The Auburn Plainsman
r o y t s i h e
By PAUL BROCK
oday, most people simply think of Valentine’s Day as a tradition that has been around for as long as they can remember. Valentine’s Day is an ancient holiday that can be traced as far back as Roman times and did not involve candy and sweet cards. The Roman holiday of Lupercalia was celebrated on Feb. 15 in honor of the Roman god of agriculture and fertility, Faunus. This holiday was celebrated differently from how it is celebrated today. The festival involved sacrificing animals and then “softly” slapping women and crops with the bloody hide. According to legend, all young women of Rome would put their names in a big urn. The single young men would then take turns drawing names, and they would be paired with the woman they drew for a year. Often, the men would eventually mar-
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ry the woman they were paired with. The holiday continued until the fifth century, when it was outlawed by Pope Gelasius I and replaced with Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14. Little is known about St. Valentine of Terni, and in fact, there are 11 other sanctified Valentine’s with two living in the same era. According to lore, Valentine of Terni was beaten, stoned and beheaded around 269 A.D. for marrying Christian couples. Because of his association with marriage, Valentine of Terni became the patron saint of love and still has his name attached to the modern holiday. The emphasis on love and passion we see splashed through shopping malls began here. The holiday continued to evolve over millennia. During the middle ages in France and England, February was believed to be the beginning of the mating season for birds, further reinforcing Valentine’s asso-
ciation with love. The oldest valentine, in the sense of the physical love note or letter, historians know of was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife during his imprisonment. How romantic. Valentine’s has been celebrated in the United States since its founding. In the 1840s, Esther Howland began selling the first mass-produced Valentine’s cards which came with lace, ribbon and vibrant photos. Now over a century and a half later, around a billion cards are sold each year in the States alone. Over $18 billion were made off the holiday last year. Love is expensive. Since Valentine’s grip tightened on America, the love has spread to other sides of the planet. Every year, Valentine’s is celebrated across the world with many nations adding their own unique tradition to the holiday. In South Korea, the women are responsible for bringing chocolate and flowers to the men. In the Philippines, couples will gather together and have mass weddings in large public areas or renew
their vows as part of a large group. In South Africa, women pin the names of love interests on their sleeves to let the men know who’s interest they have caught. Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve. Valentine’s Day is no longer the holiday it was, but it has become a tradition enjoyed by people across the world. While its origins are still debated, the holiday celebrated today will, without doubt, be around for a long time to come as love is an idea that appeals to all.
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By SAMANTHA STRUNK Campus Writer
The staggering commercialization surrounding holiday culture often manifests itself in a form that is great for the sweet tooth and terrible for the dental bills: candy. Christmas is marked by candy canes. For Easter, it’s Peeps. Halloween brings candy corn and Valentine’s Day features Sweethearts. With a catchy compliment and a satisfying crunch, the conversation heart has charmed its way into the decorated shoeboxes of elementary-age children everywhere. However, Sweethearts can serve in a place beyond the playground; the arena in which they were destined to flourish is the dating world. Many people working toward, or even currently in, relationships find themselves scared of saying the wrong thing to their significant other. Luckily, during the season of romance, Sweethearts can do all the talking. Boasting messages like “YOU ROCK” and “WICKED COOL” conversation candy hearts alleviate the stress of trying to find the right words. Unlike lofty, stilted declarations of affection, Sweethearts’ messages are simply stated and easily digested. A few messages like “BE MINE” and “LOVE ME,” may come across as forceful or too direct, but these can be gone in a bite leaving more relaxed memos like “U R HOT” and “CRAZY 4 YOU” behind them. Sometimes, though, the more direct messages are what is desired; the wide spectrum of sayings gives consumers choice in their sentiments while making sure those feelings are articulated eloquently. The obvious choice for your Valentine’s conversation is to substitute hearts for verbal communication; nothing bad can come of it. To quote a heart, happy Valentine’s Day, “SWEET STUFF.”
