"I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you." Dirty Dancing.
The above quote, only surpassed by Baby declaring "she carried a watermelon", is undeniably beautiful. And yet what does true love, toe-curling passion and any of that heart-shaped hoo hah really have to do with February 14th and Saint Valentine's Day?
Well, let's dance around the issue and get a little dirty!
Valentine's Day also known as the Feast of Saint Valentines celebrates the Christian martyr Valentinus. According to legend (or more to the point, Wikipedia), before his execution Valentinus wrote a letter to the daughter of his jailer signed "Your Valentine".
Depending on your outlook, fortunately or unfortunately over the course of time we've become a little less extravagant in our customs, substituting beheadings with more every day courtship. Nowadays we send one another over-priced confectionery, bits of cherub encrusted tat through the letter box, or limp decapitated flowers. Writing cards still persists, though once again the cards are ordinarily sent to someone in the office (someone we have a guy or girlboner for). They are likely not delivered to our captor's progeny.
So that's the history, but what does any of it really mean we have to bother with buying our loved ones or, for that matter, anyone else a token of our esteem?
The case against (the corner)
1: I love you every day of the year. We don't need one day reserved for marking our love, do we cupcake?!
2: A point of principle. If like me you're an antitheist you may simply object to Saint Valentine's Day on religious grounds. This is essentially the Saint Valentine's "get out clause". Feel morally obliged to take an active stance against the Church, refusing to celebrate or praise the religious fervour for saints; or, and more to the point, for the church's callous insistence to condemn whomever they deem a sinner. Oh and beheadings... They're definitely not good.
3: Valentine's Day is a NIGHTMARE! It's overly commercial. Restaurants will be packed and charging double bubble. Besides I've no room for a teddy or cherub on my mantle.
The case for (I've had the time of my life)
1: "I love you every day of the year. We don't need one day reserved for marking our love, do we cupcake?!" Do you really think you're going to get away with that line?!?
2: Principles sminciples. Are you also going to denounce Christmas or not eat another Easter Egg so long as you live? You celebrate Christmas and or Easter, and all that stems from someone or the other in the bible, innit?!
3: Everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn't we. Sure, it's commercialism gone mad. Sure it all stems from some ancient chap being held prisoner and ultimately decapitated, but maybe we need these little moments, these cultural markers to keep our literal hearts-a-beating. What's more, if you happen to have someone who'll appreciate a card, a bottle of plonk... go forth be merry, and by the end of the night you might be doing "the move": that famous lift where you thrust your girl into the air and she lands crotch first in your face!
Tom Conrad is the author of Couldn't Love, available on Amazon for Kindle.