The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Love and Hallmark

Amanda Michaels | Monday, February 2, 2004

The countdown has begun.As calendars flipped to February this weekend, moans of absolute agony and squeals of delight were heard echoing off of dorms and Domes alike. Saccharinely-sweet red and silver heart decorations have appeared in the most unpredictable of locales, including the walls of South Dining Hall – and never has 24-hour fruit salad been more romantic. Sinatra is stuck solidly on repeat as couples gear up for candlelight dinners and moonlit walks, and singletons simultaneously loathe and revel in their solitude. The ultimate Hallmark holiday is within sight.That’s right: Looming just beyond Groundhog Day and nestled snugly between Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays is Valentine’s Day. Feb. 14 – the holiday said to honor the patron saint of lovers, when candy, flowers and kisses are exchanged by the tons and the suicide rate rivals that of Christmas.In Roman times, before St. Valentine was celebrated in its place, Lupercalia was the major mid-February holiday. During the celebration, the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars, and each young man would draw a name in a kind of “love lottery.” The two would then be partners for the duration of the festival, and many times they would go on to marry. In the light of modern thought, though, this impersonal matching system may seem like the ultimate in bad blind dates to many and a mockery of the freedom of true love. To those people, may I present … the Notre Dame dating scene.True couples aside, as they are clearly the minority on campus, dating at Notre Dame seems to consist of drinking, dancing, debauchery and dumping – all in the same night. From my experience, dorm parties are like little Lonely Hearts clubs for students looking for a quick make-out session. Given, there are many of those who go just to have fun, but they are quickly siphoned off as the music grows louder and the room steamier. With such an appealing alternative to the single life – who wouldn’t want to be picked up and tossed out in the next breath – why not bring back the lottery of olden times? It certainly puts the “random” in “random hook-up,” and it would limit ResLife interference, as beer goggles would no longer be necessary to find a partner. Besides, the jar, perhaps in a lovely shade of pink, would go so well with the rest of South Dining Hall’s decorations. With 12 days to go before the holiday, as the scramble for a significant other reaches a fevered pitch, I send out a blanket plea for intelligent date choice. When faced with spending Valentine’s Day with a group of friends or a drunken stranger, go with the former. Unless you really like the idea of being just another name on a slip of paper.