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A Brief History of Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2014
  • 496 AD – Valentine of Rome is martyred
  • 1477 – the earliest surviving valentines written in English are composed
  • 1983 – Valentines are exchanged amongst first grade classmates on a voluntary basis. A little girl gives away a box full and receives none.
  • 1994 – Cookies are baked for a high school boyfriend. Later that day, a girl is dumped.
  • 1996 – Flowers are delivered to a college freshman with a mysterious note. Her roommates believe this to be the act of a secret admirer. The girl knows the florist has made a mistake, her mother having already called to see if she received her flowers.
  • 1997 – A college sophomore receives two gifts, both from her mother. One is a pound of chocolate. The other is a bra in the next size up from her usual, because the mother has taken note of the girl’s recent and significant weight gain.
  • 1998 – A college junior refuses to leave her room while waiting for her long-distance boyfriend to call. When he finally does, he dumps her, even though she’s lost the weight.
  • 2001 – A vegetarian is taken to dinner by a new boyfriend. At a steakhouse. He is dressed in black pants, a black shirt, and a red tie, the exact same uniform worn by all of the wait staff. He is given full credit for trying.
  • 2005 – A lifelong dream is realized when a young bride receives flowers at the office. Upon checking the card, she sees that they are for a coworker. She re-directs them. Her new husband loses all credit bestowed in 2001.
  • 2007 – A recent divorcee reads her settlement agreement over a bottle of cheap cabernet
  • 2008 – A 30-year-old woman travels to Belize to prove to herself that she can do anything on her own. She contracts leishmaniasis and is picked up from the airport by the very sweet man she’s just started dating. He brings her flowers and tries to tend to her severe flu-like symptoms. She dumps him when the fever breaks.
  • 2009 – A man informs his starry-eyed new girlfriend that he does not believe in Valentine’s day. Other things he will eventually not believe in include jewelry, cards, wrapping of gifts, cleaning hair out of drains, discarding of beer cans, paying bills, and brushing his teeth every day. She will date him for four years.
  • 2014 – A mid-30s former vegetarian single divorcee works late, eats half a rotisserie chicken standing over the sink, pours herself a glass of wine, and writes a brief history of Valentine’s Day, as happy as she’s ever been on Valentine’s. 

Happy day, lovers!

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