St. Valentine was a priest that served during the third century in Rome under Claudius II. When the Emperor decided that single men made better soldiers than those with families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine believed that this was an injustice and defied Claudius by continuing to perform secret marriages between young lovers. When his actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that Valentine be put to death. Once deceased, Valentine became a Saint due to his martyr status.
Basically, he died for love.
It’s a nice story. I’m not sure I believe it. I’m not a Catholic anyway.
I'm sure we all concur that Valentine’s Day is a token “Hallmark Holiday”- a money making machine and an excuse for girls to demand expensive gifts from their boyfriends. On the upside, it’s an opportunity to celebrate love- and who doesn’t love love? I’ve never had a spectacular Valentine’s Day. This is actually fine with me- I believe that love should be celebrated every day.
My best Valentine’s Days have actually been my single v-days; going out with the girls, cursing love, and drinking just enough to not care about all the couples in love surrounding us.
My most memorable Valentine’s Day was in fourth grade. My mom gave my sister and me tennis bracelets with our breakfast and my housekeeper sewed some red heart-shaped patches onto my favorite pink dress. I got to school and ate so much chocolate that I puked in physical education.
I didn’t say it was a good day- it was just a memorable day.
I must also give a shout-out to Junior High School Carnation Drives. Carnations (available in a choice of red, white or pink) were sold to students in support of some club or charity. 50 Cents would get you a flower, a little card to indicate the recipient, and a guaranteed delivery on Valentine’s Day. The entire school-day revolved around the period when the carnation deliveries came. The amount of carnations you received was an attest to how cool you were. Year after year, I would hope that the popular kids would send me carnations. Moreover, I had always wanted a “secret admirer” (preferably someone not on the debate team) to make themselves known to me with the delivery of this “filler flower.” If I remember correctly, this never happened. The most carnations I received in a given year was probably around ten- and I wouldn’t be surprised if five of them were from my mom. What can I say? I was a huge geek.
I got cooler as I got older though- when it didn’t count as much, of course. Three years ago, I received a fair number of bouquets on Valentine’s Day at my office (this was during my New York dating days), and I wrote this horribly unappreciative (yet incredibly true) e-mail to my best friend;
“Another bouquet just arrived- I had to walk all the way downstairs to pick them up...I hate getting flowers. They die. And they smell when you don’t throw them out in time. And then...you feel obliged to keep the vase because it would be wasteful to throw it away, but seriously- what the hell are you ever going to use it for? It’s not like any of us are adult enough to actually go out and purchase fresh flowers at the market. Then, you spend all the time cleaning the grime off the vase only to watch it collect dust under your desk until one day you have a leg spasm and it shatters everywhere. If you don’t sustain horrific injuries, you merely have a bunch of broken glass to clean up while hoping that no shards went into your open disk drive. And honestly- who actually smells their flowers? Yeah, they're nice but are you going to sit at your desk all day with your nose stuck between the petals? And if you do- it’s pleasant for a moment until you pull your face away only to have your chin and collar stained by orangey-yellow pollen. Fun, fun.”
I still feel the same way about flowers. I hate them. If only I had received them when it counted- in 5th period Spanish Class 14 years ago!
Valentine’s Day does provide an excuse to eat gratuitous amounts of chocolate and make sappy love mixes...which I am perfectly content to sit at home doing. So, on a positive note, here is last year’s Valentine’s Day mix...it was a good one;
1. Kissing You, Des’ree
2. All I Want is You, U2
3. Romeo and Juliet, Dire Straits
4. I will Follow you Into the Dark, Death Cab for Cutie
5. Kingdom Come, Coldplay
6. Dream About Me, Moby
7. Lay Lady Lay, Bob Dylan
8. She’s Got A Way, Billy Joel
9. More Than Words, Extreme
10. Wonderful Tonight, Eric Clapton
11. This Year’s Love, David Gray
12. Better Together, Jack Johnson
13. Original Sin, Elton John
14. The Water Is Wide, Jewel, Sarah McLachlan and Indigo Girls
15. Heaven Out of Hell, Elisa
16. Amazing, Aerosmith
I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine’s Day, whether or not you choose to celebrate it. As for me, I’m eating chocolate and letting my boyfriend off the hook.
But if I don’t get a card- he’ll be in trouble.