Monday, February 11, 2008

My Bloody Valentine

Valentine's Day is later this week, and you know what? I have always had very mixed feelings about Valentine's Day.

On one hand I think it's sweet. It's nice to have a day that reminds people to honour their partner, and to make them feel special. Or to have a day that maybe works as a catalyst to bring people together, giving them the courage to approach someone they admire. It certainly supports those involved in the floristry, restaurant and confectionary industries.

Plus, who doesn't love good chocolate in a heart shaped box?

(FYI, my preference is Dark. And Belgian.)

Beresford Egan illustration from a volume by Marquis de Sade

On the other hand it's very commercial, which somewhat cheapens the sentiment. It creates expectations that can be crushing if they're not fulfilled. (I wouldn't be surprised if Valentine's Day almost seperates as many couples as it helps create.) It especially gives the finger to those singletons who aren't happy being single.

So, two sides of the coin. I know people say that we shouldn't need a day to show that we love those we do, but I don't know I agree with that. We have days to commemorate all sorts of things; to make us focus on peace, rememberance, conservation, mothers, fathers... quite a list. I kind of think that we do need reminders to a degree, and the human animal is a celebratory one. We love a good celebrate.

Like I love good chocolate. Did I mention that?

I've had some nice Valentine's Day surprises over the year, including one anonymous card that I still don't know who it was from. I've certainly had some lovely times with guys I was dating, nice dinners, as well as flowers and cards sent, and received. I guess the trick as a single person is not to expect.

Although frankly, I will be surprised if those chocolates don't arrive.

[Updated: I had some queries in the comments about the illustration, and here's what I could find. It's taken from a 1929 edition published by The Fortune Press of "De Sade" by Brian De Shane (pseudonym of Catherine Bower Alcock) with illustrations by Beresford Egan. 7 red and black illustrations by Egan are listed. It seems to have been a volume of essays about De Sade, rather than his own writings. I found the info here, just scroll down the chronology until you get to the 1929 plum covered edition of "De Sade". I found the pic on someone's livejournal some time ago, and if I can remember where I'll link to that too.]


Ur-spo said...

you can be my valentine any day.
and to make sure it is not cheapened by commercialism I won't send anything......

Michael said...

I can't believe the last Valentine's present I've had. It must have been the 80s.

Michael said...


I've been sick.

Quatrefoil said...

I've always felt pretty mixed about Valentine's day too. I've only ever received one card from someone who wasn't my mother (the primary school teacher handwriting was a giveaway, Mum). Some years I've designated it International Feel Bad Day, because even for those in a relationship it can be horrid if your partner doesn't live up to expectations. One year I chose to celebrate St Wilgefortis' Day instead (the patron saint of women who want to get rid of their husbands). But a few years ago, I decided to reclaim it, and use it to celebrate love and affection of all kinds, because romantic love is not the only kind that counts. So, I tend to send emails and make phonecalls to friends and family. Not quite the same, but better than feeling miserable about what I don't have.

The Other Andrew said...

Ur-spo, Yay! Although I can see the flaw in my argument about commercialism...

Michael, dude. If only I knew your address! :) Oh, and get better soon!

Ms 'Foil, my sister sent me a Valentine's card when I was a kid once, and like you I recognised the handwriting straight away! You're right, why only confine it to regular romantice love? There are all kinds of love. My own favourite, the one that dare not speak its name. (Although around here it shouts from the rooftops.)

Wesley Darling said...

Do you know more about this volume? Is it still in print? I love that illustration to pieces.

IRV said...

That would make an incredible tattoo!

The Other Andrew said...

I got it from someone's livejournal a while back, and their caption was the only info I had about the pic. I would have linked to the source if I could remember where I got it from! (I hate it when that happens. I usually like to link my sources.)

So sadly I know very little about it. A google search might help. If I can find more info I'll add it to the entry.