Love is in the Air–ish

valentines pg 15

“The poor wish to be rich, the rich wish to be happy, the single wish to be married, and the married wish to be dead.” – Ann Landers

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, that special time of year when star-crossed lovers exchange gifts and tithes of affection and all the dateless wonders of the world revel in righteous indignation and moan to the high heavens that the day is just another holiday cooked up as an excuse to sell cards.

The date of February 14th is forever etched into the calendar due to the supposed exploits of a man by the name of Valentinus, who was martyred in the year 269 AD.

One of the main legends goes that Valentinus was imprisoned for performing weddings to soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for aiding Christians, who were then persecuted by the Romans. One accretion to this story is that on a farewell note to his daughter’s jailer he wrote the words “Your Valentine,” after which he was sentenced to a lovely three-day execution of a beating, a stoning and finally a decapitation.

If this doesn’t scream flowers, red hearts, romance and Cadbury’s Milk Tray… then nothing will! He may be seen as the patron saint of love, but he is also the patron saint of beekeepers and epilepsy, if that makes an iota of difference.

Fast forward to the modern age and few days as seemingly innocuous as Valentine’s Day cultivate such divisive opinions. On one hand, it is an excuse to uphold a tradition that has existed since the Middle Ages, where couples of all stripes can pamper each other and look lovingly into each other’s eyes and blissfully deny the possibility that the day itself is an abject sham.

For others, it is a day that allows their deep-seeded bitterness to boil over and to curse all things heart-shaped. For the latter it serves as nothing more than a bleak 24-hour reminder that, on a planet of over 7 billion inhabitants, they have failed to even obtain one.

For many men, they could well use the day as a spur to reveal their true feelings for their long-time crush, though many will still elect to stay in the non-reciprocal realm of desolation, more commonly known as “The Friend Zone.”

Your friend and humble narrator has also seen Valentine’s night exploit the weak will of the singleton. One harks back to the nascent days of the new millennium, where a Traffic Light Ball was held in the Red Box of Harcourt Street. Stickers were provided at the front door to determine your status: Red for ‘taken’, green for ‘single’ and amber for ‘who knows?’ Needless to say, my associates and I opted for green, only to leave the club later that night with great disappointment that our green lights failed to register even the slightest hint of a traffic jam.

So for all you lovers out there, in Dublin 4 or elsewhere, just spare a thought for those not so fortunate, who may be compelled to drown their sorrows, if needs be. While you are out celebrating your love with a romantic meal, rest assured we will be living it up in a pub of our choice, putting on a public display of defiance… while slowly dying inside!

By Craig Kinsella