Happy V-Day – I Think

Valentine's Day makes me uncomfortable, perhaps for no other reason than simply not understanding its purpose. Am I a Valentine's Day Scrooge? Quite possible.

To me, love should be spontaneous, not forced and shown through a card and a little chocolat on a specific day.

When I was a child, my mother made sure I handed out Valentines to all the kids at school, even the nerds, the bullies and little Michael, the boy I had a crush on while always denying it. "Don't leave anyone out!" she instructed.

How was it possible to send out a "Will you be mine?" or "Darn it, you gotta be my Valentine!" or "Let's get together!" to the class bully I wanted to sock in the head? Awkward. With a furrowed brow, I scurried off to write my cards and brace myself for the following day, knowing what lay ahead – a day of having to endure googly-eyes from the class nerd who took my card the wrong way.

When I was all grown up, single and living on my own, V-Day continued to make me cringe. Not because I was bitter or lonely; I just didn't understand where I belonged on that day. Even today, with Mr. Right in my life, I continue to feel it's a bit silly.

But it's Sunday morning, the sun is out, the birds are chirping, 96.3 FM is blaring out some sweet Mozart, it's four days from Love Day, and here I am, thinking about it.

So, I decided to Google how the French celebrate Valentine's Day - and it is not with a piece of cheese.

I was definitely amused with what I found. Here is a snippet from a blog called Metis Linens.

"A peculiar custom that arose was known as 'une loterie d'amour,' or 'drawing for love'. Unmarried people of all ages would go into houses facing each other and begin calling out from one window to another and pair off with a chosen partner. If a young man was not particularly enthralled with his new Valentine, he would desert her. Later, a bonfire would be lit and the single ladies would burn images of their ungrateful lovers and shout abuses at them. The ritual was eventually abandoned when, thankfully, the French government handed down a decree which officially banned the custom."

Crazy. See what Valentine's Day does to people? Love it.

I will end this mumble jumble with my favourite Valentine's memory. One year, my husband came home with roses one week early. In an irritable tone, he said, "it isn't right that prices triple in a week's time, so we are celebrating a week early!"

Happy Valentine's Day to all my dear friends and fellow Paris enthusiasts!

And dare I say...

with lots of Love,



Image credits:

1. Vintage Card via www.vintageholidaycrafts.com.  

2. Heart-shaped cheese via www.frenchentree.com

3. Paris Flower Market via www.georgiannalane.com.