Tatler Through the Ages: Valentine’s Day

The Tatler archives: Where else could you go to find a grim reflection on human rights printed alongside an article on senior burnout and a student-drawn map in which two entire continents are missing? In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I decided to do some digging through the archives to see what the February issues of Tatler’s past have to offer. Here are five of the most interesting results: 


February 16, 1980: Love Notes 

In addition to a (somewhat shallow) article on dating advice called “Snag Your Sweetheart,” the 1980 issue also contained a section titled “Love Notes” wherein Lakeside students were given free rein to submit anonymous notes of admiration for publication. While most of these were relatively ordinary notes to and from various secret admirers (for example: “Chocolate is sweet, but I’d rather have you!”) and a rather pretentious Romeo and Juliet reference which I will not be copying down, one of them stood out from the rest: 

Vulpes fulva, Thunus thynnus: I wish to combine the nucleotide sequences of my deoxyribonucleic acid with you in order to create new protein structure in filian one progeny. — Dr. Strangelove. 

February 12, 1982: Goose Chase

The 1982 special issue featured a story about a pair of star-crossed lovers ultimately foiled by a traffic light. In the story, a Lakeside student becomes smitten with a girl standing across from him at a crosswalk, only to realize that they are separated by fundamental and irreconcilable differences when he jaywalks, and she doesn’t. Also present in this issue: a reflection on Saint Valentine and Pope Claudius, a section called Miss Madeline’s Love Notes, and an overly aggressive (but inadequately substantial) defense of Ronald Reagan. 

February 1, 1984: Soviet Week?

The 1984 special boasted a two-page spread solely focused on Valentine’s Day, with an illustration of a heart full of various historical musings on love as well as a particularly dramatic monologue from the point of view of Cupid as he hunts down his “victims” at Lakeside. Also featured were quite a few reflections on the USSR and Lakeside’s recent “Soviet Week,” a phenomenon which, from what I gathered, included two extra hours of homework per day, a brief bout of Russian dancing, and this (poorly aged) picture:  

February 16, 1988: the Phetzer 2500 Date-o-Matic X. L.

The 1988 issue featured a particularly ambitious computer dating survey in which the Phetzer 2500 Date-o-Matic X. L. sought to match each and every Lakeside student with a potential valentine of their choice. The survey featured a series of seemingly arbitrary questions regarding earthquake experience, how tempted one might be to pull the fire alarm on any given day, and inexplicably, a connect-the-dot test. Hats off to the student who just submitted a giant scribble. 

February 14, 1997: The Lustful Codex

Last but not least, Tatler’s 1997 Valentine’s Day special starred a satirical piece by Arthur Liou dramatically titled “The Lustful Codex.” This one is particularly difficult to describe in words. All I can say is that it uses the word “LLovin’” (a shortening of Lakeside Lovin’) a whopping thirteen times and suggests a variety of charming pickup lines such as “I love you” and “If you leave me I’ll kill your family.” I’ll leave you with this piece of terrible advice plucked straight from the Codex, a sentence which truly made me wish I was illiterate: