Valentine Day: The morning after
Today is February 15. Yesterday was Valentine Day, a day to show love. Just a reminder in case the fun of yesterday wiped something off your short-term memory and caused you the loss of the presence of mind. Many people were caught in the love frenzy yesterday, and if you were part of it you must have hurried a gift to a ‘loved’ one, or someone you desire to have.
Let me bother you with a simple question though. Looking back and now, has any lasting value been added to your love life, apart from that gift item sitting somewhere in your room, some wads of cash, memories of a sumptuous dinner and wine, or the company of a beautiful lady?
My disbelief in the ability of a day like yesterday to achieve love is obvious from the foregoing, but I do recognize its importance. With my background in economics, I know its commercial value – a highly commercialized celebration, which enriched shop owners and eateries yesterday.
And with my background in psychology and the benefit of seeing so much of this life, I know how people take advantage of the day to get their desires satisfied in bed, while others make money from offering themselves in the slaughter house. Ooops, am I sounding like my friend Funke on the back page of the paper? Well, give it to her; she is not only bold, she writes very well, communicating in the language people easily understand.
Valentine day is said to benefit gift harvesters more. And studies show that women are the harvesters on the day of love. Well, that may not be entirely true. The calculation seems to ignore what men get in return – the company, the fire in eye, the dimple smile, the effusive love words, and the flashing, which all lead to the ultimate. Sorry, in all my writing I don’t go beyond this point.
Other beneficiaries are people who use the opportunity to start new relationships. In local parlance, the gifts and the love-bearing cards are a form of toasting. The occasion seems to encourage it.
Also, committed relationships can benefit from Valentine’s Day, especially if the romance has faded.
But it is bad day for ladies or guys who are alone, lonely, or have just broken up with their lovers.
So my little question again: are you better off from yesterday’s indulgence? Good if you are but kindly note that achieving love is hard work. Very hard work: you work at it every day. Money or gifts don’t buy love, no matter how often they are given.
Gifts don’t buy love
As experts say, long-term love is sustained not by romance alone but by the daily activities of following-through on promises, showing up both emotionally and physically when needed, owning up to responsibility for your part in any conflict, and by being the kind of person who is worthy of being loved.
Friendship amongst “lovers” can deepen when each party acknowledges that there is work to be done on themselves and in how they treat each other.
Some people who do not want their intelligence to be played on, as the commercialization of Valentine day has done, easily rationalize with its origin, which has nothing to do with love but everything to do with torture.
According to historians, the feast day of St. Valentine remembered two third century martyrs by the name of Valentine who were elevated to sainthood in the early Middle Ages. Both Valentines—one the Bishop of Terni and the other a priest in Rome—were allegedly decapitated by their persecutors on February 14.
Incidentally, St. Valentine (as the two Valentines seem to have merged into one figure by the 9th century) is the patron saint of epileptics, not lovers.
According to author Leigh E. Schmidt, several locales in Europe claimed Terni’s relics, as they were widely dispersed. Several different shrines claimed possession of his skull.
There was no link between St. Valentine’s Day and love until the 14th century. At that time, some scholars claim that Chaucer associated Valentine’s Day with lovers by describing it as the day on which birds select their mates.
There are other versions of the origin of lovers’ day like the one which links it to the Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility rite held on February 15. It is suspected that the medieval church would try to combine saints’ feast days with pagan festivals, to boost Church loyalty and participation.
More significantly, by the 1500s the link between Valentine’s Day, courtship, and love was established. The religious meanings of the day faded to be replaced by the amorous meanings we witnessed yesterday.
If you are wondering about the impact you made yesterday on your lover, check out what Dr. Bill Cloke, a love therapist says: “When I speak to women in therapy about love, what they say is it’s not so much hearts and flowers as it is about someone they can depend on. A good sense of humor, anger management, and a positive attitude trump romantic ideals every time.
“Respect cannot be bought, and it’s the same with friendship. Our ability to be kind, empathic, compassionate and tender will determine the strength and durability of our relationship over time. Relationship success is inevitably linked to our knowledge of what we truly need from one another.”