Happy Saint Valentine’s Day

In the grand tradition of courtly love, Happy Saint Valentine’s Day!

Note: I said “Courtly”, not “Courtney”. Big difference.

Yes, it’s that day devoted to red construction paper hearts, and chocolate. On second thought, every holiday is devoted to chocolate. So I guess this is the day that is devoted to red construction paper hearts and fat little angels with weapons. Never have understood the little armed cherubs, but then again I also don’t get what bunny rabbits have to do with Easter.

As holiday’s go, Valentine’s has a strange and somewhat murky history involving a martyred Saint from around 500 A.D., and a bunch of horny guys in leotards from the High Middle Ages. No less an authority than Wikipedia describes “Courtly Love” as such:

“The lover (idolizer) accepts the independence of his mistress and tries to make himself worthy of her by acting bravely and honorably (nobly) and by doing whatever deeds she might desire, subjecting himself to a series of tests (ordeals) to prove to her his ardor and commitment.”

Abelard & Heloise getting busted by her Uncle

According to experts, sexual  satisfaction may not have been a goal or even end result. It was also generally not practiced between husband and wife. Which seems like a convenient out for all you guys that forgot to get your wife flowers, and all you women with a migraine headache tonight. However, unless your spouse is a European History major, chances are you’ll still be in the doghouse.

Yes, despite what the experience of courtly love truly was for such great lovers as Heloise and Abelard, the fact is we have our own traditions, and expectations. So wherever you are, I hope that the love of your life is kneeling beneath a balcony, strumming a Lute and singing you a love sonnet. I know that Heloise and Abelard would be proud. I would, however, suggest that you overlook the fact that Abelard ended up a eunuch.


17 thoughts on “Happy Saint Valentine’s Day

  1. Hi Tom,

    Man, talk about synchronicity. I too wrote an informative piece today, but I talked about the historical Cupid.

    What fascinated me was how you touched on the tension between romantic love and marriage, just as I did…

    Oh, it sounds like I am pitching my own blog! I do not mean to; except, I really do explain those “little armed cherubs,” and I think you would like to read it.

    As always, your fan.

    And how is the weather in Nihon?

  2. He’ll definately be on his knees but he won’t be reciting poetry under an imposing looking balcony. His mouth will be preoccupied.

    Wait, did I just say that?

    Also, the only way a lute will be involved is if he invites Sting to join the party.

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