Showing love while staying frugal By KAILEY BETH SMITH Community Reporter Ah, February. The month when the weather warms up, classes pick up and the seasons of Valentine’s and Easter quickly approach. Wallets may still be recovering from the Christmas season, but cheap, heartfelt gifts exist. Some of these “do it yourself” gifts involve a little more effort than others, but they are simple crafts that loved ones are sure to enjoy. Photos and memories Original photos hold many memories for people, and with today’s technology, they are easily accessible to all. If you have photos of you and your sweetheart, or you and your friends, consider printing these off at a local kiosk at places like Walmart or CVS and framing them. Cheap frames can be found at Walmart for $2-3 each. If you choose to frame them, then on the outside of the frame print the date, occasion or memory that is pictured within. If being photogenic isn’t your strong suit, consider a simple print or hand design on cardstock. One of my favorite ideas is to frame a section of a map from a place you’ve been together – maps of any state can be found at local rest areas or online to print, and then script a memory from that trip or the name of the location over the map. Mugs If there’s a coffee or tea lover in your life, hand-decorated sharpie mugs are an easy and classic DIY project to warm their hearts and their hands. You will
need an oil-based paint sharpie and a coffee mug, usually $1-2, depending on how plain it is and where you get it from. Walmart or Target tend to be the easiest options. Draw your design on the outside of the mug, let it dry and then bake in it the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. These mugs can be reused and are durable enough to toss in the dishwasher, though hand washing is preferred. Cookies Everyone loves cookies. If you’re looking for a quick gift to hand off between classes, bake the cookies the night before and stack them up in a Mason jar – less than $3 for a sleeve at Walmart. Tie some loose hemp string or a cute bow around the metal top or glass middle of the jar, add a nametag and a cute note – now you have a simple and baked-withlove Valentine’s day gift. Movie date If you’re looking for a quick and easy date idea and you’re not keen on making reservations for Hamilton’s or Acre, opt instead for a movie night in. Before you get excited about just browsing Netflix together, put a little thought into it first. Choose the movie, pick up a bag of popcorn and the person’s favorite candy. You can even go for an inexpensive bottle of wine to make the night seem a little more special. Plants If you don’t have the time to spend together on Valentine’s Day, succulents are great little additions to any area. If your sweetheart’s apartment needs a little green, but you don’t have much green to spend, consider purchasing them one of
these small and easy-to-care-for friends. Blooming Colors at College and South Donahue has a plethora of succulents to choose from in their greenhouse, often less than $5. While you’re there, pick up a small pot for the plant and decorate it with an original design or write a sweet message on the outside of the pot. Sometimes it can be difficult to decide on the right gift for the men in your life, so below are a few ideas that can keep them happy without handing them some food that will disappear in a matter of minutes. Wallets If your guy carries a wallet, but it’s rather plain, consider using metal stamps to imprint his name, initials or favorite quote in it. This may take a little stealth on your part, but it can easily be done. If he needs a new one, grab an inexpensive but durable one from TJ Maxx or Target and give him a new gift with a little personalization. Books Finally, if you have an active reader in your life, consider the genres they like to immerse themselves in, and go pick up a book that’s recommended in the same genre. Wrap the book in brown paper, and provide a vague but intriguing description on the outside. These are called blind-dates with a book, and you can pick up several books from the local Goodwill or Mission Thrift to please your sweetheart and to keep them entertained throughout the month of February. Pair this with one of the DIY sharpie mugs and a few packets of their favorite tea, and you have a book-lovers box for under $10.
Paula, Nick and 54 years By LILY JACKSON Managing Editor
aula Backshieder’s father walker her down the aisle toward the man that would be her husband. With an unpleasant face and a snarl in his voice, her father looked at her and said, “You don’t have to do this.”
The sassy sophomore in college just kept walking. surface in Nick. She was dating a PIKE brother when she met Nick. Paula and her popular boyfriend would give Nick rides every once in a while, and she started noticing differences between the men. “After a while, I noticed that [Nick] listened to me, and the PIKE only gave me beach towels and stuff,” Paula said. “I just switched my affection.” For Nick, Paula was all he had ever had in the way of true romance. She was especially bright, beautiful and full of energy. Their worlds were different, but it only drew them closer to each other. Paula was raised in a Deep South town where she was seen as an “honorary son.”
She was active in sports and known for throwing a couple hips in field hockey. Nick went to a top-tier high school in the North, his uncle sang for the Metropolitan Opera and he was chock full of cultural knowledge that intrigued Paula. He had a lot riding on this first relationship. When faced with a bank of frigid Indiana snow, he scooped up his lady and attempted to cross the mound. He wanted to be a hero — Sir Walter Raleigh-esque. “I tripped in the snow, and we both laid there in the snow, laughing when our English professor came by,” Nick said as Paula cuts him off with a fact check. “It was our philosophy professor,” Paula said with a hand on his.
