Another Valentine's Day has passed whether it was a day of red or black -- depending if you had a lonely hearts club dinner with friends or a romantic dinner for two - has probably failed to meet your expectations.
It was another day in which people exchanged little pieces of paper with tons of little hearts and sappy words on them. The words of love of course were presented by Hallmark.
But how come Hallmark makes all the dough on this day? Who invented this genius-advertising idea? According to one legend, Valentine, who was a Christian martyr imprisoned for helping peasants fight the Roman Empire, actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself.
While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with his jailer's daughter, who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is mostly bullshit, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a romantic figure.
With people's over bearing sappiness and the lack of anything better to do -- after all it was the dark ages -- it is no surprise by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France. Verses and valentine greetings kept gaining in popularity and written valentines began to appear after 1400. The oldest known "valentine" in existence was made in the 1400's and is in the British Museum.
Early on, paper valentines were exchanged in Europe and were made by hand and were made with colored paper, watercolors, and colored inks. Then in the 1800s companies began to manufacture valentines that were black and white pictures and were painted by workers in a factory. Near the end of the 1800's valentines were being made by machine.
Enter the Hallmark.
Hallmark has made a fortune by having a bunch of uncreative people rely on them to tell their significant other how they feel. Of course this is probably best when you think about it; most oafs if they actually wrote a poem for their girlfriend would probably end up writing something like this:
Your breasts are better than all the rest.
Even better than getting an A on a Calculus test.
They are so big a bird could use them as a nest.
Really sad. However, it is the thought that counts. Couples need to realize that no matter how bad their plan turned out that it is OK as long as they actually made an effort to show true feelings instead of letting Hallmark take care of it for them. We should go back to the days of writing poetry, singing a song -- provided you can sing if not find something else, trying doesn't matter in this one --, and writing a love letter. If people could not be afraid to let it all out maybe people could have stronger relationships that last instead of having a 50 percent divorce rate.
Fat chance of it happening, but it would be nice. Heck, if that could happen may someone could not even rely on a made up holiday like Valentine's to show someone they care.