I’ve never been dating anyone on Valentine’s Day. I suppose that’s not completely true; I dated someone (on and off) for a little over two years. But we were always traversing ambiguous territory in February. Something about the endless cold put a damper on the flames of passion. Or maybe it was the chapped lips and dry skin. Recognizing romance means acknowledging commitment. And commitment is not something Yalies do well.
For those of us fortunate enough to be single for Feb Club, romance and commitment aren’t anywhere on the horizon.
By senior year, though, I’m left wondering: Why is this fun? Walking along Lynwood Avenue, I have PTSD flashbacks from freshman-year frat parties, braving Beta Late Night and pre-gaming before section. I’ve found myself at a few house parties this year, forcing a smile and nodding endlessly like a deranged bobble-head doll. Instead of listening to my fellow party-goers, I find myself thinking about the Super Bowl. And I don’t even watch football. I mean, does Illinois even have bears?
Let’s take stock of the typical party situation. Bad beer in a big steel barrel. Women with over-exposed, frost-bitten (but toned) tummies. Men with poorly-concealed, but heavily-insulated, beer bellies. Cram as many of these as possible into a tiny, dark room so we can’t even see your salon-styled hair or your expertly-ripped jeans. And then get sweaty and start grinding against all those people you can’t quite see. Shit, that’s fun.
Let’s be honest: We put up with all this BS because we want to get laid. If you go home alone at the end of the night, your entire evening feels like a failure.
Apart from how to “Dream New Orleans” and speak halting Italian, college has taught me that to have fun, we must be naked or drunk. The Pundits prefer naked and drunk.
But things are a little different for Yalies with significant others (aka sex-on-tap). Who really needs to get drunk when they’ve already bagged someone who’s good in the sack?
For the rest of us, the quest for college fun revolves around booze and beds. Since when did we forget about all the other things that thrill?
To bring you back to the good old days when the birds and the bees lived in your garden, not in your pants, here’s a sampling of things us single folk can do to get through Valentine’s Day without a sip of alcohol or a nip of nookie.
1. Get on a tire swing. Why did that dizzy delirium stop being fun and start being nauseating? Spin, damn it, spin until you get your youth back. And if you vomit at the end of it all, well, you probably would’ve done the same or worse after drinking loads of sugary, over-priced cocktails at a Valentine’s dinner.
2. Grow something. Plants require care and love, but not of the Valentine variety. If you’re loving your plant that way, then I’m not surprised you’re alone every February. Tree fucker.
3. Trace your body and then paint it to look like you, only with some freaky twist … like a fourth nipple. Or calf implants. Or change your ethnicity. I’ve always wondered what I might look like with even an ounce of melanin in my skin. Your twin can even wrap its papery arms around you in a platonic embrace. Then name your twin and take it with you wherever you go. That way when they cart you off to the loony bin, there will be doctors and nurses around you always, and you’ll never be alone.
4. Make sock puppets. They’ll talk to you, even if other boys won’t. And they talk with your voice. Crazy.
5. Figure out a way to torture a colony of ants with three paper clips, a roll of astro-turf and a bag of pitted prunes. Then say a Rosary for penance. That way even God won’t dump you.
6. Eat until you’re so fat that even you can’t imagine having sex with you.
7. Meditate on this riddle: If a gay falls in the forest, and no one’s there to laugh, does he still cry? By the time you drive out to East Rock and throw yourself off the trail to investigate the answer, Valentine’s Day will be over.
If you insist on being naked — if February just injects you with a need for nudity — take heart. You don’t have to get busy to be in the buff. Being naked, with or without others, with or without sex, can be plenty of fun. There are plenty of things to do naked that don’t involve vodka or Viagra.
1. Take a long shower, perhaps leave the conditioner in for the full five minutes. You may even have time to rinse and repeat. For a riskier bathing option, try skinny-dipping, all by yourself, so you don’t have to deal with all the seventh-grade sexual tension. Hell, back in the day, high-school gym classes and even the YMCA required that students swim sans suits. Get naked, and get in touch with some good old-fashioned Christian homoeroticism.
2. Multitask: Do some household chores while you do your laundry. All of your laundry. Just hang out in your common room with it all hanging out. Do your dishes while your clothes rinse. Floss, perhaps, for the spin cycle. Toast a bagel, or cook a meal while your clothes tumble dry. But I wouldn’t recommend cooking anything that might splatter. And frying sausage is out of the question.
3. Get naked, then lock yourself out of your entryway. We’ve all done it in our undies by accident, but how many of us have done it naked and on purpose? Imagine the possibilities.
4. Check yourself for abnormal moles. Once you finally do find a boyfriend, you don’t want to die of skin cancer, now do you?
5. While you’re at it, check your body for other unsightly lumps.
6. Grow cabbage naked. My roommate’s family friends are nudist organic cabbage farmers. Hey, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Cabbage fucker.
7. Besides cooking sausage, there are a few things you should absolutely not attempt without carefully covering up. Do not get on a trampoline naked and expect to escape uninjured. Do not sit down naked; no matter how toned you are, you can’t avoid the bunched-skin tummy paunch. No sitting.
Most of my non-single friends are just like I was every time February reared its cold and fearsome face. The majority aren’t even planning any erotic events for Valentine’s Day, let alone romantic ones. The holiday just highlights all their collegiate insecurities and commitment phobias.
Valentine’s Day — VD if you will — is an insidious disease. It’s designed to make both couples and singles miserable, for opposite reasons. It’s tailor-made to reinforce the unhealthy quest for vanity and validation and demonize sweet, amore-free independence.
Well, I’m not in love. But I won’t let this stupid VD make me miserable. While a few of my friends commemorate the holiday, reveling in their VD and all its unfortunate symptoms, I’m determined to have fun as well, with or without sex, with or without alcohol, and with or without clothes.
Hell, I might even get a head start.
After all, I wrote this column naked.
Chad Callaghan loves to play with puppets. Non-sexual play, of course.