It’s Valentine’s day again; that one day a year where corporations band together to either drain your wallet out of guilt (“you’re an asshole the other 364 days a year—heart-shaped chocolates will excuse that”), or remind you—in no uncertain terms—that you are lonely and unlovable.
I had a friend ask me how St. Valentine’s day actually started…because it’s named after a saint and I’m a recovering Catholic, so I should know these things. I made an educated guess: either the saint was born on that day or that’s the day he was martyred (a religious word for “gruesomely murdered”. Actually, I found out that there were two guys with the same name killed on February 14th a few years apart by Emperor Claudius II. One guy was a saint—the other guy was probably a terrible case of mistaken identity. I’m not sure what kind of grudge the emperor had against guys named Valentine. Probably a good thing that it wasn’t such a common name back then.
As is usually the case, the martyred saint (and that other guy), was a good way to cover up the more pagan origins of the holiday. The Romans had this “Feast of Lupercalia”, that took place every year around this time, where people got naked, sacrificed a goat and a dog, then beat the hell out of some lucky ladies with the hides…because nothing says “I love you” quite like beating somebody with a dead dog. Since I’m pretty sure that’s illegal now, the makers of cards, candies, and lingerie decided to band together with florists to bleed wallets dry in the name of love.
I’m not part of the “Yay Valentine’s day!” group. I’m the “listen to old married guys at work panic because they haven’t been paying attention to the date” person. I’m the one they start conversations—soliciting my aid—with words like: “If you were a woman…”
It’s been a long time since I’ve even dated, and I really don’t miss it (I don’t even get presents from my stalkers anymore). I suppose it turns people off when I tell them the truth about where they will fall on my priority list:
- My kid
- My writing
- My friends
(to be fair, after I’ve known somebody for a while they might be able to move to the “Pizza” spot, but nobody ever sticks around that long).
If you’re in love today—good for you, just don’t be or stay with anyone who is a dick the rest of the year. True love is an every day thing, not just those days where something horrible and pink explodes and bleeds chocolate and jewelry (or your SO beats you with a dead dog).
If you’re not in love—also good for you because it means when you pick up all the leftover candy tomorrow at half-off, you don’t have to share it.