Despite the cold weather, Malcolm X Plaza heated up with Valentine’s Day fever as couples leaned close together and stared deep into each other’s eyes.
But the only public display of affection was with a three-inch plastic iPod case.
On Feb. 14, the SFSU Bookstore hosted its fourth annual Kiss an iPod contest, where couples competed to win free iPods.
Standing a yard apart, contestants used their lips to keep candy-filled iPod cases from falling to the wet cement, and the last couple standing took home the prize.
“It’s a lot harder than you’d think,” said Morgan Piver, 20, who teamed up with her roommate. Piver and her partner dropped the case after 10 minutes when the moisture from her breath caused it to slip.
Twenty-one couples competed in the contest, some bringing experience from previous years.
Stephen Bernad, a sophomore majoring in marine biology, strategically abstained from applying lip balm before the contest this year, he said. But his strategy wasn’t enough when he and his partner lost their momentum after 13 minutes.
“Next time I’ll get a taller partner,” he said.
Madison Kaviyakone, a University representative for Apple, enjoyed observing the participants.
“This is really interesting because you kind of see the chemistry between couples and how they communicate with eye contact and body language,” said Kaviyakone, a junior art major.
With the contest down to the last two couples and rain falling, the task was complicated even further when the judges made the contestants balance on one foot.
Judges watched closely, making sure no one’s foot touched the ground, as spectators cheered for their favorite couple.
The crowd gasped when one couple began to lose their footing, and teetered back and forth. They struggled to hold, but the last case was finally dislodged.
After standing stationary for 47 minutes, Nina Jimenez and Gefany Partido won the contest.
“I’m so sore but I’m so happy that I don’t care,” said Partido, who, along with her victory, celebrated her 20th birthday. “This is like the cherry on top.”
Both Jimenez and Partido won a new eight-gigabyte iPod Touch, provided by the Bookstore and valued at more than $200.
“I’ve never won anything, so I’m super excited,” said Jimenez, a junior studying kinesiology.
The second-place couple didn’t walk away empty handed either. Kendra Wood and Kelly McDonald were each awarded $25 gift cards for the bookstore.
“It’s never fun to lose, but it’s nice that they awarded us for second place,” McDonald said.
Jimenez and Partido set a new SF State record, shattering the old record of 22 minutes, said Husam Erciyes, director of marketing for the bookstore and event coordinator.
Other CSUs, such as Fullerton, Chico and San Diego, hold similar events and have had couples last for up to two hours, Erciyes said.
“It’s becoming a tradition,” he said.