For the past two years, Chico State has been graced with the presence of two love doctors each Valentine’s Day. Tony Munoz and Steven Huff, part-time Cupids and Chico State graduates, are known for donning winged bras and “kiss me” boxers to deliver unconditional love by handing out valentines with sweet messages attached to students and staff around campus.
Huff (BS, math, ’15) and Munoz (BS, microbiology, ’15) are not only committed to breaking stereotypes about love and gender, but they are doing so with hopes of also creating a new Chico State legacy. These Cupids will not be around forever, despite their godlike status, and are seeking a new generation of love doctors to whom they can pass the torch.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Huff and Munoz and explore the story behind the Chico State Cupids.
How did the Chico State Cupids project come about?
Munoz: Two or three years ago, Steven and I didn’t have valentines. So we were just like, “Well, instead of focusing on one person to spread some love to, why not just do it across the whole campus?” I asked him if he’d be down to do it with me, because I didn’t want to be alone.
Huff: I wasn’t sure about it. The next day, I was in math class. I was sitting there doodling, and I started drawing a pair of wings. I thought to myself, “Those look like a pair of Cupid wings.” So I brought them back home and showed them to Tony. We left that night and bought everything we needed. We got like 500 valentines and put messages in all of them.
Munoz: Every year we would go to Walgreens, and we’d get whatever Valentine’s Day stuff they have there. The first year, we wore tank tops and boxers, and Steven hand-made some wings. When we ran out of Valentines, we would use stamps or stickers. We were just like: “Well, we’ll just spread love to everybody, not just one person. For all the other people who might not have a Valentine.”
What does love mean to you?
Munoz: I think it’s two things: compassion and empathy. I think you can really love somebody when you truly understand how they’re feeling. You connect on that emotional level. With this, we want to spread that love, that compassion and empathy, all over campus and not just pick people out for how they dress or what they look like. Because of that, I think we connect with people on a deeper level.
Huff: Especially for Valentine’s Day, love is “supposed” to be getting someone chocolates or flowers and only celebrating it one day out of the year, and it’s only to one person. For Tony and me, it’s more of, “Why does it have to be that way? Why can’t Valentine’s Day be a day be for love in general? Why do we have to pick just one person, when there are so many people out there that haven’t been loved or are looking for love?”
What Valentine’s Day has turned into, for me, is a day to show as many people as we possibly can that we care.
Why is it important for you to spread love around to strangers?
Munoz: It’s the same old story in the news; you always see violence and the bad things that happen in the world. It’s nice to be that one piece of news: “Look at what these people do that’s really nice today.” The problem is that there’s only one every once in a while. I definitely think that there needs to be more of it, at least shown. People do random acts of kindness all day, every day. Even if it’s when you’re waiting in line, looking at the menu in Celestino’s, and you let the person go in front of you. Little things like that. We never get to see those things.
Huff: If everyone just loved themselves and loved everyone else, I feel like we wouldn’t have a lot of the issues that we have today. I feel like, you’re either willing to be open to accept other people or you’re going to need someone to model it for you. We wanted to break gender stereotypes like what’s appropriate for men to wear on certain days, or what’s appropriate for women to wear. I think Chico is a really great place, too, because everyone there was super, super accepting of the whole idea. People would say, “I can’t believe you guys are that brave to go out there and do that.” We got praised for what we did, and I think that’s a very nice environment for Chico. People in Chico accept the oddities, for lack of a better term; they accept people for who they are and for what they’re trying to express and show.
What is the future of the Chico State Cupids?
Munoz: We set up a Facebook page called “Chico State Cupids.” We’re trying to reach out to see if anyone is interested in taking our place: two people of any gender. We don’t know if we’re going to be able to do it this year. They can email us on the Facebook page, and we’ll set up the guidelines. They can add their flavor of course. If no one hits us up, then we’re just going do it ourselves.
Huff: I’m going to do it as many times as I have to. I want it to turn into a thing where someone here decides, “Hey, I’m going to be a Cupid this year. I’m going to show everyone that I care.” That’s what I’m hoping for. We started the Facebook page, and we’re trying to make it bigger and better than it was before. We want it to turn into its own traditional thing. Instead of Chico being known for being a party school, we want people to hear “Chico” and think: “Oh, did you know the kids who ran around as a Cupid?” I think that’s a better label for the school. Imagine Chico being labeled as this loving place of acceptance, versus: “I just go to Chico to party.”