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Rushing into romance

| Thursday, February 13, 2014

Last February, this column was published the morning after Valentine’s Day. It offered tips on how to overcome romantic cluelessness for the forlorn who, along with their fractured friends, remained alone and single the morning after. Today, as my column publishes, we find ourselves happily and squarely planted with a significant other midstream on Cupid’s glorious day — that is, unless you are one of the many from last year who still are single, sporting an empty mailbox and an iTunes library playing Celine Dion’s “All By Myself” on a continuous loop.

Fear not. Want not. Here is a crash course tutorial for Rushing Into Romance 101 that can hook a Valentine by afternoon’s end. The syllabus offers a secular and moral option for both the public and private student body. It further provides electronic as well as real-life face-to-face interpersonal skills some suggest have succeeded since ancient Egyptians first pondered how to build a pyramid.

Usually, we forlorn status-conscience singles with a single-minded objective force ourselves to first and foremost turn to an app for help. Seeking an outlet through electronic means is as ancient as … the iPhone. The purpose of apps spans the spectrum of society, ranging from Christian singles’ dating on the right to no-strings college hookups on the left. Depending on who you are and what you believe, you can snag a Valentine in an afternoon’s time using various approaches.

For example, at the Sochi Olympic competition this week, slopestyle gold-medal snowboarder Jamie Anderson confessed that she and other female athletes checked out “a lot of cuties” at the Olympic Village with the dating app Tinder. Tinder alerts you about people in your proximity that you can anonymously like or pass by. However, if both people like each another, a match begins. Yet, the 23 year-old from Lake Tahoe, Calif. warns that a preoccupation with Tinder can be “way too distracting,” so much so that she deleted her account.

At campuses like Oral Roberts, Liberty University and Notre Dame where moralistic dogma permeates the lifeblood of the institution and hangs like a raincloud over the student body, Tinder’s mutual interests section theoretically steers students away from sheer superficiality, thus leaving room for romance. The app OKCupid seeks to match souls, even if it is on a more intimate level. Even apps like Grindr, apps that use “420 friendship” code and that religious colleges may oppose on moral grounds, do not overtly promote themselves as a place purely for physical intimacy. All Valentine-seekers may apply here too.

But students on most secular college campuses do not need Valentine’s Day as an excuse to delve into all manner of matchmaking apps. They can be stereotyped into neat packages of hedonistic pleasure-seeking youths from a pulpit, so let’s stick with that bias here. These students embrace apps that interact with robots, like Her — the most recent release showcased last week at a New York Tech Meetup demonstrated a creepy romance with a robot. For those determined to remain celibate, consider another animated fantasy that debuted at the Tech Meetup — a take on Her called, “Him.”

Secular students with little free time on their hands might be more likely to use a Tinder-like based app called “DOWN” that allows them to suggest to the friends in their social networks that they are interested in sleeping with them. No pressure here, just a “poke” if you will. A stroke of the finger to swipe them, and it lets them know of a secular interest in spending the night together. The app is quite possibly a more elegant version of Craigslist, DOWN reduces the need to speak, wine and dine or date much on Valentine’s Day.

But the pièce de résistance of all Satan-based college social networking apps is Higher Ed Hookups, which differs from other dating or meet-up avenues. As the name suggests, it promotes people looking for an experience with absolutely no strings attached. Launched early this year, Higher Ed Hookups is described as a site that “college and university students turn to when they just want to hook up!” It even asks for GPAs for discriminating seekers.

Finally, you can hook your Valentine the old fashioned way, an approach that probably takes an afternoon’s worth of time spread out over a 12-hour period. Use a friend to 411 your potential Valentine. Cross paths by actually attending class, by speaking with your potential new bestie or by simply text something silly about the weather. Better yet, be silly and give a tacky card out just before dinner or happy hour. Preferably follow happy hour by going out together to a bar or club, and then let the spirits of St. Valentine’s Day past run their course.

Should your romantic luck be less than that of the Irish, remember three things. First, starting tomorrow, all heart-shaped candy boxes are reduced by 50 percent or better. Secondly, better luck next year, as they say. Finally, beware that this column publishes next year on Friday the Thirteenth.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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