When he found out that a poke restaurant was closed, sophomore David Howren’s plans began to crumble.
It was Valentine’s Day, and Howren, then a junior in high school, had planned to take his then-girlfriend to dinner and then watch the sunset in Laguna Beach, California. That didn’t happen.
“The sun is setting and we don’t even make it to the beach,” said Howren, a business administration major. “I’m like, ‘Screw this.’ We went to Del Taco and I got a bunch of tacos. She was like, ‘This is horrible.’”
For many like Howren, the pressure of Valentine’s Day has led to a decline in the holiday’s popularity in recent years. A little more than half of Americans plan to celebrate the holiday this year, a number that’s down from last year’s survey and has steadily decreased since 2013, according to the National Retail Federation.
Camille Toomey, an undeclared freshman, hates Valentine’s Day. To her, it’s become a “Hallmark holiday” and an obligation.
“It would show a lot more love if you bought a bouquet of flowers on a random day just to show that you were thinking about (your significant other), rather than on this designated day,” Toomey said. “Although I’m super down for the discounted candy on Feb. 15.”
There are three times a year men in a relationship have to impress their girlfriends: Christmas, her birthday, and Valentine’s Day, said David Brewster, a sophomore business administration major. While Christmas and birthdays are typically marked with gifts, Valentine’s Day is usually expected to be an “experience,” Brewster said.
“You’ve got to take her out someplace nice. Buy her some candy, chocolate, something like that,” Brewster said. “If you don’t, then it’s like, ‘You don’t love me.’”
Brewster is not alone in buying chocolate on Valentine’s Day. The holiday’s spending is projected to be around $19.6 billion this year, and of the candy purchased, 75 percent is chocolate, according to CNN. 144 million cards exchanged, according to the same article, but not all of them may be appreciated.
Sophomore business administration major Kyle Souza remembers his first Valentine. He wrote on a piece of paper “Happy Valentine’s Day” written on it and delivered to a girl who didn’t want it.
“I was in sixth grade and the worst part … she didn’t even want to touch it. Apparently, I had cooties or something that year, or the cheese touch,” Souza said, referring to a popular scene from the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series. “Either way, she was not having it.”
Emily Malner, a freshman creative writing major, doesn’t hate Valentine’s Day. But she knows that couples tend to enjoy it more than single people and she thinks that’s where the animosity toward the holiday comes from.
“It just gets to be a lot when everywhere you go people are like ‘Oh, Valentine’s Day,’” Malner said. “You have to watch other people enjoy Valentine’s Day while you’re not enjoying Valentine’s Day.”