The Roar interviewed three Piedmont College faculty members to get their perspective on Valentine’s Day and to learn more about their relationship backgrounds. Monika Schulte is an associate professor of German and the international office coordinator for Piedmont College. James F. Mellichamp is Piedmont’s president and professor of music. Jennifer Arbitter is an associate professor of mass communications.


How long have you been together with your significant other?

SCHULTE: We’ve been married for 30 years.

MELLICHAMP: Almost 29 years now.

ARBITTER: It’s a long story, we had some hits and misses at the very beginning. When you add it all up, though, we’ve been together for 28 years, this year. I’ve been with my husband since I was 18 years old.


How did you meet your significant other?

SCHULTE: After I took my law degree exam, I went to a pub and that’s where I met my husband. He gave me his card, and the next morning a friend of mine called me and asked what I thought of him and informed me that he was an American. I couldn’t figure out why he would want to come back to my boring town in Germany, so I called him up. He didn’t want to date me because I was going to be a lawyer, and because he had just come out of a bad divorce. He changed his mind quickly.

MELLICHAMP: I had a friend here at the college who did not have a car and he asked me if I was interested in driving him to a party in Athens.  I did and met my future spouse at that party.

ARBITTER: My husband and I were actually set up on a blind date way back when I was a senior in high school and he was attending the University of Georgia. Some of our mutual friends decided that we might get along and set us up on a blind date.


What’s the best date you’ve been on?

SCHULTE: I like to see surprised faces. My husband asked me where we should go out for our first date, thinking that I would be the cheapest date in town. I told him that we should go to the Chinese place, which in our town is the most expensive place to eat. His face was interesting to see.

MELLICHAMP: Hard to say.  We both enjoy travel, in particular cruising, and we have taken over 50 cruises across the years.  So probably being on a cruise in another part of the world is pretty terrific.

ARBITTER: I think one would be where he surprised me when we were still dating, we were not married yet. He took me to the Sun Dial Restaurant atop the Weston Peachtree Plaza and we had a fancy dinner. He bought me a camera because I was about to attend a travel-study program to Japan and he wanted me to take lots of pictures. He didn’t tell me where we were going, he just took me to Atlanta and there we were. It was quite a surprise.


What’s the worst date you’ve been on?

SCHULTE: To be quite honest my husband and I don’t have bad dates. We get along very well. We are best friends.

MELLICHAMP: Gosh – too many of those to decide which was the worst.

ARBITTER: That was really early on in our relationship. He invited me to see a movie, but I had already seen the movie. I wanted to go out with him though, so I didn’t say anything about having already seen the movie. On the way home, I let it slip out that I had already seen it, and for some reason it made him really mad. That was our first argument as a dating couple, over this movie that I had already seen. He missed the point that I was willing to see this dumb movie for a second time because I wanted to hang out with him. That was a bad date.


Do you celebrate any Valentine’s Day traditions?

SCHULTE: In Germany Valentine’s Day has been adopted over the last 10 years, but it’s not customary. We celebrate it a little bit – I don’t like fresh-cut flowers, so instead of getting me flowers each year my husband gets me a new token for my bracelet.

MELLICHAMP: Not really.  We’re both more practical than sentimental.

ARBITTER: We do usually go out to dinner and exchange presents, but nothing really big. We do try to make a little romance out of it.


Any plans for this Valentine’s Day?

SCHULTE: I don’t really have any plans for Valentine’s Day this year. I’m very busy with the college, and we don’t always celebrate holidays or events on the day that they fall, so if we miss it we’ll celebrate it another time.

MELLICHAMP: We’ll go out to dinner and have a nice glass of wine!

ARBITTER: My husband is known for last-minute planning, so I’m sure he’ll come up with something to do this year.


Valentine’s Day: Hallmark holiday or romantic tradition?

SCHULTE: I totally think Valentine’s Day s commercialized and a lot of people take it as an excuse to only treat their significant others well on one day. It seems really fake and I kind of resent it. Plus, everything is expensive and doesn’t taste good.

MELLICHAMP: Probably a little bit of both, depending upon each individual.

ARBITTER: I think it’s a romantic tradition. I think it’s awesome to celebrate that you love anybody. I made my own Valentine’s cards to give to classmates when I was little, I didn’t get the store-bought kind. I think it’s a positive thing to celebrate when we like each other and love each other.