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Ted on the Street – Valentine’s Day: not a day for students to dread

We once again have come upon the day in which women are bombarded with flowers and candy and men are bombarded with the bill for it all.

In this week’s Ted on the Street, I will attempt to find the meaning of Valentine’s Day for students on campus and how students can best survive it with their hearts and wallets intact.

For couples, this day often represents a joyous occasion to break out the bubbly and bask in each others’ romantic glory for a day, even if their relationship is a solid one and this sort of thing happens every day regardless.

Some couples don’t care and some couples split up before the holiday to make way for the glory of single life. One complaint often heard is the thought that Valentine’s Day is simply another corporate holiday to make money and make single folks feel miserable. This is where the good people in the University Counseling Center came in.

The Skinny

Many students looking for help in keeping their romance alive often go to the Counseling and Psychological Services Department in Brotman Hall. Kirstyn Chun, a staff psychologist in the department, mentioned some ways in which students can keep from letting the holiday get to them.

“The best way to keep a healthy relationship in general is to communicate with each other and spend time together on a regular basis,” Chun said. “One of the biggest problems couples face is when the honeymoon phase of the relationship ends, they don’t realize how much work is involved in keeping a relationship going. It’s important for couples to have realistic expectations of each other.”

Regarding Valentine’s Day, Chun said that couples shouldn’t let the commercial side of the holiday get to them so much as wanting to spend time together and celebrate their feelings for one another, and that single people should use the holiday to their advantage as well.

“If you are single and feel pressured about Valentine’s Day, then it is easy to let it get to you,” Chun said. “Single people should use the day as an opportunity to talk to family and friends and let them know how much they mean to them.”

The University Counseling Center is currently handing out fliers with the title, “Tips for Positive Thinking on Valentine’s Day.” The flier gives only one line for couples and five tips for singles.

The first tip reads, “Valentine’s Day celebrates love, not couples. The lack of a significant other does not mean that you lack love. Send cards and make phone calls to close family members and friends. Get together with people you love and reciprocate that love.”

Speaking of love, the University Bookstore offers several gift ideas for students looking to show their love to someone else. Kristin Bonetati, buyer of soft goods and gifts for the 49er Shops, Inc., discussed the most popular items in the store and where the ideas for those items came from.

“The ‘Someone from CSULB loves me’ bear is our most popular item,” Bonetati said. “It is selling very well right now but also sells extremely well during Christmas time.”

For those students who may not think the bear is the right gift for their partner, there are key chains and coffee mugs available as well.

“The key chains are good too because often times when the girl wants to buy a gift for the guy, it’s perfect because it’s black and a tchotski-like gift that works well,” Bonetati said.

The Street

According to some students across campus, materialism isn’t what the big day is all about.

“Why do you need one day to show someone you love them? Shouldn’t that be every day?” said Lauren Bradbury, a sophomore political science major. “I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day because my anniversary with my boyfriend is near that day so I don’t care so much, but I don’t like how it makes other people feel. It’s kind of a two-sided holiday.”

Bonnie Rios, a freshman film major, agrees. “Sometimes it’s depressing. You see all these couples together and you wish you had somebody special, too.”

Meredith Mckeon, a freshman art major, has a different take on the subject. “They really over-commercialize it,” she said. “If Valentine’s Day never existed it wouldn’t matter, nobody would care. Your boyfriend doesn’t have to be sweet only on that day and it shouldn’t matter either way.”

Ted Concludes

Occasionally I will happily partake in the customs that surround a holiday. On Thanksgiving, I’ll eat turkey. On Halloween, I’ll dress up. On Valentine’s Day, however, I could normally care less. For me it lies with one simple conclusion: I do it for her.

Yes, this holiday seems mostly like a marketing tool to make boatloads of money for the corporations. Yes, the single people are bound to feel left out when their best friend gets flowers, candy and jewelry from their significant other. But the best way to look at any holiday is with an open mind.

Holidays come and go, but tips can last a lifetime. So what are they?

Buying into commercialism: If you want to, go ahead, but the best kind of gift comes from the heart.

Spending time with loved ones: Make it happen, although you should be doing this on a regular basis anyway.

Getting couples counseling: It couldn’t hurt, but the best counseling comes from communicating with each other.

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