Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

If you read yesterday's post, you already know my opinion of Valentine's Day - it's an anti-male conspiracy launched by a sinister cabal of florists, jewelers, candy-makers, and greeting card printers to force men everywhere to spend money to stay on the right side of their ladies. If you're a guy, there's nothing in it for you except potential land mines: if you forget the day, you're doomed. If you buy the wrong gift, you're doomed. If you say the wrong thing, you're doomed. If you say the right thing, but your timing is off, you're doomed.

If you're a guy, there's no margin in Valentine's Day.

There are at least three recorded St Valentines, all of them have some relation - however tenuous - to romantic love, and all of them were martyrs (no, not the you'll-get-72-virgins-in-paradise type, although that would be pretty appropriate for the day, eh?). I find the fact that they were all martyrs to be oddly appropriate, too.

In the year 1382, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote ""Parlement of Foules," in which he wrote:

"For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate."

If you can get past his spelling (which is about as good as most of that you find on the Internet today), you can see that he thinks this time in February was the time birds chose their mates ... and, by extension, people should, too. It seems to me that February, when the weather is still cold and miserable on most days, is much less conducive to love than the warm days of May or June, but what do I know?

In 1929, Chicago gangster Alphonse ("Al") Capone celebrated the day by eliminating seven rival gangsters in the notorious St Valentine's Day Massacre. When told before the event of the number of men who might have to be killed, his response was said to have been "I'll send flowers."

When I was doing my radio show ("The Audio Attic") on WEBR, I did an annual "Anti-Valentine's Day" program that consistently got my highest listenership stats. It was dedicated to peeling away the sugary curtain and exposing the truth behind Valentine's Day - two hours of songs dedicated to heartbreak, divorce, misery, two-timing, and all that other stuff we tend to forget about while besotted by love. One of my favorite anti-Valentine's Day songs was Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself for Loving You." Nobody could wear leather like Joan Jett ...

So, men, it's Valentine's Day, and you're stuck. The best you can do is buy some flowers: according to a study done by Rutgers University in 2005, flowers bring a smile to a woman's face in a way candy, fruit, and candles did not.

Of course, expensive jewelry brings an even bigger smile, but I think I could just do with the grin for return on investment.

Ladies, treat your men right. After all, they're under a lot of pressure today.

Have a good day. Men, send some flowers to your beloved. Or to your wife, if you're so inclined.

More thoughts tomorrow.



Bandit said...

You need to come clean on what you got Agnes for Valentine's Day.

Bandit said...

BTW, I took an Old English Literature course. "Chaucer's Tales" is as racy as anything written today.

Mike said...

St. Valentine's Day Massacre is being replayed over and over one guy at a time.

KathyA said...

Valentine's Day is complete over played. I'm not now, nor have I ever been, a fan.