Dartmouth Faculty and Staff On Dating

By Tarika Narain | 2/12/16 9:47am

February 14 is the second most polarizing day of the year (after Mincemeat Day on October 26). If you’re single, you loathe it with a passion, wear all black and hide in the shadows of your twin bed with your blinds closed. If you’re in a relationship, you carry roses and chocolate around with you, go out to a nice meal with your significant other and revel in the disgusting perfection that is your love life. And if you’re hooking up with someone on and off, you look forward to the possibility of a casual booty call or text or emoji or whatever the kids are doing nowadays.

But whether you call it “Valentine’s Day,” “Galentine’s Day,” “A Scam Invented By Hallmark Day” or “Extremely Hungover After Winter Carnival Day,” it’s coming. And you’re not the only one stressing out about it.

Dartbeat asked Dartmouth faculty and staff about their plans for this Sunday, and the answers varied from elaborate vacations to “No clue” and “I would prefer not to answer this extremely inappropriate personal question, never email me again.” We even asked them about past dates gone horribly wrong, and some of their answers were amazing. So here are some ideas for what to do and what not to do on Valentines Day, courtesy of real adults:

Q: What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?

–Professor Kenneth Walden, Department of Philosophy

“I plan to have lunch with my daughter in Portsmouth. Not sure she needs flowers because she is dating someone named Sam. I’m sure Sam is a nice fellow and all, but he should probably skip lunch. Kidding. Not.”
–Professor Paul Whalen, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences

“I’m a huge pancake fan and we almost always make pancakes or crêpes on Sunday, so we’ll probably do that per usual. Maybe we’ll go to Lou’s if they have good, special Valentine’s Day pancakes!”
–Jenna Musco, Sustainability Program Manager

“My mother-in-law, sister-in-law and nieces are coming to town for the weekend. It may not be the most ‘romantic’ of Valentine’s Day plans, but it should be a fun time and a good chance to play some cards. We were looking forward to the Winter Carnival festivities, so we’re sad that those aren’t happening, but c’est la vie!”
–Professor Kelly McConnell, French Department

“Well, last year, we got our dog Waffle on Valentine’s Day. So it’s actually a year anniversary of when we got her, brought her home and had the whole weekend to get used to not sleeping. So we are going out of town this weekend to the New Hampshire seacoast with Waffle and there [are] pet-friendly places you can go. And we’re going to take Waffle out to hike on the beach and play.”
–David Lutz, Research Associate in the Environmental Studies Department (and owner of Instagram-famous puppy @wafflenugget)

Q: Any embarrassing stories from your past dating life?

–Professor Kevin Peterson, Department of Biological Sciences

“On my 20th anniversary trip to the Caribbean, I was talked into staying in a room with three walls (meaning we were sleeping outdoors under mosquito netting!) I got further talked into not doing the mosquito netting on day three and I ended up wishing mosquitoes were the problem. I was stung by a tropical centipede (think scorpion sting) and spent the night with my wife rocking me to sleep while I whined like a little baby.”
–Professor Paul Whalen, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences

“My senior winter at Dartmouth, I had just started dating someone and we decided to skip Winter Carnival and head to Ottawa to meet his best friend (no pressure, right?) We were just starting out in my car when it started snowing a lot. We were almost to Ottawa when I woke up to the car fishtailing, going off the road and rolling one-and-a-half times into a ditch. We had to crawl out, call tow trucks, call parents and call the best friend to come pick us up. The next day, I went flying with the best friend (the future best man at my wedding) and met my future in-laws for the first time. Hard to believe that was exactly 16 years ago!”
–Professor Kelly McConnell, French Department

“When I was a senior in high school, everyone was always like, ‘Take a girl out to get something to eat.’ So I was like, ‘All right, cool, where do I go to eat all the time?’ And because I was a seventeen-year-old dude, the answer was Wendy’s. I went to go pick her up and she was all dressed up. She probably thought we were going somewhere nice, but I was like yeah, we’re just gonna run over to Wendy’s and get a couple burgers. We dated for a couple months!”
–David Lutz, Research Associate in the Environmental Studies Department

“Back before I was officially dating Tyler, we worked together in the same lab and lived together as housemates. While we were living together, I got appendicitis and had to get my appendix removed. Tyler drove me to the hospital. The med school residents didn’t realize that we weren’t dating, and they proceeded to ask every question about my medical history and health issues—like all the awkward stuff you don’t even want a person you are dating to know—while Tyler was still in the room. It took about twenty questions for the resident to realize that we were both bright red and shifting a lot. Now we joke that it basically made the get-to-know-you part of our relationship that much faster.”
–Jenna Musco, Sustainability Program Manager

These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity and length.

Tarika Narain