BY TAYLOR DASHER
This week marks Valentine’s Day, that lovely day of the year where schoolchildren look into their valentine sacks. Some find cards, candy, and saccharine little hearts with saccharine sayings, while others find discarded candy wrappers and dozens of strangely familiar valentines stamped “return to sender.” Thankfully the tradition of Valentine’s Day sacks is discontinued somewhere between elementary school and middle school, where it would undoubtedly have become an instrument of torture that would make the Inquisition blush. But being the overgrown schoolchildren that we are, we still continue to “celebrate” the holiday.
I question whether any day can be considered a holiday which causes such an abundance of whining. It seems more like a post-election day. I thought holidays were supposed to be happy occasions, or at least holy, but, for many, Valentine’s Day seems to be neither. Perhaps among the normal population it’s a decent holiday, but among this strange cross-section of society called “single law students,” it’s just twenty-four hours of denying how bitter we are.
There’s hope for those who are willing to swallow their pride and go to another Graduate Student Council Valentine’s Day event filled with fellow grad students who rival us in their remarkable inability to get off the bench, much less get to first base. Some, in fact, still appear to be struggling to find their way to the baseball diamond. Personally I can imagine nothing more appealing than a room full of these drunken undersexed geeks.
Please pause before you snicker at that image. If my statement sounded like sarcasm to you, then you, you undersexed geek, are not part of the solution, but part of the dating problem at Harvard. Numerous students of both genders complain vociferously about the availability of dateable students. They say they’d like to date but there’s nobody to date – somehow managing to ignore the glaring exception of all the other people saying the exact same thing. It still seems strange to claim there’s no one to date when the area has over five and a half million people, but I understand it can be hard to meet people outside of law school. Ever-diminishing free time and social skills make this difficult, not to mention the fact that we are unfit to mingle with the general population once we’ve made our first civil procedure joke. Our opinions on the dormant commerce clause are as much of a turn-on as statements that we haven’t contracted any communicable diseases since our last prison sentence.
I still, however, find the statement “there’s nobody to date” somewhat mystifying when we attend one of the largest law schools in the country. Surely if there’s anyone willing to put up with our overuse of words like “substantive” and “normative,” it’s our fellow students, and yet we still have no romantic success within our own group. It’s as if law school was a family reunion. In the end I can only come to one conclusion: not even we want to date ourselves.
I can’t say that I blame us. Many of us are anal, obsessive-compulsive, and paranoid with absolutely no desire to change these characteristics since we credit them for our continued success. Law school is one of only two places where people proudly display their neuroses. The other is the set of Jerry Springer.
Besides, a relationship between two law students borders on incestuous. Indeed, the whole idea of law students being romantically involved seems unnatural. Just try to imagine the coupling of a young Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham without cringing.
Watching a law student couple walk down the street is like seeing an impending train wreck. This is because people who are dating will eventually come into arguments. Normal people try to avoid them. Law students, on the other hand, will actively seek them out, apparently operating under the premise that one man’s fight is another man’s intellectual discourse. There is no surer proof of this than the fact that good grades and a good LSAT score are extremely poor indicators of intelligence. Only a law student could fail to grasp that they stand to lose a lot more than the argument.
This is not to say that rational argument doesn’t have its place in getting along with someone, but romantic relationships are notoriously irrational. There’s a reason why we don’t think of love as being a benevolent, wise old man, but instead as a flying baby with a bow and arrow. It’s hard to imagine his little diapered butt being extremely responsible with those arrows when he’s not even responsible enough to go the bathroom on his own. Cupid does an incredibly lousy job, and we do our part to make his job harder.
Ultimately, I offer no advice on how we can improve our situation. That would be like Michael Moore making a workout video. Instead I state that we have a problem, in the hope that admitting it is the first step to recovery. I fear the second step may be graduation.
Until then, let us emulate Stuart Smalley and learn to love and accept ourselves so that we may be content with dating ourselves. Or if that sounds as warped to you as it does to me, perhaps we should just lower our standards and resign ourselves to pursuing somewhat unappealing options so that we can use those two-for-the-price-of-one coupons for movie tickets. To that end, I expect little cards with cute pictures and puns about how wonderful I am along with numerous items of chocolatey goodness in my Harkbox by the end of next week. I note that this would not be a reinstitution of the aforementioned dreaded Valentine’s Day sack since it would neither be on Valentine’s Day nor be a sack.I further note that if you accept that statement and shower me with goods, you will prove that we can use our legal education (by emphasizing the text and ignoring the underlying policy) to our advantage in interpersonal relations and holidays.
Taylor Dasher is a 2L. Will you be his valentine?