A window inside life at Augustana College

A Valentines Day Blog-Off (the Matt Hallberg remix)

So, for all of you people who follow the AugieBlog with more fervor than your favorite Soap Opera, you may have seen my fellow Blogger Katrina Jensen put up her entry in the Blog-Off.  If you have, then you know the back-story.  If not, here it is:  I was at chapel this past Wednesday, and afterwards they gave us free pizza and pop.  While I was eating, I was sitting next to Katrina, and something(I don’t remember what) came up, prompting me to bring up the Blog.  Eventually I mentioned that we should try to blog about the same thing and see what happens, and that is where this current contest originated from.  So now that we’ve all seen the first salvo in this competition, I’m prepared to show Katrina(and the rest of you) what I can do…

When it comes to Valentines Day, my experiences with it are not too much out of the ordinary norm set by all of my other peers.  I had all the elementary school Valentine Parties that involved making a little card caddy out of construction paper, taping it to the edge of my desk, and then in the middle of the celebration walking around the room and putting one of those really cheesy store bought Valentines into my classmate’s bins(my personal favorite for the store-bought cards were those ones that had professional wrestlers on them.  I mean, who in their right mind thought that professional wrestling went along with Valentines Day?) But I digress.  Once I got into Middle and High School and the idea of having class parties became as uncool as putting professional wrestlers on Valentines, Valentines Day became even more meaningless to me on a personal level.  The simple reason for this is the fact that I stayed completely and totally 100% single all through my High School years, so the V-Days of 2004-2007 were pretty unremarkable.  Now while I did manage to finally enter into a relationship after I graduated, that was over and done with by the time I got to Augie in September of 2007.

College brought with it a new set of friends and experiences, but alas, all of those friendships stayed platonic.  If only that had been it, Valentines Day 2008 would have been as meaningless as normal.  Unfortunately, due to some weird circumstances, Valentines Day 2008 wound up being possibly the worst V-Day that I will ever experience in my lifetime.  Long story short, not only was I disastrously ill that whole week, but I decided to take a nap the afternoon of the 14th, woke up, turned on CNN, and promptly heard about the shootings at NIU.  Yeah, not a good day…

The biggest thing that happened in my life in between V-Days ’08 and ’09 was me joining Phi Mu Alpha in May of 2008.  How this comes into play is that once we rolled around to January of 2009, us Sinfonians started getting ourselves around to our annual performance of Vocal Valentines.  Now, I’m willing to guess that a lot of you have no clue what I am talking about, so here is a brief explanation.  Vocal Valentines are things that Phi Mu Alpha does every year around Valentines Day that involves all of the brothers(Usually about 15 or so of us at any given time) dressing up in tuxedos and running around the Quad Cities(but mostly campus) and singing romantic songs to people.  Usually these are bought for a significant other, but not always.  So, I start rehearsing with the fraternity, and everything is going well, until I realize that the RHA(Residence Hall Association) conference that I signed up to attend is on that same weekend(that we were supposed to to the VVs).  In a move that proved to be the only time in my entire college career where I gave ANYTHING precedence over my fraternity, I backed out of Vocal Valentines with about 2 weeks to go.  That wasn’t pleasant, but I had a blast at the conference, so I didn’t feel too cheated at all…

Just a quick recap, that at this point I still hadn’t had a girlfriend since the Summer of 2007…  Anyway, we go into 2010, and once again, we see the email about starting up Vocal Valentine practice again.  This time I am hell-bent on doing these things, who cares what I have to cancel to be there…  Luckily, the RHA conference is scheduled for almost a month after VVs are done, so I’m in the clear on that front.  Anyway, we rehearse for Vocal Valentines like always, and we do them like always, but an interesting thing happens during them.  At one point, I have go off to class, so I’m sitting in class wearing my tux, when all the guys come in and serenade ME.  Apparently, someone got me a Vocal Valentine…  So, my brothers sing to me and then I rejoin them after I get out of class.  We do more VVs for the rest of the weekend, and then we’re done for another year.  However, this story is just getting started…

It turns out that the Vocal Valentine was actually purchased for me by one of my friends, who had always kind of had a thing for me, and to be honest, I had always kind of had a thing for her also.  Long story short, She bought me the Valentine on February 12, and by the second week in March, we’re a couple.  You saw that right, for the first time in 2 and a half years, I was in a relationship!

Now let’s fast-forward a bit.  Through the rest of Spring Term.  Through my Summer at Shedd Aquarium.  Through the beginning of my senior year.  Through Homecoming and Kansas(both of which I still intend to do entries about…) Then we come up for air in the middle of this past November.  At that point, my girlfriend and I break up (nothing scandalous or anything[in fact, we're still friends to this day]).  So once again, any plans I might have had of being in a relationship on Valentines Day were dashed yet again…

But life does go on, and so does time, so it isn’t long before I get the email saying that we’re rehearsing for Vocal Valentines.  After only the first rehearsal, I am extremely optimistic about this year because we have much better leadership directing us in our efforts.  The best way to see this point is to consider the fact that I was having a bit of trouble with the singing  since our Music Director was holding us to such high standards.  Say what you will about the process, but the fact that this year we did the best at VVs that we had ever done in recent memory has got to count for something…

Vocal Valentines 2011 turned out to be the best year for them ever, in my opinion due in no small part to Nick, our Music Director.  However, now that we are almost 3 days removed from the final VV of the weekend, I feel that I should reflect a bit on this whole thing(what I think of Valentines Day) in general.  I guess the fact that I have spent the 21 out of the past 21 Valentines Days single gives me a bit of an altered perspective on what the holiday is really about.  I can’t count the number of times that the term “Singles Awareness Day” has parted from my lips in reference to the holiday(including several times today), but I don’t want to come across bitter or anything.  In fact, if anything, I’m not so much bitter over things as I am just apathetic over Valentines Day in a personal sense.  But, who am I to get downcast.  I’m sure that I’ll eventually be in a relationship on Valentines Day and have to deal with all of the crap that Katrina mentioned in her post, but for the time being, I’ll just wait to see what happens…

And that, my friends, is the conclusion to the best (and only) Blog-Off  that the AugieBlog has ever seen.  Katrina, thank you for indulging my crazy idea to do this, and readers, I’d like to thank you for putting up with my idiosyncrasies.  So, just read this blog, and then post your comments on it…

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