Valentine’s Day comes around every year with the same question: how much is enough?
Close to $18 billion will be spent this year on Valentines, according to a survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation, with the average man spending $168.
For the normal college student, that’s way out of the budget. Between tuition, books, rent and food, finding the money to go all out for Valentine’s Day can be a tough proposition at best, especially with the pressure to live up to the expectations of the big day.
“Because Valentine’s Day is hyped, I personally feel pressure to either spend more or do more,” said Braden Rindlisbacher, a Utah State student. “There are expectations implied that I feel I need to meet.”
Conlon Bonner, a junior majoring in communications, agreed that pressure did exist for men to step it up.
“I definitely feel pressured as a guy to do something on Valentine’s,” he said. “I think every guy thinks they need to spend some money, or it’s considered weak.”
Stephanie Forsyth, a senior majoring in history, doesn’t measure the value of the day in dollars.
“For me, it’s not really about the amount of money that is spent,” she said. “It’s more important to me that it’s something sentimental and heartfelt.”
Such is the case with Aimee Fresh, a junior majoring in human development, for her best Valentine’s Day date. Her boyfriend made her dinner, then they settled in to watch a movie.
“During the movie, he went into the kitchen and brought back a bowl full of raspberries,” she said. “He told me that he remembered me telling him one time how much I liked raspberries. This was such a simple thing, but the fact that he remembered that I had said I liked raspberries made this my favorite Valentine’s memory.”
This isn’t to say men have anything against going the extra mile for someone they love and care about. It’s more about how that is shown, and whether the dollar amount is the only way to do so.
“I’ve had Valentine’s Days where I took the time and effort to buy flowers, dress up nice and go to dinner, and watch ‘The Notebook,’ and it was nice,” said Alex Stodtmeister, senior majoring in civil and environmental engineering. “But in retrospect, if you are trying to cram all the romance that should already exist in a relationship into one day, then there is something inherently wrong with your relationship already.”