Happy Valentine’s Day
I want to give cudo’s to all of the readers in committed relationships who mark Valentine’s Day and celebrate it. For most people in this world, (all men and most un-committed women) we’re inundated with images of Valentine’s Day from the end of Christmas through mid-February. The only good news is we can buy half-priced chocolate on Feb. 15.
St. Valentine’s Day is a Roman Catholic feast day named for the martyr St. Valentine. There are actually two (if not three) different saints involved here, Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni; both of whom were martyred in AD 269 and AD 197, respectively. It seems fitting that it would take the martyrdom of two saints to create such a horrid occasion.
How did St. Valentine become a “saint?” The unofficial version is that Roman Emperor Cladius II ordered that young men remain single. The emperor did this so that there would be plenty of single men available to serve in his army – seeking adventure and greater glory for Rome. You know, hanging out with other guys, drinking lots of wine and watching the chariot races. Army, beer, NASCAR – same thing.
But this Valentine fellow, he secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young men and their lady friends. Which was really stupid to do, because the emperor tossed him in jail, threw away the key, and the men of Rome went back to doing manly things until the Goths sacked Rome a couple of times leading to the Dark Ages.
The truth is men want to be hooked up for Valentine’s Day, even though most won’t dare tell their friends about it. We’re conditioned for it starting in grade school where we’re asked to create and design Valentine’s Day boxes for our elementary school classes. The rule is that you make out a Valentine for every person in your class. Even by second and third grade, kids are making special Valentines for that special person. These consist sometimes of handmade Valentines, or the same Valentine everybody else gets, only with five times as much candy wrapped in it.
And this is where the folly of St. Valentine is revealed. In all of recorded history (except in some movies created for the Lifetime Network) all such Valentines are delivered to someone who either doesn’t understand their significance or does and mentally says, “Ick!”
After years of going through this circle of being confronted by unrequited love, most individuals eventually find a special someone and celebrate Valentine’s Day. The first is wonderful, but there is a law of diminishing returns. Men are famous for forgetting Valentine’s Day, just like they forget birthdays, wedding anniversaries and everything else. Women are famous for never forgetting that men forget these occasions.
These are, of course, stereotypical, tired analogies anyone can make.
What’s the true measure of a Valentine? Probably how many years you’ve celebrated Valentine’s Day together. Those who can keep a spark in their romantic lives under the rigorous conditions day to day stress.
It gives everyone else hope, although there’s still plenty of discounted candy to go around.