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Valentine’s Day = Horseshit

February 14, 2009

“It’s like this tangible thing you can point to and say, ‘hey, I love you this many dollars worth’.” – Michael Scott

Being the sensitive person that I am, I know it comes as a shock to you that I think Valentine’s Day is right up there with Communism and guy on guy porn. Valentine’s Day is a trail of lies, going back long before second grade, where the teacher at St. Jude’s told me if I wasn’t going to hand out a Batman Valentine to all of the girls, I couldn’t hand out any at all (see previous Communism reference). This goes back centuries, all the way to Geoffrey Chaucer, a man who has consistently been a pain in my ass.

The mere mention of Chaucer’s name is enough to make me lurch towards my television and swear off literacy. Having had the pleasure of reading The Canterbury Tales twice in high school, and enjoying the text in its’ original middle English in college, I’ve already considered exhuming the old bastard and beating him with his own corpse. Imagine my surprise when Wikipedia told me my favorite fourteenth –century scribe could be responsible for the angst I feel each and every February 14th.

While I always thought Valentine’s Day was a corporate conspiracy fostered by the executives at Hallmark and Lifetime, it looks like Chaucer’s mention of the martyred third-century priest may have spawned the idea. In his “masterpiece” called Parlement of Foules, he writes, “For this was on seynt Volantynys day/Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make”. It seems that verse gave someone in the Catholic church the idea to Christianize the celebration of Lupercalia, the Roman fertility feast historically celebrated February 13-15th. So, just to sum this up for you, some pope versed in Chaucer took a feast about gettin’ some strange and turned it into this celebration of romance and monogamy. Looks like I can add Valentine’s Day to the list of ways Catholicism has ruined all fun and made me feel guilty about even having fun in the first place.

So think about that tonight when you’re dropping $200 on dinner and some tear-jerking sterling heart bracelet. When you see that look in your lover’s eye, the one that says “this isn’t the color I wanted, or we need to get the hell out of here because that pasta had cream sauce and you know what alfredo does to me”, just sit back, and think how, 650 years ago, some hack writer and shithead celibate set in motion the annual bummer that is Valentine’s Day. When you sit down to watch PS I Love You for the third time, I’ll be out at the bar…probably wishing I was snuggled up watching PS I Love You for the third time…

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