Oh no! Please, not another rant about the true meaning behind a commercialized Christian calendar event. It’s OK, I’m not going down that path (well not very much), in fact I’m not sure what my take on Saint Valentine’s Day is. But bear with me and we will see how I fare, maybe I should start with a first valentine…
My first run in with the old saint was in high school, I remember the eve of Saint Valentine’s Day tossing in terror that I would be the only kid without a rose. As far as signifiers for cool and popularity go (and all those other really important high school things) it was hard to top carrying around a couple of red roses all day like it was a total drag. Anyway that’s all just a blurry distant memory.
Attempting some laps and trying to cool off a little at the town pool on Monday (the eve) I overheard a lovers’ quarrel: “But you said we weren’t ‘doing’ Valentines Day! Now I’ve got to get you a present!” So that is ‘doing’ Valentine’s Day, buying stuff. Christmas had barely been peddled from the shelves before gaudy Australian flag propaganda was being hawked and now it was poor old St Val’s turn to be flogged (who coincidently was apparently almost stoned and clubbed to death and failing that was in the end beheaded). I may as well start preparing now for the next commercial ‘shock and awe’ event that is Easter.
Anyway don’t get me wrong, I understand that every business has got to get out there to claim their share and perhaps under different conditions I too would have headed out to a Glen Helen or Ross River resort for a romantic weekend package deal. From Katja’s Kafe to The Chifley and Bojangles, they all were preening and theming up for the occasion, what with love heart shaped shortcakes, raspberry pink sodas and red single roses on every table. The florists have got to make a living too and St Val’s is the day! I certainly wouldn’t want to be proprietor of a shop full of unsold imported roses! The hallmark of a greeting card company’s success is also its sales on Saint Valentine’s Day.
I just like to think about how it could have been so different. How would every café, restaurant and bar have preened and themed if St Val had instead become more renown for his patron saintliness of epilepsy, plague or fainting? And instead of being represented by love hearts, roses or a bird was represented by a rooster, a convulsing child or a headless priest. I think such a feast would begin to more resemble the one with carved pumpkins in October.
And what about the bee? Also a busy type, that St Val is the patron saint of apiarists. How come with all their talents, good looks and downright usefulness did the bee not become the cover girl for St Val? All that pollinating and buzzing about, romancing of flowers, keeping them happy and the fruit fruiting. Not to mention their delightful black and yellow colour combo deftly moving us away from all those pink love hearts.
And don’t you think I’ve done well? Not to fly off on an anti over-commercialisation of every aspect of life rant. I’m not saying no to romance or to the odd flower or two, or to a Valentine’s card. Oh no, don’t you worry about that! I have my own romancing all schemed out, flowers plucked from side alleys and all.