Wednesday, February 10, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 90

Staff Editorial

Editorial Cartoon

About the Cougar

Teaching Scandinavians to be cynics

Amanda Mahmoudi

In case you've been hiding under a rock since New Year's Eve (or you are male), the countdown clock to Valentine's Day has been ticking away like crazy in your ear.

Every year, I go through the same roller coaster of emotions, ranging from feelings of superior independence and calm acceptance to seething jealousy and wretched despair.

Why me? Why me? I ask as I thrust my fist into my stomach.

I watch couples walking hand-in-hand pass me on the sidewalk, and I become nauseated. I observe couples making out in the produce department at the grocery store and feel an abscess developing behind my left eye.

Why must that be? It's a question I ask myself constantly. Why do couples insist on flaunting their mutual affection for each other as if it were a psychotic trophy? Are you smitten exhibitionists so into one another that you don't even notice when onlookers are physically ill?

If this continues, I am going to end up a bruised, one-eyed, vomiting hag.

As much as it would genuinely give me pleasure to dissect yet another disgusting example of public displays of affection, I feel the need to share something with you.

It is difficult to remain as blasé about Valentine's Day this year. Yes, my faithful friends, I must admit, albeit rather sheepishly, that I have met someone.

He is tall, fair and can hold his liquor. What more can you ask for in a Scandinavian seaman named Johann? Being new to the Western hemisphere, there are a lot of things that Johann insists that I explain.

"Va-at doo yoo doo fir Vaa-lentine's Da-ay?" He asked not too long ago in between bites of sausage and potato pancakes. Needless to say, that put me in an unexpected, awkward situation.

I have spent every Valentine's Day for the past 12 years alternating between sulking and ranting wildly that women should not let themselves feel inundated with self-pity simply because no one finds them particularly special on a specific day.

It boils down to a rude conspiracy run by greeting card companies.

Do I share my history of solitude and my theory of conspiracy that rampages the nation? No. Before I can get a word in, Johann endearingly fills me in on what his new American friends have been telling him about the dubious holiday. (I will soon have to explain how interrupting someone is considered impolite.)

Apparently, they have been filling my darling fisherman's ear with nonsense about troublesome and possibly pricy planning.

I had to tell Johann that the whole reason for a holiday like Valentine's Day is simply to celebrate that someone else whom you admire thinks you are special in return. Ideally, this type of celebration should be done often.

So just what have Johann and I decided to do? We will have a quiet dinner somewhere his pushy friends do not frequent. The only things I ask that he do for me on Valentine's Day are one, to write me something, and two, not to overdo it with his fish-oil-based hair gel.

Mahmoudi, a junior French and German major,
wishes everyone a fruitful weekend,
can be reached at

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