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.)
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.]