She is fun to be around and I enjoy talking to her
She had met the front-row student in their freshman British Literature class at Purdue University. The teacher made them memorize the beginning of Geoffery Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales,” a string of words the couple still knows by heart. Paula was called on, and when the words of Chaucer flowed out of her mouth, laced together with a thick Southern drawl, Nick turned to face her. “He laughed, so I married him,” Paula said. She had been looking for the first man who was smarter than her, while simultaneously being someone she couldn’t push around. They began spending time together, and those characteristics came to the
It’s like every moment of every day he lets me by myself
The professor looked down and rolled his eyes at the pair, lying there in the snow. In a year they were married, and they kept moving forward. They continued on into their 20s, figuring out what that meant for the both of them. Paula wanted to be a good wife that knew how to dust, but she felt unprepared. Nick attended a “progressive high school” where all boys took a home economics course. He was horrified as he watched her wash glasses, dipping a dirty frying skillet in the same sink. You never wash your nice glasses in the same sink as a dirty dish, his mother had always taught him. She was struggling with learning how to dust and clean dishes, and she barely had time to spend with him. She laughed, gasped and said, “Then he got the idea that probably helped us have the marriage we do.” They thought of the worst chore in their mind — what they hated doing more than anything. They gave it to the other person. He got the dusting. She got hedge trimming. “We were happy,” Paula said. With the homemaking figured out, they moved to New Haven, Connecticut, for education at Yale. They lived in an experimental housing project next to an African-American pastor whose wife baked yeast rolls, a Jewish couple and other Yale students just down the way. With race riots raging only a few blocks away and the Black Panthers demonstrating on the Yale Commons, there was no shortage of culture and expression for their newborn, Andrea, to absorb. Nick sang Andrea to sleep nightly, and Paula rose with the sun to
greet her. School finished as they obtained doctoral degrees. The two began working, hopping from job to job. Nick followed his wife as she found her way through Rochester University, Rollins College and, finally, Auburn University. They were long-distance for a time, and Paula said it just didn’t work for them. Nick got antsy and began picking up hobbies like mini-golf and painting to fill the time. “We were going to have a coin flip,” Paula said. “Whoever won or lost was going to quit his or her job.” He got the job. They were together again. They moved onto a couple acres of land with forests that hugged their home. Their tradition of “mommy and daddy time,” continued, and they met in the kitchen while dinner was being prepared and had the kind of conversation through which they had fallen in love years before. In recent years, Nick has appreciated her company as he recovers from a fall. Her company is sincere, and she is fun, he said. Paula appreciates him for letting her be true to herself. “It’s like every moment of every day he lets me be myself,” Paula said. “He’s there for me, and I’ll come in and he asks, ‘How was your day?’ It’s so rare for people on either side of a marriage, male or female, to let the other one be themselves and do things they really want to do.” Paula said they are working toward a marriage worthy of the Guinness Book of World Records. Nick smiled and looked at his wife. “We will see how the rest of this goes then.”
PHOTOS BY ADAM BRASHER / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Is Valentine’s worth all the noise? You told us. By LILY JACKSON Managing Editor In 2017, WalletHub projected consumers in America would spend $19.6 billion on jewelry, candy and other items to convey their love to those they care about. College students are known for being frugal while living on their own, which can put kinks in a relationship if the expectations are set high. According to WalletHub’s 2018 Valentine’s Day Survey, 45 percent of people expect their lover to spend at least $50 on a gift. The study results warn spenders, saying four in 10 people would break off the relationship if the spending wasn’t done responsibly. Morgan Harrison, freshman in exercise science, said she is fretting about the holiday. “I don’t think that it is that much of a big deal at this point, but it is definitely there, looming,” Harrison said. Many students expressed feelings of apathy toward the holiday, saying it was just another day. For just another day, Americans sure open their wallets. WalletHub’s research said participating consumers spend an average of $143.56 on their loved ones. The prices can rise for a couple if their plans include gifts, dinner and tradition activities like movies.
Abby Parker, senior in journalism and Spanish, said she and her boyfriend are saving a pretty penny by eating in on Valentine’s. According to the study, couples spend an average of $170.53 on an evening out. Parker’s plan to stay in isn’t seeming like a bad idea for her wallet. “I kind of think it’s just another random holiday,” Parker said. “I don’t necessarily think it is that big of a deal.” They won’t be buying gifts but instead focusing on spending quality time and sharing love with their friends. According to statistics, Parker and her loved one are a part of the 10 percent who won’t be giving gifts to their significant other. Luke McEwen, junior in finance, is not staying in on Valentine’s Day but spending the night with the Auburn Basketball team for the Kentucky game. He said the holiday is a fun tradition, but he doesn’t see the point in celebrating while he is single. Being single on Valentine’s isn’t always a bad thing for men, as they spend almost twice as much as women. “I think it is a good time to show the person you are dating or engaged or married to how much you do care for them,” McEwen said. He feels that Valentine’s should not be the only day one shares love with others, rather a day for a more special display of that love.
