Though February 14 is still months away, its unpleasantness already looms in the future. I dislike the holiday—not for bitter reasons, but rather because I simply don’t understand its purpose. The celebration of love shouldn’t be reserved for one day a year, not to mention the fact that baby cupids are the most pedophilic mascots one could possibly choose for such an occasion. And though I love the idea of relishing the happiness a wonderful relationship can bring, I don’t actually believe in love.
The holiday season is officially upon us and once again we encounter those conjured, idealized images of time spent with loved ones. It’s a notion of togetherness that starts the day after Halloween and persists through February 15. It’s that wonderful time of year when the buffer of holiday cheer makes even your most annoying friends bearable. But during this season of love and festivity there is also time to reflect on the things missing in our lives.
I may not be on board with the notion that it’s human nature to procreate, but I do believe it is human nature to want companionship from a romantic partner. Look around campus at any time of day and you’re bound to find a conversation regarding some aspect of dating, love, lust, or all of the above. I believe the first and third are quite legitimate; it’s the love part I don’t necessarily buy.
As one of Olsen twins once put it, I believe that everyone looks to find that “can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series kind of love.” To be quite frank, I don’t believe that exists here. Though I don’t speak from experience, I assume the majority of relationships spawned in the bi-co are those of convenience, as many college relationships are. It’s the luck of the draw: you happened to be at the right party on the right night, at the right time, having consumed the right amount of alcohol. You got to talking with a guy or gal, and boom; you’re dating in a week—or at the very least knocking boots.
Maybe I’ve become jaded after living seemingly vicariously through many turbulent relationships between my friends and their significant others. I’ve heard the word “love” thrown around as often as hacky sacks before they went of out style. In such a volatile time in our lives as these four years of college are, attempting to find that “special someone” just doesn’t make sense. If you barely know who you are, how can you find the person best suited for you? Looking at past precedent, and by that I mean the many conversations of failed relationships I’ve overheard, you see that most of us choose people that aren’t right for us. 99% of the people out there aren’t for us, an interesting yet disconcerting fact.
Why dare to date in your college years? I’m of the firm belief that one shouldn’t get married right out of college. You need time to decompress and really soak in the lessons you’ve learned at school. Like in cooking, after you’ve cooked your meat, you must take it out of the oven and let it sit for several minutes before serving it. Waiting allows the meat to cook itself and tenderize on its own without the help of outside heat. We become so hard and structured at school, we need time to relax, time to “tenderize.”
I understand this is a cynical viewpoint, and clearly exceptions exist. But I believe the grand majority us are just kidding ourselves. To the best of my knowledge intense affection may exist in college but earth-shattering love does not. Relationships of convenience are not only of purposeless but also quite damaging. The many girls (and guys) trying to hide their tears over failed or failing relationships should know that being alone is okay. And, for that matter, being picky about those to whom you decide to give your heart is okay too. After all, hearts encased in scar tissue aren’t pretty things to behold.
The most important relationship you have is with yourself. Unfortunately it’s the only relationship you can count on to last. So in meantime, be careful about the ways in which you exercise your heart. It’s fun and exciting to give your heart away from time to time, but beware: like smoking, tanning, and watching too many Sarah Palin interviews, being frivolous in love may be hazardous to your health.
Hood, a senior political science major, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.