The Anti Valentine

Some of my friends call Valentine’s day VD, which is always remeniscent (and deliberately so, I think) of Venereal Disease. Sexually transmitted diseases are just one of the hazards of falling in love; other consequences can include massive heartache when love goes wrong, the devastation of finding out The One is not The One and a huge, additional miscellany of injurious and painful experiences.

But we fall in love anyway because Love is Awesome because – and not in spite – of these potential dangers. The experience of waking up beside someone you adore after 20 years and saying ‘I still choose you’ ceases to mean anything in a world without pitfalls and given the pain of rejection that we all fear, it is always brave and wonderful and beautiful when Love is nevertheless declared.

So I find our current Valentine’s Day celebrations to be slightly lacking in edge. Conveniently brushing aside the difficulties of love in order to achieve a level of appealing visual confection devoid of threat or pain or blood or guts, our Valentine’s day cards with their little hearts and little roses embossed prettily upon them constitute little more than a collective denial of Love’s Awesome Power.

The original, pre-Christian celebrations that took place around this time of year in Roman times were much better. Involving animal sacrifices, whippings, blood and milk, the festival of Lupercalia was a hearty affair with no embossed roses in sight.

Tempting as it is to run through the streets naked but for a goatskin, covered in the blood of a sacrificed animal and whipping everything I see in sight, I fear that such behaviour loses its meaning in the context of our modern city. This anti-Valentine act wouldn’t be interpreted as a protest against the asinine syrup of Valentine’s day, or celebrated as a revival of ancient feasts and customs. We are not Romans anymore and perhaps it is overkill to resort to a full-blown resurrection of the festival of Lupercalia in order to celebrate love in a more honest way.

So rather than slaying goats or running to the cave of the She-Wolf, I have instead taken the very imagery of our contemporary Valentine’s day cards and subverted it as the basis of my Anti Valentine campaign.

The Anti Valentine’s Day cards can be purchased from my Etsy store as advertised on crafty crafty, or direct from me at Gun Street Gallery, up until 28th February.

5 Responses to The Anti Valentine

  1. Pingback: Birdy num num « Paperhouse

  2. Pingback: The Domestic Soundscape » Blog Archive » The (Anti) Valentine

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