Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day.

What is this nauseous feeling I'm experiencing?

It's February 14th again, which means two things. 1) Shit, my rent was due two weeks ago, and 2) It's Valentine's Day.

But seriously, I'm not going to rant about how Valentine's Day is stupid, as you might expect. And anyway, I'd prefer having my teeth cleaned to going on a romantic candlelit date any day. At one point, Valentine's Day was a fun holiday for everyone. Even the weird kid in class that never cut his fingernails and wore an over-sized Chicago Bears sweatshirt every day for two weeks (okay, that second example was actually me). Everyone had a Valentine (their mom) and everyone got exactly twenty-one Valentine's cards from their classmates because it was mandated by the teacher. Any distaste I have for the holiday is probably a result of not getting a gift from my mom on the morning of V-Day anymore. We may be single, but we still like to gorge ourselves with candy. To be fair, this Valentine's Day shows last year's up, partly because it's not twenty degrees and sleeting, and partly because I've already gotten two cards from the kids I babysit, one including a Pirates of the Caribbean temporary tattoo. If you can think of anything more romantic than a skull-and-crossbones tattooed on your left bicep, let me know.

Still not over the fact that Valentine's Day is a manufactured holiday brought to you by the Hallmark Corporation? Then just don't celebrate it like a modern-day American. Let's take a look at how other countries around the world have celebrated:

Great Britain: According to an unverified source, folks in Great Britain
used to "pin four bay leaves to the corners of their pillow and eat eggs with salt replacing the removed yokes." This act would allegedly induce pleasant dreams of their future husband. Personally, I would rather just take a Lunesta. I take it they weren't dreaming about drawing hasty divorce papers or bitter arguments over the contents of the refrigerator. Not only that, they also used to write the names of the men they were into on paper and put them on clay balls which they dropped into water. The paper that floated to the top first was the man that they would marry. This one seems a little lame, but I guess it's no sillier than consulting a Magic 8 ball or seeing which one calls you first (hey, sometimes it's hard to choose). Currently in Britain, children sing songs and receive gifts of candy, fruit, or money (ding ding ding dingding!). Either people in the UK are a lot weirder than I thought, or I'm not doing very thorough research.

In Britain and Italy, some unmarried women are said to get up before sunrise staring out the window waiting for a man to pass. "They believe that the first man they see, or someone who looks like him, will marry them within a year." So it's no big surprise that a lot of postal workers and garbage men get lucky around this time of year.

I'm only going to offer one more example, because I think you should do your own research and because this turned out to be a lot less interesting than I thought. An
Ancient Roman tradition follows that the festival of Lupercalia was held on February 15th to ensure protection from wolves (which is somehow linked to Valentine's day...I'm skipping some minor details) During the festival, "young men struck people with strips of animal hide. Women took the blows because they thought that the whipping made them more fertile." This tradition continues today; it is called sadomasochism and it is still alive and well in today's underground society.

For those of you reluctantly hitting shopping malls searching for either that perfect gift for your loved one, or the ticket that will help salvage what's left of your failing relationship, there are a number of websites dedicated to providing you with a variety of chains, whips, and restraining devices to win just about anyone's heart.

Works cited: This is my actual source. I think it is actually a school report made by a junior high student or some old lady's needlepoint website, but I didn't think you'd mind, given the spirit of today's holiday.

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