Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day Charade

Valentine’s Day has crept up yet again, leaving me to once again ponder the yearly questions that come with it, whether I should solidify relations with one or continue wayward ways with few or more in tow.You have to wonder if it’s Valentine’s Day out of love, or if it’s just good for business. When I’m with a girl, every day is Valentine’s Day. It shouldn’t be the one day a year you buy your favorite woman pretty flowers and give her a damn card. This holiday is an economic farce, a wicked trick pulled that millions fall for year after year.
It’s one of the most celebrated invented holidays, a goldmine for merchants of colorful flowers, greeting cards and jewelry, plus you can add overbooked restaurants that cease taking reservations for that day weeks in advance. It’s very strange how the price of roses goes through the roof leading up to the 14th of February.
The visions of grandeur attached even compel some of us to remember the gluttony of sweets for your sweetheart.
Since 1969, the Catholic Church officially dedicated February 14th to Saint Cyril (allegedly a monk, scholar, theologian, and linguist) and Saint Methodius (archbishop of Great Moravia and Byzantine scholar). This was done because of the abundant number of saint days, most of which were based strictly on legend instead of fact. Back in the day, the date commemorated one or more martyrs, the number not known, and even the actual dates for the martyrdom are historically debated, but nevertheless it was called St. Valentine’s Day. Nowadays, we celebrate mutual love and blow dough on Valentine’s Day because of these two guys who weren’t even martyrs.
For greeting card manufacturers, it is the 2nd largest card selling holiday after Christmas. Valentine’s Day goes further, a true Hallmark holiday, invented chiefly for commercial purposes rather than commemorating a truly significant event. Throw in Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Children’s Day, National Grandparents’ Day, Sweetest Day (Great Lakes area), and Secretary’s Day onto the list of extremely profitable days for card companies. I’m sure there are less blatant cases.
The oldest documentation of Valentine’s Day comes from a holiday called Lupercalia, an ancient rural Roman event held on February 15th to ward off evil entities and purify the city to attain better health and fertility. It has some strange wolf connection, which I have no interest in understanding.
It then became a long-standing pagan holiday on the 15th, which is another reason why Valentine’s Day was created to precede it a day before by the church. It wasn’t until the literary beast Geoffrey Chaucer wrote “Parliament of Foules” that the holiday took much of its current shape, emerging intact from an old tradition described in a work of fiction.
I always thought his book “The Canterbury Tales” was dull and rather trite. Sadly, the marketing genius of Ester Howland is responsible for what we see today.
In 1847, this homely Howland broad became inspired by an English valentine she’d received from Great Britain. She then approached her father, a wealthy book and stationary store owner in Massachusetts, with the idea to produce valentines for a new holiday in U.S. Even the Greeting Card Association recognizes her shrewd business savvy, and has been gleefully handing out the annual “Ester Howland Award for Greeting Card Visionary” since 2001, a testament to a gullible public that is easily manipulated.
There really should be more than one “Valentine’s Day” a year, so why not every day? The routine is hilarious, taken to heart by many stuck in the days of old, now falling prey to companies that depend on meeting yearly profit projections and meeting the expectations of share holders that hold them accountable. I love the spectacle of genial buffoonery the mass population pompously flaunts.
Some bypass the cards and candy altogether, dumping all their hard-earned dollars wastefully over at the local strip joint.
Their hopes are typically dashed, other than temporary titillation that leads to inevitable loneliness. This evil holiday wants you to start thinking about couples in love and your own fantastic or depressing circumstances, speculating as to how hard you’ll try this year to impress the person you're interested in.
What is this couple going to do?Are they going to sip champagne, eat strawberries and dance the night away?What a joke. Lara truly doesn’t care about Valentine’s Day, smugly scoffs at the notion giddily.
Her view on Hallmark holidays mirrors mine, and going against the popularity makes us stand-out from the brainwashed subordinates that are successfully marketed towards. We both know how it feels to be smart, knowing that every day can be special. Tina agrees.
I really miss Nikki Carmichael, been too long since we last occupied the same room, and I miss the warm embraces we’d often share. She always lights up when I randomly bring her flowers just to see her surprised smile.
Every day is Valentine’s Day. I’m excited that Raj began hooking up with a great girl right before tomorrow, and I wonder if she’d be disappointed in receiving nothing but an epic kiss.
I wonder about lovely Cinnamon too.
Does she take the holiday seriously like the community at large does? Even with all I know of her sparkling persona, I’ll have to ask, I’m exceedingly curious about her views. The recent sighting of Helen made my thoughts perk up, until I found out she had recently come out of the closet with her lesbian lover.
Gay love is celebrated on Valentine’s Day as well.
I met those gay guys one night a while back at Three of Clubs, dudes from a Norwegian band in town for a week, barely able to utter a word of English other than "beer." I could only handle their antics for five minutes. Getting back on subject, I also wonder about that drunk girl from the pleasing bathroom encounter at Shelley’s Venice Birthday Bash.
She was a piece of work that night, wow. Does she have a valentine? The delightful Lisa has longstanding plans with a Ferrari dealer in Ontario, whose extravagant showering of gifts has won him some time tomorrow night.
Lisa told me she’s using him, so I wholeheartedly approved of her acutely calculated measures. I’m hoping that Roxie doesn’t find herself playing the piano alone.
Probably not, but she falls into the same Lara category as far as Hallmark holidays go. It’s encouraging to know that rational people exist within my borders. And of course, it pains me to think about the exquisite charms of Ericka, let alone write her name, let alone see a photo.
To quote Joel from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, “Valentine’s Day is a day invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.” Why does it mean so much to so many?


Amanda Lee! said...

It's really interesting to me that you quoted Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - I just watched that for the first time this past Saturday night. Good movie. I am with you on Valentine's Day. Sometimes, it makes me think that the people who make the biggest deal out of that holiday are just trying to convince themselves and the rest of the world that they are in love.

Anonymous said...

Valentine's Day does suck. People who are really into it suck too. Dumb "holiday." Great blog entry.