Ask Erin | Kitsap Week

Have a question? Ask Erin. - Richard Walker
Have a question? Ask Erin.
— image credit: Richard Walker

Dear Erin,

I've been dating my girlfriend for almost a year, but this will be our first Valentine's Day together. She's hinted to me that she wants the day to be extra-special.

Unfortunately, money is tight and I don't have much to spend.

I don't want to disappoint her, but I also can't afford a dozen roses and a fancy dinner.

Do you have any suggestions?

Moneyless in Manchester

Dear Moneyless,

You need to think out of the proverbial box of chocolates.

What your girlfriend wants is to feel loved and appreciated. You can show her how you feel without breaking the bank.

Here are some ideas:

Using clues from your relationship, set up a scavenger hunt for her. Did you have your first kiss on a park bench? Send her there and have another clue waiting. Send her to three or four significant places and be waiting at the final clue with a single rose in hand.

Make her a traditional Valentine's card using doilies, glitter and red and pink construction paper. Inside the card, write a heartfelt letter about how much you love her.

Print out pictures of the two of you and make a collage.

Do you the two of you have a "song?" Make a playlist of other songs that go nicely with your special song. Print out the lyrics and highlight the meaningful stanzas.

Bake her favorite dessert. Present it to her on a plate you designed at the paint-your-own pottery store.

As long as you give from your heart, she won't be disappointed. In fact, your thoughtfulness will be remembered much longer than chocolates would last.

Dear Erin,

As a single woman, this is a miserable time of year for me. Everywhere I look I see red roses and overstuffed teddy bears. Under normal circumstances, I don’t mind my relationship status. Any advice on how to handle another lonely Valentine’s Day?

Lonely in Lemolo

Dear Lemolo,

First of all, kudos to you for voicing how you feel. Realizing that Valentine’s Day is difficult for you will help you get through the day.

Choose to do something on Valentine’s Day that will make you happy.

Splurge on a pedicure. Meet friends for coffee. Take a long stroll on the beach. Peruse a local bookstore and get lost in a good book.

Think of Valentine’s Day as a day to spoil and pamper yourself. You’ll wake up on the 15th feeling refreshed and relaxed.

Dear Erin,

My high school daughter recently informed me that it is a common occurrence to see couples “making out” during the school day.

This isn’t a hidden thing behind the gym after school! It happens there, too, but it also takes place in the hallways between classes, in the lunchroom, and in the library throughout the day.

She says it makes her (and many of her friends) uncomfortable, and the teachers turn a blind eye when they walk by the kids while in the midst of these very public displays of affection.

Is this not shocking to other parents, too? In my day, we would not have been allowed to behave in this manner. I went to public school and would have been mortified if my teacher caught me behaving in this way. At best, we would have been told to knock it off. But more than likely we would have been told to knock it off AND our parents would have received a phone call letting them know what was going on.

Should I contact my daughter’s principal and ask what is the policy in hopes that something different will happen? Or am I too old-school for my own good (and apparently my daughter’s own good) and should just keep quiet?

Perplexed by the PDA

Dear Perplexed,

Eww! When in love, teenagers are notorious for forgetting about the world around them. To them, nothing else matters but each other.

But that is not an excuse.

What you described is inappropriate and shows poor manners and a disregard to others. At a cocktail party, would you sit on the couch and passionately kiss your husband? I didn’t think so.

Teenagers need to know this is not a proper way to behave.

I’m disappointed the school officials aren’t doing more to stop this behavior.

Breaking up make-out sessions may not be in their job description, but making a positive school environment is. Just like a kindergarten teacher has to wipe noses and tie shoes, high school teachers need to step in when they witness inappropriate behavior.

I urge you to contact the principal. Also, many schools have a site-base council. The purpose of the council is to set the tone and environment of the school. It is made up of teachers, administrators and parents. If the school has one, you should contact them with your concern as well.

-Ask Erin is a feature of Kitsap Week. Have a question? Write Ask Erin, Kitsap Week, P.O. Box 278, Poulsbo, WA. 98370 or e-mail

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