Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Valetudinarian

Today is Valentine’s Day. Woo-fucking-ha!

In other words, today is the granddaddy of all corporate sponsored Hallmark holidays, created solely to capitalize on mass consumerism with specifically designed marketing strategies to further line the pockets of the Company Chairmen with the hard-earned dollars of the dishevelled wage donkeys, like myself.

In the beginning however, there was still shred of intended actual purpose for Valentine’s Day starting back in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honor Juno, the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage*. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia. On this eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written with slips of paper and placed into jars. Each eligible young man would draw a girl’s name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, where they would fall in love and eventually marry.

Shit, that sounds like my Grade 9 gym class when it came time to leanr ‘Ballroom Dancing’ as part of the mandatory class curriculum, and we would have to anonymously draw our dance partners lest there should be any damaging of pre-pubescent pride or deeper feelings of inadequacy among class members. I say that this is a fucking fantastic idea, since at the very least I’d automatically have more of a running chance with the one guaranteed partner than I do now with none at all! Hey, the girl I may have chosen may have ended up with a face that you could carve a roast on, but at least I would be guaranteed not be lounging at home alone on my triclinium on Valentine’s Day watching ‘Everybody Loves Herodotus’ on the family lararium like a complete HOMO DETERRIME **.

Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II, Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. 'Claudius the Cruel' was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was the Roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. And it was under such a political climate that the good Roman priest Valentinus enters into the picture and forever alters the scope of this holiday tradition.

He and Saint Marius continued to aid the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples in love, and thereby committing them for the rest of their lives together to purchasing boxed chocolate candy by the pound, extortionately expensive bouquets of flowers, decorative cards, and ridiculously useless stuffed teddy bears that say “I Wuv You” when you pull the cord attached to it’s back.

For his deeds, Valentinus was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condoned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off…which as I see it, is still preferable to spending half your February income each year on needless novelty holiday crap to prove to your significant other that you actually do think about them from time to time. He suffered this martyrdom on the 14th of February, about the year 269AD…the lucky bastard! Rumor has it, that before his death, it was Saint Valentinus himself that sent the first official Valentine card to the daughter of a prison guard that he had become enamored with before he perished and signed it: “Love from your Valentine”.

Awww, isn’t that romantic? Courage and adversity in the name of injustice, the unreciprocated love between two forbidden lovers, and the eventual beheading by a cruel dominant overlord. Man, this shit is right of out a Hans Christian Anderson fairytale!

Despite the efforts of the Christian Church in Rome, Valentine’s Day continued to echo Lupercalia in at least one aspect – the drawing of lots between men and women to pair them up and the exchanging of gifts and tokens of love. This tradition persisted well into the 18th century. Gradually, however, a shift took place. No longer did both parties exchange gifts; instead, gift-giving became solely the responsibility of the man!

WTF? How’d we men manage to, yet again, allow ourselves to be screwed into another one-sided arrangement? Traditionally, this new twist to the Valentine's tradition intended to finally bring an end to the random drawings of names, since many men were unhappy about giving gifts (sometimes very expensive) to women who were not of their own choosing (ie. Women for whom it would be necessary to wear a bag over their head in order to conceal their face before any type of consummation could be managed successfully). And now that individuals were free to select their own Valentine, the celebration took on a new and much more serious meaning for couples. Namely, the automatic associated nervous Valentine’s Day anxiety that every single man on the planet feels in his loins, and will inevitably torture himself with, as well as the further lending itself to deep rooted inadequacy and lack of self-confidence issues. Oh, fucking goodie! Just what I need, another excuse to develop a personal complex!

Like I don’t suffer enough during the other 364 lonely days of the year feeling like a completely wretched, unlovable ghoul…thank you very fucking much! So when do we male schleps get our holiday comeuppance then? It’s not like we ever stop begging for sex the rest of year, am I right? We work hard for our Valentine’s Day sweethearts! So, when do we get to feel wooed and desirable in return then?

A wise Canadian musician named David Wilcox once said:

"I wish I had a million dollars
To buy her everything she needs
She'd only come back for more and more and more and more and more and more...
I'm layin' pipe
All night long
Layin' pipe
I'm working so hard
I'm layin' pipe
All night long
Layin' pipe
To satisfy that woman"

Fucking-A! How about a little respect ladies?

There should be another entirely separate holiday similar to Valentine’s Day, only more geared towards the men. Shit, Lord knows we men spend most of our time plotting and conspiring with the objects of our affection in order to convince them to allow us to teabag them in the public bathroom at McDonald’s or something, so there should be a special holiday to honor our dedicated advances where we men will be pursued and competed for by our female counterparts for a fucking change!

We could hold another holiday for the men immediately after Valentine’s Day and call it ‘Steak and Blowjob Day’! Forget the candy, red roses, and nonessential holiday frou-frou bullshit; let’s get to the nasty, baby!

As it is now, the only indication I ever have that it is in fact Valentine’s Day is that my place of employment has a customary passing out of special “Candy-grams” among the co-employee’s. Inevitably, these special Valentine’s Candy-grams are passed out throughout the shift, and not only do I ever get fuck all, but I usually end up stuck sitting between two girls who get like a zillion Candy-grams each, and proceed to publicly open each one, before giggling to themselves and waving to each member of their fan club across the work floor like a Queen waving to her loyal subjects from her balcony window; my pride plummeting like a sinking stone with each opened Candy-gram. It’s like being caught in the middle of a popularity war! Now, I understand that this Valentine’s workplace practice is intended to promote employee moral, but inevitably it just achieves exactly the opposite for single schmucks like myself. Instead, I feel like Buffalo Bill from ‘Silence of the Lambs’, and I end up walking around my apartment with my penis tucked between my legs and demanding that my cat puts its lotion on!

“Youwannafuckme, huh? Youwannafuckme? ...Precious?”

Why don’t I ever get any Candy-grams? Shit, nobody even looks at me twice if I were to fart loudly in my swivel chair, much less think to send me a little token of affection. Do I look like somebody who wouldn’t want a Candy-gram? Fuck, I’m a fat fucking man here! I’ll take and eat as many grams of them Candy-motherfucker’s as they can dish out by the wheel-barrowful! Or is it that I just give off an aura of Valentine’s Day indifference as I currently am living a life about as exciting as pudding skin?

How attractive do I feel? Christ, I'm enough to make Charlie Brown seem like Warren Beatty.

* It can also be argued that Juno was also the Goddess of nagging, allimony payments, and of putting the toilet seat down.

** Roughly translated as: "Lowest of the low life's"

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