The men and women of BYU opened up about Valentine’s Day, love, gifts and chocolate.
Valentine’s Day is all about love, and some men on campus don’t seem to have any negative feelings about the holiday, even if they aren’t currently in a relationship. Adam Christensen, a sophomore studying applied physics, said he loves the holiday and has found a different way to enjoy and celebrate it.
“When you don’t have a girlfriend or a wife or a husband, you can’t celebrate (Valentine’s Day) in the same way,” Christensen said. “For me, it’s been less of a day to declare my undying love to someone, and more of a chance to show a general love and appreciation for women.”
Computer engineering major Jordi Ramos has friends that call him “The Love Doctor,” but he said love can apply to Valentine’s Day in more than just a romantic way.
“I think that it’s a good day to reflect on what’s most important in our lives,” Ramos said. “One of God’s greatest commandments was to love one another as we love ourselves and we love Christ. So it’s all about loving in general, and our love shouldn’t be limited to being shown just on Valentine’s day.”
Some male students admit to feeling a little more pressure to be romantic and meet certain expectations on Valentine’s Day. BYU sociology student Drew Crawford said men can sometimes feel lost about what is acceptable for Valentine’s Day and feel like they have to “go all out,” but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.
“If you are dating someone, you can make a nice gesture or do something for the person,” Crawford said. “It doesn’t need to be really extravagant. It can just be a kind gesture. The tradition is to express (love) in a meaningful way, but that doesn’t necessarily need a lot money.”
Mechanical engineering student Devin Needs said the pressure doesn’t have to be there on Valentine’s Day. He said he focuses on the day’s activities rather than the gifts.
“I like the opportunity to spoil her,” Needs said. “You don’t have to go all out, just something different. Go on an adventure or something romantic even if it’s not expensive. One of the best gifts in return is her showing you how much she loves and appreciates you.”
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be stressful, as long as people don’t overthink it and stick to their own beliefs, according to Christensen. He said it’s probably not the best day to “declare your love spontaneously,” but everyone can still have fun and enjoy the holiday.
“Once I understood more of how I felt, it wasn’t as stressful,” Christensen said. “It’s kind of like, I can give you chocolates, and if you’re not interested, that’s totally fine.”
Some women feel Valentine’s Day has different connotations and pressures depending on their relationship status. According to psychology junior Ashley Mortensen, Valentine’s Day doesn’t make her love her spouse more, but she does love being able to celebrate it with gifts.
“I would say that Valentine’s means more when you’re dating versus when you’re married,” Mortensen said. “The way I feel towards it right now is that it’s just another day, and you should love your significant other every day. I do love the candy and the flowers part of it though, don’t get me wrong. I think the candy is awesome.”
BYU graduate Makayla Needs, wife of Devin Needs, said her favorite part of the holiday is the surprises and thoughtful gestures from her husband. She said expensive gifts are not necessary to make the day special.
“Gifts with thought are the best. While my husband and I were dating, he knew I loved candles, so that meant a lot to me that he gave them to me for Valentines Day,” Makayla Needs said.
Freshman Annie Estes said she thinks Valentine’s Day isn’t exciting without a significant other or someone special to share it with.
“I’ve never really had a boyfriend, so (Valentine’s Day) is kind of a boring holiday for me, to be honest,” Estes said. “You don’t really get to do anything for it.”
Kate Sundberg, a student studying social science teaching, said she isn’t a huge fan of Valentine’s Day, and believes nice gestures can be made on any day of the year.
“I don’t get the hype about gifts for Valentine’s Day.” Sundberg said. “Sure, a gift is nice, but if you’re going to spend $100 on a rose, just get it a different day.”
Being single on Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean students have to hate the holiday, though. Sara Boley, a BYU student studying psychology, doesn’t have a significant other this Valentine’s Day, but said she isn’t upset.
“I’m single, and contrary to popular belief, I’m not a hater when it comes to Valentine’s Day,” Boley said. “I don’t think spending outrageous amounts of money is necessary, but doing something special — something out of the ordinary — would be nice.”
Some women said they think men might feel more pressure on Valentine’s Day because of preconceived expectations. Mortensen said more emotions can be tied to Valentine’s Day for women versus men.
“Men may view (Valentine’s Day) as more stressful because they might not see the need for it,” Mortensen said. “Women might see it as a day for men to acknowledge or show their love in some way. So it might be a really great or really disappointing day for (women).”
Even though women want some form of acknowledgement of love on Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t need to be anything big. For Estes, big gestures are a big “don’t” for her.
“I wouldn’t want some big spectacle to be made on Valentine’s Day,” Estes said. “I wouldn’t want one of those giant teddy bears or anything. I’ve never really been a fan of that.”
Exercise science student Sarah Nnah said Valentines Day doesn’t need to be expensive, but should have something fun and a little different than an ordinary date.
“I just think it’s nice if guys have something thoughtful and cute planned out,” Nnah said. “Something you can tell they took a little extra time to plan out. My advice to boys on Valentine’s Day would be to spend time together doing something you’ll both enjoy and have fun with. Plan a few days in advance, don’t just wing it the day of.”