There is a lot, at this time of year, made of love and romance. Declarations and demonstrations. Mostly, it seems to me, these are bound up in large soft toys, boxes of heart-shaped chocolates, and bunches of out-of-season flowers, usually marketed as “For Her”.
There’s a German word, Drachenfutter, which means something along the lines of “a gift, usually food, to placate an irate (female) spouse or partner given by the erring (male) spouse or partner”. Literally, it means “dragon food”. Sometimes, it feels like that’s how Valentine’s is depicted: everything is aimed at making the woman happy. Because her life is incomplete without a demonstration of love on this specific day.
Dictionaries define love, in both the noun and the verb, as being or having strong feelings of affection. The OED says it has Indo-European roots with meanings ranging from “it is pleasing” in Latin to “to be confused” in Sanskrit. Frankly, I’m very confused by all the faff about St Valentine’s Day.
I’m not a massive fan of the commercial side of Valentine’s, and nor do M and I tend to notice it: to us, it is merely another day. It is a holy day – remembering St Valentine (although there are several St Valentines) – but not a holiday. Not that we remember it much as a holy day either. Otherwise we’d be marking pretty much every day as such.
But anyway. Not to bring a downer to the party, but really, isn’t it all a bit over-inflated? A bit too over-compensatory? Surely romance is about spontaneity, not being dictated to by Big Business, or buying the last wilting bunch of flowers because you forgot and there’s nothing else left and she’s expecting something?
Surely romance is the random things, the things done “just because”, without rhyme or reason, on days which have no other meaning. It’s the little things, the quiet whispers, the gentle reminders. Or perhaps that’s just me.
And I really don’t understand how a giant teddy bear says “I love you”. What am I missing with that one?