Valentine’s greatest hits and misses

Gag me with an extra bulky Smitten

If you’re feeling lonely on V-day, take comfort: a lot of couples are really gross. So gross, in fact, that it even screws up their style (gasp!). You may not feel like a fashionista in your sweats, aimlessly surfing Facebook for prospects, but you’re a whole lot better off than the young Chinese couples I saw last summer walking around Shanghai in matching pastel T-shirts, often with English phrases such as “He is my prince / She is my princess.” Vom. While I’ve never seen anything close to that bad on Yale’s campus, couples here do tend to synthesize their style. Example: anonymous and adorable hipster scene editors. This is, I guess, kind of cute … to a point. Somewhere far far down the spectrum of acceptability are “Smittens,” sets of two normal mittens and one extra bulky one specifically designed for cold weather hand-holding. The inventor thought of the concept while on a romantic walk with her husband, aka “Snuggle-wuggles.” “We were trying to hold hands through our bulky mittens,” the Web site says, “when it dawned on me to create a mitten that was large enough for both our hands. That way, I thought, we could truly hold hands.” And you thought winter killed outdoor PDA. Special thanks to Jerry Lieblich ’10 for forwarding me that URL just as I was going to forfeit my fashion independence and join match.com. —Hilary Faxon


El love song para tu vida

The problem with many love songs, apart from being corny, is that they do not speak to your love life (or lack thereof). These songs may remind you of just how sucky your present existence is and, if you have the right amount of shyness in you, just how sucky your existence will continue to be.

But once in a while, braving the lonely road, you trip over a song that’s different, though still fundamentally about love and, more importantly, loving.

A song like “Mucho corazón” (which roughly translates into “Much Love”), by Mexican songwriter Emma Elena Valdelamar. (I highly recommend listening to the Mexican singer Luis Miguel’s 1991 album version.)

This song’s speaker addresses an unnamed man (I assume it’s a man) who is a little too curious about his “woman”’s past love life. Insisting that her past does not matter, she reminds him, “¿Di si encontraste en mi pasado una razón para quererme o para olvidarme?” Unlike countless other love songs, this one doesn’t romanticize the speaker’s life previous to her latest love affair. The past is the past.

She, it turns out, is also quite audacious — and feisty: “Si antes de amar debe tenerse fe!” She accepts and faces love’s inherent precariousness, which not only threatens the newborn infatuation but also, as with some of us, the relationship that’s survived its first (or second) New Haven winter.

But above all, what distinguishes this love song from others is its speaker’s frankness: “Yo para querer no necesito una razón. Me sobra mucho, pero mucho corazón.”

On a day like tomorrow (on any day, really), words like Valdelamar’s are well worth internalizing: Listen to your heart, dare to make the first move and stop looking for reasons not to love.

“Yo para querer no necesito una razón.” —Luis Santoyo

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