St. Valentine was martyred (a word I fucking hate) for performing illegal marriages for Roman soldiers (and it will take 800 years more before the first military gay marriage is sanctioned!) who were not allowed to marry because the Roman Empire thought unmarried men made better soldiers. (Just as a side note... I disagree with this idea. I would think in those days that married men would be jumping at the chance for a vay-cay from the little woman - the chance to go to far off places even at the risk of certain death! And you only were required to serve 20-25 years - you could then come home and spend the remaining 4-5 years of your life with the woman or soldier you love).
There are apparently many other St Valentine's but I like this story best - its like Harry Potter but without the realism.
Before his execution, Mr. Valentine healed the blind daughter of his jailer and gave her a note that was signed "Your Valentine". Awwwww! The very first valentine! How sweet is that!!
Then they beheaded him.
You'd think maybe the jailer would've shown a little gratitude here... slipped the V-man a paperclip to pick the lock or a least let him de-flower his daughter. Hey...maybe he did! Maybe that's where the tradition of giving flowers on Valentine's Day comes from! Must research further....
Ok, so then how did that turn into the commercial monster of Valentine's Day, ie Who's Man Is better Day? Like most things, we can blame the British. Chaucer's poem "Parliment of Foules" is the first recorded association of the anniversary of the day of St. Valentine's death and love/romance (such foresight of him to associate Valentine's Day, love, and foules (fools)!). Chaucer also wrote The Canterbury Tales where people fuck around on their spouses, fart in each other's faces and have red hot pokers shoved up their asses. Ah... amore as only the British could write it....
Then came hundreds of years of poems, odes, and soliloquies devoted to love and Valentine's Day.
Then in the early 19th century some British asshat wrote a book of "sentimental verses" meant to "help men who were challenged in the ways of romantic prose", ie get laid. This evolved into individual cards that allowed anonymous proclamations of love and the first incidences of stalking. Then Hallmark came. ("And they bought Mercedes Benz's"...sorry...) They turned Valentine's day into a lucrative business littered with commercialism and guilt. Recognizing the potential, they created more "Hallmark Holidays" like "Houseplant Appreciation Day", "Left Hander's Day" and "Christmas".
So where did the popular symbols of cupid and the heart symbol come from?
Cupid - a fat baby in a diaper shooting a love-poisoned-tipped arrow while blindfolded. He's the offspring of Venus (love) and Mars (war) ("Love Is A Battlefield" indeed Pat Benatar!) He's male because love is "foolish and irrational" (um...I'm sorry can we get a judge's ruling here? Which sex is traditionally irrational??) He's often depicted with the attributes of Dionysus, the god of wine (well, given his outfit wouldn't he have to be!). He ended up banging Psyche and they had a daughter they named Voluptas. (Really? I mean why not just buy the poor thing a pole and a g-string now.... )
Then there is the heart. I don't care what anyone says, this symbol developed from representations of a woman's body and not the actual human heart. Let's compare shall we?
On the left are female buttocks (with a nice g-string tan line) arched achingly in a bubble bath (ok, I'm assuming its "achingly"...). And on the right is a regular old boring human heart. My exhaustive (and fun!) research is pretty clear I think... So when you're opening that heart-shaped box of chocolates keep in mind you just got a butt filled with chunks of black stuff...that you're now going to eat. Sounds like love to me!
What's the point of all this? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Valentine's Day is just another way for companies to make money off of our guilt. I mean, wouldn't you rather receive a token from your love on some arbitrary day of the year for no reason? I think I would (aside from the social ridicule suffered in the office being the ONLY one not to receive flowers on V-Day) Plus, I hate Valentine's Day and wanted to write about it and in the process got to look at a lot of pictures of female butts although I think some of them were men (for the life of me I just don't get how they get rid of all the hair...I mean ALL the hair!)
Having said that, Happy Valentine's Day to my wife - my best friend and my love-ee.