Happy ‘Guilted into Romance’ Day
Roses are dead/Violets are dead/Sugar is made from a different dead plant…
This poetry form is actually pretty sadistic. If you over-think it.
That’s my first attempt at a Valentine’s Day poem but I’m proud of it. It actually tells you how I feel about Valentine’s Day. I’m pretty much against the over-commercialisation of everything and I know I’m definitely fighting a losing battle on this. This is my own personal Gallipoli.
There is no winning this battle. Unlike Gallipoli, though, there is no retreat from the marketing of the “next big event” in the year, whether it’s Easter stuff being sold from the first few days of January or Christmas decorations going up in August to “celebrations” of things that don’t belong in Australia at all (like Halloween), not to mention the selling of cheap and nasty “Australia Day” junk that has clearly been made in China, I just don’t think it needs to be like this. I won’t be overly surprised to see Thanksgiving make headway in the next few years because of the glut of things to market in October.
And now they even want an Anzac “brand”, which irks me no end. But the one day of the year (and thankfully it is only one day) that really, REALLY shits me is St. Valentine’s Day. I truly believe that Saint Valentine’s Day is actually the least romantic day of the year. But I’ll get to that later.
You know something is being “over-marketed” when they remove any mention of religion from it. Just as Christmas becomes Xmas a little bit more every year (sure, sure, it’s about saving money by using less ink), Saint Valentine’s Day is now just Valentine’s Day. Pretty soon it will be Val Day, and then probably just VD. And people will get confused as to why we’re doing something romantic for the patron saint of venereal diseases. But the question I ask is, why Saint Valentine? Do you really know the story of St Val? What is the big deal?
Well, without the marketing, truth is… nothing. There have been 14 Saint Valentines in all and all did different things. There is no record of any of the individual St Valentines being particularly known as the patron Saint of lovers as the marketing would suggest. There is actually very little known about the St Valentine whose feast is marked as being on February 14, except his name and the dates of his birth and death.
The only one that really comes close was a totally different St Valentine (a Roman priest) who was put to death for the crime of “aiding Christians” which included performing marriages but he was not the only priest killed for this during the reign of Claudius II.
Seriously, where did all this “St Valentine = Romance” business come from? No-one is actually all that sure. Wikipedia states “Many of the current legends that characterise Saint Valentine were invented in the fourteenth century in England, notably by Geoffrey Chaucer and his circle, when the feast day of February 14 first became associated with romantic love”.
So basically St Valentine’s Day and the notion that he was all about romance were invented by an author and now are being exploited by people who just want to sell you more shit you don’t need at inflated prices by using your own inbuilt guilt that says you haven’t shown your loved-one/special friend/life-choice partner enough love and you know it! It would be more apt to call it “Guilted Into Romance” Day.
Romance needs to be about spontaneity and what Valentine’s Day does is allows all those guys who never put a moment’s thought into it to get away with never putting a moment’s thought into it. It is a day for the truly thoughtless because it allows all those guys without a romantic thought in their heads to get away with being unromantic for the rest of the year simply by doing “something” on Valentine’s Day. How much more does a bunch of flowers mean if you actually thought of them yourself?
I can hear the echoes of “You un-romantic bastard” across the country as you read this, but believe me when I say that I come at this from a far more romantic stand-point than you would think. This year (being a leap-year) there are 365 days in the year other than Valentine’s Day in which to send your loved one a bunch of flowers. And seriously, flowers on Valentine’s Day? Has there ever been a less original thought?
Here you go, Darl… 12 gorgeous, genetically brilliant roses that represent my love for you. Which is why I killed them and chucked them in cellophane with a bit of gyp, like a really cheap open-casket funeral. And now I expect you to put these dead things on display somewhere for a week or so until they’re fully dead and then dump them in the green-bin. Love you.
I mean, come on. Cook her dinner, or call her during your lunch break just to tell her you love her. Or even text her something nice to remind her how much she means to you. For too many of us, we only do that when the marketing tells us to.
So I charge you, ladies and gentlemen, not to expect or give anything on Valentine’s Day. Don’t buy a card or flowers or go out to dinner. Not only will you not spend $300 for the privilege of dining out somewhere that would normally cost you 1/3 of that but you will also probably save $100 on a bunch of roses that on March 14 (World Not-A-Day Day) would cost you about $50.
Imagine how much more special it is for your loved-one to receive a bunch of flowers or have dinner cooked for them to actually show them you love them on ANY OTHER DAY OF THE YEAR without being told to do it.
I know, it’s mind-blowing! The sheer giddiness of thinking for yourself with such reckless abandon! If you MUST do something on Valentine’s Day itself, do it thoughtfully and non-commercially. Put some thought into it instead of dollars into the pockets of some big company. Make dinner at home for just the two of you. Go for a walk together. Build a blanket fort in the lounge room and then give each other a foot massage while you watch Freddy vs Jason on DVD.
Make love like your kids can’t hear you.
Think about what you mean to each other and actually say some of those things. Give it some real, heartfelt romance and make it mean something more than the hollow wallet-opening sham it currently is.
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