This is my Valentine offering for my weekly newspaper column. Thought I would share it with you:
I claim there ain’t
As great as Valentine. ~Ogden Nash
I am of two minds when it comes to Valentine’s Day. My romantic sensitive self wants roses and chocolates. My sensible self scoffs at being manipulated to want roses and chocolates. What to do, what to do? According to timeanddate.com, Valentine’s Day was promoted in the mid-nineteenth century by manufacturers of paper lace and cards as a “means of increasing their sales.” As Gomer Pile used to say: “Surprise, surprise.”
I thought I would get a male perspective on Valentine’s Day, so I conducted a little interview with Mr. Everyman:
1. Q: Do you like Valentine’s Day?
A. It serves its purpose. When I was “wooing” my wife, it served as a way to show her I loved her—actually let me tell the truth—if you are dating someone, and you do not get them anything for Valentine’s Day, it has been my experience that on February 15th you are a lonely man. Now to answer your question—no, I do not like Valentine’s Day—there are too many expectations and many men are just not up to the task.
2. Q: Do you like getting gifts on Valentine’s Day?
A: Yes. I have never figured out why it is such a female-centric holiday, though you can forget the roses—who wants something that dies in a few days? I love it when my “significant other” makes me a special meal.
3. Q: Have you ever made your wife a special meal?
4. Q: Never?
A. Yeah, yeah I have—steak and baked potatoes and salad with little chunks of cheese. But the piece de resistance was my bacon wrapped smoked oysters. Won my wife over with those. She thought I could cook—boy I had her fooled.
5. Q: So, what are the origins of Valentine’s Day in your mind?
A: The card companies and flower companies and candy companies all got together and thought there should be a yearly holiday featuring their wares—after Christmas and before Easter there was this big gap and they had trouble putting food on the table. Then the jewellery stores got into the picture and there was no going back.
6. Q: Ever heard of St. Valentine?
A: Yeah, he is second cousin to Santa Claus, and the tooth fairy’s brother.
7. Q: What did you get your wife this year?
A. Well, times are a little hard…………..
8. Q. You mean you aren’t getting her anything?
A: Yes, yes of course—I just have to put a little thought into it…………..*Did you know that the middle of February is thought to be the time that birds choose their mates? And that around 1380 Chaucer wrote a poem for the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia and that is thought to be the first association between celebrations of romantic love and St. Valentine’s day?
9. Q: Are you changing the subject on purpose?
A: No, no—just a little trivia—I get tired of all the Saint Valentine stories at this time of year. And who came up with Chubs, I mean Cupid—what a weird little toddler. A cherub with a bow and arrow was someone’s idea of a good image for romance? Bad branding, if you ask me………..
10. Q: Do you have a romantic bone in your body?
A: I think they took it out when I had my appendix removed. My wife did get me a WWHGD (what would Hugh Grant Do?) bracelet though and I think it is starting to work. I have to dash now to florists’, and grab a box of chocolates at the drug store………
There you have it—the only answer that resembles my husband is number four. I really did think he could cook. Don’t tell him I told you this but one of his favourite movies is Love Actually, and one Valentine’s Day (a long, long time ago) he put different coloured bouquets of roses in several rooms of the house and he placed the requisite (and much appreciated) box of chocolates in a beribboned red heart-shaped box beside one of the bouquets. I am hoping for an encore performance at some point.
Unlike Mr. Everyman, I like cut flowers, even if they are short-lived (but on my more cynical days, I may hold some of his views.) Happy Valentine’s Day to all and to all a box of chocolates!
*trivia from timeanddate.com