What is the real purpose of love?

Valentine’s Day is upon us once again, and as people scramble to make dinner reservations or find a way to get that teddy bear delivered just in time, all this lovey-dovey stuff makes me wonder, is love really necessary? Do we really need Valentine’s Day?

“Valentine’s Day has no meaning. It’s just another excuse to fornicate,” said one friend.

There is some truth to that. My guess is that a significant number of Colonials will find themselves sexiled this weekend. I’m also willing to bet that much of the hanky-panky on campus will have less to do with love and more to do with raging hormones.

Finding love in the brothel-like atmosphere of a college campus isn’t always easy. The good news is that we seem to have progressed to such a point where love may no longer be necessary.

Love may be headed for the graveyard to take its place next to the art of dating. We killed off dating a long time ago.

It started back in junior high when we decided that “going out” with someone didn’t actually require going anywhere. It was more about holding hands and kissing in the hallway when the teacher wasn’t looking.

Now that we have grown up and are infinitely wise college students, we have perfected the art of the random hook-up.

Why waste time – and money – on a fancy dinner during which you have to feign interest in your date, when you can simply sidle up next to someone at a bar, down some shots and take them home?

It’s understandable why random hook-ups are all the rage. There are no strings attached, no obligations. Heck, you don’t even have to call the person again. Just do your thing, throw your clothes back on and head home.

And to think my grandma and grandpa met in Sunday school and wrote long wordy letters to each other. How boring. Now, we can send dirty text messages and poke each other on Facebook. That’s what you call progress.

As we have evolved, we have learned that love is a word we try to avoid. Rightly so. The “L word” ruins the no-strings-attached, just -physical nature of college relationships.

In the opera “Carmen,” the seductive floozy Carmen astutely warns, “Love is like a rebellious bird that nobody can tame.” She later gets stabbed to death by a former lover.

As Carmen teaches us, love is indeed sometimes hard to control. It can also be messy and unnecessarily painful.

But some folks still get swept up in this whole Valentine’s Day nonsense. My love-struck suitemate freshman year was one such fool.

He took on the heroic task of making a Lafayette dorm room have some sort of romantic ambiance by decorating the place. He researched recipes with the hopes of making the perfect meal. And he checked to be sure the 1920s-era basement kitchen was up to the task of baking Valentine treats.

However, the poor guy managed to slice off the tip of his finger while cooking. So he spent the greater part of Valentine’s Day getting his finger sewn back on at the hospital. Serves him right.

At a school like GW, where we all have impressive résumés and are all poised to be the next president, why should we waste our time getting all excited about a holiday that celebrates greeting cards?

Valentine’s Day forces you to be romantic. It forces you to have a long candle-lit dinner instead of going directly to the sack. And it forces us to think love.

Last semester I interviewed a student who keeps a spreadsheet of all his hook-ups. After proudly telling me of his sexcapades, he demurred that the loveless nature of his one-night stands had left him longing for more.

“You can feel cheapened,” he told me. “In the end it’s you that gets hurt.”

Maybe that realization is what Valentine’s Day is about. Maybe the boozed-up, over-sexed life of a college student isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Could it be that love is necessary?

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