Tis the season of roses, chocolates, and love notes. Tis the season for my nausea.
I'm not a bah humbug, I'm just over the commercialization of romance. Approximately 151 million Hallmark cards are purchased each year for this holiday. Does Hallmark have lobbyist to keep the charade going?
Why is this a charade?
Because real relationships, real lovers, don't need a calendar reminder to send gifts, notes of appreciation, and fancy dinners to show the other love on Februrary 14th.
Save your money and buy me some great flowers in March from Trader Joe's to show your appreciation. Set up a couples massage in December because we all need one during the holiday season. Take me out to a great dinner because you read a good review and the babysitter's available. Buy me sexy yet comfortable underwear because you love the way I look in them.
Many articles and programs are out to tell you how to spice up your relationship, how to romance your date away, and where to buy some great French chocolates. Take heed in the advice, particularly the French chocolates because they are to die for, yet use it in your time.
We all enjoy appreciation, validation and acceptance. Tell your partner, and not just on Valentines Day. This is what keeps relationships rich. Time together, words of empowerment and validation, teamwork, and laughter are the bricks and mortar of a strong relationship.
That's what we want, right?
Do I need to purchase some red lingerie to show you that you're wanted and I'm ready to be frisky this week? Sure, but wear it throughout the year and surprise your partner. Let them know you want them, how good they smell, taste, and look to you.
It is wise to say Happy Valentines Day and particularly to support Hallmark with a card, so we don't feel ignored during the holiday—just take the message of the day and spread it throughout the year.
If we go beyond the romantic pressures of this holiday and look at its roots, it provides quite interesting.
Behind the Glorifying
The history to this celebration is quite fascinating. It dates back from the ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia:
"Lupercalia,...was anciently celebrated by shepherds...many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped in delivery, and the barren to pregnancy...The Lupercalia festival was partly in honor of Lupa, the she-wolf who suckled the infant orphans."
Some theorist believe it was the Christian conversion that usurped the date from the Romans and turned it into another celebration, that of the martyr Saint Valentine, which dates back to the 5th Century. Many "Valentines" were in existence, yet it is the lovely legend of the Saint Valentine that rebelled against the Roman Emperor Claudius II who outlawed marriage of his soliders (love, committment and family = bad soliders in the Emperor's opinion) and performed secret weddings.
Ah, the social justice of it all. Love can prevail.
Further down the historical line, it seems that Chaucer's poetry, Parlement of Foules (1382), written for King Richard II of England's engagement really turned Valentine's Day into one meant for lovers.
"For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make."
The eroticism of bird's mating really got us in the mood for romance in the 14th century.
Whether it be frolicking in the streets for fertility or standing up for love, Valentine's seems to have turned into a modern day materialization of gifts and demands to share your love. I had a friend who would purposely break up with a girlfriend pre-Valentines to avoid the celebration and demands of love it heeded, only to reunite post February 14th.
Is it worth it?
Valentine's can prove pressure filled, when there is no need for us to accept this message nor accept that love be expressed once a year.
I say to you: Don't get sucked into the mania of chocolates and roses this week, allow your gestures of love and validation to occur all year round.
That being said, I do hope for a card, some sex, and taking my husband skeet shooting. Oops, I guess I too get sucked into the Valentine's Hoopla.
More Valentines Day advice from YourTango: