of the Mars and Hershey families, and (while both had a lot of intrigue) all I remember is some guy saying that the Mars family always tried to sell hazelnut-based bars here with little success. There are actually a lot of really good US chocolate bars, but they all seem to be artisanally made and are often terrifyingly expensive (especially in fancy chocolate boutiques in big cities, I've learned to always ask for prices and prepare to walk away). If you see them, Lake Champlain's Five Star bars would be good to try (and not *too* pricey, since they're small), and once in a blue moon I'll fork over the cash for Patric or Charles Chocolates, just off the top of my head. I don't know what ends up overseas, though.