How to spot love in a not-so-hopeless place
Ah, Valentine’s Day. The glorious celebration of romance and heart-shaped candies and crimson-colored roses is upon us once again. Tomorrow is the day when Cupid will come knocking, when you will swim in a very metaphorical chocolate fountain of love and time-honored promises, when oversized stuffed animals and frivolous greeting cards will accumulate at your doorstep, and most importantly, when Ryan Gosling will hang from a moving Ferris wheel for you (“Notebook” enthusiasts catch my drift). Unless you go to Columbia. For us, tomorrow will be Thursday.
It’s a complaint we’ve all heard before in one form or another: our campus is lacking in the lovey-dovey department. I will admit at the outset that I have participated in my fair share of commiseration sessions amongst girls about our generation’s decision to occupy a pathetically anti-romantic niche in the universe. These “pity parties,” which typically occur when our male counterparts would like to believe we are pillow-fighting in silk nighties, all conclude in a similar fashion: with the declaration that Columbia boys are without a single passionate bone in their bodies and that if it’s a fairytale love affair we seek, we ought to look elsewhere.
But what if it isn’t them? What if it’s us?
Marcel Proust once said, “The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
I’ve come to the realization that the way we ladies are trying to spot romance in our midst is akin to searching for a Carly Rae Jepsen fan at the ADP house: the environment just doesn’t allow for it.
The truth is that the love hasn’t disappeared at all. It is merely present in forms that we have been conditioned (by our dear friends at Hallmark and in Hollywood) to view as “inadequate.” But the time has come for us to leave this antiquated, pink-slippered, courtship-centered concept of love behind us. We would do well to adjust our romantic expectations and confine them to the boundaries of the time and place we inhabit; and if you look at it through the appropriate lens, 21st-century gentrified Harlem isn’t so hopeless after all. Here are some examples of young love’s evolution that may help even the whiniest of you to “feel the love tonight”:
1. Your iPhone is the vehicle through which your Prince Charming will communicate with you. Stop waiting by the window. The carrier pigeon will never arrive. And if it does, you will contract a bizarre and debilitating disease that may inhibit any future romantic pursuits.
2. Just because he doesn’t ask all of your friends about you, doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. Your Facebook profile usually provides enough information to satisfy even the most curious Casanova.
3. Spontaneous flower deliveries are obsolete. But that is okay. Flowers die. You know what doesn’t die? Post-It notes left on your dorm room door. Or surprise cups of coffee from Joe. And I’ve seen these enough times.
4. Don’t expect a promise ring or a letterman jacket to announce you’re “going steady” to the rest of those around you. Instead, keep an eye out for whether he will sacrifice his last and final piece of gum for you. If your happiness rivals that which he receives from Orbit’s Wintermint, he’s in it for the long haul.
5. Meticulously-planned candlelit dinners should not be the standard to which you hold your suitor. More realistic and less awkward are spur-of-the-moment invitations to watch a movie on Netflix or spend an evening somewhere that doesn’t offer a wine list (not to be confused with the 3 a.m. “WhEje arre youu?”)
We really oughtn’t be so quick to write our generation off as emotionally bereft and romantically deficient. Let’s all sit back and chillax this Valentine’s Day as we remember that chivalry ain’t dead. It’s just older and harder to look at.
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