The Mittle-man on Campus: Playing Cupid


Illustrated by Sydney Fener

Lying on her bed and surrounded by gifts from Valentine suitors, the Mittle-Man advises a student on their love life in a phone call.

Sarah Mittleman, Opinion Editor

‘The Mittle-man on Campus’ is a satirical column centered around high school clichés and the teenage experience. None of the articles in this column are representative of the opinions of The Chronicle staff as a whole.

Happy February, devoted readers! I hope you’ve been appreciating every one of these 28 romantic days of bliss, whether that means spending time with your significant other, humiliating your single friends or begging attractive people to take you on a date. Last month, I encouraged you to do some soul-searching and identify a few New Years’ Resolutions to improve upon your love lives. Conveniently, January and February go hand-in-hand, and now that you’ve determined the many ways in which you must change, let’s focus on that second step: achieving a romantic story arc perfectly fit for the silver screen.

This is a very special issue of my advice column because Valentine’s Day is more than just a 24-hour time frame—it is an experience that lasts a lifetime. Yet every year, this holiday comes around, and every year I watch people fail to take advantage of it. To me, Valentine’s Day is more than an opportunity to excessively devour cheap heart-shaped chocolate. It is also the one day a year where people can’t judge me for prioritizing the search for my true love as my one and only life goal.  For lots of students at this school, applying to highly-ranked universities appears to be more worthwhile than chasing after their crush in the halls. Unlike my classmates, I’m not short-sighted enough to focus more on my future career than the man of my dreams. Due to this difference of opinion, I tend to feel like an outcast, doomed to forever walk the Quad without a kindred spirit. But for one day a year, society relinquishes its chokehold on my foolish peers and together, we admire the beauty of romance. That’s why Valentine’s Day is The Mittle-man’s time to shine.

Revitalizing the spirit of romance among my peers is so important to me that I have decided Valentine’s Day is no longer sufficient; it’s now Valentine’s Month, and we are going to milk this event for all it is worth. Stretching this brief holiday into four weeks of bliss will surely knock some sense into my fellow students and force you all to embrace the power of a true love’s kiss.

So, though Valentine’s Month is entirely fictional, and I have no authority to enforce any rules at this school, I hereby label myself President Valentine, ruler of February. With great power comes great responsibility, so I wrote up some legislation to uphold the sanctity of this holy month. Here are the guidelines: first, all students must embrace the holiday spirit by dressing in red, white and pink, making romance-related comments/jokes and employing heart emojis/hand gestures/clothing items whenever possible; second, ending a romantic relationship in the month of February will be classified as a capital offense, and party members will face severe punishment; third, already-single students will be publicly ostracized, humiliated and shunned for failing to uphold Valentine’s Values; fourth, students must write appreciative love letters to President Valentine; fifth, students will no longer be determined by their personalities, life goals and passions. Each person will now fall into one of three categories: those who are single, those who are taken and those who are yearning for love. In typical Dystopian government fashion, I will be regulating these groups heavily and will discourage students from liberating themselves from these sweeping generalizations; sixth, students must gratefully acknowledge their President’s advice at all times.

Some of you may be spending this holiday with your special someone—but just because you’ve escaped the miserable loneliness of being single on Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Now,  you’re faced with the difficult task of finding the perfect gift for your partner. When it comes to grand gestures of love, serenades (or should I say Sarahnades?) and poems can be risky. Many students believe they are expert lyricists but upon closer examination, they still struggle to portray your affection through clever rhyme schemes and wordplay. I don’t blame you all: compared to an award-deserving columnist like myself, your writing is doomed to appear shabby. However, there are ways to improve upon your creative skills by the end of the month—take it from me, your beloved advice giver. One easy trick is to use a metaphor to convey your love for your significant other. Compare your partner to your favorite snacks, like a McDonald’s hamburger or a tub of mayonnaise. Tell them they are as valuable to you as your most treasured possessions, like your Advanced Placement (AP) United States History grade and Hub login information. Explain to them that you would sacrifice your own interests for their benefit, whether that means walking them all the way up to the Kutler Center or letting them take a sip of your 10-dollar Erewhon coffee. These methods are infallible: who could scoff at such a tender, authentic expression of affection?

When thinking up the best Valentine’s present, you might instinctively consider purchasing one of the million pre-written cards or teddy bears lining the shelves of your local grocery store. After all, the myth of the “Hallmark Holiday” has many successfully convinced that February 14th is merely a lazy capitalist cash-grab, not a chance to share the love. But just because Studio City’s Ralphs location hits you over the head with stuffed animals and boxes of chocolate starting mid-January doesn’t mean those are the ideal Valentine’s gifts. I propose a unique ideology: it’s the thought that counts. I know, I know, shocking, but hear me out. Being considerate enough to purchase your loved one a pair of Gucci slides says a lot more than excessively spending money on a $50 gift card. If you really want to show your affection, you might consider buying your partner a new Ferrari instead of focusing on materialistic items like rose bouquets. And rather than buying the love of your life an oversized teddy bear, choose to invest in a Beverly Hills mansion on their behalf instead. This year, we need to use Valentine’s Month as an opportunity to show our genuine appreciation for our partners, and love should never be materialistic.
For those of you who are still tragically single, all hope is not yet lost. Immerse yourself into Valentine’s culture: blow kisses at your teachers in the halls, conspicuously comment on your date availability to anyone who will listen and never fail to insinuate that the person you’re speaking with is exactly your type. Flirting is one of many art forms I have mastered, so if at any point you struggle to bat your eyelashes and seductively run your hand through your hair, feel free to come to me for advice.

If you really want to put in the effort this February, the easiest way to secure your match made in heaven is to immerse yourself in the tried-and-true methods for finding love. For example, a recent study revealed that when two attractive people find themselves trapped in an elevator together for over thirty minutes, their chances of having a steamy exchange are over 99%—the exception being if one of the two people is a dedicated elevator operator. To find yourself in this scenario, steer clear of stairwells and take the elevator whenever possible. The leg muscle sacrifice is worth the increased odds of finding a date. If you can’t bear to skip leg day, you can also try being a prince or princess who, against the interest of your parents, wants to settle down in a normal life. Once you find your Valentine of choice, all you have to do is propose that they lead you on a tour of the city since you have been so sheltered your entire life and they’re so worldly and average. You can also track down an old childhood friend and bring up nostalgic memories of your past until you two kiss by the end of the movie—I mean month.

For those of you eyeing a specific Valentine, February is the time to be brave. Don’t wait to confess your feelings—there will never be a better opportunity to take the reins and steer your life in the right direction (until next year, of course). But really, what’s the worst that could happen? Every failure is a plot point in your character arc, building up tension for your future happily-ever-after. You have nothing to lose!
Finally, devoted readers, remember that this Valentine’s Month, creativity is key. Forgo the classic dinner-and-a-movie—try out these easy date ideas instead: take a leisurely stroll to the top of Mount Everest; visit the house of your partner’s ex; snuggle together in the kitchen as you watch a pot boil. There are plenty of ways to spice up your holiday. Think outside of the box!

Please rest assured that as President Valentine, I will do my part to encourage on-campus affairs and keep February Spirit alive and well. I wish you all the very best of luck in your romantic endeavors during the holiest season.


President Valentine