Th icianDily-W ekndec.Thrsa, Ferury11
It was a dark,
"You know, people say to just be
yourself But if you really do that, it's
the most threatening, subversive thing
you can possibly do."
- Vernon Reid (Living Colour)
Outside the taxicab window, the
city lights rushed by in a mad blur.
Everything was passing by so quickly,
the only thing his weary mind could
comprehend were brief snatches of
Americana - "Checks Cashed,"
"Open All Night," "Sunday Brunch
$7.99." Even as his whole world was
crashing down around him, he felt an
odd sense of comfort and security at
these familiar sights.
The ins and outs of Valentine's Day
er Valentine' sDay is spent the same way - for months before, we frantically hunt
for the'perfect memento of affection for our significant other. But for years the
commercialized customs of the Hallmark holiday have overshadowed the historical
significance of the day.
As hard to believe as it is, Valentine's Day was established as a religious tribute to Saint
Valentine. The tradition of exchanging gifts and love notes has no apparent association with Saint
Valentine or his martyrdom. It actually has to do with - would you believe it - mating season.
There was (and still is) a medieval belief that birds begin to mate on February 14. This notion
established the belief that lovers should exchange messages and gifts as tokens of their feelings.
Unlike the birds, however, we do not emit noises signaling that we are ready for love. (Okay, so
we do, but "hey hotcakes what's your sign" doesn't have the same ring.) The term "valentine"
originally referred to the gift given, but gradually has come to refer to the person receiving the gift.
After the postal systems were established in the late 1700s, it became common practice to mail
homemade valentine messages to one's love. Currently the U.S. greeting card industry prints
millions of Valentine's Day cards every year. Next to Christmas cards, it is Hallmark's biggest
It's hard to say exactly when Valentine's Day evolved into the Hallmark goldmine. I guess that
somewhere along the line, lovers decided that a ratty piece of cardboard just didn't cut it as a token
of affection. They wanted chocolate, dammit! Armloads of long-stemmed roses ... stuffed bears
bearing love poems in their paws... four-course meals at the Gandy Dancer... strings upon strings
of elegant pearls ... quartets of men in tuxedos or women in evening gowns serenading them in
sugar-coated harmony. You had better start saving your nickels on February 15-by next February
you might just be able to afford that $1200 Paloma Picasso heart-shaped gold pin. Valentine's Day
has become very expensive for the average lover.
Once again commercialization has taken over a religiously significant holiday (does a certain
day at the end of December come to mind?). For years Hallmark has hammered into our heads that
the point of Valentine's Day is to buy, buy, buy! I suppose it's too late to extract ourselves from the
gift-hungry mentality ...
'Day Not dain, anging
Still, it was difficult to shake the
ominous chill that gripped his very
being. It was more than nerves, more
than fear, more than paranoid delu-
sion. The sensation that buzzed in his
head was not unlike what a grade
school boy feels at 2:59 p.m., when
it's his turn to shake the hand of fate in
the schoolyard fight at 3:00. Or else.
The knowledge that regardless of the
outcome, the moment was inevitable.
Stand or fall, fight or run - the
choice was yours, but it still had to be
He felt ashamed for feeling this
way. He should have been prepared,
since this moment was a long time
From the very first time that he
saw the world through open eyes, life
took on a whole new hue. Things
suddenly weren't so cut and dry any-
more. Friends became enemies, and
enemies became friends. Tune-worn
traditions lost meaning, while long-
ignored truths roared through his brain
like an ocean. And worst of all, the
only person he'd ever truly loved was
now a complete stranger.
That was when the circle began to
get smaller. Wherehe was once lost in
the void, he could now focus on the
circle, with clarity and sharp perspec-
tive. And unlike a watched pot that
never boils, this he could see. Clearer
than he wanted to. The circle, spiral-
ing further away, shrinking. When he
no longer turned a blind eye to igno-
rance, it grew smaller. When he re-
fused to subscribe to dogmatic pos-
turing and fist-waving, it grew even
Then, in a desperate attempt to
preserve the last bit of humanity and
self-respect he had left, the very mo-
ment he grabbed hypocrisy by the
throat in frenzied defiance, the circle
closed in on all sides. All that re-
mained was apinpoint of light, some-
where in the distance.
And now it comes to this. A
stranger in a strange land, or however
that tiredclichegoes. Farenough away
from home for it not to matter, but
close enough that he couldn't forget
it. This cityneversleeps, butman, was
he tired ...
He awoke with ajolt when the cab
screeched to a halt. Blinking foggy
eyes, he peered out at endless neon
lights, so many it seemed like day
time. He paid the driver, who grumbled
audibly at the paltry tip, speeding
away in awhirl of screeching tires and
broken obscenities. Things are tough
all over. Sorry.
He stepped into a wave of moving
faces, each strained with the same
confusion, desperation and yes, fear
of his own. Somehow, and with much
effort, he mustered a weak smile at a
wiry old man, hunched over in a
A cynic's guide to Valentin
by Jessie Halladay
Once again we've reached that time of year when Cupid
pulls back his bow and aims his arrow for our hearts. But
.1 - 'sometimes you have to wonder if
the little cherub is drunk when he
actually shoots because instead
of feelings of love, you end up
with a big pain in the butt.
.Despite what Hallmark would
have us believe, not everyone
looks toward the approachofFeb-
ruary 14 with a sparkle in their
fz eyes. Formany, thoughts ofwhere
to find a date or, even worse, what to buy for that special
someone, ruin the unique charm of this special day of love.
