First, it’s a Hallmark Holiday even though it’s history predates that of the honorable Hallmark company. It actually, as many holidays do, began with the Romans. Read here
for more details. Basically, Lupercalia involved “fun” activities like sacrificing goats, men hitting women with the sacrificed goat skin or intestines to promote fertility, drunkedness, and lewd behavior – some of which I heartily approve of. Then came St. Valentinious, noteable for his beheading possibly on February 14 (hence the red color!). Then, the Jonny come lately of pretty paper hearts and tiny little candies with insipid sayings on them. Now, before any reader starts thinking I’m just being bitter because I don’t have a sweetheart, let those who know me remember that not only DO I have a sweetheart, I have a wonderful sweetheart whom I’ve been married to for over 30 years and dated for 6 years previous to our nuptials. I did not give him my heart – I rather need that to beat for myself. I did, however, share my love, my very limited wealth, my unlimited sense of humor, my desires, my sons, my fears, my heartbreak, my joys, and every other part of my with him. In return, he did not give me break your teeth hard candies with insipid sayings printed on them. He gave me his opinion, his protection, his love, his sons, his wicked and often inappropriate sense of humor, his friendship, and his respect. So much better than cavities.
In the interest of total honesty, though, my brother’s ill fated marriage began on Feburary 14 and we did, with untold sadness lay my grandmother to rest on Feburary 14 (different years!), so I have very personal reasons to dislike the day. These tragedies aside, I’m still not a huge fan.
Maybe I’m just sympathetic towards those who no longer have someone who loves them unconditionally. Maybe I’m offended (that is SUCH a Millenial word!!) by the amount of money spent on hiked up prices of cards, candies, flowers, jewelery, etc. Maybe I’m bothered by the idea that you can shower gifts on your loved one once a year and you’re good to go when really you should shower your loved one with – well – love – all year long. Maybe it’s just the winter blues. Maybe I’m still not over that time in the 7th grade when I really liked a boy and he gave a beautiful Valentine to the girl who sat next me. Maybe I dislike that we as a society have sanitized a truly interesting if bizarre holiday.
Here’s an idea – rather than spending an bucket full of money on gifts for your beloved that he or she will thank you for and, if you’re lucky, give you sex in return for, buy some books. Buy some self help books and drop them off at a local gym. Buy some children’s books and donate them to an after school facility. Buy some crossword puzzle books and give them to a nursing home. Do what those disgusting candies say – be kind, love, hug. Do some good instead of trying to buy love.