Happy Hallmark Moment!

Creative Commons: http://unmind.net/page/2/

Yes, Valentine’s Day really is one of those Hallmark moments, a time when every chocolate factory pumps out confections and sticks them in heart-shaped boxes, upping the price on sentimentality. When florists rub their hands in heartfelt glee and card manufacturers weep in joy at the sales. That’s what Valentine’s Day is. That, and a chance for people to show how much they love each other so they can ignore the feeling for the rest of the year.

You might gather I’m a cynic about these merchant manufactured occasions. We can thank the Victorians for a lot of this, from Valentine’s Day to birth stones to all those events where it’s the thing to do, you know; to give jewelery or flowers or chocolate. Like so many other things, emotions have been manipulated by the need to sell sell sell.

And really, the original St. Valentine was a martyr. We don’t know which Valentine this heartwarming occasion is based on because there were two or three and none of them had anything to do with sentimental love. Chaucer wrote about and fictionalized the day, though it’s possible it was tied to the earlier Roman celebration of Lupercalia for health and fertility. Chaucer lived in the era of troubadours and courtly love, when the idea of a pure and chaste love, of flirting endlessly without consummating the sentiment was the height of courtly deportment. If you think about it, a Christian martyr might be more likely to have died of spiking or crucifixion than of a  broken heart.


Creative Commons

But true to the gooey feelings of Valentine’s Day, it seems that the tales were fabricated. We know the heart shape is old and has been used for centuries but there is debate of how the shape came about since the human heart has only a vague similarity to the heart symbol. It could have been the silphium seed, a heart-shaped contraceptive plant, or the representation of a woman’s buttocks, vulva or pubic mound. If indeed the representation is one of the latter, then imagine a young man giving his love a card with a valentine, or a woman doing the same. It seems it wouldn’t have been so much the gesture of sentimental love as it would have been of lust.  “Here you are, I’m giving myself to you. Here’s my vulva. Let’s have sex.” Hmm, kind of ruins that dewy-eyed view of Valentine’s Day. But then, have people really ever needed a reason to have sex? Excuses yes, but the reason was already there.

I prefer to think people can demonstrate affection, love and lust whenever they choose to. So however you celebrate your Valentine’s Day, whether it be with giving a rose or gorging on the love-replacing chocolate, may it be stress free. 😀

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under consumer affairs, Culture, history, life, people, sex

2 responses to “Happy Hallmark Moment!

  1. Kevin

    For a refreshing if-only-life-were-like-that moment, The Onion currently has a two-minute video report, “Annual Valentine’s Day Stoning of Happy Couple Held”. http://www.theonion.com/

  2. rautakyy

    The Valentines day is something not traditionally celebrated here in Finland, but it is being brought to us from the anglo-american culture by the force of the marketing industry. Because it is not traditional it seems wery plastic, artificial and awkward. I for one shall not contribute. When I need to show my love to people I care for, then I will, no matter what calendar day it is. So, they should know I do it for love, not out of responsibility.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s