[hearts]We can all picture the “perfect” Valentine\’s Day, the kind we see in the movies: a romantic night out, starting with a beautiful bouquet of roses, continuing to a fancy, formal dinner and finishing with some kind of delicious dessert. And East Lansing businesses are ready to roll out a red (or pink) carpet lined with holiday specials, providing everything for that perfect celebration. But for many MSU students, this Valentine\’s Day is just another Wednesday packed with 8:30 classes, long shifts at work, exams and piles of reading and homework to finish out the evening – and forget paying for all the fancy extras. However, with a little bit of planning, even the busiest (and least financially inclined) students can work a little bit of Valentine\’s Day magic.
Roses are red…
The prospect of buying flowers for a significant other can be daunting for students on a tight budget, especially around Valentine\’s Day, when elaborate displays of roses fill store windows. But Barb Hollowick, owner of B/A Florist on the corner of Harrison Road and Grand River Avenue, said it doesn\’t have to be that way – she thinks a single red rose is a romantic gesture. “Flowers can range anywhere from a few dollars for a single red rose to 100 dollars for a big show,” Hollowick said.
“I think the singular rose is better,” social relations junior Kyle Mays said. “The dozen is more traditional, but going up to a girl and giving her a rose and something nice is pretty effective.”
[rose]And for those looking for an alternative to traditional roses, Hollowick suggests Gerber daisies, one of the shop\’s most popular options. Though many flower shops prepare for the holiday, Hollowick strongly recommends ordering ahead to ensure getting exactly what you\’re looking for. “It gets kind of chaotic near the end,” she said. “If students come in a few days before, they won\’t have to deal with that.”
Dinner plans
Planning ahead is a benefit elsewhere, too, especially for those thinking about eating dinner somewhere a little nicer than the cafeteria. For students lacking a car, The State Room at the Kellogg Center does all of its business through reservations and the dining room is available to Valentine’s Day diners.
For students who can travel down Grand River, David Finkbeiner, owner of Hershey\’s Steak and Seafood, said his restaurant is almost always full on Valentine’s Day. “Make reservations as soon as you figure out your plans,” Finkbeiner said. “It minimizes your wait and makes you look more organized, too.”
[hershey]Business at Hershey\’s typically triples in comparison to a regular night, and because the holiday falls on a weekday, he expects to see more customers than normal on the weekends as well. “If Valentine\’s Day falls on a Friday or Saturday, the weekend prior and past are going to be busy,” Finkbeiner said. “It\’s a can\’t-miss Hallmark holiday.”
I want candy
Even if flowers and dinner don\’t quite fit the bill for your Valentine\’s Day, the final third of the Valentine\’s Day equation requires no romance – candy. After all, who says all Valentine\’s gifts have to be for someone else? Lenny Cusenza of How Sweet It Is, a chocolate shop on Hagadorn Road, said they sell fresh truffles and chocolate covered strawberries just as quickly as they make them on Valentine\’s Day. And while Cusenza said heart-shaped boxes of truffles and chocolate roses are popular, the most popular items in the store are the chocolate-covered strawberries, which can be made fresh while the customer is in the store.
“It never hurts to pre-order, especially if you want something special,” Cusenza said, but since they will continue to make candy throughout the day, there will always be something available.[marker2]
Keeping it low-key
Of course, the above suggestions assume students have the time and resources to dedicate to gifts or date nights, as well as someone to spend that time with. If that\’s just not an option, there are plenty of inexpensive or fun alternatives. Being away at college often creates an additional obstacle in Valentine\’s Day planning – distance. Stephanie Duperon\’s boyfriend lives in Holland, Mich., and because Valentine\’s Day falls during the middle of the week, they don\’t have plans. “I\’ll probably call my boyfriend and wish him a happy Valentine\’s Day,” Duperon, a human biology junior, said. “Because of money, we decided not to buy each other anything.”
If you\’ve embraced your single status, a celebration with friends can be just as much fun as a romantic evening, and a lot less expensive as well. Social relations sophomore Katie Johnson plans to insert a little nostalgia into her Valentine\’s Day. “I found some Harry Potter valentines from the ninth grade,” Johnson said. “I think I\’ll hand those out.”
\’Singled Out\’
[candy]The University Activities Board (UAB) is also looking to the past in hopes of helping a few Spartans end their single statuses – or at least meet a potential date – with its take on the MTV game show Singled Out, to be held Friday, Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. in the Union Ballroom. UAB representative Megan Tobin said the event will be just like the show, where three bachelors and three bachelorettes will have the chance to find a date in the participating audience.
“There will be three rounds, and anyone can jump in,” Tobin said. “The audience can see the person, but they can\’t see the audience.”
After two elimination rounds, successful audience members will try to get to the top of a staircase by answering questions in the same way as the contestant. When each contestant has narrowed the field to one winning audience member, all six contestants and their dates will take a limo ride out to dinner. Tobin said audience members also can win movie and restaurant gift certificates to celebrate Valentine\’s Day.
Then again, if thoughts of flowers, candy and the color pink lead to nausea, maybe it\’s time to just forget the whole thing. Kari Stone, a mentor in Holden Hall, has planned a movie night for her floor that evening.
“We\’ll probably watch Dumb and Dumber,” said Stone, an interdisciplinary studies in social sciences senior. “Something to get your mind off being single on Valentine\’s Day. It\’s just another day.”

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