Valentine’s Day: the holiday you love to hate

Even though Valentine’s Day was a week away, one local floral shop received more than eight orders in a two-hour period Monday morning.

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Erin Westover

Haley Hamman creates floral arrangements for pre-Valentine’s Day orders Wednesday at Sheffield’s Floral on Washington Avenue.

Jill Jensen

Hailey Hamman, florist at SheffieldâÄôs Floral on Washington Avenue, said the store expects more than 100 orders for ValentineâÄôs Day âÄî half of which are destined for University of Minnesota buildings âÄî and that doesnâÄôt include last-minute stragglers.
But couples who hold the holiday dear in their hearts can also feel it in their wallets.
Customers are spending âÄú$50 or more for the bouquet itself,âÄù Hamman said, and the most expensive flower arrangements run over $200.
But SheffieldâÄôs shouldnâÄôt expect to receive any orders from John Schroepfer, a University history junior who wonâÄôt be participating in what some call a âÄúHallmark holiday.âÄù
âÄúItâÄôs just a really commercialized holiday,âÄù Schroepfer said.
Still, the price isnâÄôt impeding the goofy names (âÄúStupid CupidâÄù) and messages (âÄúHappy two-week anniversary!âÄù) some customers use when signing their cards.
HammanâÄôs sales primarily come from men buying for women, though she said a large number of orders are from parents to their daughters in the residence halls. SheâÄôs also receiving a significant number of long-distance orders.
Erin Kelly, associate professor in the sociology department, said the celebration of ValentineâÄôs Day has expanded beyond couples, with increased expectations among family members of sending and receiving cards.
University chemical engineering first year Julie Betker said she will spend her ValentineâÄôs Day on Skype with her boyfriend who lives in Germany.
âÄúThere are ways of making it special without spending,âÄù Betker said.
Kelly said men could be feeling more pressure because ValentineâÄôs Day is when âÄúwe expect both romantic partners to wear their hearts on their sleeves.âÄù
âÄúTraditionally we expect women to express love directly,âÄù Kelly said. âÄúTraditionally men sometimes demonstrated their care and concerns for people with more practical signals.âÄù
University marketing sophomore Kellye Kosanda said more commercials for items like expensive jewelry make men âÄúthink thatâÄôs what we want,âÄù but women would be fine with a homemade dinner.
But if itâÄôs a homemade dinner women want, nobody told that to the couples who have been booking reservations at DinkytownâÄôs Loring Pasta Bar since the beginning of January.
âÄúWe are filling up very quickly,âÄù said Todd OâÄôDowd, the restaurantâÄôs marketing and media relations manager.
The restaurant is a âÄúromantic getaway,âÄù especially during ValentineâÄôs Day, OâÄôDowd said, with couples from both the University and the metropolitan area generally spending around $40 for food and beverages.
In general, OâÄôDowd said heâÄôs noticed an increasing number of couples split the bill. But University English sophomore Emily Elwood said the rules of payment depend: Men who are in relationships or ask women on dates should pay, but if a woman extends the invitation, they split the check.
Kelly said although there is variability in any discussion of gender roles, there is variation among women and men and what feels comfortable and natural to them.
She said society has commercialized many holidays by making events like ValentineâÄôs Day a âÄúbig, financial occasion.âÄù
Neither SheffieldâÄôs nor Loring Pasta Bar increased advertising in anticipation of Feb. 14. Hamman said SheffieldâÄôs receives most of its orders online, while OâÄôDowd said Loring Pasta Bar has a devoted following which âÄúnaturally gravitatesâÄù toward the restaurant on ValentineâÄôs Day.