Guest Post - Ben Capps
Dear St. V.
Can I call you V? I know there’s some speculation about “Valentine” even being your real name at all... so V seems more appropriate. Cool? Okay.
Anyway, today’s your day!
Today we paint the town red, purchase our loved ones sweets and candies and flowers and dinners and jewelry and cards and... well... you get the picture. You’re kind of a big deal, man.
Here’s the thing... I’ve been reading a bit about who you were and what your life was about and... I’m a little let down. There seems to be some incongruence with how you seem to have lived your life and how we seem to celebrate your life today. It’s not cool, V.
You see... Valentines Day means a lot to us down here on earth and I would really appreciate it if your life would have lined up a little better with the stuff that marks our celebration.
So can I air out the laundry a bit? Sorry to bring this up on “your day” I just don’t think about you a lot except today... so... here we go.
1. Can we talk about... timing?
Okay. So practically... I get it. February. It’s pretty cold out and the warmth of a nice roaring fire and fine glass of french wine in our country get away... um... romance. Also, November is a fantastic time for a birthday. So yea. I get it.
But did you really need the holiday to coincide with the feast of Lupercalia?
So yea — I get that the timing of many holidays are intended to repurpose pagan holidays into something more... helpful... this is the situation we find ourselves in here.
But have you done any research on the feast that you were hoping to repurpose? It’s brutal, V. It’s not romantic to say the least. It involves sacrifices, and alters, and all sorts of things that don’t really fit with my ideas for a date tonight.
2. Are you ashamed of love?
I might be able to lay aside the timing thing, as unfortunate as it is, I don’t think you had much to do with choosing the date.
But here’s something I can’t get past, V.
Love is supposed to be loud, right? That’s certainly what social media has taught us all. Also... I mean... have you seen Say Anything?
The stereo? The trench coat? In public? Have you seen Jerry Maguire?
You Complete me? You had me at hello? All while a bunch of middle aged woman sat by watching?
Love is supposed to be about grandiose gestures, loud proclamations and expensive and (most importantly) public acts of self humiliation.
You can imagine my horror when I learned that you were most well known for helping young couples secretly get married. Secretly. You ought to feel ashamed, V.
Sure. The Roman Empire wasn’t allowing any marriages at all at the time. That Claudius guy was a real jerk. And sure, they were especially persnickety about the fact that you were marrying people into a union that was being defined as sacred by Christianity.
But really? In secret? I think you need to learn a few things about the meaning of love from recently engaged couples on Instagram.
3. Where’s the Happy Ending?
V - all Valentines days ought to end with a happy ending.
I understand that the ending in your story was... less than romantic.
I’ve watched a lot of Rom Com’s and I can’t find one thing to defend that the ending of your story was a good one. Come on, V.
4. Love is About Romance and Gifts. You Don’t Seem to Understand That.
This is, I think, where I am the most upset.
It’s pretty clear to me that love is about romance and gifts. It’s about expensive trips, candle lit dinners and artisan jewelry. It’s about saying the right thing, writing the right poem, posting the right words to your significant other’s Facebook wall. This is love, V.
This whole bit about you standing up for the sacredness of marriage by marrying folks in secret during a rough time and ultimately being executed for your actions? This seems to communicate to me that love is about... well... sacrifice and hard work.
I don’t want to hear that, V. Not today. Sacrifice and hard work are not sexy ideals.
They don’t always write sweet nothings in lipstick on the mirror. They don’t always elaborately throw the contents of their wallet at the latest romantic trend. They’re not always about bold, public proclamations.
Sacrifice and hard work are not Instagramable, V.
I hope I haven’t come on too strong, V. I’m just appalled by your misunderstanding of what love is. Especially in light of the holiday we’re celebrating today.
You see, I want today to be about superficial expressions, fluffy words, shinny things and expensive food. I want to glamorize consumerism, stuff my face full of candy and pretend that I don’t have bills to pay or children at home with a baby sitter.
If you’re trying to tell me that your ideals on love involve actual, real life, commitment, making sacrifices for love, working hard at relationships and celebrating the long haul?
I’m sorry, V. That’s just not very hip.