Valentine's Day Special: The Art of Shipping
Posted 02/14/2018 09:07AM

By Laurel Blaske / Lion Staff

Once again we are approaching the most “lovely” day of February when some of us spend the day enjoying romantic time with someone we love and the rest wait for the next day when chocolate goes on sale. If you identify more with Valentine’s type B, the internet’s favorite hobby of living vicariously through fictional characters, celebrities, and friends may be right for you.

Shipping, according to our illustrious SGA president Chris Ocana, is when “Two people, Mommy Ship and Daddy Ship, make a lil’ boat.” Many others’ first thought was sending packages by mail. Although these are both reasonable answers, Frances Wargo, junior, hit the nail on the head. Shipping is “when someone wants other people to be in a relationship together,” she said.

According to Business Insider, the term “shipping” originated online on social media platforms such Twitter and Tumblr through fandoms. (A fandom is a community of fans for a TV show, movie, celebrity, book series, video game, or anything of the like.) Surprisingly, the act of shipping is much older than the new vocabulary. Over 100 years ago, an entire book, Old Friends, New Fancies, was essentially centered around shipping characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

This act of shipping isn’t just limited to the internet and old books. You might be breathing the same air as a shipper right now. Many of them walk through our Lovett halls everyday.

Now, shipping is more than just an idle past time. It is an art. Luckily for anyone new to the world of imaginative match making, the basic rules are simple enough to learn.

One very important detail to take into consideration is how compatible is this couple you see together in your dreams? Like any other relationship, there has to be chemistry or at the very least something that makes these two click more than average.

Some dedicated shippers even have specific criteria. Chris Ocana and Richard Nolan tried to explain theirs in a team effort. Chris began, saying, “They have to be able to finish each other’s…” Gesturing at Richard, he received the likely wrong response of “donuts.” It looks like Chris and Richard aren’t exactly destined to live happily ever after.

Kim Morgan, English teacher, and Izzy Johnson, junior, like the idea of opposites attracting. “They have to be complete opposites, so they complement each other,” Izzy said.

Others prefer their ships to be more alike. “If they look cute together, if they have similar hobbies, that’s a really big one for me,” Orchestra teacher Adrian Davis said.

Bernadette May-Beaver, History teacher, shared a similar sentiment. “I think that they actually have to be similar,” she said, “not in the obvious ways, but they have to be similarly confident. Similar looks matter too. I only ever liked people in my league. That’s science I think.”

Surprisingly, couples having similar traits does appear to be a natural occurrence. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, humans often seek out similar partners thanks to positive assortative mating.

Other people could care less for specifics in their shipping. Eden Tesema, senior, can look at two people and just know they’re supposed to be together. Frances Wargo doesn’t have any criteria either. “As long as they’re in the same book or the same world, it's good,” she said.

But the real question is which ships passed the criteria and made the cut? Freshman Lauren Warren has over 300 ships, all of which come from TV shows and movies. She has a running list saved in the Notes app of her phone. Her top three are Corey and Topanga from Girl Meets World, Clark and Bellamy from The 100, and Damon and Elena from The Vampire Diaries.

Ms. Morgan shared a story of her English class discussing the romantic fate of Lucie Manette in Tale of Two Cities. Lucie eventually ends up with Charles Darnay, but that did not stop the class from envisioning Lucie with Sydney Carton instead.

Freshman Reece Capersenjoys two conflicting ships from the Cartoon Network show Adventure Time. Bubbline is the canon relationship between Princess Bubblegum and Marceline the Vampire Queen, while Finnceline is fan-made ship between Marceline and Finn, a young adventurer.

Of course, for every beloved ship there is always a ship with a few leaks. Izzy Johnson, for example, does not enjoy when Supernatural fans ship brothers Sam and Dean Winchester. Many readers of the Harry Potter series wanted Harry and Hermione to end up together, but Ms. Morgan disagrees.

When Twilight came out, there was a full-on shipping war between Team Edward and Team Jacob, two opposing groups of fans who had different ideas on who Bella should choose. Mr. Davis, who wanted Bella to choose Jacob, can’t stand it. “Every time I see that movie on I just can’t watch because she chose the pale vampire who looks like he’s anemic,” he said.

Different opinions in shipping can quickly become a line in the sand, even between friends. Remember how one of Lauren’s favorite ships was Damon and Elena from The Vampire Diaries? Reece Capers did not like them together at all. “Maybe it was just because I had a personal vendetta against Elena,” Reece said. “And Damon was a piece of crap. There was a lot of stuff there that was a big no thank you for me.”

Sometimes shipping can transfer from fiction to reality when shippers pair their favorite celebrities and their friends. But is it okay to ship living, breathing human beings? The general consensus was shipping actual people is not morally wrong as long as the invasive commentary stays to a minimum.

Celebrity ships typically stay with pre-existing relationships. Chris says he ships Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck. Ms. Morgan likes the relationship between Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. Eden thinks Big Sean and Jhene Aiko are cute together. Sophomore Harper Finch sees Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart as a couple, and though they aren’t officially together, they do play Betty and Jughead, a fictional couple, in Riverdale.

One substantial celebrity shipping controversy surrounds Millie Bobby Brown who plays Eleven in Stranger Things. Many fans, including Izzy, believe Millie should be with her fellow cast member Finn Wolfhard. To their dismay, Millie is actually dating Jacob Sartorius, the star known for his iconic song, Sweatshirt.

For Frances, it doesn’t matter which boy’s sweatshirt Millie wears. Frances feels Millie is too young to have to live under the constant pressure of the Internet to ignore her own feelings for one boy to date another.

There are limitations, of course, with fictional and celebrity ships. As True Geralds said, “You have made up in your mind who celebrities are. You don't actually know them.” With our friends, family, and other people in our life, however, we know their quirks, their passions, and in our own minds, their deepest romantic desires.

Ms. Morgan confessed to shipping some of her students. “I love looking at individuals and figuring out what their relationships are,” she said. “As a teacher, I've seen relationships blooming and blossoming. You'd be surprised how many of them come to fruition.”

Izzy, on the other hand, has found herself in an uncomfortable situation as the ship-ee. “My mom ships me with all these guys,” she said. Even though this shipping is probably done with good intentions, Izzy still finds it weird.

So why do we ship? What do our tastes say about us? There is certainly speculation, and there are several theories. Some people say we ship because we want to see more love, and others say we project our hopes and dreams into our ships as they have what we can’t.

And of course, some people, like junior Peter Kessler, believe there’s no reason at all. According to Peter, your shipping preferences have no meaning unless “you're living a sad life in a cave, and you’re shipping people who never existed and will never get together on Tumblr.”

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