In part 1 I made quite a strong case against the sending of Valentine’s Day cards. If my unbiased reasoning didn’t persuade you, you’re a lost cause anyway, but I will nonetheless take the liberty of pointing out that the generic Valentine’s Day cards are killing trees. Are you absolutely sure that you will be able to live with yourselves if you realize that you are responsible for the Valentine’s Day Tree Massacre? Now, I would hate to influence you in any way; however, you’re invited to think extensively about your carbon footprint.
Now that I have provided you with a sound excuse for forgetting to send a card (- My pleasure), let us go back to a time when men didn’t have to buy chocolate or flowers and women pretended to be OK with that. So, many years ago, in a place that we now call Rome, there was a festival called Lupercalia.
As far as I can remember, February has always been associated with emotional and bodily cleansing (even in ancient Rome). Lupercalia happened to be one of the most important festivals of the period. Symbolically, it was similar to modern Lent, but since this was pre-Christian era we describe these customs as savage and uncouth. Priests and ordinary folk gathered at the place where the power duo Romulus and Remus were said to have been found by their adoptive mother the she-wolf (btw, “lupus” is Latin for “wolf”, therefore Lupercalia …). Animal sacrifice was an essential part of this event. The unlucky mammal chosen for the job was either a goat or a dog (whichever was easier to come by in those days). After the nasty part was over, they used the blood to smear the foreheads of the desirable men (you’ll soon see why). The other distinguishing feature was full frontal nudity. Let me elaborate.
Photo source: http://www.timelessmyths.com/classical/rome.html
Dashing young Romans with eye-popping abdominals had to take off all of their clothes in order to move freely around the gathered congregation. You know how clothes like to get in the way of running around and gallivanting … However, before the athletic section of the evening began, the young gentlemen had to fortify themselves by eating and drinking to their heart’s content (and their stomach’s capacity). Then, unhindered by their under-garments, they each grabbed a strip of goat skin (they couldn’t let it go to waste, could they?) and hit married women with it.
Yes ladies, I realize that this sounds like a textbook example of domestic violence, but let me assure you that it was not so. In those long-forgotten days, women were willing to expose themselves to a slight whipping on the back every once in a while. On February 15 of each calendar year, women received a ceremonial lashing in order to ensure their fertility. You get the picture: man hits woman with a phallic-shaped object, woman starts to bleed and nine months later she is in the throes of childbirth. It represented “symbolic penetration” because men were not stupid enough to actually allow the vigorous youth to perform the marital duties for them. Just think of it as the old-fashioned equivalent of the pharmaceutical industry.
A fun fact. It seems that not every young man could become one of the venerable Luperci. The priest eliminated from the pageant all bearded men. It seems that the individuals in question were found irresistible because of it. How times have changed! Today men are discouraged from growing facial hear and I think it’s for the best. We shave, you shave. That’s the deal.
Well, so much for the Romans. Now, as the suck-face fest of 2013 is rapidly approaching, I only have some last-minute words of wisdom to impart to all love birds. Those of you who still haven’t found the perfect gift don’t panic (it’s bad for the heart) and for heaven’s sake don’t go buying some silly thing like a 12 pound teddy bear. It might have been cute when you were seven, but anyone above the mental age of 12 should possess sufficient amount of good sense to avoid the toy-section of department stores (on Valentine’s day).
One last thing, last year I remember not getting any flowers or chocolate delivered to my home. It almost made me think that this was intentional. I’m certain there had to have been a mix-up at the post office. Fortunately, I’m not a person to give up and throw in the towel at the first difficulty. Therefore, I’ve decided that this year all persons wishing to prove their burning passion for me (I know you’re out there), can do it in a very organized way. Just follow the instructions at the bottom of the page. Remember, absolutely anyone can join this terrific cause.
Goodnight and Happy Valentine’s Day. May Love be ever in your favour.
1. Will not except the following: flowers (too cheesy), chocolate (the exam period has not been particularly kind to my figure).
2. Cards are out of the question – didn’t you read the post?!
3. However, I might give my heart away for a good book. For further information you can contact me via telepathy.
4. Personal dedication: Selma G. you’re a dear and I love you to bits. Here’s to friendship!