Cards have improved

I thought I heard a collective sigh of relief this week when another Valentine’s Day came and went. 

While many seem to love the romance associated with Cupid, others are glad that the day has passed for another year.  I often hear complaints that the occasion is another marketing strategy to part folks from their money as they shell out for candy, flowers, cards and dinner.  The lucky reciprocates of such gifts may be thrilled, but the ones who are “between” relationships claim that the day only makes them feel worse.  

Somewhere I still have a Valentine’s Day card that the cutest boy in 8th grade gave me when we were in junior high school. Covered with violets and including a sachet of violet-scented powder, it was the prettiest card I had ever seen.  The young lothario changed his mind a few weeks later and decided he liked my best friend better than he liked me, but I still remember the thrill of receiving that card.

During the Victorian era, another type of valentine was popular: Vinegar Valentines were unflattering cards from anonymous senders that often included caricatures of the recipient and insults about everything from the person’s looks to his or her character. Sometimes the cards were so mean that the postal service would refuse to deliver them. 

So the bright side of Valentine’s Day for those who don’t enjoy it might be that, regardless of how sad it might be to not have a romantic interest or how much trouble it is to find your significant other a special gift, at least the Vinegar Valentine has fallen by the wayside.

Marian Carcache welcomes comments