Editor's Note: The Indian Valley student journalists voice their thoughts on Cupid's arrow and other holiday-related ideas for Valentine's Day:
There is nothing I enjoy more than sitting down to watch my favorite television show and being interrupted by a slew of Valentine's Day commercials. This year such items as "sexy pajamas," diamond necklaces, Love Lions and a dozen roses have been advertised on television.
Valentine's Day is nothing more than an expensive headache for men and a disappointment for women. If men really love their wife or girlfriend, they must buy her an expensive gift and plan a romantic evening. The women sit back, wait and fantasize about the upcoming night, raising their expectations as the "big night" inches closer.
Let's face it, most men are not that creative, resulting in an evening planned either by your boyfriend/husband and his friends, or he and his mom. Women will plan the perfect outfit for the upcoming evening while watching the romance-themed movies played on every television station. Sorry, ladies, but few men will ever live up to Ryan Gosling in "The Notebook," yet few women will ever say, "You don't have to get me anything this year" and mean it.
Valentine's Day is definitely the day where the most self-pity, tears and dinner reservations are issued at the expensive of sad young women and broke young men. This year, let's stop the frantic gift search and save that special dress for another occasion. Spend Valentine's Day inside with people who truly love you and ask for nothing in return your friends.
Snacks, comedies and friends make the perfect trio for a perfect evening whether you are in a relationship or rocking it single this year. Either way, let's let the love we express for one another come at its own time, by its own rules, and without heightened expectations.
Every Feb. 15, I look into my genuine leather wallet to find my financial status in perfect condition. No money has been spent on a diamond necklace or chocolate hearts. I face the agony of having to spend my money on things that will mean more to me. Oh, the torture!
I realize that Valentine's Day has come and gone without even a little morsel of excitement. While many men observe Valentine's Day as the day they will do something special for their woman, I have the option of doing something special on any given day, which in my opinion shows much more love than planning something for a day that other people tell you to be nice to your significant other.
Being with a girl who could not care less about Valentine's Day results in more elements of surprise. The pressure of buying an expensive gift on the big day is off. And besides, is it really that special to get your girlfriend a gift just because every other man buying one for his?
Come on, guys. Don't just observe Valentine's Day as the day you recognize the one you love. Take it upon yourself to do something special when she is least expecting it. That is the greatest gift you can give. And she'll be assured you really mean it.
Very few individuals look upon Valentine's Day as an essential component to the workings of the U.S. economy. To most couples, it simply serves as a medium to express love, albeit in an arguably "forced" manner.
Our economy is a highly reactive element that responds even to the smallest ripple of financial injection. Given that the estimated spending for this holiday is expected to break the $15 billion milestone, it should come as no large surprise that the economy will be somewhat stimulated by the purchases.
According to a study conducted by BIGresearch, men tend to spend the most on Valentine's Day, averaging about $156 a person, which nearly doubles women's average spending of about $85. Among the most popular gifts bought by men are flowers, cards, candy, an evening out and jewelry (listed in order of popularity.) Given the strong proclivity of Valentine's Day spenders towards forking out large sums of money on gifts, a compelling question persists: Has the holiday morphed from an effusive outlet of love and emotion into a profit-oriented, money-making scheme?
I am quite certain that the unsuspecting man would respond quite differently than the florist and jewelry shops raking in those large volumes of cash. Despite much negative light that may be shed on the necessity of Valentine's Day, the fact remains that under such economic pressures that engulf the globe today, even a "slight" ripple of a $15-billion injection into the fiscal system in the grand scheme of things is certainly a very welcome occurrence, regardless of the motivation or validity of the holiday underlying it.
The first time I really understood Valentine's Day was in kindergarten. Elementary school children always have parties with candy and cake. Every child brings store-bought valentines for all their classmates. But the year I was in kindergarten, there was a boy for whom I decided to make a special valentine.
I got my crayons out at home and drew a picture of this boy and me holding hands on the playground, little hearts blossoming in the air all around us. I was so proud of my valentine.
I carried it into my classroom the morning of our Valentine's Day party and put it on the special boy's desk before he came into the classroom. When the boy got to his desk, he looked at my home-made valentine and said, "What is this?" He was clearly confused. "This isn't mine!" he said. I had imagined when he received my special valentine he would be excited, grateful. I thought at the very least he would thank me, but he didn't even notice the small heart with my name in it at the bottom of the valentine.
This made me angry. I figured if he wasn't going to be happy about my valentine, I would just take it back. When the boy got up to go to the bathroom or talk to the teacher, I walked over to his seat and took back my valentine. Picking up my pack of crayons, I gave the picture of the boy a makeover. I added longer hair, pinker lips.
Then I gave my valentine to my kindergarten teacher. She taped it to the front of her desk, where it hung the rest of the school year. Her gesture expressed much more regard than I would have gotten from a stupid boy with cooties anyway.
A day to love and be loved. Modern culture has many Americans believing that this day, marked with red heart boxes of chocolates and bouquets of roses, is the one day when love must be expressed to that special someone, lest that special someone believe he or she is truly not that special.
Despite the fun and romance revolving around the 14th of February, if one truly loves a person, his actions throughout every day of the year other than Valentine's Day should serve as the measuring stick for the magnitude of his love. If one chooses to hold a door or pull out a chair for his companion on only one day of the year - the day when he is expected to do so - he does not wholly grasp the scope of true caring.
Valentine's Day is fun, no doubt. The passing of Valentines by young children as well as romantic evenings for older couples provide a cheery event to break the cold doldrums of late winter. Yet, even amid the flurry of society's expectations for the holiday, true love extends past Feb. 14.
In fact, a person loves another person only as much as he demonstrates when he is in the worst of moods. To those "valentining" this year, remember: Love is not just a feeling; it's a lifestyle.
On a day that men are pressured to spend money they don't have, buy the perfect gift(s), and be the most romantic guy in the world, Valentine's Day can either be a great holiday or a terrible one. While men are out shopping and stressing over gift ideas, women sit at home with no obligations leading up to the most romantic holiday of the year.
Although this may sound a bit extreme, I can assure you that it does happen; and it happens too often. Why are men doing all the dirty work? And why are the women getting spoiled?
Let's reverse the roles. I want to see a Valentine's Day that is filled with mutual love without going broke. Women, let's not set the expectations so high. And men, don't be pushovers. Take a stand for your rights and rather than wasting a paycheck on a single day, express your love with a nice card or a romantic walk around the town. Don't blow your hard-earned money on heart-shaped chocolates or a dozen roses.