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10B - The Michigan Daily Weekend Magazme - Thursday, February 12, 1998
® Weekend, etc. Column
The Michigan Daily-Weekend N
Some 'U' students brave extra miles
for long-distance relationships
I'll admit, I was very tempted.
I've finally got a chance to write a column about Valentine's Day,
unquestionably the most accursed span of 24 hours in the entire year.
I've finally got a chance to spout off on a day whose only purpose is
obviously to torment and torture the likes of poor, lonely slobs.
In other words, people like me.
So it's true. I thought about writing the generic "Outlaw
Valentine'sDay Column." But then I decided, Why? Should
I stoop to the sadistic level of those who created this day?
.,_Maybe I should stave off my lurid bitterness for once.
So this one is dedicated to all you happy "people" out there
(I place people in quotes because I'm not convinced they're
true human beings. Fiends is more like it). This one is devot-
ed to all those carefree fools whose hearts flutter, whose
palms sweat, whenever they cuddle up with their loved ones.
Because I know, no matter how hard you may try to hide
it, that you're really not carefree. I know your palms aren't
sweating because you're in love. Nope, you're just nervous.
I may be miserable on Valentine's Day, but I'll have one big F
advantage. While you saps run around, searching for some-
thing special for that special someone, I'll have one golden
thought on my mind: I don't have to buy no gift for nobody.
But I'll be a nice guy. I'll help you out in your time of desperation.
Let me guess, you're thinking about the usual Valentine's presents.
For the traditional, it's probably something simple and boring - roses,
chocolates or maybe a silly card (homemade, for the sentimental).
And when it comes down to it, these gifts are just as predictable as
the kinkier stuff. You know the usual fare -novelty whips, handcuffs,
lingerie, whipped cream or anything made of rubber or black leather.
When it's all said and done, there's nothing special about the afore-
mentioned products. Millions of people have given them before, and
they'll do it again Saturday.
Guys, I know you have it even tougher than the girls.
After all, girls get into this kind of stuff. They like frilly,
cutesy, sappy things. Pretty much anything pink or involv-
ing teddy bears will do.
Men put up with that crap, but only because, every now
and then they just might get laid. This may sound insensi-
tive, but at the very least you can admire men's dedication.
After all, we couldn't care less about things like roses
(whips may be another story ... ), but we're willing to make
sacrifices to achieve our ultimate goal. Lovable, aren't we?
But fellas, do I have the ticket for you. And ladies, you'll
CHRIS enjoy this too - the perfect boost for your love life.
FARAH Something new. Something original. Something I've had
A R A H S time to think about during all my solitary nights, sitting at
AUCj- home, watching my plaster walls get yellowed with age.
The perfect gift for your girlfriend'? A date with me.
What? Don't tell me you actually feel threatened, do you? Come on,
guys, I expected more from you than that. I'm trying to help you here,
not hurt you. Your best interests are my best interests.
Still don't believe me? Take another look at my headshot. That's
pick me up from my place and drop me off at your girlfriend's place.
If you're afraid she might be scared off when she sees me, don't worry.
I have a burlap sack just the right size for the occasion.
I'll just have some eye holes cut in the front so I can see, and I'll be
wearing the bag when you pick me up. That way you won't even have
to look at me. I'll be wearing something nice, just to fool her a little
longer. Maybe a little cologne. Maybe I'll have some flowers. Some of
those long-stemmed roses you don't want to buy.
Don't worry. Trust me. It'll be perfect.
So we pull up at her house, and you say something like, "Hey,
skank! You wanted a present? Have a nice Valentine's Day!"
Meanwhile, your girlfriend, heartbroken, invites me inside. I know.
Doesn't sound so nice for you. But here's where it gets good.
Sooner or later, she's gonna have to pull off that burlap sack. Sooner
or later, she's gonna have to see what I look like. Enough said?
Dude, she'll be so scared out of her wits, she'll be running back to
you in a second! Believe me, with the force of fear behind her, you'll
have the best sex since you bought her that cheap ring (you know, the
one that was really cubic zirconium).
