Dear Future Husband…
The day of ‘love’ is today. And just like every thing that has any bit of meaning, it has been turned into a capitalistic endeavor. Everywhere I turn, there is a sale and a package for the ‘one.’ The town has been painted red.
I’m not bitter about it. Good on the ones who have ‘ones’. Good on the ones selling packages and what-nots to the people. Good on them for securing the bag and their futures. I am a bit bitter that you haven’t found me yet, and contributed to the retailers futures by buying me… something.
Valentine’s day has always intrigued me. Even when I was younger and claimed that I hated the day, it still intrigued me. The pessimist in me argues that it’s all just a ploy to sell flowers and chocolates this one day in a year. The optimistic part of me sees love painted in the canvas of the day.
The optimist in me loves love and awwwws at the sight of couples doing couple things. The realist in me wonders why couples choose just this day to display/celebrate their love and not the other 364 days. The realist, the optimist and the pessimist all feel envy though.
I’ve always wondered about the origins of Valentine’s day. How it came to be. Who are to blame for it. The first story I heard was of St. Valentine, the priest who risked his life to marry young lovebirds. Apparently, at the time, it was forbidden for young men in the army to get married. St. Valentine was executed for it and he became a Martyr.
This story sated my curiosity for a while. But then I went digging again. I wanted to find out the real roots and what I found was wild! Wild!
Valentine’s Day has it’s roots in the ancient Roman pagan feast of Lupercalia. From February 13 to 15, Roman men would sacrifice a goat and a dog to one of their many gods and then they would whip the women with the hides of the animals they had just killed. They believed this would make the women fertile.
After the whipping, there would be a matchmaking lottery, in which women’s names were placed in a jar, and young men would draw the names. The couple would then, um, be coupled up for the festival, or even longer, if they so chose.
There was a priest called Valentine who was executed for by Emperor Claudius for refusing to denounce Christianity. He was executed on the 14th of February. When Pope Gelasius put an end to Lupercalia in the late fifth century. Thereafter, the Catholic church declared February 14 to be a day of feasts to celebrate the martyred Saint Valentine.
So, how did get to be all about romance, flowers, and candy? Well, we can blame the poets Chaucer and Shakespeare. Geoffrey Chaucer first made the association between romance and St. Valentine’s day in his poem ‘The Parlement of Foules’. The poem features a parliament of birds, that have gathered to choose their mates. As Chaucer writes, ‘For this was on seynt Volantynys day / Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.’ And then Shakespeare also wrote about this day and love in Hamlet.
To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,HAMLET – ACT 4, SCENE 5
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Knowing all this, I still haven’t figured out how flowers, candy and chocolates equals romance. Maybe it’s because my idea of romance is not the popularised version of it. Maybe my idea of romance is books and socks and dates that involve long walks and talks.
I’m not the biggest fan of flowers. When I am watching a romantic movie and I see flower petals sprinkled on a bed, my first thought isn’t about how romantic this scene is. My first thought is about who will clean up the petals in the morning. Then I’ll think about how the colour of the petals will seep into the sheets. Then I’ll think about washing the sheets. Then I’ll think about how all this could have been avoided.
Dear future husband, if you really want to get me something that has to do with flowers, plant me a flower garden. A flower garden is more romantic than flowers that were cut from a plant and will be dead in a few days.
Happy Valentine’s Day Future Husband, whoever you are…