Tethered bunches of heart-shaped helium balloons floated above a table piled with pairs of teddy bears and bunches of roses Thursday in Coffman Memorial Union. In the center of it all sat Ilan Weis.
Weis, a junior majoring in food science, said he enjoys selling the Valentine’s Day paraphernalia, but said, “I don’t need a flower or teddy bear to know someone loves me.”
Faculty members in the University Department of Family Social Science also believe you don’t need flowers or teddy bears to show your love on this holiday. They suggest giving something that expresses personal feelings or even just your time. They also have suggestions for those who don’t have a significant other on Valentine’s Day.
Bill Doherty, a professor in the department, said, “Give things that express personal feelings — notes, cards or a special toast — something that shows what you value and like,” he said. “Also, it’s nice to remember your parents and grandparents and honor their relationships if they had ones you liked and respected.”
Caroline Tubbs, a teaching specialist in the department, suggests giving time and attention. “Find out what special event the other person enjoys, and make a commitment to enjoy that event with him or her.”
In the midst of all the holiday card and candy giving, some people without significant others might feel left out.
“Those who don’t have a partner, should think about the fact that all intimate relationships are double-edged,” said Doherty. “Those without an intimate relationship have more order and simplicity.”
Or, if you are looking for a partner, Jim Maddock, a professor in family and social sciences, suggests to, “Make something meaningful out of the holiday; it doesn’t have to be all romance with a heart.”
Maddock suggests that people should make two lists of what they are looking for. One is a list of bottom-line qualities — values and morals that are absolutely important. The other is a list of ideal qualities for the perfect partner. This simple self-awareness task can be helpful.
Jodene Jensen, a senior in the College of Liberal Arts, agrees, but would add a third list. “Make a list of what you absolutely can’t tolerate,” she said.
Those without partners should remember people who are important in their lives. “You can display your fondness for them by giving them your time,” Tubbs said.
And, above all, remember yourself. “It’s a time amid a dreary winter to care for other people in your life and for yourself,” said Pauline Boss, a professor in the department. So, indulge.
Sophomore Jinny Noyes, another flower and balloon vendor at Coffman, has never had a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day. She said she plans on getting together with her single friends and eating pizza, and she’s going shopping.
“When you see something like this,” says Jensen, pointing at the Valentine’s flowers and teddy bear stand in Coffman, “and you’re single and don’t want to be, it sucks as a holiday.”