Did you know that approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually — making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas?
It’s pretty crazy when you think of it.
Actually one year, I didn’t think of it and I forgot to get my wife a card, let alone the seasonal, obligatory token of consumerism … ahem, I mean, “love.”
What a freakin mistake that was! But I’ll tell you more about that in a moment.
First let’s figure out …
Who Actually Is St. Valentine?
Earlier this week, I started to think to myself …
“Meetch, why are you and every other husband (and primed to be husband) in the country expected to do something ‘sweet’ like buy chocolates, or flowers, or some form written Hallmark card with the words ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ on it?”
Then I thought to myself, “Who’s responsible for this holiday anyway?” … “Who in the world is this St. Valentine?”
It turns out the guy is essentially an amalgam of various saints who were celebrated during the ancient Roman festival, Lupercalia (some fertility celebration that took place ever year on February 15th.)
Apparently, the Pope at the time, Gelasius I, changed the pagan festival to February 14th and called it St. Valentine’s Day in honor of a saint named Valentine.
But that doesn’t tell us who the actual St. Valentine was.
Because according to the Catholic Encyclopedia there was actually three Christian Saints by that name, at the time.
One was a Bishop in Terni, another a Roman priest, and the third was apparently martyred in Africa.
In fact, they were all coincidentally known to be martyrs. (Making sense of perhaps why tragedy can be interpreted as “romantic” in contemporary culture.)
So how do we know which one was to be honored in the festival?
We don’t. The best we can do is to assume that the holiday is celebrated in the name of all three saints.
And to them I say “Damn you St. Valentine … all three of you!”
A Valentine’s Day Faux Pas Never To Be Forgotten
It was a couple of years ago, if I remember correctly, where I was so occupied with whatever else I was occupied with, that I didn’t even get my wife a Valentine’s Day card.
Nada. Zilch. Nothing.
I’ll admit, it sounds bad …
But as much as I am one to take responsibility for my own stupid mistakes, oversights, and general errors in judgment, I reserve the right to blame all three St. Valentines for my bout of absent mindedness.
My wife always brings it up … and probably will for the rest of our lives together.
I will accept my penance, but grace will never penetrate my heart enough to celebrate the holiday or those responsible for its inception.
And as I buy my wife a card, some chocolates, and flowers for the rest of my days, in the depths of my heart, I will forever curse the saints for sentencing me to a lifetime of “store bought” sentiments.
For being forced to partake in a consumerist “do or die” mentality.
And as I curse the saints, I will love my wife … genuinely and intensely — not because I have to, but because I choose to.
That will be my retribution!
Curse The Saints And Love Your Wife … In Your Own Way.
Perhaps you curse the saints as I do, you also know to love your wife honestly, to show it, to say it, and to prove it.
I don’t need to tell you this. You know better.
More savvy of a husband than I was, to know better to always get your wife something on Valentine’s Day (at least for the “insurance policy” against Inevitable Expectation.)
But not me … I’m the idiot in Dostoevsky’s The Idiot.
This post isn’t an affront against anyone (other than society’s ability to mass produce a sentiment and make millions of dollars on it.)
If you really want to curse the holiday, you’ll do something original this Valentine’s Day …
Like write a short love letter to your wife similar (not exactly) to this:
To my wife, the Barcelonan Beauty, who has endured my hellishly long learning curve as a husband. Better late than never, right?
Honey, there is no definite term to our marriage contract. All it says is “til Death do us part.” Well, you should know, I don’t like that arrangement.
In fact, sometimes I wish we weren’t married – so we’d remember, every day, that we’re sharing our lives out of desire, not obligation.
Your clueless husband,
That is actually what I used in the dedication section of my soon-to-be released e-book, Confessions of A Clueless Husband: Seven Spectacular Blunders of A Married Man.
I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s out.
Til then, enjoy your Valentine’s Day, as you curse the saints and love your wife!
From one husband to another,