Valentine’s Day is here and there is no shortage of melt-worthy couples on campus.
Among faculty and students alike, there are dozens of relationships sweet enough to make us all want to run to the closest drug store and buy a package of chalky heart-shaped candy with cheesy sweet-nothings scratched into them.
Faculty couple Harry and Monica McEnerny, the chairs of the Theater and Education departments respectively, have 33 years of cute wrapped into their relationship. Any conversation with them is filled with playful banter and an obvious, deep love that is hard to ignore.
How have these two kept it so syrupy for so long?
“Communication is key,” Harry said.
“Yes, and kindness. He’s the kindest person that I know,” Monica added, though Harry butted in with his famous brand of humor admitting that sometimes it can be a little difficult to achieve after 33 years of marriage and two children.
“When it breaks down for us, it’s always because we’re not communicating. Either I can’t hear or she doesn’t talk loud enough for me to hear her and then I get in trouble for not hearing.”
Student couples, however, haven’t usually had the time to be seasoned to the point where they can bust into childlike buffoonery together and slide into serious topics like the chocolate syrup the rest of us are going to pretend we totally did not eat alone on the couch on Valentine’s Day.
Sophomore couple Brandon Bailey and Gabby Lazzaro make love look like the easiest thing in the world. The high school sweethearts have been together for exactly five-and-a -half years on Valentine’s Day, and have an energy that is as mature as it is full of adolescent wonder.
“He’s my best friend,” said Lazzaro, glowing.
Bailey said that what keeps them strong is “Constant support for each other… and compromise. We never let each other feel bad for approaching an opportunity that they want to approach, even if it means less time for the other person.”
Lazzaro, like the McEnernys, said communication is key for young couples too.
“Even if you think it will be hard and the other person will react badly, you have to just say what you’re feeling and get it out there,” she said.
Castleton has always had an array of diverse people and couples and as one of those couples, Dre Trudeau and Angela Dupoise say that they have felt accepted and able to grow and become who they are as a couple without feeling judged or discouraged by the community.
“I feel like people just don’t care anymore, at least here,” Dupoise said. “Professors don’t care and students definitely don’t. It’s like ‘Oh, these two people are dating; that’s cute.’”
Her girlfriend agrees, adding, “It doesn’t matter that it’s two girls. When we first started dating we got ‘You guys can never break up. You’re such a power couple.’ It was never a conversation, which is nice.”
The best thing about these couples was hearing them talk about each other and seeing the way they looked at each other. Every glance felt like they believed they were alone in the room as they declared their favorite things about each other with smiles in their eyes so bright they could blind us all on the way to Rite Aid on the fifteenth to get half-priced chocolate.
“She’s funny. She’s silly. She makes me smile,” cooed Bailey as Lazzaro giggled back “We have fun.”
“I like that I can do my own thing and come home at night just not have to worry about anything,” Dupoise said. “I love the way she is with kids. I’ve always wanted kids and seeing her work with them and play with them is precious to me,” Trudeau said beaming.
The McEnernys recounted the first time they met.
“I was in her suite because I had a class with her suite mate and she just popped her head in the door to say she was leaving. She was wearing this purple shirt.”
“With ribbons on it- very eighties,” remembered Monica.
“Yes, and once I picked my jaw up off the floor, the rest was history,” Harry said.