The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Sweet Talk

    A day for love and appreciation, or a day to be forgotten? Either way, Saint Valentine’s Day is here, bringing splashes of red and pink, filling storefronts with hearts and fuzzy animals. For some students, it’s an exciting day to see what kind of surprises await them, but others said the day comes at a bad time.

    Along with Valentine’s Day come the pressures of relationships, dating and a reality check if you don’t have a significant other, said Alison James, relationship and lifestyle expert for young women and author of two books, “I Used To Miss Him but Now My Aim is Better” and “The 10 Women You’ll Be Before You’re 35.”

    There are many unknowns when it comes to the holiday, James said. Among these are, what to buy that special someone, where to go and the feeling of being alone and not knowing what to do about it. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a big deal, she said but should be acknowledged.

    “Guys traditionally don’t think about the little things,” James said. “If they just do something unique that you wouldn’t normally do on campus, or anything to just focus on her is nice.”

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    Listening and asking questions is something really important to women. Surprising a woman on Valentines’s Day is good too though, James said.

    “A special walk on campus, anything cute or funny that is home-made,” James said. “Without having to be cheesy or mushy, guys should do something that reflects who they are.”

    Men may feel extra pressure during the candy-coated holiday, but the decision to celebrate Valentine’s Day is something that should be discussed before hand, James said.

    During today’s holiday, a person without that significant other may begin to feel lonely and annoyed by Cupid’s arrow pointing in every direction but theirs. Most people feel like they are the only ones without a date for Valentine’s day, James said.

    “We look around and it makes it seem that everyone is dating someone,” James said. “We are under the impression that everyone has a Valentine but us.”

    Sophomore Dan Urban is single this Valentine’s Day, but said he has never really gotten into the holiday anyway.

    “I’m pretty sure it was invented by girls,” Urban said. “I do see the significance in it to make them feel appreciated. That’s what it’s for.”

    College dating can be tricky to balance with classes, work and extra curricular activities, but Urban said it’s worth it if you can find the time.

    “If I had a girlfriend I wouldn’t buy her a gift,” Urban said. “I would give her an experience, like take her out and show her a good time with lots of surprises.”

    Some students, such as senior Ann Umhoefer view Valentine’s Day as strictly a Hallmark holiday, made up to get people to buy anything from heart-shaped chocolate boxes to pink toe-socks, she said.

    “It’s a day of commercial exploitation,” said Umhoefer, who is currently not dating anyone. “I’m probably going to hang out with my roommates and we’ll probably eat lots of chocolate.”

    A great way to spend today is with friends, James said. Single women should go to Mexican restaurants and bring pictures of their ex-boyfriends.

    “For some reason, couples don’t go to Mexican restaurants,” James said. “You should stay away from couples on Valentine’s Day and beat the hell out of your ex-boyfriend’s picture on a pi¤ata.”

    Some people can’t even stand to say the name of the holiday let alone celebrate it.

    Junior Gina Erickson, thinks people should love somebody everyday, not just on the holiday.

    “My dad knows I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, but he likes to give flowers to me and my sister,” Erickson said. “Last year he sent me a card with flowers on Valentine’s Day that said Happy Thanksgiving.”

    Yet there are still the love hopefuls that find the holiday as an extra day to wear their favorite colors and make funny valentines. Senior Claire Jadin, who is beginning a new relationship, said it’s her favorite holiday.

    “I love Valentine’s Day,” Jadin said. “I think people set the wrong idea about it. Guys feel a guilt trip because they think they have to get jewelry or flowers.”

    However, there are some men who take the chance to show the extra appreciation the day was meant for. Senior Corey Huttenburg is a newlywed this year with big plans for his wife.

    “I’m picking up her daughter at school and we are going to make a nice dinner for her mom while she is at work,” Huttenburg said. “We are going to line the whole house with candles and while I’m making dinner, her daughter will be finger-painting red hearts to put up all over the house. Then we’ll just have a nice dinner as a family.”

    Huttenburg sees Valentine’s Day as a holiday for romance, but also says it’s over-commercialized.

    With no money or time for relationships while in college, some people may just give up. However, if you’re feeling lonely on Valentine’s Day James said it’s no one’s fault but your own.

    “You do have to make an effort to get out there,” she said. “If you are interested in meeting someone you have to make the first step.”

    When girls go out together, even at a bar, they sometimes stand in what James said guys call “the circle of death.” Girls who stand in a circle in the corner waiting for the next guy to come up and talk to them actually scare men away.

    “It’s hard to meet people in bars,” James said. “But you have to give them a reason for them to talk to you.”

    One of James’s friends used to carry a boa in her purse and guys would get curious about the feathers popping out of the overstuffed bag, so they’d come up and talk to her.

    If the bar scene isn’t your style, try online dating, James said.

    “It has gotten to the point where it’s not nerdy anymore,” she said, “and it’s a good way to meet new people who are interested in the same things you are.”

    Dating has changed since the traditional ways people used to meet, James said.

    “You don’t meet through church like they used to in the 1940s,” James said. Joining clubs that deal with things you’re interested in is also a good way to meet new people.

    Urban said he agrees dating in college doesn’t have to be just about romantic relationships.

    “It’s a way to meet good friends.”

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