The Duke does Valentine’s Day

The Duke ran an advertisement for Valentine’s Day dates with two of our staffers. The week after, they tell their stories.

(Joey Sykes / The Duquesne Duke)Joey Sykes and Kayge Thomson pose at DeNunzio’s Italian Restaurant in Monroeville.

(Joey Sykes / The Duquesne Duke) Joey Sykes and Kayge Thomson pose at DeNunzio’s Italian Restaurant in Monroeville.

By: Joey Sykes | The Duquesne Duke

Okay, I sort of cheated.

When it came time to pick a response from the “Win a Date With a Duke Staffer” ad, which gave any Duquesne student a chance at having the pleasure of spending Valentine’s Day with either Addie Smith or myself, I ended up picking my wonderful girlfriend Kayge. But just to make things clear, she wasn’t my girlfriend at the time and the only responses I received were from her and her friends, who were all egging me on to choose her as my date.

First off, it’s sort of an interesting story how Kayge and I got to this point in our lives. I first met Kayge last semester when we ran into each other at a party. We hit it off, but it wasn’t until after The Duke ran the ad that we started to become serious.

When I first volunteered for the ad, I knew it would be a great opportunity for me to put myself out there being a shy guy and all. When I saw Kayge one day, we sort of joked about the ad, and I told her she should submit a response just for fun.

Just a day later, however, I received a well-written, tongue-in-cheek entry from none other than Kayge herself. What was so interesting about her entry was the fact that she was into everything I was into – like her love of Modern Family and the fact that

(Joey Sykes / The Duquesne Duke) A puppy enjoys company from Joey and Kayge on Valentine’s Day.

(Joey Sykes / The Duquesne Duke) A puppy enjoys company from Joey and Kayge on Valentine’s Day.

her second-favorite hockey team was the Chicago Blackhawks, my favorite. So of course, there was no reason not to pick Kayge.

When it came time for me to start planning out our first Valentine’s Day together, Kayge strictly pointed out to me that she did not expect or care for anything out-of-this-world in terms of what kind of date she wanted to go on. So I took the simple route. The first step to doing that was to give her red roses, chocolates and a card before I picked her up that Saturday evening, which I am almost certain she enjoyed.

To kick things off on our date, I picked up on a cue Kayge gave me earlier in the week. She told me how much she loved her dogs at home and how her family was looking to get a new puppy in the near future. So, of course, I took her to get a new puppy.

Just kidding.

I aimed for the next best thing, and that was taking her to see all the lonely pups at the local pet store that unfortunately didn’t have a Valentine.

As soon as we arrived at the pet store, Kayge turned into the proverbial kid in a candy shop after she laid eyes on the sea of puppies before her. After strolling through the store for about 20 minutes, we ended up finding a little Australian Shepherd who the employee told us was one of the shy guys, so we decided we wanted to hang out with him for a while. After we got ahold of the little man, we found out he was very fond of us – as well as chewing on our shoes.

And I mean he really, really loved chewing on our shoes.

When I realized I might need a new pair of sneakers, we decided it was time to get some dinner. I ended up taking Kayge to one of her favorite places to eat – DeNunzio’s in Monroeville.

I realized Kayge may be perfect for me when I saw she ordered fettuccini alfredo, one of my favorite dishes. At that moment, it seemed we were a match made in heaven. After finishing the main course, Kayge introduced me to tiramisu, which may or may not be my new favorite dessert.

To top the night off, Kayge and I decided to take a relaxing late-night drive through her hometown of Monroeville before we ended up at the movies. No, we didn’t see Fifty Shades of Grey like every other couple. Instead we decided on seeing The Imitation Game, which gets wonderful reviews from us.

In the end, I think I succeeded in making Kayge feel special on our first ever Valentine’s Day together. It was a pretty funny start to how things got going between us, but looking back, I guess I have to thank to The Duke for being my wingman on this.

(Addison Smith / Opinions Editor) Annie Opie, Addison Smith and McKenzie Clarke pose at the Funny Fundraiser benefiting St. Ursula’s School in Allison Park, Pennsylvania.

(Addison Smith / Opinions Editor) Annie Opie, Addison Smith and McKenzie Clarke pose at the Funny Fundraiser benefiting St. Ursula’s School in Allison Park, Pennsylvania.

 

By: Addison Smith | Opinions Editor

After learning that the person I had chosen to be my Duke Date could not actually go out on Valentine’s Day, I had to make do with what I had. What I had on Valentine’s Day was a lot of work to do, so a lavish date turned into running around for class, eating Chipotle and doing a service project.

I had two Valentine’s Day dates cancelled on me in a matter of weeks. The guy I was dating and I broke up a few weeks ago, then my Duke Date had to cancel because as a graduate assistant he technically isn’t allowed to take me out, even for fun.

So instead of focusing on being alone on Valentine’s Day, I surrounded myself with friends, schoolwork and fun.

Firstly, my friend Jen Cardone and I filmed an interview for a project in our current journalism course. Afterwards, we ran to Starbucks and got coffee to warm up, then began the great “Should we get Chipotle?” debate.

Now, this was before The New York Times posted that crushing article on how many calories one actually consumes at Chipotle and I found out that a bag of chips contains 570 calories, added on top of my 400 calorie burrito bowl. However, I digress. On Saturday, Chipotle seemed like a fabulous idea.

Then, Jen and I realized it was snowing and immediately sulked, not wanting to walk to Market Square. I am going to be honest with you, what happened next I am not proud of. We decided to drive to the Chipotle in Shadyside to avoid crowds and walking.

(Addie Smith / Opinions Editor) McKenzie Clarke and Addison Smith call out numbers for a raffle at the Funny Fundraiser.

(Addie Smith / Opinions Editor) McKenzie Clarke and Addison Smith call out numbers for a raffle at the Funny Fundraiser.

Avoiding walking? Check. Avoiding crowds? Nope, no check will be given there. We circled the lot for around 10 minutes before finding a spot, then snatched it as quickly as we could before the soccer moms stole it out from under us.

We got to Chipotle, enjoyed our food and ran into our friend (and Duke editor-in-chief) Fred Blauth entering Chipotle. We sat with him for a bit and then left to drive back downtown to Duquesne.

Bad idea.

The snowstorm had just started and a typical 10-minute drive took nearly 45 minutes and also five years off of our lives.

Then, it was my turn to take the wheel when I drove myself and my friends Annie Opie and McKenzie Clarke to a service project for Gamma Sigma Sigma. My poor Honda Accord struggled on the snow covered hills, but she powered through and got us where we needed to.

The Funny Fundraiser benefitted the St. Ursula School in Allison Park, Pa. and featured comedians, raffles and assorted games of luck to raise money for the school. We assisted by selling 50/50 tickets.

We volunteered, we ate dinner (I did a lot of eating on Valentine’s Day), volunteered some more and capped off the night at Eat’n Park. As I said, I did a lot of eating.

I know, those aren’t the ideal ways for anyone to spend Valentine’s Day, but to me it wasn’t Valentine’s Day, it was just another Saturday when work needed to be done. Plus, who needs Valentine’s Day when food and friends exist?

What do you think? Leave us a comment!