Okay, I suppose this week’s title is less than subtle, but what do you expect for the most commercialized festive occasion of them all? Valentine’s Day falls in a season full of festivities, with Mardi Gras and Chinese new Year right next to it on the calendar, and yet it has become one of the days of the year that makes many want to hide away from the world. Who could blame them? What sane person would normally spend money on flowers out of season or want to buy a box of chocolates so big it can only be called gluttonous?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I have no romantic notions; those who know me can attest to the fact that I am a sap when it comes to love. But there’s the rub – Valentine’s Day should be about love, and not about feeling obligated to keep up with the trends or make the biggest show. Maybe a big show is something you love, but if so I would think you would want to stand out, and not be part of a whole room of big shows. Personally, I like the little touches, like the time there was some little thing under my pillow for a week leading up to Valentine’s Day. One simple blossom with a handwritten note can mean much more than a whole bouquet from FTD, if you know what I mean. And I do believe that chocolate is an aphrodisiac, so maybe more is better but there is something to be said for pacing yourself, too…
Removing my tongue from my cheek I can tell you that the history of Valentine’s Day is certainly a rich one, and you could argue that as a result, it can be interpreted today in many fashions. It has been a pagan festival (I won’t tell you the gory details of that) and a religious saint’s day (to honour a priest who defied a Roman emperor, marrying couples when the soldiers were supposed to be concentrating on fighting). In ancient Rome February was considered the beginning of spring, but even in the Middle Ages they said that the date of February 14 was appropriate as it was (supposedly) the first day of mating season for Europe’s birds. The tradition of sending cards is said in some circles to have started with the aforementioned Roman priest, who was of course jailed for his disobedience but then fell in love with his jailer’s daughter and wrote her a note before his death, signing it “from your Valentine”. The oldest written valentine still in existence is a poem that was written in 1415 by a British noble to his wife - he was imprisoned in the Tower of London at the time (they were famous for beheading people there, so one could see how he would be inspired to profess his undying love). Today, over one billion cards are sent out, and interestingly enough, research shows 85% are purchased by women. (Who knows how many e-cards float over the airwaves).
You can take heart if you have not bought into this holiday (no pun intended but I must admit it does fit…). Most Valentine’s gifts and cards are purchased in the six days leading up to the big day. Bernard Callebaut once told me he was amazed to discover that people buying chocolates on February 15 spent much more, as they seemed to feel guilty they missed the deadline. Just remember this: There is always time to say you love someone – if February 14 makes you remember that, then “better late than never” is a good way to look at it, I think. Write it on the steamed-up bathroom mirror if you have nowhere else; just make sure you say it.
Despite what you may think, I have always been a romantic and I also know (for those more macho readers in our audience) Valentine’s Day is the one day a year where if you don’t screw it up you know you are going to get lucky!
I see so much low quality chocolate stuff out there all I can say is spend some money and don’t give out cheap chocolate. In town you have the Callebaut store at the corner of Gordon Street and Guisachan Street or you have Annegrets Chocolates at 19-565 Bernard Avenue. Giving cheap chocolate to the person you love and planning to be together forever is giving them a discounted proof of affection. Don’t cut corners!
I for one on February 14th will make something out of Callebaut chocolate that is sure to score big. And, of course it will be preceded by a good dinner, a small gift and maybe a flower type thing. Bottom line if you have ever heard the saying ”You are what you eat” for Valentine’s day the saying is “you get what you put out”. For every effort you give, you are giving her bragging rights with her friends that she did make the right choice by hooking up with you. When all her friends start telling her what their hubby did not do, she will feel like a million bucks and ultimately you will benefit from all that! (If you need a recipe, send me an e-mail).
Guys, get out there and do something.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!