Staff ed: The anti-Valentine’s Day

If you’re planning on staying in this Valentine’s Day, scornfully scrolling through your Instagram feed past photo after photo of teddy bears and chocolate hearts, as you dig into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, you’re not alone—and we’re here to help. To add a little fuel to the (lack of) fire, let the Student Life Editorial Board reverse Cupid’s arrow with some of our worst romantic encounters.

The Polar Bear

Wow. So when I was in third grade, I used to wear this really fluffy white vest fro m the Gap that was definitely not real fur but was super #trendy. But my innocuous vest caused some small problems for me: Every single kid in my 100-ish person grade started calling me “polar bear killer.” Like, including my crush. And the saga went on through middle school, if you were wondering. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever be over it.—Ella Chochrek, Editor-in-Chief

Oh Whale

My only long-term relationship from high school was a tumultuous time in my life. We dated for six months, spanning between the end of freshman year and well into my sophomore year. I was a nervous wreck, and he was a teenage boy. I’ll spare you the details, but everything was a little off-kilter, and it all ended with a meme. Every time I went out with him, I’d end up having to run away because of nerves, throwing up whatever I had just eaten. It wasn’t an eating disorder; it was just massive amounts of anxiety. I lost close to 15 pounds in that time, and to this day, I don’t understand how I didn’t see that something was wrong. He treated me well, we got along fine, but we didn’t want the same things. Translation: I said no sex; he said no future. This whole saga ended with him breaking up with me in the middle of the school day after lunch, me hysterically crying because I hate myself and then him sending me this long text to which I responded…wait for it…with the meme of a whale breaching the water, captioned “OH WHALE”. Boom. Roasted. If I could do it over again, I would’ve just high-fived him and walked away.
—Katy Hutson, Senior Scene Editor

The Tinder Waiter

Last spring break during a road trip up the California coast, I found myself in a random Italian restaurant called Leonardo’s outside of Solvang, Calif. because it was a Monday night and nothing else was open. My friend and I sat at the bar because we didn’t have a reservation, the restaurant was full and we were hungry. The bartender, a chill, casual young guy, ended up serving us for the night. Seems pretty normal, right? The weird thing was this other young waiter who continually came to serve us, just minutes after the first one would. He brought us water, tried to take our order and told us he had checked on our food each within a few minutes of the bartender. I’m all about good service, and we thought maybe they just had their wires crossed, but something about this second guy was a bit more aggressive. He sort of would just linger to the point where my friend turned to me multiple times to ask why the waiter was acting so weird. Even the bartender casually apologized. Well, an hour after dinner, I had a new message on Tinder that said, “Hey how was Leonardo’s haha.” FROM THE SECOND WAITER. Apparently we had matched, and he had recognized me from my Tinder, hence the aggressive waiter-ing. You’ve got to love small towns. —Noa Yadidi, Managing Editor

Microphone Kiss

When I was in high school, I was in the musical and there was a scene involving a lot of kissing in the second act. Due to a tech malfunction, the mic tape holding my scene partner’s mic to his cheek came off and it was swinging around his face the entire (highly choreographed) song. There was a big turn and kiss at the end, and the mic swung into the middle of his face. I kissed the runaway mic by accident, making a really awful, loud static sound that was amplified through the entire auditorium. As if having to awkwardly stage kiss in front of your friends, teachers and extended family couldn’t get worse. Luckily, a backstage techie was able to fix his tape offstage so that it held for the rest of the show, and double-checked our mics so that it didn’t happen again for the rest of the weekend. The backstage crew deserves all the love (and respect!) this Valentine’s Day and every day. —Elizabeth Grossman, Copy Chief

Finals Week Firefighter

Some time ago, I decided to hook up with a guy I’d met in my philosophy class. (What can I say—it was finals week and the stress was getting to me. To be more specific, this was the night before my general chemistry lab final. Good at time management, I am not.) This guy—who happened to be a volunteer firefighter—said a lot of pretty weird things, but the worst/best was when he said, “How does it feel to be making out with a sexy firefighter?” I don’t know what was worse—referring to himself in the third person, calling himself “sexy” or the fact that he was not at all joking. The good news? I ended up acing my final the next day. —Hanusia Higgins, Senior Scene Editor

