It was around 9 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, and Cupid was stoned. Blunt in one pudgy hand and a bottle in the other, Cupid floated through the Beta Chi fraternity house.
“More shots here, now!” he shouted at nobody in particular.
He’d been partying at the house for the last four days, and the initial excitement of meeting a god had worn off for the pledges tasked to care of him. The day before he had vomited all over the lawn in mid-flight. Before that, he had spent the better portion of the week litigating a minor in possession charge since he was most certainly not a minor.
Still, Cupid was a legend on frat row. He had gone to his first UC Berkeley frat party in 1946 after he misunderstood what someone had meant by “Greek community.” Since then, he has been a regular.
Simon Markowitz had been preparing for this night for months. He had had the biggest crush on Emily from across the hall all through last semester. The Beta Chi Valentine’s Day party seemed like the perfect opportunity for him to make a move.
After trying on all three of his button-down shirts, Simon decided the blue checkered one looked best (red polka dots seemed a little too forward of a choice for the occasion). He then brushed his teeth, doused himself in Axe body spray and pointed a spritz of perfume down his pants, producing a scent he thought Emily would find irresistible, albeit somewhat feminine.
Around 10 p.m., Simon and Emily, with the rest of their floor in tow, left their dorm for Beta Chi. They faced some resistance at the door. Fortunately, one member of the group remembered that he had once sat next to a Beta Chi brother in a section for a class that he eventually dropped who was maybe named Adam, so after a lengthy exchange with the pledge at the door, they managed to gain entrance.
After just a few minutes inside, Simon lost track of Emily. Finding himself alone by a pool table and clutching a can of Keystone, Simon grew nervous. The night wasn’t going as planned. His stomach tightened up in knots as he wandered the party. He eventually found her in a dimly lit corner, laughing at some neanderthal’s jokes. She was supposed to laugh at his own jokes, Simon thought. She was supposed to fall in his arms. She was supposed to be with him.
At this point, Cupid had had several more drinks. Baby-faced and belligerent, he haphazardly flew into tables and walls.
“Is that an arrow in my pants, or am I just happy to see you ladies?” Cupid said, now slurring his words a bit. “Hey-hey ladies, once you go Cupid, everything else is stupid, am I right?”
Playing drinking games with Cupid was patently unfair. As an archer with literally thousands of years of training under his belt, he had never missed a cup in a game of beer pong. But at 4-foot-2, even Dionysus’ nephew was a lightweight. Now, sufficiently drunk, Cupid began passing out golden arrows.
Disheartened, Simon was about to leave when he saw what Cupid was doing.
“If I hit Emily with one of Cupid’s arrows, there’s no way she won’t love me — or, at least, maybe kiss me,” he thought.
With all the confidence he could muster, Simon asked if he, too, could have an arrow.
“Brothers only,” Cupid drunkenly shouted.
“Just one?” Simon offered nervously. “I’ll take your worst one.”
“Are you in this house, bro?”
“Well, I know Ad — ”
“Bro, you gotta leave. This is a closed event. C-L-osed, bro.”
“But Cupid, you’re supposed to be the god of love,” Simon said. “Why do you only let frat guys get laid? There’s an entire campus full of lonely people looking for someone.”
“Bro, there ain’t anybody doper than these bros,” Cupid slurred.
With his own words, Cupid suddenly felt an unfamiliar pang of sympathy. He recalled his first party in Athens and felt for the rather awkward Simon. As he was reaching to offer up his last arrow, sirens went off.
“This is the Berkeley Police Department; please open the door,” a voice blared through a megaphone.
“Shit, I’m out,” Cupid said as he fluttered out through the window and off into the moonlight, never to be seen again.
And that was love at Berkeley.
Curan Mehra is the editor of The Weekender. Contact him at [email protected]