Monday, February 14, 2011

The real origin of Valentine's Day--hint, look at its initials

And it’s that oh-so-wonderful day of the year when I want to punch most people I see in the face.

No, I don’t mean every day that ends in “y” (am I really that cranky that often? Geez… I might need anger management!). I am, of course, referring to Valentine’s Day.

I know, I know, surprise, surprise, the single girl who’s probably going to die alone with seventeen cats (which is truly a fate worse than death, because as anyone who knows me knows, I REALLY hate cats) hates Valentine’s Day. But I’m about to break girl code here and let you guys in on a secret: most girls hate Valentine’s Day even more than you do.

Before I explain, I do want to point out that there are two major groups of girls who are exceptions to this rule. The first group is easy to spot because they have WAY too many stuffed animals in their bedroom. They also have an abnormal attachment to the color pink and have at least one picture of a kitten on their wall. And they’re over the age of six. If you find yourself dating one of these girls, you’d better go all out for Valentine’s Day.
Like seriously, flowers, giant stuffed bears, candy, jewelry, engagement rings, a yacht ready to take you to a Greek isle, etc. Even if you’ve only been dating for a week. Anything less than this will result in a temper tantrum that would make the apocalypse seem minor. But I have no sympathy for you in this case. Because you ignored the warning signs and CHOSE to date this girl in February. You made your own pink, stuffed-animal lined bed. Now enjoy the suffering that Valentine’s Day entails for you. And just think, you get to do it all over again in 364 days.


The second group of girls who love Valentine’s Day are the girls who are in a relationship but have primarily single friends. The reason that these girls love Valentine’s Day so much is the same reason why they torture their friends with ridiculous hazing activities as soon as they are engaged and pick seventeen of their closest friends to be their bridesmaids. It’s because 364 days of the year, they’re jealous of their single friends who can come and go as they please and don’t have to deal with you leaving the toilet seat up. So when they find one day (or two, if it’s a year when they’re getting married) to feel superior, they love it. So if you’re with one of these girls, you’re expected to treat her as if she were the pink/stuffed-animal/kitten loving type of girl, or else face the consequences.

You’ve been warned.

The majority of us, however, recognize that it’s pointless.

That being said, if you’re in a relationship, you’re still expected to make a tremendously flashy show of how much you love us. Not because we need that reassurance. But because we’re hugely competitive and if Suzy from the cubicle next to ours gets a better present than we did, she gets to lord it over us for the next year. And we do NOT want to let that happen. So just like diamonds and penis size (sorry—just being honest here!), when it comes to Valentine’s Day gifts, bigger is ALWAYS better.

But now that that’s out of the way, let’s take a moment to mock the holiday’s origin. According to Wikipedia, which, as we all know, is NEVER wrong, Valentine’s Day began in 1832 as a day on which all sexual partners were expected to be able to confess to any “delicate” diseases that they may have picked up without retribution. Hence the initials, VD. Which, for those of you born after 1980, is what people used to call STDs.

In fact, this is where Valentine’s Cards came from. Because some people didn’t want to flat out SAY, “I want you to know that you may now have Chlamydia.” So they tried to come up with clever and witty ways to warn their partners that they were probably now infected. That’s also why candy, flowers, and presents began to go with those cards, because it’s harder to get mad at the person who gave you syphilis if they also gave you flowers.

(Not really. I think I’d be just as mad. But in theory, I guess the presents could help. In theory.)

So it’s a little-known fact that the first “Roses are red, violets are blue” poem REALLY read, “Roses are red, violets are blue, a hooker gave me the clap, and now you have it too.”

The classic card that Ralph Wiggam gave Lisa Simpson saying, “I choo-choo-choose you,” originated as “I choo-choo-chose someone else first and wound up with crabs.”

Not quite as sweet, but far more informative.

Even William Shakespeare’s classic “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” didn’t start as innocent as it wound up. He originally said, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? After we fooled around, it burns when I pee.” (It’s true, ask Wikipedia!)

More modern sentiments of love came from these older Valentine confessional cards. Contrary to popular belief, 50 Cent took his “I love you like a fat kid loves cake,” from Emily Dickinson’s “I love you like a fat kid loves cake, but unlike you, cake never gave me herpes.”

So how did we get from confessing the diseases gathered from infidelity to the supposed most romantic day of the year?

Easy. A little company called Hallmark launched a massive cover-up conspiracy so all-inclusive that Amelia Earhart’s last flight, JFK’s assassination, the Roswell aliens, the extinction of the dinosaurs, and the disappearance of the Mayans are all a part of it.

I’d tell you more, but then Hallmark would have to kill me.

In fact, since I started writing this, Wikipedia’s Valentine’s Day entry has mysteriously changed to some made-up story about “Saint Valentine.” Right. Because THAT sounds real.

In summary, it’s a pointless holiday. But I’ll take flowers, candy, jewelry, shoes, or any other presents you’d like to give me any day of the year. Including today.

1 comment:

  1. Happy Singles Awareness Day!
    ~Alone with 5 chihuahuas on V-Day (and no, they don't give the kind of gives any sane person would be interested in!)

    ReplyDelete