I found true love and happiness at Duke—in a Loop milkshake and Pitchfork haystack, respectively.

In a place like Duke it's hard to admit that you can’t do something, or worse you can’t do it alone. We’re smart and proud, we’ve been taught we’re the best of the best and can pretty much do anything we set our minds to. But who said we had to go it alone? Some see relationships as a waste of time, unnecessary stress, time away from what "really matters," not having someone who knows just how to make you happy when everything is going wrong or looks at you and laughs because you did that one little silly thing you always do. That person who brightens your day with a text, a laugh or even a quick kiss on the quad before running off to class. Sounds good right? It won’t make you weak, it won’t make you any less of a badass pre-med, Econ, trilingual, super-cultured Duke student. It makes you human.

Girls deserve to get off too.

When the real life Hitch, David Coleman, came to Duke a few years ago, he said something quite inspiring—romance is the expression of affection at an unexpected time. Since one is expected to express affection on Valentine's Day, it dilutes the power of the expression. If one wants to be a true romantic, do something special for your loved one the day before Valentine's Day, and tell them "I love you so much I just couldn't wait one more day."

If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

While I've been at Duke, I haven't met the woman of my dreams yet. But I have fallen in love with so many women through The Chronicle. Mia Lehrer, Elena Botella, Sam Lachman, old columnists like Lillie Reed and Lindsay Tomson, even the new ones like Ellie Schaack, Pi Praveen and many others. Such smart, funny, passionate women. Thank you Chronicle opinion writers for being my love connection.

Guys see spontaneous romantic gestures as risky on this campus, because we don't know if the gesture will be appreciated or offensive to a girl. —Discouraged

I was snooping through my boyfriend's phone earlier this week (something he adamantly does not let me do). Hidden in one of the app folders, I found that he uses Grindr on a regular basis. He had chatted, exchanged naked pictures and hooked up with at least a small handful of guys from what I saw.

Of course, I'm devastated. But past the disappointment, I'm not sure how to feel. I want him to be happy and comfortable more than anything. I now understand why he didn't seem very "into" our relationship. But I am also hurt that he would lie to me and play with my emotions to stay closeted.

I haven't said anything to him about it yet, and I probably won't by the time this is published. I love him so deeply, and I want him to love me back. Now it seems that might be impossible. —Just found out I'm a beard

I have a significant other, and I truly enjoy sharing the holiday with that person. I feel guilty when other people pout about not having a Valentine. Does every single person have a personal vendetta to minimize my feelings because they don't have someone to share the day with? And if we have great sex that night, well then that's just the cherry on top...

Dear Neighbor,

Please stop screaming bloody murder when your boyfriend porks you.

1) It's 3:13 a.m. on a Monday. 2) This is not a porno. (or at least I think it's not ... though who am I to say you're not filming?) 3) Even if this was a porno, I wouldn't watch it. Your apparent homage to Moaning Myrtle, a dog whistle, my five-year-old sister in those terrible moments before getting a shot at the pediatrician's office and a chainsaw is not only unsexy, but unsettling. (readers, you'd have to hear it to believe it)


A nearly deafened Craven resident

People love to complain about Duke's "hookup culture" as if it is a campus mandate. This is simply not true. Duke can only be exactly what we make it. If we allow that kind of culture, that is precisely what will continue. We are the ever-changing face of Duke, so make our school what you want it to be.

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone at this beautiful, amazing school. I couldn't be happier at any other place in the world, and that all goes out to the wonderful people that make it that way. My love especially goes out to those who add a little warmth on those cold days by smiling at you as they walk by. Thanks Duke! —Grateful Dukie

Dear shootersboy,

I'm sorry we ended on such a sloppy note. Same time this Saturday?

Best, misslowcuttop

An Ode to Dillo:

Shall I compare thee to Great Hall? And then I'll text my friends: lol. Thou art far more tasty and more true. When you leave, whatever shall I do? Gone will be the burrito of steak, beans and rice. Gone will be the queso which is so very nice. The Loop can never replace you in my heart. Without your guacamole, I may simply fall apart. So long as men could breathe or eyes could see, So long lived Dillo which gave life to me.

Foreigner Problem #34: Finding a date for Valentine's day who doesn't just like you for your accent.

To my best friend. To my love. To the guy of my dreams. Thank you for putting up with me when I’m such a “negative Nancy” and a “pessimistic Patty.” Thank you for listening to me all those nights I needed to rant and vent. Thank you for laughing when I made corny jokes. Thank you for standing by my side when I felt alone. Thank you for joining in my silly shenanigans. And most of all, thank you for loving me for who I am, a guy with aspirations for change. I love you.

Like a lot of Duke students, I thought my girlfriend/boyfriend and I would be able to make our long-term, long-distance relationship work. After all, we had been together for several years and survived much bigger obstacles than a few hundred miles. But, like almost all couples seem to, we faded apart. Now what? I love being in a relationship. There are plenty of awesome girls here… but it seems like the idea of just asking a girl on a date, rather than bumping into her at Shooters or doing some weird hookup and halfway talk thing, is laughable… almost creepy even. I hear so many people complaining about the dating scene, or lack thereof, but nothing ever changes.