There might be a little chance -just the tiniest bit of a chance --
that she'll wait until Sunday to come crawling back to you on her hands
and knees. Maybe even Monday. Or Tuesday. And don't bother calling
me; I'm leaving town the next day. By myself, as usual. Of course.
But man, don't give up. I'm the perfect present for your girlfriend. I
mean, the perfect thing for your relationship. Of course.
My friend, have a happy Valentine's Day. Just leave everything to me.
- E-mail Chris Farah at gfaruah munich.edu.
right ... now I feel the trust beginning to build.
OK, so here's the plan. When Valentine's Day comes
Continued from Page 2B
guys can get into it too,' said LSA first-
year student Julie Lepsetz. "I think they
appreciate that you think of them."
Both sexes seem to agree women tend
to be more sentimental and have higher
expectations for the holiday.
"I think the girl needs to be given
something because they think that shows
someone cares. But guys know better;
they think it's nice to get something, but
don't really care either way," Platsky
JOHNSON/Daily said. "I don't know of any guy who
broke up with his girlfriend because she
didn't give him anything for Valentine's
When it comes to gifts or snagging a
date, women defeat men in overall con-
cern about both these aspects of
"Guys don't feel as bad as girls if they
don't have a date;" said LSA first-year
student Paul St. Louis.
But even the toughest guys or most
self-assured ladies feel twinges ofloneli-
ness when they spend a Valentine's Day
"I don't have any plans yet, but I'm
trying. When I don't have a date, I drink
my sorrows away," St. Louis said.
There's always food, the universal
consolation, to melt away the Valentine's
Day blues. A party works, too.
Chatel said she'll spend the holiday
"eating chocolate and pizza with girl-
friends and watching movies."
Instead of a girls' night in or guys'
night out, some would rather reminisce
about the early days of their adolescence,
when Valentine's Day was simpler.
Valentine's Day is not necessarily a cheerful holiday for everyone.
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LSA first-year student Julie Lepsetz
an recalled her elementary-school days,
when students brought each other home-
"You'd go home with a big stack of
them and feel loved," she said.
Valentine's Day, on the whole, is a
more versatile holiday than it might first
appear. It can mean a romantic date with
your loved one, or a night with friends,
food and beer.
"In the past, Valentine's Day just
meant going out to dinner with my fam
ily. But when you're dating somebody, it
seems to be a time to examine your rela-
tionship with the person," said first-year
Music student Natalie Ruotsinoja.
But if you're unattached, waiting in
the wings for Mr. or Ms. Right to sweep
you off your feet, take heart: After all,
Valentine's Day is just another day.
Online by 3
a.m. daily for
By Caryn Burtt
Daily Arts Writer
Valentine's Day is approaching,
afflicting those non-single students
with lovesick glances and puppy-dog
eyes. Yet, as many broken-hearted
souls have learned, Cupid can be as
heartless as he is merciful, especial-
ly when it comes to the geographical
locations of the hearts he marks as
Nearly everyone on campus can
recall a friend who is or has been
involved in a long-distance relation-
ship, as pursuing a higher education
makes long-distanceslove unavoid-
able for many students.
Cory Neville, an LSA first-year
student, expressed the way distance
can distort the normalcy of a rela-
"I've been in a long-distance rela-
tionship since the beginning of (my)
first semester (at the University),"
Neville said. "It seems fake until you
see them. He comes here almost
every week. I think the relationship
would change a lot if it wasn't like
Opportunities at college shape
one's life indelibly, forcing partners
to adapt to each other's new attitudes
Amanda Long, a junior at
Concordia College, adapted success-
fully. When she was in Chicago and
her boyfriend lived in Kalamazoo,
she said there was the potential for
them to grow apart.
But Long said she "felt indepen-
dent, and I think he did, too.
"We could each do our own thing,"
she said. "There was really no strain
on the relationship."
