The (Love) Doctor Is In!

Sophomore Owen Cress shares all on “Dr. Love,” a school personality rising in popularity.


Owen Cress

Sophomore Owen Cress shares goofy love advice on Instagram @dr.lovesphs under the name, Dr. Love. He took advantage of his popularity and led a charity event earlier this school year to donate money to House of Ruth. “Comedy is the backbone of Dr. Love, and it’s one of my goals to inform high schoolers that they shouldn’t take high school relationships too seriously,” Cress said.

Anastasia Gobot, Opinions Editor

Students at Severna Park High School are abuzz with the Instagram sensation “Dr. Love,” whose odd ideas answer the seemingly endless questions of Cupid-shot students. The student behind this pseudonym is none other than sophomore Owen Cress. His Instagram account @dr.lovesphs, has over half a thousand followers and counting. 10 to 20 questions are sent in every week. If you look through his account, you will find that these numbers are not surprising; this doctor is none like any other.

“I’m really happy with the character of Dr. Love. He’s altruistic, but kinda sleazy, making for an entertaining storytelling perspective. People really like hearing what Dr. Love has to say about their love lives, and I’m a fan of creative literature, so I’m more than happy to write a funny paragraph or two. I’m super proud of what Dr. Love is to so many people,” Cress said. “Dr. Love handles the trivial, but complex and humorous topic of high school romance. What makes Dr. Love so interesting is the character behind Dr. Love. Why does he think like that? Why would he recommend an air fryer to someone with a broken heart? It’s casual, level-headed advice that becomes something totally backward, and all you can think is, ‘What kind of moron would think of that?’ And the answer is ‘What other moron than the Doc?’”

Dr. Love was born on Valentine’s Day last year, when Cress was a freshman. Unbeknownst to him, his plot to get a kick out of his friends by calling himself a “love doctor” would eventually lead him on a path of new interests and rising fame.

“I took a pair of my sister’s cheesy heart glasses and told my friends I was Dr. Love. My friends eventually had the idea to make crappy Valentine’s Day cards, [that said] ‘Call Dr. Love!’ with my phone number that we spread as much as we could. People started calling Dr. Love and I found that I had a passion for helping people and goofy comedy,” Cress said.

With such an interesting persona to play, it may be difficult to keep up the act for as long as he has. Unless, he doesn’t have to play anyone. When asked about whether or not Dr. Love is a character or simply another name for Cress, he answered with an honest “I don’t know.”

“Owen Cress is very extroverted, and that attitude really bleeds into the optimism of Dr. Love’s advice and humor. I like to think that Dr. Love is a separate persona but my friends could tell you sometimes it’s hard to differentiate,” Cress said.

Owen Cress himself isn’t the only thing Dr. Love likes to pull inspiration from. To answer the questions he receives with humor, he looks to stand-up comedy, “The Simpsons,” as well as newspaper comics like “Calvin and Hobbes” and “Foxtrot” for guidance.

“One of the reasons the Simpsons is so funny is by the end of most episodes, the situation presented by the conflict has gone way off the rails. It starts off simple, and eventually devolves into something crazy. That’s how I structure most Dr. Love entries. You can expect legitimate advice at first, something that might actually help you. But then something switches. A hypothetical is presented. Dr. Love then takes you through a ‘What If’ of fascinating proportions, shocking twists, and drama more in depth than Twilight,” Cress said.

The real advice presented at the beginning of his responses is a result of trial and error, the influence of Cress’s religious faith and his thorough studying of romantic stages.

“I just kind of said I was Dr. Love one day, it’s not like I have any experience. An even bigger influence on my actual knowledge is my faith. The Bible has so much wisdom and love interwoven within it, and my biggest piece of advice to someone looking for the answers to their hopeless love lives is [reading] the Bible,” Cress said.

Though he may not be a licensed doctor, he sure has the work ethic of one. Not only does Dr. Love constantly post and promote, but he also genuinely cares for his patients.

“To Dr. Love, everyone’s heart is valuable. When discussing Dr. Love, there’s always an air of lightheartedness and kindness that lets people talk as friends. That’s what makes people excited to participate in charity events and to work with Dr. Love, that spirit of love, not of romance, but of a love that’s patient and kind, that doesn’t envy or boast, that rejoices in the truth,” Cress said.

The charity project he led in October came into fruition after he envisioned a crowd wearing heart glasses and helping the community by sharing love. After researching charities, he fell in love with House of Ruth, a non-profit organization that supports women, children and families impacted by domestic violence. Cress sold heart glasses and stickers at the school store to earn enough money to donate.

“I can’t thank Mrs. Barnstead, my leadership teacher, enough. Her help got Dr. Love to the heights he reaches, and her wisdom is utterly invaluable. The fateful day was the in-school Homecoming celebration in the gym. As I walked out, I saw all the people who cared, and I was [determined] to be a Dr. Love who would make a difference,” Cress said.

For those who were unable to participate, Dr. Love has more plans for charity events. This year’s Valentine’s Day will have surprises in store, along with more heart glasses and special Valentine’s Day cards. Dr. Love promises that all the money will go straight to charity.

Cress often thinks about Dr. Love’s future as he too will graduate. He wants to leave a lasting positive impact on our high school community and plans to pass the torch as a senior to a freshman or sophomore who truly understands Dr. Love.

“I have a little dream that Dr. Love will be a household name in SPHS by the time I’m away and gone, not as a novelty Instagram account, but as that guy who makes a bunch of money for charity and cares about the students of SPHS and their romances. It’ll all work in the end,” Cress said.

Now you know who to ask for quality love advice, confidentiality guaranteed.

“When it comes to rizzery or misery, you can join your friends in calling Dr. Love,” Cress said.