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’Tis The Season To Gag

’Tis The Season To Gag

  • Some people (???) have decided that February 14th is supposed to be a commercial holiday for those in love and the weeks leading up to it must be sweetened to an unbearable extent with flowers, chocolates, cards and the colours red and pink.
  • And to put your mind at ease, I’m not pissing on your V Day parade because I’m single. But because you did think that, I won’t tell you why I’m against it. Ha! Instead, I’ll share with you some less-than-romantic facts and stories about this special time of year, because you should know by now… nothing is EVER what it seems.

It’s Valentine season y’all! And you guessed it, I’m not the biggest fan. February could be a month of many things. Last month of winter. Shortest month of the year when your salary feels like it goes further than usual. Carnival season. But nooo!

Some people (???) have decided that February 14th is supposed to be a commercial holiday for those in love and the weeks leading up to it must be sweetened to an unbearable extent with flowers, chocolates, cards and the colours red and pink.

And to put your mind at ease, I’m not pissing on your V Day parade because I’m single. But because you did think that, I won’t tell you why I’m against it. Ha! Instead, I’ll share with you some less-than-romantic facts and stories about this special time of year, because you should know by now… nothing is EVER what it seems.

Lupercalia

Some say that what we (and by we I mean you lot) celebrate as modern Valentine’s day is loosely related to Lupercalia, an ancient pagan festival, and as such ancient pagan festivals usually did, it got downright freaky.

Observed in the city of Rome, from the 13th to the 15th February, the goal was to ward off evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility.

 

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As for the tradition, a male goat (what is with the goat thing?!) and a dog were sacrificed by one of the priests after which two other priests were anointed with blood from the sacrificial knives. This act was supposed to prompt laughter in the newly anointed Luperci (yep, these priests have their own special name). Then there was a sacrificial feast – I’m thinking this was much more laughter-inducing than being smeared across the face with goat blood – and the freaky part began.

The Luperci cut thongs from the flayed skin of the animals, stripped naked and began running around and whipping anyone they could get their thongs on in the process. Women were even said to stand in the way, wanting to get some of the action, as a whipping from a naked man flailing part of a dead carcass could help the pregnant in delivery and the barren to pregnancy.

I would happily pop some corn and watch people go cray-cray like that… except for the animal cruelty part. I’m sure we could come up with a cruelty-free substitute.

Saint Valentine

Apparently, there were a bunch of saints named Valentine, but two stand out as they were martyrs that are said to have died on February 14th, although years apart.

Apparently, both of them healed the physically impaired through the power of God, and also refused to renounce their faith during the Roman persecution of the Christians. As such, both of them were put to death by Roman Emperor Claudius.

 

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Vinegar Valentine

If we take a leap through time, we arrive in the Victorian era. In 1840, people were sending commercially available, decorated cards to the subject of their affections, which often included a poem and some cutesy drawings.

But what if the person that liked you was someone you despised and wanted to hurt? Or you just wanted to hurt someone? As popular as regular Valentines, Vinegar Valentines came into fashion at this time. These were less pretty than their counterparts, usually including a caricature and a funny or even vicious poem.

There was an insulting card for almost any kind of person someone might have disliked: from salespeople and landlords, to overbearing employers. Suffragettes became targets of these cards when the women’s suffrage movement gained momentum. They were sent to liars, cheats, penny pinchers, flirts, alcoholics and any person one might deem unpleasant.

I don’t support hurting people for sport, but the caricatures are kinda cute and if I were you, I’d look these up for a laugh.

Cupid

To this day, romantic love is often symbolized by Cupid.

Cupid is the Roman god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. We know that ancient Romans were a naughty bunch but damn! Why in the name of all the other ancient Roman gods would you depict a god representing all that stuff as a child?! A chubby toddler with wings at that?!

Not to mention…

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind”.

…he can’t see!

So if any of you are expecting a pudgy baby with feathery wings and a non-existent eyesight to poke you in the butt with his arrow (dirty on purpose), I have a great therapist you can call.

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

The 1920s were a violent time in Chicago, no matter how we romanticize it. All that gangster crap culminated in what has come to be known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929.

On February 14th, seven members and associates of the South Side gang led by George “Bugs” Moran were lined up in a garage in the South Side of Chicago and shot dead by four men dressed as police officers.

The crime remains unsolved to this day but it has been added to the long list of Al Capone’s terrible deeds. After all, him and Bugs have been fighting over control of Chicago’s smuggling and trafficking operations for quite some time.

The location of the bloodshed was demolished in 1967, but since we’re romanticizing, about 300 of the bricks from the building are still on display in the Mob Museum in Las Vegas.

After all the gore, blood and vinegar, I’ll leave you with a song that even the harshest V Day haters like myself can enjoy. You can’t say I don’t have a romantic side.

Now go and buy yourself some flowers!

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