Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentinian Lesson #4: Valentines Day History

Looking Back on Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day was more of an event for me when I was a kid. I remember the adrenaline rush anticipating cinnamon hearts and hoping my message would get me noticed. I'd spend lots of time cutting off the edges of my construction paper to make sure that I had an adequately shaped heart, then I'd glue on doilies or draw a picture and write a generic poem like: "Roses are red violets are blue, you are the smartest so I will choose you. Will you be my Valentine?"

Everyone would come to class with their cards sealed with stickers or tied up in fancy envelopes. Considering that we had a designated time to hand out Valentines cards, if you didn't make one for everyone, you would be regarded as a jerk. We'd hand them out, then I would carefully make a stack and pick through each one, delighted that suddenly I was the most important person to everyone! We'd eat cupcakes and have a great time. Usually the theme took up the whole day so much that we didn't even have any lessons! It wasn't until high school when I wrote a girl a long love letter that Valentine's Day no longer seemed like a valid excuse for obsessive infatuation.

The Lesson
So the lesson of the day? Keep it simple.

Gender Differences
Apparently more men than women think Valentine's Day is the most romantic occasion to propose. According to my sexuality class too, although men are stereotypically thought of as logical, we tend to be more romantic and less practical in our thinking when it comes to relationships. If you are going to propose guys, you better have your key messages straight, and speak with confidence. If you're lucky and she says "yes" she's going to remember how you asked her for the rest of your life. Therefore, keep it simple, but be yourself and be sincere. Don't overflower it. Be creative and say what you feel when you feel it. Don't get worked up. Know your audience, and if necessary, rehearse. Some women like surprise, some don't, but if you've got a ring in your pocket and the time feels right, go for it.

For your average "cute" couple
Reminding anyone else who is simply in a comfortable relationship, you have to do something. Make a point of recognizing your partner as someone who's special to you, and internally make note of something they've done that sticks out to you. This is good fuel for your fire when you suddenly have doubts about them. Don't take it for granted that your loved one doesn't expect anything from you. You might end up in the doghouse.

To Lover Haters
If you're bitter and single or you think Valentine's Day was just created to make those of us in unsuccessful relationships feel like dirt, or just a way for the chocolate company's to make money, you're right. The real reason why Valentine's Day was created was because the world hates you.

The Volta
But you can still have fun right?! Sometimes the commercialism makes me sick. I feel like my intelligence is being wasted when I see things like a billboard trying recruit people for a "Valentan." You might as well get in on the little perks though, -eat some sweets, blow a kiss, hug a friend, or send someone a note that says "I want to make your wildest dreams come true" and pack it full of randomn things like cottage cheese, without signing it. Just shove it in their mailbox and run away. Another idea I thought of if your sex life could use a pick-me-up is to write kinky resume's and apply to your partner, highlighting your "skills." It would be a playful way of working out potential relationship problems and you could apply for whichever kind of job you like.

Valentine's History
The interesting thing about Valentine's Day is that it has an obscure history.
There were several St. Valentine's that were all martyrs of love in one way or another. One of them was a priest who married couples when he was prohibited from doing so. Emperor Claudius II thought that married men would want to stay home with their wives instead of going off to war, but he wanted fighters, not lovers. So ultimately this resulted in the priest's death. Another St. Valentine was a Christian prisoner during the same period. At the time Romans thought of Christians as heathens and they would put them in the arena to be publicly eaten by lions for the entertainment of the rich. During this time Christians had underground meetings which they organized by giving each other the signal of Christianity by drawing the fish in the sand. As bible readers know, this is a reference to when Jesus claimed that he was a "fisher of men."

Anyway, one St. Valentine was a prisoner. The jailors daughter was said to have caught his attention, and she visited him several times. The Romans would periodically kill their prisoners to avenge their fallen soldiers before they made prisoners kill each other as Gladiators and turned it into a sport. This prisoner might have been put to death for trying to organize an escape, but in any case, he was put to death. However, what he left behind was a small card addressed to the jailor's daughter signed "Your Valentine."

Valentine's Day is probably the replacement for another occasion that happened on February 15, marking the Roman's start of spring: the Lupercalia feast. It was during this time that Romans had a ritual cleansing, protecting their homes and calling on the god Lupercus to save them from the fierce wolves of the forest, who at the time, threated whole cities. They would gather and the men would draw women's names from a jar to choose their sweethearts for the year.

Valentine's in Other Places
In Japan and Korea, apparently Valentine's day is the day that women give men chocolate, but also on the fourteenth of April and of March they have food colour theme days. So, for example, on April 14th it's 'black day' when singles will get together and eat black food together. (I could be getting this wrong but that's what my Korean conversation partner tells me).

Whatever the meaning of Valentine's Day is for you, make the most of it and love yourself. I'd like to read your romantic quotes, and if you have movie quotes from people who hate love, Adorable Girlfriend and Madamerouge are having a I hate love movies contest

My least favorite romantic series is the Young and the Restless. The most seductive dance is the tango. My favorite love story is cliché, but oh well, it's Romeo and Juliet and the greatest romantic lie: "we will always be together."

What do you find romantic/unromantic?


Blogger Chloe said...

unromantic: Valentine's Day
romantic: a picnic late at night in the woods

2:27 a.m.  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

lust in the loins is not love in the heart. valetines day is great but shouldn't every so often be a valentines day?

3:41 a.m.  
Blogger Maddy said...

I agree with Chloe - and it would
be hideous to be proposed to on
Valentin's day...
although I enjoy the commotion in

happy Valentine's day Sirbarrett


8:02 a.m.  
Blogger Queen of Ass said...

To me, the most romantic thing is when a person takes time to really put thought into something for the someone they're with. It doesn't take a lot of money, either. Even a poem or something. Just something that makes the other person feel special.

9:34 a.m.  
Blogger Adorable Girlfriend said...

I loved my second grade V-day celebration. Everyone had to make a special container to collect your V-day cards. Then, you had to give another container you made to another person. I got the cutest milk carton cut open with lots of purple hearts painted on it.

I still have it!

11:12 a.m.  
Blogger Lorena said...

i'm with chloe & madelyn:
unromantic: valentine's day
Valentine's day = Men (walking with) + flowers (in the streets)

romantic: strolling down a street, holding hands immersed in conversation or a early evening picnic anywhere.

btw, thanks for all the interesting info and humoruous advice :)
happy valentine's day!!

3:37 p.m.  
Blogger Lorena said...

oh and cool shot you included.

3:38 p.m.  
Blogger Frap Gurl said...

romantic~ a man bearign his soul
unromantic~ a man bearing his ass..hehe

4:10 a.m.  
Blogger Blackempress said...

WEll. late abit but wanted to congratulate on teh brilliant post.

I am actually of the opinion that love shudnt b the focus of a day so dont really favor valentine's day. Evn tho it is great to see the reds everywhere & the couples.

8:15 a.m.  
Blogger GEL said...

Creative and fun "resume" idea, Sir B ;)
My hubba hubba & I adore dancing the tango.
Enjoyed your varied post. I don't like media or commercialistic hype for any occasion; however, a holiday in our country whose purpose now is for sharing love among friends,lover, or family is HIGH in my book! Love rocks!
Hope your Valentine's Day was superb.

11:48 a.m.  

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