Hey boys and girls –
Just a quick public service announcement: if you’re going to be getting up to anything this Valentine’s Day, please please please be risk-aware. Safe IS sexy and don’t let anyone ever try to tell you otherwise. Plan ahead, take precautions, and have fun responsibly.

And now, without further delay …

10. The ridiculously lengthy and involved application can double as your own personal vetting process: if they make it through, you’re already halfway certain they aren’t crazy. Or, at least, they’re the right kind of crazy.

9. They won’t care if you haven’t plucked your eyebrows this week. They probably haven’t even shaved since the last baraza.

8. When someone is materially deprived, any gift you could give would be special. Don’t believe me? Watch how excited PCVs get over a cell phone that has a built-in flashlight and you’ll understand.

7. Nothing says “I dig you” like an Aerogramme that took three weeks to deliver, plus an extra week for the lengthy pilgrimage to a distant rural post office where the postmaster may or may not remember you have a rental box.

6. The Peace Corps values personal flexibility. So should you.

5. You can instantly one-up on your siblings at the holidays. “Have you met Kyle? He’s a third year law student at Georgetown.” “Oh, that’s great, Cindy … have you met Jane? She built an orphanage out of disabled landmines, and because there’s a chronic water shortage in her district, to wet the cement she had to harvest and utilize the village women’s tears of joy.”

4. A mosquito net makes even the lumpiest mattress feel like a princess bed.

3. Who needs flowers and chocolate when you’ve got passion fruit and palm wine at every roadside kiosk?

2. Have you seen what it does to someone’s calves and tush when they have to bike six miles to the marketplace every Thursday if they want to eat that week?

And the number one reason to date a PCV …

1. Three words: Peace. Corps. Goggles.