Will you be my Valentine?

Valentine’s Day, in all of its pink, frilly splendor, is here again.

The holiday, met by some with a mix of utter indifference, thinly veiled bitterness or obligated glee, is the third largest retail holiday of the year, according to the National Retail Federation 2005 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey. The report found that Americans will spend $13.19 billion this year on Valentine’s Day related merchandise, averaging out to $97.27 for most shoppers, a few dollars less than last year.

“It’s kind of ridiculous,” said sophomore Christine Krieg.

The “Saint” has been effectively dropped from St. Valentine’s Day. Hearing the word Valentine doesn’t evoke images of a Roman priest anymore, executed for reasons which include performing marriages for soldiers after Emperor Claudius II outlawed the ceremony, according to www.historychannel.com .

Krieg echoed the sentiment of several people spending the holiday with friends.

“Why have one specific day to show you care?” she said.

Freshman Curtis Hildreth said he and his girlfriend set a spending limit of $30, in addition to the date they’ve planned.

“I’m going to take her to dinner, give her some roses, balloons. Nothing real big, just show her that I care,” he said.

Having a girlfriend doesn’t make Hildreth feel obligated to celebrate, he said.

“It doesn’t really bother me. I usually try to do something,” Hildreth said.

Jennifer Watson and Shannon Chisholm, both in relationships that have lasted longer than a year, said whether the holiday is significant depends on the person.

“From a woman’s perspective, no. But from a man’s perspective, yes,” Chisholm said. “Men feel obligated to buy something. My boyfriend does something every year.”

“It’s almost like we feel bad for the guys. It’s not marketed towards getting guys something,” Watson said.

Searching for a good gift last year, Watson bought her boyfriend of five years a new guitar. The longer a couple is together, she said, the less likely they are to spend money on seasonal gifts.

“We would rather just put our money together and have a nice weekend,” Chisholm said.

Matt Stringfellow, who isn’t doing anything in particular today, agrees that the holiday is geared more toward women but said it is nothing to get upset about.

“It’s dumb, really. It is a cheap trick to get guys in trouble,” he said. “I don’t hate it, but some people do. I don’t really care.”

Freshman Shari Carter said spending the holiday alone is fine, as long as you stay clear of more festive people.

“I remember one year walking through hallways, Valentine’s Day balloons were hitting me in the face and I didn’t receive anything,” she said. “I guess it is maybe an excuse to do something special.”

If she could, she’d tone the holiday down to just letting friends know you care, and sharing your interests.

“I’d call it ‘People’s Interest Day.’ It’s kind of cheesy,” she said.

Getting away from the holiday can be hard to do. Feeling a little down, Krieg said she ironically found herself feeling better after sending Valentine’s Day cards to her friends, proving what some say about holidays and consumerism.

“I’m not bitter,” she said. “But the commercial reasons (to celebrate) are taking over.”