Debaters say it's time to share love's labor

Love might be a many-splendored thing, but it’s also darned hard work for men — or so says the Brooks Quimby Debate Council, whose members will argue the topic Resolved: women should bear the burden of dating at 4 p.m. Valentine’s Day in the Keck Classroom of Pettengill Hall.

Occasional debates on notable holidays are a Quimby tradition, and the Valentine’s Day debate is often one of the year’s liveliest.

While chocolates, roses and giddy romance are traditional Valentine’s Day markers, the Quimby debates tend to take a less sanguine view of love’s labor. “Last year’s topic revolved around the question of whether feminism had killed chivalry, and if it had, was that bad for women,” says council president Whitman Holt ’02 of Havre, Mont.

This year’s topic tackles the role of men as beasts of burden in the romance game. “Males have had to do much of the ‘work’ involved with dating — paying for meals, arranging dates, asking others out — and some on our team are going to argue that such a binary should be flipped on its head,” Holt says.

The debate will be conducted in the parliamentary style, with teams supporting and opposing the resolution. Current plans, says Holt, are for the teams to be split by gender, with male debaters supporting the resolution and female debaters opposing. Floor speeches from the audience will follow.

Besides occasional debates that address popular or current events, the Brooks Quimby Debate Council and new debate coach Robert Brito offer weekly debates open to the public this winter. Recent topics have included the desirability of fraternities and sororities at Bates, and racial profiling and the community of Lewiston.

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