June Mendez | Opening Doorz Editorial | February 14, 2017
February is here again, enwrapped in hues of red—red hearts, red roses, velvet cakes, red balloons and red swollen eyes as we head closer to the day of love, Valentine’s Day.
Love, romance, hope, expectations, disappointments are all in the air for this day dedicated to love! Wardrobes are overhauled, makeovers happen and money flows into the coffers of the businesses, laughing all the way to the banks.
For a tradition created in the sentimental Victorian era, due to an obscure reference by Geoffrey Chaucer to the saint’s day of a martyr who had no interest in love or romance, it is surprising that the day has assumed such gargantuan proportions in its ostentatious and daring displays of ‘love’.
From the lover jumping off the cliff holding a “Will you marry me?” sign while dangling in the air from his feet, to the one who ‘faked’ his death just to get the perfect proposal, to another whose girlfriend almost choked on the diamond ring hidden in the pudding, Valentine’s Day proposals have become wackier by the year. In the race for originality and exclusivity, couples often go to great lengths doling out huge sums of money just to do things differently!
This is probably due to the huge exploitation of Love’s commercial possibilities by the bigwigs in the corporate world since love is a universal emotion having no patents or claims staked on it yet! What better day to milk the unsuspecting cows than the day of love which is celebrated by almost everyone the world over! For chocolatiers, jewelers, restaurateurs and greeting card manufacturers, Valentine’s Day is, after Christmas, the most lucrative moment of the year.
Come February and almost everyone jumps onto the ‘love bandwagon’. A week or two before the fourteenth, the eyes of the public are bombarded by various shades of red, screaming out from billboards, magazines, newspapers and the television. Matches made in heaven are paraded before our eyes on television and unsolicited advice on how to hook or keep that perfect Valentine is doled out. Advice on the right way to bat your eyelids or turn your head to look coy, the perfect ‘exclusive’ gifts that are trending on social media, and the foods with the highest aphrodisiac properties, all find their way into every available space in the media.
And so, taken in by all the brouhaha surrounding this wonderful day, the starry- eyed lover digs deep into his pockets to blow his love into a heart-shaped balloon, bake it and shape it into a heart-shaped velvet cake, or melt it into twin platinum rings accompanied by fragrant roses. Do the roses smell sweeter on this day? I wonder!
The build-up to this day begins a week before the fourteenth with ‘Valentine Week’. Not surprisingly, every day has been earmarked with something symbolic beginning with Rose Day on the 7th and ending with Hug Day on the 13th, one wonders if the rest of the lover’s lives are going to have designated days for various milestones. The rest of the days in the year could probably be ‘fight days’ or ‘fright days’! Seasoned lovers are not new to this; young lovers will soon find this out!
Many eons ago, when the day became a day of celebration, flowers, confectionary and handwritten valentines were exchanged by lovers to express their love for one another. In fact, in 1797, the popularity of sending greetings was so great, that a British publisher issued The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, to help the young lover pick up and use verses which he was unable to compose on his own. Imagine if the trend of sending original poetry was still in vogue, many copyrighted lovers would be sparring in court trying to prove the originality of their verse!
The practice of sending anonymous greetings on Valentine’s Day later picked up and became the norm. Possibly to allow unattractive men or women express a love that they knew could never be requited. Recipients of these valentines would look on them with great excitement and anticipation as they tried to guess the identity of the sender.
Today, however, the recipient of an anonymous valentine would probably look at it with a lot of skepticism and a tinge of fear of an impending stalker! We would have the media dissecting how, when and why and the wise owls nodding and taking to the streets trying to blacken the red!
Although I am a die-hard romantic I wonder why we choose just this one day to celebrate love, to do something extra special, to paint the town red!
Why just Valentine’s Day for love?
(Figuratively speaking, June Mendez is a juggler who adeptly tries to maintain a balance between managing her home, writing and educating her three homeschoolers and other children who often seek her guidance. Her ultimate goal is to see her children and the other children she guides, become better citizens of the world.)