By Kathleen Guthrie Woods
Lisa and I had a scheduling meeting earlier this year and she reminded me that my column would fall on Valentine’s Day.
“I hate Valentine’s Day” came out of my mouth before I could stop myself.
Hearts, flowers, chocolates…pfft! Even though I am now enjoying a loving relationship with a generous partner, there’s still a part of me that carries sensory memories of lonely, miserable holidays, some while I was single and some while I was in less-than-happy relationships. It’s another one of those events (the prom, New Year’s Eve) that never seems to live up to the hype and, well, I hate it.
So. In the spirit of serious attitude adjusting, I decided to find something fun about this bittersweet day. Here’s some of the random Valentine trivia I discovered:
- In the late 1800s, Richard Cadbury, of Britain’s famous Cadbury chocolates family, created the first Valentine’s Day candy box.
- In the Victorian era, signing a card was considered bad luck. (First secret admirers, or first stalkers?)
- 64% of American men do not make plans in advance for Valentine’s Day. (Shocking, I know.)
- The name “Valentine” comes from the Latin word valor, which means “worthy.”
- In Wales, there’s a tradition—currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity—of giving intricately hand-carved wooden “love spoons.” (See amazing examples here.)
- (Here’s my favorite) When Abraham Lincoln was running for president of the United States, a man named Valentine Tapley said he would never shave again if Lincoln won. Lincoln won. Tapley stopped shaving in November 1860, and when he passed away in 1910, his beard measured 12 and a half feet! Here’s a picture!
Whether you choose to celebrate—or ignore—today’s holiday, I wish you love and chocolate. Kiss kiss!
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.