Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St. Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He was apprehended, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith ineffectual, commanded him to be beaten with clubs, and afterwards, to be beheaded, which was executed on February 14, about the year 270.
So, you thought Valentine’s Day was all about love and romance, and maybe a smattering of lust, but not about some poor saintly sod who got his head lopped off. Sometimes love does hurt, however.
But let us not be downhearted by historical references. Let us see what early avant-garde poet Gertrude Stein had to say about the occasion:
Very fine is my valentine.
Very fine and very mine.
Very mine is my valentine very mine and very fine.
Very fine is my valentine and mine, very fine very mine and mine is my valentine.
Valentine’s Day. What does it mean to you? When you were in elementary school did your classroom have a Valentine’s Day box? Ours always did and in which the lovesick kid could deposit messages of adoration to objects of affection – messages often left anonymous or with cryptic salutations like: “You know who.”
Of course, all classes have their Charlie Browns and our teacher, in a spirit of emotional generosity and kindness told us that we must write Valentine’s Day cards for each and every child in the class so nobody would be left out. That to me sucked. I wanted special messages from special girls, not random girls who were compelled to write. Of course the teacher was correct in her compassion. In face, my mother was a step ahead of her and had already ordered me to write cards for everybody, even the people I didn’t like or who I decided smelled bad.
The cards came, of course, from Valentine’s Books. Large collections of little cheap card like things that you cut out from the tome.
I, being the pathetic old romantic that I am, extol the value of Valentine’s Day. In a world fraught with nastiness it’s good to have a day devoted to love. Either pure or impure love. Impure love is, of course, a whale of a lot more fun. I mean, if Cupid is going to zap you in the ass there should be a payoff.
I like Valentine’s Day, too, because I have often been in love. Sometimes more than has been good for me. But that is me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So, enjoy your day, enjoy your romance, enjoy all the naughty shenanigans you might get up to if things work out your way. Don’t let poor old St. Valentine have given his life if you are not going to honor his sacrifice.