Monday, January 10, 2011
Extreme Makeover: Valentine's Day Edition
Well, that day is fast approaching. The one day of the year where people are drowned in flowers, cards, inordinate amounts of sugary treats and all things pink and fluffy. It is the holiday dreaded by the lonely, regretful and heartbroken...and hell, a lot of people who aren't those things despise it, too.
For one of the most celebrated and highly grossing holiday's of the year, Valentine's day gets a LOT of hostility from peeps. I will admit, I partook in that hostility in the past and scorned the holiday like it was the black plague wrapped in asbestos and barbed wire. But I have decided to change my views on Valentine's Day and how I celebrate it.
You often hear about those sorrowful singles who blame Valentine's Day for pouring salt on their wound of loneliness and use that as an excuse to drown their misery in bon bons and cheap wine while watching romance movies in their bed in flannel pajamas. Personally, I think that is a load of crap. It's just like COME ON. You are 100% capable of controlling what effects you and how it effects you. That is just a waste of time to do that. Although...I love me some bon bons. Those are never a waste of time.
Then there are the more proactive, openly hostile people who seek to destroy any representation of love or affection on Valentines day. Heaven forbid you and your beau block one of these people's paths while smooching and openly showing your love for each other. Be prepared for a wrath fiercer than the depths of hell. Sometimes these people will gather in a wonderfully negative gathering where they channel all of their hatred of Valentine's Day and love collectively! :D Sounds fun, right?? I'm DYING for an invitation to one. It just seems like it would be so uplifting. Like you could walk out of there feeling the most exuberant that you've ever felt. <----sarcasm, just in case you didn't catch that.
What I say to those ^^ people is (excuse moi) shut up. Really? I know that it's not the funnest thing to see couples going gaga over each other everywhere you turn. But just because you're "alone" or bitter or whatever your excuse is for your hostility, you are going to be a total Debbie Downer and ruin other people's happiness? So what if it's a silly holiday! It makes a lot of people happy. And if getting a stuffed bear makes someone feel happy and special, I'm not going to ruin that or lessen the meaning of it by taking a big dump on their happiness.
And just think of all that energy you are using to be negative and sulky!! Why not use that energy to be happy and jovial spread love to all the people around you?! That is a great suggestion, Skylar. Thank you!
I think that learning what Valentine's Day is really about would help a lot of people. I was thinking about it the other day and I thought, "I don't even know what the history of Valentine's Day is. Why do we even celebrate it?" Well, I did some Sherlock Holmesing and I enlightened myself. And now I shall enlighten you.
The origin of Valentine's day is actually not totally certain. I know, I know. If you're like me, you're thinking that is a bit bogus. We go gaga for a holiday we don't even really know about? But hey, we can be really stupid. So I'm not surprised.
The association between mid-February and romance goes back to a Roman festival called Lupercalea. The ritual started with an animal slaughter (yee haw! That's always how I like to get the party started). Then the women of the village were whipped with strips of the animal's skin to ensure fertility for the coming year (fun!! :D). Then the women's names were draw from a pot by the men and they bow chicka bow wowed all night long. Romantic isn't it? My advice to the bitter Valentine's Dayers is to just be thankful that you're not being whipped by strips of dead animals and then forcibly bedded by a stranger man. That ought to cheer you up a bit.
In the 5th Century, in an attempt to Christianize the pagan holiday, the Pope declared February 14th as St. Valentine's day. Now most of us think of Valentine's Day as the celebration and remembrance of St. Valentine, which is true. Well, guess what? There were multiple St. Valentines! That tricky bastard.
Legend has it that one St. Valentine was a priest during the Roman Empire under the rule of Claudius II. Claudius was basically a major d-bag and decided to ban marriages so that he would have more single men for his army. But St. Valentine kept marrying young couples in secret (LIKE A BOSS). Eventually, of course, Claudius found out and sentenced him to death. But while St. Valentine was in his jail cell, all the young couples he had married gave him flowers and letters and came to visit him to expressed their love and gratitude. It is said that while in jail, St. Valentine fell in love with the jailer's daughter. Before he was executed on February 14th, he gave her a note signed, "Your Valentine." After that, a tradition was born.
The oldest known Valentine is from 1450. It is a letter from an imprisoned Duke to his wife. By the middle of the 18th century, it was common for both friends AND lovers to exchange small tokens of affection and notes.
So, you see, Valentine's Day is about love; ALL love--not just romantic love.
I, for one, am ecstatic that I am single this Valentine's day. It relieves me of the EXTREMELY unpleasant burden of having to find a perfect gift or make something incredibly clever and special that my significant other will cherish for...a while, hopefully. But it also relieves me of the worry of receiving some unbearably cheesy gift from my hypothetical significant other and the resulting strain I have to go through in pretending to like it. I, unfortunately, have had the misfortune of having to do this a few times. Yes, yes, I know it's the thought that counts. I didn't say I didn't appreciate it. I said I didn't enjoy having to wear it or display it in my vicinity.
Being single on Valentine's Day is like going stag to a party. Sometimes (almost all the time, in my opinion) it's even more fun to go alone--nay, not "alone". That sounds so depressing--without someone else.
The thing that I DON'T like about Valentine's day is how commercial it has become. It has become an obligation to go to outrageous lengths to show your love to someone and that is just ridiculous! That isn't what the holiday was about originally at all! Maybe it's just me, but I don't need a declaration of love streaming across a jumbotron screen outside my house to feel that I'm loved. A simple hand written letter describing your love and affection is MUCH more personal and I would treasure that at lot more.
Do we really need a whole holiday dedicated just to love and showering loved ones with gifts and tokens of our affection? Probably not. But I plan on making the most out of Valentine's Day regardless. I want everyone I know and love and everyone I come in contact with, even if I'm passing them in the street, to feel loved. I want to make people feel special and loved and happy because that is a wonderful feeling and I wish that for everyone in the world. And I know if I spend that whole day making others feel happy and loved, so will I! So it's a win/win.
And instead of sulking or dwelling on past heart aches and what not, how about celebrating the love we have known, the love we have now and the love that we will undoubtedly feel in the future. :)
I invite you all to do the same! Valentine's Day doesn't have to be lame! <--- (Rhyming unintended, I swear)