Valentine’s Day deserves contemptuous ridicule

Writer can’t resist marking the day with sarcasm and derision

All right, I confess.

I’m one of those old fogies who having witnessed some horrid Valentine’s Day celebrations, long ago and lost my enthusiasm for the holiday.

It’s the time of the year when ads for special bits of jewelry that profess to be symbols of romance and kissy-face fealty join the red hearts that are displayed, well, everywhere in an effort to inspire true love and retail purchases.

I watch the proceedings and begin to channel Statler from the Muppets’ (or is it Waldorf … which one is the devilishly handsome one?) and can’t resist but reacting with sarcasm and derision.

My favourite mood breaker goes far beyond the usual, somewhat hackneyed references to the day being a Hallmark Holiday.

I go right to the history of Valentine’s Day when Roman priests would sacrifice a dog and a goat, ostensibly to represent purification and fertility.

(As a side note, I suspect it was more because there were lots of goats and dogs around and it was easy to catch the victims. But I digress.)

They would use the bloody hides of the hapless sacrifices and wander around slapping women with the skins to improve fertility.

Not surprisingly, this inspired a very early precursor to the Me Too Movement, when women finally had enough and started slapping back. The priests moved on to the slightly less barbaric practice of picking names out of an urn and coupling the chosen twosome for a year, or until the first time the male in the couple forgot to put the cap on the toothpaste.

As for the good saints named Valentine – there were a dozen of them – it seems that none was known for doing anything particularly romantic. In fact, there’s so much confusion about the Valentines that the Catholic Church discontinued liturgical veneration of St. Valentine in 1969.

Apparently, Hallmark didn’t get the memo.

And although I’d love to pin Valentine’s Day on Hallmark, the fact is North Americans first started exchanging cards back in the early 1700’s.

A woman named Esther Allen Howland got a card on St. Valentine’s Day from a would-be suitor.

He’d created some lace and flower monstrosity and I can only imagine him up to his elbows in craft glue with a dreamy far away look in his eyes.

Esther was unimpressed. She tossed the tacky missive and went to work proving she could make a better card, turning the enterprise into a business.

No word on the fate of the suitor.

Now, although I’m sure the holiday will survive, except for recalling the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, which, come on, was pretty fascinating, the holiday does nothing for me.

But young love will doubtlessly continue and tacky cards, overpriced flowers, and inevitably disappointing romantic gestures will go on well into the future.

Me? I’ll just sit in the balcony and laugh.

•••

Tim Collins is a Sooke News reporter. His wife isn’t expecting a card on Valentine’s Day.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich teen launches free online tutoring website

School Helpers matches volunteer tutors with students

Name of victims ‘ripped down’ from Victoria display

Organizers feel the act is ‘malicious’

Government Street becomes pedestrian-priority corridor

One block of downtown street closed to cars entirely

‘The face of Belmont’: Custodial staff at Langford school pivot to support parents, students

Staff serve as point of contact for parents, students with school

Greater Victoria transit usage sees gradual rise

Ridership still down 66 per cent compared to last year

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Cortes Island affordable housing project hangs by a thread

Regional decision makers resort to COVID-19 concerns despite virtual meeting option and push hearing to September

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Damage happens every year, forcing site manager to reallocate improvement budget to repairs

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Man found dead in his tent at Island homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

Most Read