Flowers for all: How florists handle the hustle of holidays By JACK WEST Lifestyle Writer
For many people, Valentine's Day is a stressful holiday. Girlfriends and boyfriends demand monetary displays of affection, restaurants fill up with romantic reservations and for those without a significant other, that fact is seemingly put on display. Despite all that, there is one job that seems like it would be the most stressful around this holiday of love. Auburn Flowers & Gifts is a florist on North College Street that has been locally owned and operated for more than 25 years. The store's bright interior welcomes customers in and its bouquets are what gets them in line. Flowers are a must for most during the holidays, but purchasing them can be a chore at times. However, as Valentine's Day approaches, so does the stress in the store. Lauren Carmichael, an employee at Auburn Flowers & Gifts, said there isn't re-
ally another holiday that is comparable. "Mother's Day is close, but nothing beats Valentine's Day,” she said. The locally owned store utilizes as many empty hands they can find during the holiday season. Recruiting help allows them to serve more customers. "We bring in family and spouses, and we work through the weekend to get all the vases out,” Carmichael said. For a lot of people, this Valentine's rush for flowers would make work even more stressful, but not for the employees at Auburn Flowers & Gifts. "It's just really fun getting to work with everyone," Carmichael said. While working in a florist around Valentine's Day might seem difficult during the holidays, it can be enjoyable for those who love their trade and helping others share love those flowers.
Story Trilogy” alone is legendary. Add on top of that “Monster’s Inc.” and “The Incredibles” along with most every movie Pixar has made, excluding a few, like “Planes,” you get to pick from your choice of thoughtful, enjoyable animated classics. Enjoy the movies.
y o u c a n pick out all the cups. If you want to be able to eat an entire pint of icecream alone in the span of one episode of “Dateline,” but still want a toned body that leaves you with the option to have a boyfriend next year, pick yourself up a pint of Halo Top Mint Chocolate Chip. No need to worry about the chocolate to ice cream ratio — there are only about four chips in the whole pint to keep the calorie content low. You will enjoy it, but not that much, no sense in being too happy. Maybe you are looking for something a little indulgent. To kill all the bitter, you need to get yourself that classic Bluebell Homemade Vanilla. It only comes in a gallon and pairs nicely with an entire Marie Calendar’s pre-made apple pie, a cheap bottle of grocery store wine, a Ryan Gosling movie and a stream of tears. It may be boring, but it is safe and comforting. It will never change or go away, it’s vanilla. However you are spending this fake holiday, be sure to grab yourself a pint of your favorite ice cream and be as happy as you can be. You don’t need wild parties or romantic dates to enjoy a holiday. Keep it in perspective, it’s a bizarre holiday where we spend too much money and give each other heart shaped antacids.
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ot everyone has a significant other to spend Valentine’s with. There are other ways you can spend your time ‑ alone. One of the best ways to spend some time alone, while thinking about how alone you are tonight, is to take your mind off your own loneliness. Most people would tell you to watch a classic romance movie like “The Notebook” or “Titanic,” and while those movies are great, that isn’t what you need right now. You need something else.These, in no particular order, are the best movies to watch when you’re alone on Valentine’s Day. “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”: This Edgar Wright directed action movie starring Michael Cera is about as off the wall as it gets. Sharp and stunning visuals mixed with a unique style of comedy make this movie a great watch while you keep getting texts from your mom about how you’re always “her valentine.” “Ocean’s Eleven”:Sometimes all you need to cheer you up when you’re down is your group, your gang, your buddies, your squad. Well if all of your friends are out on Valentine’s day, then you can spend the day with Danny Ocean’s squad of slick, smooth thieves as the plan a casino heist. Any Harry Potter Movie”: All of these movies are good, all of them. Any Harry Potter
diehard fan knows that these movies just make you feel at home at Hogwarts. If you’ve never seen these movies, you might as well start. The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy”: Peter Jackson’s masterpiece adaptation of what is considered by many to be the greatest fantasy story ever told in the modern era, these movies are incredible but more importantly, long. There’s also “The Hobbit” trilogy, which are good but not as good as JRR Tolkien’s more famous work. “Scream”: It’s not Halloween, it’s Valentine’s Day. But everyone likes Halloween better anyway. Wes Craven’s modern classic, this take on the slasher movie, while bloody and horrific, also provides a lot of dark comedy and self-referential humor to the mix. Any Pixar Movie”: It’s Pixar. The “ To y
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By PRICE EVERETTE
By BAILEY MURPHY Campus Writer
You are alone on Valentine’s Day. No really, it’s fine. Good for you. Block out the voices of your mom,
grandmothers and aunts asking you why you aren’t seeing anyone. You are single and proud. However, if your friends have been suckered into relationships, leaving you without a group of single girl friends to take on the night with, just embrace the alone time. Since you don’t have anyone to buy you a box of chocolates, and it would be more than a little sad to buy one for yourself, get yourself a classic sweet treat that can be purchased year round. Even better, this treat doesn’t contribute to the fake capitalist holiday we all know Valentine’s Day to be: a tub of ice cream. One solid, if not obvious, option is Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup. The ice cream has full peanut butter cups mixed in and without having to share,