Today is Valentine’s Day and so I come to my keyboard to write of love.
Legend paints Saint Valentine as many things, with no single source of historical truth. The day we now recognise derived from a story that had St V as an underground priest. He was marrying Christians who at that time were being persecuted for their beliefs. The Emperor finds out and has St V killed, trying first with clubs and stones then getting the job done with a romantic beheading.
If it wasn't for greeting card companies, we would celebrate St Valentine’s Day by stoning and clubbing our beaus and dressing as headless beings. But the greeting card companies are great at distorting the truth of life and re-selling it to you as little cardboard oblongs of happiness. Don't believe me? How successful have they been with their ‘Happy Birthday’ concept? What is ‘happy’ about an occasion that reminds us the we are all slowly dying and are now one year closer to that point?
Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year where the world makes you undertake a relationship audit. Even if you don't “do” Valentine’s Day, you can’t avoid being impacted by its desire to celebrate love and affection. You will either float along in the sea of love, drown in lonely sorrow or fight against a love rip that is dragging you to a place you don't want to be (usually in a Gold Class cinema watching a dramedy with your special someone whilst trying to figure out why you just paid $9 for a bottle of water).
Love or loathe St V’s Day, like a Richard Curtis film, it gets to you. If you’re a fan today will be the one day of the year that you buy those flowers, make a breakfast-in-bed (or in the kitchen before taking it to the bedroom) or perhaps wear some lacy underwear (usually only one for the ladies). If you loathe the idea of St V’s Day, this can be a hard 24hrs. You may just spend it in bed resting your index finger after spending the last week desperately looking for Mr Swipe Right.
Perhaps you are a love-grinch and unfortunately find yourself in a relationship with another human being. For you, today is a hard day! You’ll need to be extra selfish, distant and aloof. You’ll have spent most of today preaching about how everyday should be Valentines Day, while your partner spends their day thinking about how they should just be with someone else.
Regardless of which camp you pitch your tent in, we should all see red over the commodification and commercialisation of love. You can make it, fake it, believe in it, hate it, send it, take it and break it. But one thing you can never do is sell it. Love is free baby!