Be Mine? Men: The Pressure is ON for Valentine’s Day

RIT retail expert says it’s a stressful time planning for the mid-February “event”




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Is your heart on fire? Call it “Valentine’s Day Stress.”

“As the big day approaches, the stress level in the male population is beginning to reach epic proportions,” says Eugene Fram, the J. Warren Professor of Marketing in the E. Philip Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology.

“Just ask any flower vendor what happens beginning at 5 p.m. on Feb. 14. Men who have avoided buying the planned gift make a heart stomping dash to buy any remaining flower inventory. Budget breaking prices are paid.”

Fram believes the onus of Valentine’s Day stress seems to fall on the male gender.

“Is it the result of an acculturation process that begins in elementary school when a boy shyly gives a special valentine to a special girl?” he asks. “Why does the stress continue? It is even endemic to geriatric marriages?”

Signs of a “broken-heart” come directly from a psychologist who “has observed marriage issues arising when the husband fails to ‘even buy a Valentine card’ for his wife,” Fram notes. “However, there doesn’t seem to be any inkling of stress if the wife doesn’t appropriately reciprocate. The psychologist says it’s even a relationship issue among well-educated, sophisticated couples.”

Fram believes this Valentine gender gap has become the male’s burden for generations.

And retailers don’t help.

“Perhaps unwittingly, they do everything they can to heighten the stress level with all types of promotions, ranging from large scale in-store displays to national TV ads,” Fram says. “These promotions helped generate an estimated $120 billion for Valentine’s Day spending in 2007—largely centered on candy, flowers, cards and an evening out.”

So what can be done to reduce the Valentine’s Day stress on our populations of long suffering males? Ask Eugene Fram by contacting Marcia Morphy at (585) 475-4951 or mpmuns@rit.edu.