Celebr-hate-ing Valentine’s Day


Lena Gripp, Contributing Writer

Valentine’s Day may just be the most controversial holiday that has ever existed. Whether you love it, or you hate it, February 14 grabs our attention with its hearts, lace, flowers, and chocolate candies.  We often picture happy couples spending time together.  You might have seen some happy student couples on BVU’s campus last Wednesday, but what about married BVU professors, faculty, and staff?  I spoke with several BVU staff and faculty about their Valentine’s Day plans and how they feel about the controversial day.

I began my investigation interviewing Jeff and Zoey Breese.  Employer and Alumni Coordinator Zoey Breese married Head Wrestling Coach Jeff Breese in 2016. Zoey says that Valentine’s Day to her is best described as a day of appreciation.

“It feels like it’s kind of a marketing tactic in a lot of respects anymore,” said Breese.

Zoey hated Valentine’s Day when she was single, but now that she’s married, it’s a nice excuse for a date night.  Jeff thinks otherwise.

 “It’s not the end of the world.  [Valentine’s Day] is usually in the middle of wrestling season,” said Breese.  But Jeff does agree with his wife and says that he views the day as a good excuse to take a night off from work.

Some people have strong feelings about Valentine’s Day. Professor of Digital Media Andrea Frantz, reflects on her plans this year with husband Mike Frantz, Vice President for Enrollment.  Andrea said her husband came down with influenza around the time for the holiday, yet she came home to a bouquet of lavender flowers and a card, reading, “In sickness and in health.”

Her most memorable Valentine’s Day gifts in the past have been a hand made Valentine her daughter gave her when she was in preschool and an unexpected item that Mike gave her years ago.  It was early on in their relationship, and she had come up with a romantic gift for him, but he presented her with a kitchen can opener.

At the time, money was tight, and they were building a home together.  She thought it to be the most unromantic gift ever given.  But years later, she says, “We used that can opener.”  She says about the practical gift, looking back, “It was a good investment; symbolic of the home we were building.”  Andrea ends by describing the holiday as being about, “kindness, love, and occasionally a little bit of mystery.”

Others treat this day more special while keeping it somewhat casual.  Some choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a different day altogether.  Assistant Professor of English, Francesca Gentile and Instructor of Music, Heather Holmquest celebrate “Valentine’s Day” on Presidents Day to avoid busy Valentine’s Day restaurant reservations.  Their celebrations involve “fancy dinners followed by pints of ice cream.” Due to busy schedules this month, this couple decided to celebrate early with a nice dinner at a great Italian restaurant in Des Moines.

Some people go all-in for Valentine’s Day, including BVU Assistant Professor and Technical Director David Walker and Professor of Theatre, Bethany Larson.  David and Bethany have been celebrating Valentine’s Day together since 1987, when they first started dating.

“We don’t do a fancy dinner at a restaurant, and we don’t give each other expensive gifts. Instead, we buy or make greeting cards [and] hide them in various locations,” said Bethany. I asked the couple what they had planned for this year, and Bethany is eager to celebrate.

“This year, I’ll be hiding cards with messages both tender and wild, so he’ll know that the 30 years I’ve been with him are the most fun, most challenging, and most amazing years of my life, and I’m looking forward to all our tomorrows,” said Larson.

After visiting with couples new and old, I’ve gathered that whether you are newlyweds, or you’ve been celebrating the holiday together for years, everyone has their own strong opinion on Valentine’s Day.  And whether you’re celebrating or hating, my advice is to “celebr-hate” it with the people you love.