Where did Valentine’s Day originate? Who was this St. Valentine fellow? Seemingly, Emperor Claudius made it illegal for young Roman men to marry, because he felt that single men made better soldiers. But a priest named Valentine continued to secretly marry young lovers. Of course, he was found out and sentenced to death. But while in jail, he fell in love with the jailor’s daughter and before his execution sent her a letter signed ‘From your Valentine’.
Later on, he was made a saint and February 14th was declared the date on which to honour him. Of course, we here in Ireland have a special connection with the saint as his relics (remains), donated by Pope Gregory XVI, are kept in the Carmelite Church on Dublin’s Whitefriar Street.
And that, folks, is where it all started. In the 18th century, it became traditional to send loved ones handwritten cards or flowers, but nowadays it has become a more commercial affair, as we all know.
What it means for me?
Valentine’s Day is pretty special for GG and me because we started going out on that day 36 years ago and exactly a year later he proposed, but I hate the hype surrounding the day. I remember the angst as a teenager wondering if I would get a card. I remember the relief when I did and the dreadful disappointment when I didn’t.
As my daughters were growing up, I used to send them cards myself in case they didn’t get any. It caused some confusion initially until they sussed out that it was me. They thought I was cute, but deranged! Nothing has changed there.
Valentine’s Day is a commercially manufactured day, to make us spend money. We all know that and yet most of us buy into it. We should not need to be reminded to tell our partners how much they are adored and cherished. The more cynical of my friends call it St Hallmark’s Day.
One of my friends loves sending cards for any occasion and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Once the cards appear on the shelves, she is on the hunt for the perfect one.
I read about a man who bought a card for his partner over twenty years earlier and takes it back every year and signs the card with a new loving message each year. Then away it goes for another year. How clever is that? It means all the little messages are kept forever. Because how many of you keep all those cards? Be honest.
GG and I don’t buy presents or exchange cards anymore. We did for years, when we first got together and it is lovely in those early days, particularly when you have young children, to have a night out or do something special.
For male readers of this blog (and there are a few, I know!) what do women want?
Is there a woman in the world who doesn’t like receiving flowers? I don’t think so, though there may be some out there who are allergic to them. Some of the most creative bouquets I have ever seen have come from The Garden in The Powerscourt Centre Dublin. http://www.thegarden.ie and if I shop local we have several flower shops and garden centres. If you are on a budget, there is still no excuse as you can’t beat Aldi or Lidl for reasonable prices.
A bottle of bubbly will go down well. Again, it does not have to be expensive. If you can’t afford the real deal, a cava or prosecco will have the same impact. If gin is her drink of choice, try one of the many newer brands out there such as Drumshambo www. Glendalough. www.glendaloughdistillery.com
If this is your first Valentine’s Day together or if you want something special, check out Irish designer Chupi Sweetman at Chupi who has some pretty special pieces for lovers. Graham has got me some pretty special pieces over the years from goldsmith Declan Killen. You can always check out www.kilkennyshop.ie whose shops carry a huge range of jewellery from both Irish designers and international brands such as www,dyrbergkern.com with plenty to choose from at reasonable prices.
If we go out we always go local where we are known. So we know standards won’t drop just because they are extra busy.
If you want to purchase lingerie, do not guess the size – check out the underwear drawer and then buy expensive and make sure it can be exchanged! Unless it can be exchanged, most of these gifts languish in the bottom of drawers never to grace either boobs or bum! Why? Because what men want us to wear and what we want to wear are generally poles apart! If you are shopping for a lady of more mature years, it might be better to opt for silk pyjamas or a luxurious robe. Whatever you decide, you will find yourself spoilt for choice in Brown Thomas www.brownthomas.com and of course you can avail of the expert advice of their sales team.
What do men want?
GG is very easy to please. He is happy with anything, claims he wants nothing, but then he is a man in a million. Surprise your man with a few hours, where you give him your full attention and tell him he is wonderful. A friend of mine believes that praise is very important and far more productive than nagging. Tell him when he has helped with dinner, (or even made it) how much you appreciate it, how tasty it is and so on. When he hangs out the laundry or more importantly brings it in before the rain arrives, praise him even more! Since employing this tactic, I have noticed even more success!
If you can’t be bothered with any of that, get him a bottle of his favourite tipple or if you feel he could do with losing weight, buy him a gym membership – hardly subtle, I know, but only the most sensitive might be offended!
We all want cherishing and love, but not only on The Feast of St. Valentine…if we are lucky enough to have found love, we must work at it and never take it for granted. Never be slow to tell your loved one these three words ‘I love you’. Stay clear of stormy seas.
Happy Valentine’s Day.