Thursday, February 14, 2008

I Blame Chaucer For Life-Sized Teddy Bears

I tend to forget Valentine's Day until I'm literally confronted with it when I enter a store. The eye-searing pinks and reds in combination with the monstrous stuffed toys that could potentially suffocate you in your sleep usually clue me in. Since I've never been in a relationship when Valentine's Day rolls around, I've remained indifferent to it in much the same way I dismiss St. Patrick's Day. If I'm going to celebrate some saint's day, I may as well celebrate St. David's Day for all that they mean to me. Not to mention the fact the original Valentine's Day honoured several martyrs by the name Valentine and didn't have anything to do with romantic love until Chaucer connected the two in Parlement of Foules. I think I used to rail against Valentine's Day when I was younger, protesting against the pointless commercialism of it, but now I'm just at the point where I ignore it as a necessary point on the retailer's calendar which doesn't concern me.

To be honest, I'm actually glad I haven't been in a relationship with anyone during Valentine's Day (when I was broken up with one week prior to Valentine's Day several years back, I was hugely relieved). I have a feeling that I'd feel really uncomfortable with it much in the same way "romantic" gestures generally make me uncomfortable. Perhaps romance shouldn't lead to mortification, but for me, that's how it is. Add that to the fact that I don't see the point of flowers and/or chocolate (the former just die in a few days and the latter has no happy effect for me at all), and Valentine's Day just becomes a pretty useless ritual.

I'm generally not much for love songs either, and when I do listen to any that may qualify, they tend to be ones about falling out of love, unrequited love, or the love for a friend. This all makes me sound quite miserable, but believe it or not, these songs make me happy. I'm a perverse flower-hating, unsentimental person who gets more endorphins from a Cocteau Twins song than chocolate and who bought a love spoon necklace for herself (I don't rate most jewellery very highly either unless it has a connection to somewhere I travelled to).

Though I've been pretty harsh in the past to those who actually like Valentine's Day, I am not going to rant about it anymore because I recognize that I'm abnormal, and I also recognize that I'm not an emo teenager. So, I've decided to be as impartial as possible in song selection and to be considerate of both views of Valentine's Day by including frothy, appropriately titled songs from The Delays and The Moths; conversely, I've included cynical, politically-motivated tracks from McCarthy and the Manics.

I may fall into the McCarthy and Manics camp on this one, but I won't condemn those who don't. And there very likely is a form of love out there that isn't sappy or uncomfortable...I just haven't ever experienced it.

Valentine - The Delays

Valentine - The Moths

Boy Meets Girl So What - McCarthy

Love's Sweet Exile - Manic Street Preachers

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