Neville agreed there are certain
benefits in being apart from loved
"We don't distract each other from
schoolwork," Neville said. "We get
our work done during the week, so
that we can see each other on the
Communication is an obvious
The Michigan Daily
Magazine is seeking
submissions for its
2nd Annual Literary
bring entries, poetry
or short stories on a
Macintosh disk to
The Michigan Daily
at 420 Maynard St.,
before Friday, Feb.
20. Call Liz or Emily
at 763-0379 for com-
petition guidelines or
obstacle in sustaining a long-dis-
tance relationship, especially for stu-
dents whose partners live in other
"My boyfriend is in Oklahoma,"
said Laurie Burkitt, an LSA first-
year student. "I only know what he
tells me, and he only knows what I
tell him. It's a limited relationship."
But Burkitt and her boyfriend do
try to keep in touch as much as pos-
"We e-mail every day and try to
write a real letter once a week,"
Burkitt said. "We call each other
once every week or two, but we real-
ly take advantage of e-mail."
Even if one's significant other
lives closer than Oklahoma, lack of
transportation can provide added
"We see each other once a week,
said Eva Kilian, an LSA sophomore.
"I wish I had a car to go see him."
That sentiment was echoed by one
LSA first-year student.
"If you have a car, it can work.
They don't work if you can't get
there," he said. The student was in a
relationship for about a year and a
half but the two broke up after three
months apart. "We broke up because
it was too far," he said.
The story of long-distance rela-
tionships does not always have a
happy ending. Difficulties in com-
munication and changes in individ-
ual outlook and physical distance can
prove to be too much of a strain for
"Long-distance relationships suck.
They don't work out," said Anne
Walker, an LSA senior. "I was in one
freshman year. I didn't make any
friends because of it."
Jessica Kelly, an LSA sophomore,
said the added difficulties can almost
be impossible to overcome.
"You can't love someone if you
can't know them," Kelly said. "Since
people change every day, you can't
know them if you don't see them."
The mere prospect of a long-dis-
tance relationship can cause people
to avoid them and their accompany-
"I was faced with a long-distance
relationship in the past," said Kevin
Mauro, an LSA sophomore. "Rather
than accept it, I broke it off so I
wouldn't have a long-distance rela-
tionship. I just felt that since every-
one said it wouldn't work, it would-
The pressures involved in these
dating scenarios are addressed on
numerous self-help Websites. The
Center for Personal and Professional
Development at the University of
Missouri at Rolla
(lhttp:"iiww. umr. edu/~'counsel/long.
htm/) lists seven ways to maintain a
successful long-distance relation-
ship. The suggestions include sus-
taining "effective communication,"
commitment and independence.
Its authors also offer ideas for
dealing with the loneliness distance
"Do things that draw the two of
you closer," says one statement,
"rather than emphasize the distance
The Website suggests that exercise
can help beat depression, as can writ-
ing letters and hanging out with
Columbia University posts "Dear
Alice" advice letters on its
H ealthwise Website
(http://w w. columbia. edu/cu/health-
wise/Cat8.html/). In one letter, Alice
offered support to a man dealing
with his long-distance relationship.
"Long-distance relationships can
take their toll on the partners
involved. They require energy some
people just cannot exert," she wrote.
But perhaps, especially on
Valentine's Day, Alice's advice to the
man should be heeded:
"Relationships are a lot of work,"
she wrote. "If you are both willing to
do that work, then your relationship
has a better chance of lasting the two
years of separation."
EngIneering first-year student
Paine talk to their boyfriends
LSA first-year student Kate St
A study break of student readings & free coffee
Where talking in the Library is encourager..
Come hear your peers read from their works. You'll hear stories, poems,
memoirs, you name it. Each night will feature different writers.
Cafe Shapiro is free and open to everyone. Complimentary coffee will be served.
Readings will begin at 8:30 pm in the Shapiro Undergraduate Library's
atrium on each of the following dates:
Sunday, February 15
Monday, February 16
Tuesday, February 17
Wednesday, February 18
Cafe Shapiro is part of the University of Michigan's YoIA
- (Year of Humanities & Arts) celebration and is sponsored by the University Librarn