Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

A gal’s guide to love languages on Valentine’s Day

Maddie Barron

Opinion editors are not responsible for agreeing or disagreeing with their writers but rather elevate each individual’s specific voice.

Dear Maddie, 

I’m struggling with how to show my loved ones I care about them. I’m not quite sure what my love language is, or if I’m just a mix of them all! What can I do to make this Valentine’s special?


Befuddled Bethany


Dear Bethany, 

I’m a patron saint of love languages. Like many saints, I earned my sainthood from extreme peril and suffering, particularly in the dating sphere. I am a collection of baffling tales of horror and humiliation which has inspired me to hone in on how I can better love others.

There’s plenty of love language quizzes out there that determine how you show love and how you prefer to receive love. Here’s my rundown of how I choose to express my love through all the languages. 

1. Physical touch

During my first week of college, a boy with glasses held the door open for me and I became infatuated with him. I roped him into being my friend and planned a Halloween date watching cartoons with him. 

I prepared like I was Rocky for a date with a man who everyone knew was gay (except my dumbass). In vain, I shaved my legs until I was as smooth as a porpoise. My mom told me men like vanilla scented perfume. I smelled like goddamn Strawberry Shortcake. 

We watched our festive cartoons and as the night went on, something smelled fishy…

“I don’t think this man likes women!” I probably remarked, with a lightbulb hanging over my head. 

Once I had my epiphany (after he decided to sleep over), I was more apt to kick him for hogging the bed. He was the little spoon and I had back pain. He is now one of my best friends, and I would gladly sacrifice my back to be his big spoon. 

2. Words of affirmation

The first real date I ever went on was with a man who lied about his height, reminded me of my little brother, and also does not like women. Weeks of texting finally led us to a coffee shop on Newbury Street. I dry heaved in an alleyway while on the phone with my best friend, using the ten minutes of time before meeting to panic. 

We chose peak brunch time on a Saturday in November. Him and I were exiled to a pathetic picnic table and I briefly debated dunking my hand in my boiling cup so I could avoid frostbite and maybe appear more interesting. As far as first dates go, it was perfectly fine; I was too nervous to be charming, and too cold and sniffly to look sexy. 

I assumed our love affair would fizzle out, but post-date he affirmed he had a great time and couldn’t wait to see me again! I dreaded rejecting this perfectly pleasant boy. 

Fortunately, he did all the hard work of crafting up a rejection letter for me! Out of all the reasons to end our budding relationship, his was absurd and borderline a sonnet. 

Unfortunately, my lack of veganism was a dealbreaker, even though “I was hoping I could get past it.” Brilliant. His text still lives ever so close to my heart. So sincere, so ridiculous. I hope he’s found the vegan of his dreams. This Valentine’s season, don’t fear speaking your truth WHILE affirming your loved ones. 

3. Gift giving

One lowly Valentine’s Day in seventh grade, our teachers decided to have the boys write nice messages to the girls, who would then receive Valentine’s grams on the day. Any boy could submit something about a girl anonymously, and our English teacher would compile them into a poem of sorts. 

I think each gram needed seven personalized messages to make a poem. Mine had two. One that said I was “nice” and the other that said “really smart.” The other five lines of the gram predated Chat GPT with a similar sense of apathy and vagueness while somehow still complimenting no one in particular. The poem read like motivational pencils. 

When arranging a collective gift, perhaps put your heart into it. Or avoid collective gifts. The Valentine gram was regifted to the recycling bin and I ate pink M&Ms by the handful when I got home. 

4. Quality time

Valentine’s Day my freshman year of high school fell on the day of my performance in the school play. My best friend, who I had a huge crush on, came to watch me perform that day because he knew that Valentine’s Day was my favorite holiday. We were going to hang out post-show. 

I was unbelievably pissed at him that day because I thought he was going to confess his love to me, but he ended up taking another girl to brunch earlier that day. 

I declared then and there that this scoundrel would not have a good time. The whole night post-show, as we walked around a Target half an hour from closing, he was behaving strangely and I didn’t give him the time of day. I saw a pair of sunglasses I liked but put them down because I didn’t have any money to buy them, and they wouldn’t be much use because I wear prescription glasses. When he offered to buy them, I happily let him. 

“If this bastard wants to seduce other women, I’ll let him buy me thirteen dollar glasses!”

When he dropped me off at home he tearfully came out to me. I was the first person he ever told. I wasn’t mad at him anymore. Those two hours we spent in miserable silence is one of the strongest memories I have from being 15. 

I still have the glasses, never worn. 

5. Acts of service

I conclude with my actual love language, adopted from years of being an eldest daughter and sister to two brothers. I celebrate my Valentine’s Day (still my favorite holiday) always the same: I love!

This year, I made some dorm room baked goods. I’ve been crafting until my fingers are raw, and, like Saint Cupid, I spread the love. My mom said she sent me a poem in the mail, probably much better than its seventh grade equivalent. I’ll call my grandma and make cinnamon rolls for my suitemates. I do it because I like watching my loved ones make those stupid little surprised faces when someone does something nice for them. And even all the stories from past Valentine’s are so special to me because they mean I’m capable of being a fool in love. What a gift that is. 

Happy Valentine’s Day; let’s all be fools.



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About the Contributor
Maddie Barron, Opinion Co-Editor, Magazine Editor
Maddie Barron (she/her) is a sophomore WLP major with a minor in journalism. She serves as editor for the Beacon Magazine and co-section editor of the opinion section. Maddie is an It Girl, philanthropist, lover, gardener, and the Princess Diana of Goose Creek, SC.

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