St Valentine’s day has oft annoyed me. For starters, it’s Saint Valentine’s day, but noone seems to remember this. That’s just a pet peeve, I know, but it gets to me every year, for some reason. We don’t forget a month later that St Patrick was a saint. Admittedly, little is known about the original Valentinus, except that several people with the name were martyred, and his feast day was fixed as Feb 14th on the Anglican, Lutheran, and used to be in the Catholic calendars, with the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrating the feast later in the year. Interestingly, the Catholic Church removed it from the calendar because little was known about him, and presumably the lack of spiritual meaning associated with the feast’s modern celebration. The day was first associated with romantic love by Chaucer in the middle ages, and the modern celebration with cards etc dates only back to the 18th and 19th centuries, where one can see the seeds of the first ridiculously commercialised holiday in America. Even with the purported purpose, I think we often miss the point. Men feel under obligation and pressure (so the expression of love is less natural and more forced), women can feel entitled or wind up disappointed from possibly unrealistic expectations, for some the day is just a depressing reminder, and others are just trying to get laid.
But don’t mark me as too much of a cynic, not just yet. I don’t mind holidays, just the endless commercialisation that threatens to sap the meaning from them, and, if I’m honest, some of their meanings and origins are pretty sketchy, but that’s another story (incidentally, I feel that a day to drink Guinness and Irish whiskey and other Irish beers needs little justification, but the excuse of celebrating an early evangelist is definitely worthy).
That doesn’t mean my wife and I don’t enjoy the day, although honestly it all feels like a bit much, and sometimes a hassle. Superfluous is the word (and it’s a great word at that, isn’t it? I love words). That’s mostly because we feel like every day should be an opportunity to celebrate and express love for eachother, and routine expressions seem much more worthy to us than throwing some money at cards, chocolate, and flowers. We tend to be a bit more low key, and I guess had a bit of a ‘reset’ year this year, avoiding the inclination to endlessly top previous years, what with being busy, having a baby for the first time. We went out to dinner Thursday night to avoid the crowds, and passing our nearest HEB (which is generally out of the way for us but it was near the restaurant) we stocked up on canned vegetables and I found some blackberry wine to try. We agreed not to get cards this year, although we usually have gotten cards before. We will probably deliver chocolates etc to her mum and sisters (a curious tradition to me where all of the girls in the family are given things by her, her dad and brothers – kinda reappropriating the day as more of a ‘ladies day’ with less of the romantic overtones, but that’s me). I did a few sweet things for her today (breakfast etc), but the thing with us is we get eachother gifts habitually anyway (kinda when the other wants something, we make sure they get it), and I get her flowers from time to time, to her exasperation, it might be noted. Flowers today are out if the question because she would rather spend that extortion money elsewhere, and she doesn’t like plain chocolate very much, so I may pop out today and look for some caramels, but it’s not of import. I love my wife 😉
What did you do today?