Valentine's Day is nothing but an overrated holiday
designed to make money for greeting card and chocolate
companies. But for some unknown reason everyone gets all
worked up about what they are or aren't doing or getting. So
my suggestion is just relax and shut up about not having a
date or the perfect gift to give because chances are they
wouldn't be that great anyway.
Of course, if you happen to be (un)fortunate enough to
have a significant other, then you can't realistically forget
about buying a gift. So for all you schmucks who have no
idea what to get, I have a few suggestions.
There are a ton of cliche gifts that you can find in any
generic gift store on campus. But why perpetuate the
stereotypes of "the perfect gift" when there are so many
alternatives available. All it takes is a little bit of ingenuity
and thought into the kind of person you're buying for.
Although roses are anice gift, let's face it, it's been done.
While you can't go wrong giving a first date flowers (unless
of course she/he is allergic), the loved one who receives
them for every occasion may not be thrilled to get them
again. So how about trying to get creative.
If you are buying for the kid at heart, you may think about
children's books as a token of your affection. Borders has a
huge selection of Valentine books to choose from. Make
sure you give yourself ample time to peruse the selection
(located on the second floor in the back). You could literally
spend hours reading all the books you loved as a kid. Spice
this gift up with a heart shaped lollipop and you're in
For the more serious book lover and romantic, how
about a hardcover copy of Shakespeare's sonnets? If
Shakespeare isn'tup your alley, how about Elizabeth Barrett
Browning? Not only is this a thoughtful gift that will last
forever, it will impress upon your date how intelligent you
are (or pretend to be).
Of course, all this creativity may be too much for some
of you. So, I suggest you forget about trying to be cute and
meaningful because you'll probably bomb anyway. Just go
out to some romantic restaurant. (This would be along the
lines of Gratzi, not Taco Bell.)
Now some of you may think that lingerie would be the
perfect gift. But I would like to give you a word of advice on
this. Think very carefully before springing a flaming red
teddy or silk briefs on someone. This sends a clear message
about what you are expecting from your date. In other
words, don't give this gift on a first date.
So all of you who insist on going through with this hyped
holiday, I hope these suggestions help you out. Butif you are
let down, you deserve what you get.
by Amanda Rudolph
Every conversation we have, she
manages to slip it in. "Are you dating,"
she asks. "No mom, not really," I usu-
ally reply. Unsatisfied with my answer,
she presses for more. I think it's time to
shatter her illusions and expose her and
the rest of her sock-hopping, drive-in
dating generation to the reality of the
'90s. Dating is obsolete!
Okay, you are skeptical. If dating is
obsolete, how come every time you're
interested in someone, you find out
they've had a boy/girl friend for the last
two years? How come there are couples
everywhere you look (especially this
month)? I too spot these couples hold-
ing hands in the Diag, sharing lunch at
Amer's and studying with their heads
practically glued together in the Ugh.
But, I am here to tell you that they did
not reach this point of "couplism" by
dating. No way! Quite possibly, they
hung out. Maybe a friend introduced
them. They had a class together. They
lived on the same hall freshman year.
My personal favorite, they were "kind
of seeing each other." Is that like being
kind of pregnant? Whatever it is, they
did not date because dating is obsolete.
If not the act of dating, then at least the
The Greek system tries - it really
does. Date parties are a clever attempt,
but in the end even they fall short of
actually fitting the criteria for a date.
True, one person usually asks another
out. However, upon arriving totheparty,
it becomes apparent that it is just like
any other party - a bunch of people
dancing, talking, hooking up and, of
course, hanging out. The point is that
you do not usually spend quality time
know your .
are even -.
are barely " "
your date. It - r
is still a
tion. A fine attempt, but unfortunately it
just doesn't cut it.
The other night, my friend came
back from going out to dinner for the
second time with a guy she is interested
in from her French class. "Hooray," I
thought as I pulled the file out on this
See DATING, Page 8
In the tune of love
by Michelle Weger
"Love songs. 24-hours-a-goddamn-day, throw-yourself-off-a-cliff love songs," mocks Rich
Jeni in his well-known comedy bit. But the greatest songs about love ever written, you probably
won't hear on Lite FM. Below, our list of just ten of them, in no particular order.
1. "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)" - a classic by Cole Porter, king of double-entendre.
2. "Only to be with You" -Bono and the boys breathlessly deliver one of rock's most heart-
3. "A Fine Romance"-as sung by EllaFitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, one of the horniest
songs in standard pop, with lines like, "I never put a crease in your blue serge pants, I never get
the chance, this is a fine romance."
4. "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde - Okay, so maybe Wagner was a fascist pig. Try to
forget all that and set the volume on 11 for this one.
5. "When a Man Loves a Woman" -'nuff said.
6. "In My Life" - The sweetest, most poignant song from Lennon and McCartney.
7. "Kommt dir manchmal in den Sinn?" ("Do you sometimes recall?") -one of Brahms'
"Zigeuner Lieder" ("Gypsy Songs"), classical music buffs have been known to call the choral
arrangement, "an aural orgasm."
8. "In Dreams" - if you only know this song from the warped way it was used in "Blue
Velvet," shame on you; for gut-wrenching music, look no further than Roy Orbison.
9. "In the Shape ofa Heart" -masterlyricistJackson Browne takes every doubtyou'veever
had about love and nails them to the wall in one blow.
w .: -s