BY: DANIEL GOLDSBARY
Martyred saints? An arrow in your ass? A mass murder? What does this holiday mean to you? Don't worry, I'm not about to go on a singles awareness monologue declaring my bitterness-disguised-as-criticism for Valentine's Day. No, this time around I'm not single for the love filled day, but I'm still just as critical of it.
I'll even save you the trite of declaring the over-commercialization of the holiday as despicable. Instead, I'm going to try and focus on some positives that I feel can come out of this social custom. I promise nothing, though.
Picture this: an insecure teenager longing after someone seemingly out of their league. Not too difficult, right? Perhaps this holiday, with all of its grandiose of finding love, could influence one of those downtrodden, insecure, hormone-ridden fools to actually take a chance.
Whether or not it will work in the kid's favor is completely up to fate though, and any outcome isn't too bad in the long run. As long as, you know, it doesn't turn into some traumatizing embarrassment later revisited time and time again in therapy.
Extreme cases aside, it could either result in happiness or simple rejection, both of which I feel can help a person improve and strengthen their confidence over time. I'm no psychology major, though. This is just some cynically optimistic theorizing.
If you decide to drown your sorrows in assorted alcohol just know that in a roundabout sort of way, you're slurping down a connection to an event attached to the holiday, albeit a little morbid. How does a little massacre sound?
Eighty-five years ago, the St. Valentine's Day massacre rocked Chicago. In a time when mobs were in control of smuggling booze through the prohibition era, seven men associated with the North Side Gang of Chicago were lined up along a warehouse wall in the middle of the night and executed via Thompson submachine guns. So get in the spirit, take some shots. At least they won't kill you.
I wouldn't feel too alone if you're single this year, Valentine's Day alienates people in cultures all around the world.
One case of different celebration I found to be intriguing is that of "white day" and "black day" in South Korea. Women give men chocolate on February 14. Men then give a non-chocolate candy to women on March 14, "white day." And on April 14 all of the people who didn't receive anything head out to a Korean restaurant to eat some jajangmyeon, a noodle dish with pork, vegetables, and a black soybean paste. This day is "black day." A day to mourn the single life. No Lady and the Tramp moments for these lonely lads and ladies.
The story of St. Valentine, well one of the Saint Valentines that existed, seems to be the one aspect of this holiday that I can get behind. You see, the Valentine saints were martyrs. Now the history behind the Valentine saints are a bit muddled and mixed, but at least one story told time and time again is that of the fight for love.
Marrying people illegally with the ultimate punishment of death wavering overhead is the kind of commitment I can appreciate come the 14th. I'm not saying catch a grenade, jump in front of a train, or follow your mob boss to your untimely and bloody demise for anyone. It'd just be a nice change to see some kind of thought and commitment put into this holiday that takes longer than the checkout line in Bloomingdales.