Friday, February 6, 2009

Valentine's Day - Worth the Hype?

Before Valentine’s Day became the Hallmark holiday now appropriate for all members of the family, it originated from the customs of the ancient Romans. Although the martyred Valentines (there were more than one) of the early centuries were honored for their religious contributions, by the 14th century another Saint Valentine came to be associated with romance. This connection is largely attributed to a couple short lines written by Geoffrey Chaucer (Hallmark should probably pay tribute to the man in appreciation - heck it would be another opportunity to sell cards!). The idea of February 14th being a day for romance then took off in Paris and by the 1800s the holiday of St. Valentine’s Day had spread across the globe.

If you’re married or in a relationship, Valentine’s Day can be oh so romantic – perhaps the day that special someone finally professes his love or produces the coveted engagement ring. Sometimes it’s just a great excuse for having a bout of wild and passionate sex. Of course the longer you’ve been married, the more likely it is that the honeymoon is over and the day may pass without much more than a peck on the cheek.

If you’re single and unattached, however, it can be nothing short of stressful. From the time we women have been little girls in grade school, we’ve known the humiliation of being the only one in class not to get any Valentine’s cards delivered to our cardboard ‘mailbox’. In high school, we may have been the unpopular girl who didn’t receive any of the balloon and flower grams sold by the cheerleading squad. By the time we began working, we might have been the only woman in the office who didn’t receive a delivery of flowers on the holiday.

I can remember some years when I’ve gone on fantastically romantic trips with the boyfriend du jour. I can also remember other years renting When Harry Met Sally and going through a pint of Chunky Monkey alone in the dark. I’ve got to admit, Valentine’s Day is not my favorite holiday. Any celebration in which my delight of it depends purely on the presence of a man in my life – honestly – really sucks.

So what do you think? Is Valentine’s Day a valid holiday or just another day when Hallmark and Brach’s and Teleflora make money hand over fist? Feel free to share your best, or worst, experiences.

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