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Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014

My thoughtful Valentine

Sunday, February 12, 2006

(Photo)
Holiday doesn't have to empty pockets
SIKESTON -- Bobby Eldridge of Benton is living proof men don't have to spend big to please their better halves on Valentine's Day -- and they can do it without even coming off as a jerk.

In 1986, Eldridge and his wife, Pam, had been married just over three years. Feb. 14 was approaching, and having been laid off from work and other jobs, money was for necessities, he explained.

"Having gotten a big snow that year, I decided to have waiting on Pam when she came in from work a snowman in the likeness of myself and our son, Brandon," Eldridge recalled.

So when Pam came home that day, two snowmen greeted her with a sign that read, "Be ours."

"It was the best Valentine I believe she ever received," Eldridge said. But not everyone thinks homemade gifts will please their significant others on what's supposed to be the most romantic holiday of the year.

The average male will spend $135.67 this Valentine's Day -- almost double the $68.64 that the average female will spend, according to the National Retail Federation 2006 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted by BIGresearch for NRF.

Terri Leible, owner/therapist of Delta Counseling in Sikeston, said there's a lot of pressure put on dating couples -- and even married couples -- when Valentine's Day rolls around each year.

"Part of the reason a majority of men don't like Valentine's Day is because they're told they have to acknowledge it, and it's not a spontaneous kind of affection," Leible said.

For men, it's not as special if they feel like they have to do something, Leible said.

"And women think, 'If I don't get something, you don't love me,'" Leible said. The attitude about the holiday is all in the way it's interpreted, Leible said.

"Guys actually would like to be known as spontaneous and to them being told to be romantic doesn't come from the heart," Leible explained.

Another reason men and even women don't like the holiday is because of all of the marketing ploys.

Men have a lot of expectations to live up to on Valentine's Day, Leible said. "I kind of empathize with them," she said.

But the good news is younger men may be catching on to the theory less may be more.

According to the survey, consumers aged 45-54 will spend $128.79 each, up from $118.11 the previous year and considerably higher than the $88.96 the group spent in 2004. Young adults 18-24 will spend $81.89 this year, having drastically cut back their Valentine's spending the past two years ($83.50 in 2005 and $154.65 in 2004).

"These days young adults are coming up with creative, inexpensive ways to celebrate Valentine's Day with their special someone without breaking the bank," Phil Rust, vice president of Strategy for BIGresearch. "Over the past few years we have seen the bulk of Valentine's spending shift from young adults to middle-aged consumers."

Of course, sometimes asking for or receiving an inexpensive gift can backfire -- but only temporarily.

"It's Valentine's Day and you say, 'Oh, I'd love to have a card,' and then the girl next to you at work gets a dozen roses. You might be disappointed," Leible pointed out.

For women who do receive a card, they should remember flowers usually die in a couple of days, and a card is there forever.

And they should also weigh out the entire relationship, Leible said.

"The woman who gets flowers may be in a lousy relationship and the woman who gets a card may be in a great one," Leible pointed out. "Which would you rather have?"

In order to survive Valentine's Day, couples should treat it like any other holiday, Leible advised.

"Ask each other, 'Since it is a special day, what can we do to celebrate without spending money?'" Leible said. " It should be something you talk about so it doesn't have to land on guy's shoulders."

According to Leible there are ways to get avoid "feeling like a jerk" and spending a lot of money.

Communication and compromise are key, Leible said. Don't put expectations on the holiday, she advised.

"Be realistic and communicate with the one you love so you're not disappointed," Leible said. "You can be romantic any day of the year. It's all in how you perceive it."