“You’ll have the most eclectic, educational and enlightening experiences in college—and all the ones you would never expect,” my mother told me, with that much alliteration, before I headed off to Duke six months ago. At the time, I took this to mean inspirational friendships with amazing people, late nights doing work on weekdays and late nights doing everything else on weekends, awkward hook-ups with random guys and the occasional girl at parties. I had really just taken my high school life and scaled it up. I was good at that lifestyle—at having fun but getting things done, and keeping to myself—and I was never one for relationships or cheesy romance. So honestly, having listened to my mother’s advice, I really should have seen it coming when I fell madly in love with the first guy I took home from Shooters. So far, that’s what Duke has unexpectedly thrown my way, and this year, Valentine’s Day might actually mean something to me. So happy Valentine’s Day to my boyfriend and everyone else at Duke! Don’t ever go looking for love, because like everything else here, it’ll happen when you least expect it.

Dear Bud, You have made me a mess. A true mess. But don't think for one minute I would ever want to clean it up. Love, Your Kango

Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.

Forever alone is not a valid excuse. Go out there and get someone!

My thoughts on love, sex and V-Day is that I'm perfectly fine NOT reading all 365 days on one day; I'd rather read one story everyday for 365 days. V-Day is overrated, and it undervalues the meaning of a relationship for the remainder of the year by setting up pointless expectations. It's more impressive to be romantic on June 18th when nobody expects it.

Near, far, wherever you are (the University of Florida), I know that my heart will go on (and we'll celebrate love then, you know when) you're here, there's nothing I fear (except the WaDuke check, but, hey) My heart will go on. We'll stay forever this way. (until grad school) You are safe in my heart (also Gainesville) and my heart will go on and on.

I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be.

For Red,

For a while there, I just existed. Unaffected. Apathetic. Unreachable. Yea, I slept with more girls than I probably wanted to. Yea, I got more drunk, more often than I probably should have. Yea, I sought validation—an outcome each night—over a process that takes place over months. But the process had left me without air in my lungs, so what good was the process?

Then, drowning in a sea of blue, I saw red. Amid yoga pants and letter shirts, self-conscious spite and layered messages, running to look smaller and lifting to look bigger, someone burst forward. Someone wise, yet curious. Someone present. Where sameness melts to reform as hallmates, teammates and classmates, you stood differently alone. Beautiful without words, but more beautiful with yours.

I sat watching you when we first met. I knew then, like I know now, you were who I wanted to be.

For process, Valentine

Work Hard. Play Hard. Get hard. Bang hard. So Duke, LOL amirite?

Have you guys ever met someone who makes you feel like your souls are boning each other in the spirit world?

You had to break up with me before Valentine's Day? I guess you saved me time and effort. Thanks for making sure I have another lonely February 14th this year.

I wish a happy Valentine's Day, To my girlfriend, beautiful and smart. I'm going the extra mile to say That I love her with all of my heart.

Usually it would just be enough, To tell her how much she means to me, But especially this week it's been tough, Because my girlfriend's from UNC.

Umm ... go to hell? Love you!

Roses are red; Violets are blue; You don't know I exist; But Mason Plumlee, I love you.

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"—Wayne Gretzky On that note, on this Valentine's Day, I'll take a shot. To Ms. Taylor T: Almost held back because I was shy, I guess I’ve always been a quiet guy. So it’s no surprise when I saw your face My speech went into its hiding place. A smile shimmering with the glow of sunlight, My courage fades in its battle with stage fright. I long to be your knight in shining armor, But fear prevents me from being your romantic charmer. Yet my eyes sense a beauty so sublime, That my heart turns to these words of rhyme. With breathless speech I decided to write, A poem about my love at first sight.

Chloe S., you are the most beautiful girl I know. You are pretty and you have a sweet, giving heart. You may not know it, but you're a blessing to all of those you interact with. Your smile is so inviting and your personality draws people in. You make others feel important and loved, and people can't help but love you in return. You are very smart and talented, and you've got a big future ahead of you. Very rarely do you find somebody with your combination of gifts and talents. Happy Valentine's Day beautiful :) Will you be my Valentine?

As for those who are too busy with the tides of loveless life and work, it is still interesting, to say the least, watching these lovey-dovey children walk, hand-in-hand, to wherever, whenever they choose.

Even for those who have already suffered wounds, already scarred or damaged out of love, it is still much better to have experienced such a wonderful relief after it is all done and there.

It is just another spice that appeals to all the tastes, all the senses. Another responsibility, another joy.

But from someone who has never fallen in love, that is not saying much.

Favorite quote about love ever: "I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close."—Pablo Neruda

I've never been in love. I've had my share of crushes, girls that I wanted to get to know ... more intimately ... but never have I felt something lasting, something more than just the hormone-fueled reactions of a horny teenage male. Lust dies. Without love, sex feels meaningless. There's very little intrinsic value.

I'm hoping that I can find someone who I can build a bond of love with. Something more than the drunken, ill-judged hooking-up endemic to college campuses and the stereotypical frat-boy experience.

These individual contributions to the Valentine's Day Dukies feature were submitted anonymously through The Chronicle's website.