Two weeks ago, loveless River Campus students attempting to bury their sorrows in productivity were graced by the appearance of the men of the day: Cupid, and the historical manifestation of Saint Valentine.

Early risers, still brushing away tears from their morning “oh-God-I’m-going-to-die-alone” sob, were startled to find Evans Lam covered in discarded animal organs and reeking of sulfur, misery, and the indescribable odor of abstinence-only sex ed classrooms. The culprit? A looming figure in shorn black robes, trailing chains and mysterious red liquid, which was later described on UR SecretSafe 2.0 as “the worst strawberry dip I’ve ever tasted.” This hunky man of mystery was revealed to be the undead Saint Valentine, who perished after being beaten and beheaded under the reign of Emperor Claudius for performing illicit weddings (a concept going straight to this reporter’s “wedding inspo” Pinterest board)! 

For reasons unknown, our boy St. Val rapidly gained a posse of compsci fanboys scampering over the small mammal bones, waving pens for autographs, and aspiring to, uhh… follow in the path of tortured love? Speak in shamrock metaphors? Be tragically misrepresented and have the feast of your martyrdom become this century’s most commercialized holiday? Either way, Valentine was overheard admonishing students for “indulging in the pleasures of the flesh under the all-seeing eye of our Lord, you brazen degenerates,” which cleared up the reason for their interest: They were just incels being incels.

By the time Vally the Lovelorn had moved on to terrorizing Starbucks and its innumerable couples trying to make stained brown couches a vibe, the student body had gained a protector: straight from Psi U, clad in exclusively Abercrombie, pushing up sunglasses in mid-February, Cupid flew right into Hirst Lounge, shattering UR’s only decent architectural feature and bellowing, “Lemme make you feel my love!” Witnesses claimed to have been suffocated by a cloud of “concentrated moist frat basement” and that Cupid “told the entire DKE pledge class we’d never find love if we didn’t drop.” 

Upon sighting each other, frat-boy Cupid and grubby hubby Saint Val shook hands like gentlemen, spat directly into each others’ mouths, bowed, and began an elegant waltz (Cupid was leading, of course). Three dips and one porté later, the school herald — a Work-Study position offered through the Department of Middling Minds — announced that the most noble lords would settle their dispute by “trials of three.” One can only assume this constitutes an arcane dueling ritual — or perhaps the second-weirdest courtship I’ve encountered. 

The first trial was a test of courage, requiring our intrepid mystical men to down a case of Genny Lite while suspended by their ankles from the fire escape of Rush Rhees. As Valentine is a non-corporeal ghost and Cupid has wings, this did not prove as interesting as one might have hoped. For the second task, a battle of wits, the quiz bowl club was roped into creating yet another Jeopardy slideshow on “Lurve thru the Ages,” with questions ranging from Cicero’s goat fetish to Will and Kate’s honeymoon drama. With 30 seconds on the clock, Valentine nabbed a stunning win by reciting all the “Bachelor” franchise contestants named Lauren in the past eight years. When asked to comment, his only response was, “They make me feel things.”

The third and final trial naturally concerned the matters of the heart: Each was challenged to get someone’s number in the pasta line at Douggie. Faced with the threat of actually speaking to a woman, Valentine elected to run away as fast as his slippered ghost feet could carry him, and has not been seen since. Cupid, ever the Casanova, told his attempted lady love that he’d “never seen eyes like hers,” and that she “should totally come to our next mixer, the brothers will be cool about it.” Upon prompting, the unnamed student shrugged, showed us her Tinder prospects, then told us: “I guess it really is all men.”

And now, half a moon after all the cuffing season cuddlers have gone their separate ways, let us reflect on our shortcomings and be grateful that we have the decency to scream out our minor disagreements in the engineering quad (and not write passive-aggressive allegories for the implosion of our most recent relationships for the school newspaper). Skeptics, poets, unearthly deities battling for dominance, what would you have it: Love makes fools of us all.


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