Next month is February. The month that sends shivers of fear down most men’s spines. For February is that month, that month when we men must, above all the other months, have our wits about us. We must, when speaking with our significant other, understand every nuance of what they say to us. We must listen carefully to every sentence, analyse every word and notice every glance, every slight wrinkle of worry and doubt upon their brow, and every soft sigh. We must be sure that we dredge up some romantic spark and fulfil their unspoken wishes, albeit that none of us are psychic and must fulfil these unspoken desires even though they are – unspoken.
Yes my fellow men the month of St. Valentine is upon us.
10 things to remember about St Valentines Day
1. St. Valentine suffered a grisly death at the hands of the Romans. This serves to remind us men what will happen to us should, by some simple twist of fate, or sudden onrush of Alzheimer's disease, we forget the day.
2. St. Valentine is also the patron saint of epilepsy. No doubt a condition bought on by the amount of money he had to spend on Cards, Chocolates, Flowers, Sexy underwear and other trinkets in the annual attempt to convince his partner that he was truly in love with her – and at a time, I might add, when the credit card and the bank balance are still suffering from exactly the same exercise at Christmas.
3. Lovebirds are tiny African parrots that carry disease. Therefore, although initially this seems like a romantic and apt gift for your lover, they are likely to contract psittacosis. This condition can cause fever, chills, weakness and fatigue, chest pain and loss of appetite, all of which are classic symptoms of being in love and will for a short period engender some sympathy if not out and out fawning. But as soon as the vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches and sweating start you can be sure this would be a Valentines to remember.
4. Hallmark Cards generates $4 billion in sales and charges an average $2.95 or more for a greeting card at retail while it costs the company a mere seven cents to manufacture the card. However, it is a huge mistake (see No 1) to recycle last year’s card, attempt to make one yourself, unless you went to a top arts college, or forget.
5. Roman youths drew the names of girls who would be their partners during Lupercalia. This custom was Christianized and spread to Europe, England and Germany. The modern name for this is ‘swinging’. It is doubtful that your partner would be thrilled if you suggested this as a Valentines treat unless of course she is Swedish or German, where this sort of thing goes on non stop – or so I’m told. I’m not sure about what happens in the Americas.
6. Do not present your secret or intended loved one with a bouquet of Bay leaf, although the Valentine symbol of ‘hope’, she is more likely to interpret this as a request for a stew or soup of some kind. Better the Gardenia: ‘I love you in secret’ or the traditional Rose: ‘I love you passionately’. Although the Persians believe that ‘at night a nightingale flew toward the white rose attracted by its fragrance. He was pierced by the thorns and his blood dyed the flower red’ – so not the nicest image to plight your troth with.
7. One explanation for not buying chocolate this year is that the Roman equivalent of Valentine is Lupercus – the Greed god. Telling your partner (symbolically) that she is a greedy bitch whose cellulite is getting out of control is not the real message of Valentines Day is it?
8. Apparently ‘Diamonds are a girls best friend’ and are popular gifts for women during Valentines. This is perhaps because the diamond derives its name from the Greek adamas, "untameable" or "unconquerable", referring to its hardness. Similar traits to those we find in women. They may well get all soft and dewy eyed upon receiving such a gift and we men may strike it lucky that evening, but beware, these traits will re-appear as soon as normal service is resumed on February 15th.
9. Apparently food is the key to expressing love and going out for a meal on Valentines Day is popular. According to one website Lobster is very popular. Last year in the UK there were 90,000 reported instances of food poisoning. Even under the best of circumstances, eating lobsters can be a public health risk. Seafood is the number one cause of food poisoning in the United States, and shellfish are involved in more than 66 percent of all seafood-related illnesses. In fact, as much as 10 percent of raw shellfish are infected with organisms that can cause hepatitis, salmonella poisoning, cholera, and even death. Maybe Valentines is the night to stay in, protect the credit card and have some pasta! She’ll love you for being so thoughtful.
10. Cupid and Psyche, once together, (it’s a bit of a yarn) had a daughter born to them whose name was Pleasure. A lovely story of true romance but let this be a warning to all you young lovers out there, a few glasses of champagne, half a lobster and some chocolate pudding, if you survive the food poisoning, you’ll end up pregnant and be paying for it for the rest of your lives. A daughter called Pleasure, I think not. Maybe a daughter called Wilful, Disobedient, Headstrong and ‘You’re not going out in a skirt that short are you’?
So men, muster your courage, grab that box of dairy milk, and the wilting bunch of twelve roses from the garage forecourt, strengthen your resolve and with beating heart, bend your knee and pledge yourself to your loved one.
You know it makes sense.