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Valentine’s day – romance for some, extortion for others

Monday 14 February 2022 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Entertainment, Features


Valentine’s day – romance for some, extortion for others
On this day of love let us remember, love is patient love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/22021308

Valentine’s day the day of love and madness, chocolate and flowers, cards and gifts.

I’m not sure that I have noticed too many red hearts out and about unless you’re counting cards, writes Ruta Mave.

In my youth I remember looking for the perfect verse that would say the very things you can’t say, don’t say or lack the imagination to say directly to the person you like. But Valentines cards are supposed to be anonymous so how that works to alert your heart’s desire to your romantic notions and wishes to be with them as it did for the original Valentine letter, is beyond me.

Saint Valentine was a Roman priest who performed secret weddings of young couples, against the authority of Claudius in the third century. Valentine was imprisoned and fell in love with his captor’s blind daughter. On the day of his death, he sent her a letter signed from ‘Your Valentine’. They say she was miraculously cured and able to read the letter herself, causing the whole household to convert to Christianity. Not sure if this means love is blind or the receiver of a letter or card on Valentines means they will miraculously see you. It’s so typical of love – granted it can be a fire but whether it’s going to warm your heart or burn down your house you can never tell.

I blame Cupid the son of Mercury the winged god and Venus the goddess of love and beauty. He is known as the god of affection. Legend has it that cupid shoots magical gold tipped arrows at the gods and humans alike. By piercing their heart with an arrow, he causes individuals to fall deeply in love. The thing is I’m not sure he is a good shot, especially as he is blindfolded for most of the time. Also, not sure if he is a good advert for love as he starts off as this tall dark handsome lithe figure – Eros and over the years of snacking on wine, grapes and chocolate he ends up this chubby cherub thing in a nappy. Looks like the end scene of a marriage, where it all started off in romantic dreams then the alarm bells go off and you find yourself married, which isn’t so bad to have someone else around who can look for your glasses and car keys.

St Valentine’s death became a national holiday 1300s, and by the 1500s valentine letters were sent, the oldest is a poem composed in French in 1415 by Charles Duke of Orleans to his wife, which he sent while imprisoned in the Tower of London.  The mass commercialisation of the day started 1840 and has women expecting a romantic day of receiving gifts while, men see it as a day of extortion.  They ask why should they go out and buy tokens of love, when the girl should already know they are loved. True that, which is why they need reminding. She may not know you appreciate her having dinner ready every night, and letting you go bowling or play darts every Wednesday. Love is shown in many forms and the Beatles say all you need is love but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.

Then for some singletons who dread Valentine’s Day, it highlights to them they are alone and unloved, when the reality is – if that were true – is they are alone and unloved every other day of the year too. Singles have to be more creative and not so literal because you’re never alone on Valentine’s if you are near a lake and you have bread…

Sadly, today we have awoken to the announcement the Omicron virus is likely in our community. This was bound to happen and for now despite it having been a week we appear unaffected. We have prepared practicing wearing masks, sanitising, had our vaccinations and boosters, now we wait to see if that is enough. It will be the making or breaking of us on how we respond, not all of us believe in the same lines of protection. We have made our decisions, now we have to abide by the consequences of those decisions come what may. In light of this we need to remain vigilant and guard against blame, finger pointing or name calling. If Covid is here we will all be affected so we need to all work together to support and fight against it destroying our community.

On this day of love let us remember, love is patient love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.