The iPhone Glitch

Just last week I got a message on Tinder that said, “Are you a trampoline because A ? would love to bounce on you.” I learned two things from this message: 1) Apple caused some serious long-term problems with that one update that changed every “I” to a “A ?” and 2) Aggressive Tinder messages are super confusing. Like, what was I supposed to say? I’m very clearly not a trampoline. None of my four pictures even include a trampoline. Geez. —Wesley Jenkins, Director of Special Projects

Club Penguin Love

When I was in fifth grade, I went through a very serious Club Penguin phase. For the most part, I minded my own business; I played my games and earned my coins. One day in the Coffee Shop, I began playing a game of mancala against a user named Frodobaggins. One game became two, two became three, and the rest is history. Suddenly we were sledding together, visiting each other’s igloos—even our Puffles became friends. Imagine my surprise when I was approached by another penguin (her username has been kept anonymous for privacy reasons) in a dark corner of the Boiler Room with one message: “Back off.” I was shocked. I thought I had found the perfect frosty romance. From that point on, I kept to myself. I swore to never be an igloo-wrecker ever again. Whenever my virtual phone would buzz with a game request from Frodo, I would ignore it. After a few days, the anonymous penguin found me yet again to apologize and challenged me to a friendly dance contest to the tune of female camaraderie. So this Valentine’s Day, don’t forget the ladies in your life. —Aidan Strassmann, Senior Forum Editor

Summer Lovin’

In the summer between seventh and eighth grades, I was far from the smooth adult man that I am today. Back then, I was just a young ginger child with a terrible buzz cut who had not quite had a growth spurt yet. Anyway, that summer I was at summer camp, and some of my friends decided that it would be good if I were to be a couple with a girl from my town who also was short and had orange hair. At the camp dance, they literally picked me up and carried me over their shoulders and asked her to dance with me. She said no.—Jon Lewis, Senior Sports Editor

The Left Shark

I messaged a girl on Tinder who was wearing a “left shark” costume as one of her pics and said, “You might be left shark, but I’m the right shark for you.” She immediately unmatched. (Luckily, the next swipe was actually Katy Perry…and we’re married now.)
—Jeremy Goldstein, Co-Copy Chief


Two summers ago, I went on a date to Six Flags, about an hour and a half from where we both lived. If you’re not afraid of roller coasters, Six Flags is pretty much the perfect date spot—you’ll spend the whole day together, have a lot of fun and, if you’re lucky, win a pocket-sized stuffed dolphin after spending $25. And this day was going just like that. Then, we decided to go back to the car to grab some water and get some air conditioning before the nighttime fireworks. But the car wouldn’t start; it turns out, the battery was dead. By the time we were able to get a replacement, the park was closed. That’s a mood killer.
—Rohan Gupta, Senior Sports Editor

The Cigarette

In eighth grade, I dated a young version of Justin Bieber. At the mall a few weeks into our relationship, he offered me one of those pieces of gum that are shaped like a cigarette. In my classic middle school joking manner, I laughed and declined, saying, “smoking is bad.” In reality, I knew it was gum and didn’t want gum. However, I’m pretty sure I hurt Biebs’ feelings, and we just kind of lost our spark. I had to break up with him a bit later.—Ali Gold, Senior Cadenza Editor

Fast and Furious

The first date I ever went on was in seventh grade. She was four inches taller than me and wore a studded leather belt. We went to see “Fast and Furious” which, inexplicably, is the fourth installment of the franchise. It was my idea. I asked her to hold hands two-thirds of the way through. She said no. A week later, at recess, her friend broke up with me for her. It’s your loss, Janice. —Aaron Brezel, Managing Editor