As a writer and more particularly a romance writer, you would think that I would be surrounded by all things Valentine today. After all, my favorite things are chocolates, roses, kisses and… well, you know… 😉
Sadly, my partner is one of those who doesn’t really express his love via gifts. I get plenty of kisses and … you know … but the chocolates and roses are fairly thin on the ground. And nonexistent on Valentine’s Day.
And while sometimes I wish he would be more gifty (because I am a gifty person – I LOVE giving gifts, and I love receiving them!), I’m happy just to know that he’s there for me, we match each other’s particular brand of crazy, and I wouldn’t want to have to negotiate this thing called life without him by my side. Plus, when I ASK him to buy chocolate, he’s right on top of that.
Now, to some nitty gritty about Valentine’s Day. Saint Valentine was a Martyr. That means they KILLED HIM. Don’t you think it’s a little bit icky that we celebrate a poor cleric’s death by exchanging gifts? And what exactly was it that he did that was so romantic? He secretly married Roman soldiers and their intendeds, even though they were under orders not to marry (because single men make better soldiers. That’s perfect logic right there.) Put yourself in the position of any of the players in this scene. You are meeting a priest, in secret, to be married despite orders to the contrary. You spend the entire ceremony looking over your shoulder to be sure that no-one sees or hears you making your vows. You know that if they do, you will be put to death – you, and the others here today. There is no flowers, no gifts, no publicity. It is a hurried, solemn affair.
Exciting? Maybe. Terrifying? Definitely.
Romantic? I think not.
But was Valentine’s Day really just a throwback to the ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia? Where the men would run naked through the city, whipping the hands of people with thongs cut from wolf skins? And the women would eagerly hold out their hands to have them thwacked, in order to ensure fertility, prevent sterility, and ease the pains of childbirth? (Because all of that screams romance to me.)
Unlikely, since the popes abolished Lupercalia. Some say the pope replaced Lupercalia with a Christian festival, but there’s no hard evidence of this, and besides, the dates don’t fit.
Am I saying we should abandon Valentine’s Day? Hell No! If there was any way at all I could get the other half to indulge in chocolate, champagne, teddy bears, roses and all other luxuries that are usually indulged in on Valentine’s Day, I’d be there in a heartbeat! I don’t care if it’s Roman, Christian, Jewish, Hindu or Tao. If it’s romantic, I’m there.
But I have to say, knowing without a doubt that I am loved every single day of the year trumps getting token indicators of love on Valentine’s Day. It trumps it, and then it beats the pants off it at every other card game in the Every Card Game Ever Handbook.* The feeling of waking up in the morning, and knowing that you are loved unconditionally by another human being is inspiring and soul-filling and endorphin-releasing.
I’m pretty sure if we go by those rules, I get my Valentine’s Day every single day.
*Not a real book.
Image by PANPOTE from FreeDigitalPhotos.com
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