Love and Harvard sometimes seem incompatible.
Surveys have shown that less than 50 percent of Harvard students have ongoing relationships. Discussions of male-female relationships usually center on sexual harassment and gender inequality. And typing the word "romance" into the HOLLIS library index brings up a list of works on dysfunctional, failed or dangerous love.
Some Harvard students, however, have overcome the stereotype of random hook-ups and formals with friends as dates. A small but proud percentage of the Class of 1993 will leave the singles scene soon after they leave Mother Harvard.
Some of these starry-eyed souls may have been pushed by forces beyond their control. With his last name, Alvin L. Valentine '93 of Cabot House would seem a sure candidate for successful love.
But one needs a little more than appropriate nomenclature to find a fiancee. Valentine and his destiny, Ana C. Guzman '93, first met among talk of fifth-level spells and Dr. Who characters at a meeting of the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association.
Guzman and Valentine, who also knew each other from the Puerto-Rican Students Association, began dating in February 1991. "It was love at first sight," Valentine says. "I decided I should quit while I was ahead. If anything else, I'm an opportunist in life--and I know a good opportunity when I see one."
Valentine has lacked such good fortune, however, in other areas. Although he and Guzman had been discussing marriage as a possibility for two years, his repeated plans to propose to her kept falling through at the last minute--plans which many of his other friends knew about beforehand.
Finally, Valentine says, he popped the question in March of this year while vacationing in his hometown. "I got the flu immediately afterwards. The only good luck I've had is finding Ana," he says.
Valentine is not the only Cabotian preparing to take the plunge. Indeed, it would seem as though there is something in the water--or the isolation--of the Quad that encourages senior marriages.
Alicia R. Bloom '93 met fellow Cabot resident Kevin G. Flusk '91 in the fall of 1990. They began dating March 1, 1991, and were married
Their first ceremony, held at the Cambridge City Hall, was rather small, says Bloom, but the two will be married again July 11 in a larger ceremony--after which they will both drop their current last names. The couple will adopt a neutral name and become Kevin and Alicia Thomas.
"The other options--my taking his name, both of us keeping our names or his taking my name--left something to be desired," she says. "This sort of avoids the non-feminist implications of women taking their husbands' last name, and it's a way to cement our link."
But fellow Quadling Daniel E. Kosowsky '93, a Currier resident, says he and his fiancee are going the more traditional route--she'll take his name when they get married on August 15. And, unlike Bloom and Valentine, Kosowsky will be wedding a non-Harvardian.
Kosowsky met Karen T. Ackerman, who just gradusted from Barnard College in New York, during a trip to Israel in the summer of 1990. "All Harvard relationships, at least the ones I've seen, tend to end miserably," he says. "I think that's why I went out with someone not from Harvard."
He got two vastly different reactions when he told his friends in roommates that he and Ackerman had gotten engaged early last fall. "[Half] of them were really happy, but the other half were shocked. They thought we were out of our minds," says Kosowsky.