50 Shades of Valentine’s

So, the much hyped film 50 Shades of Grey has been released, and, presumably, if it does as well as predicted, the other two books in the series will be turned into films as well.

I do realise that by writing about it, advertising it, I am make the author even more money, and frankly, I think she’s made quite enough out of it. I don’t do love stories, unless they are written by Jane Austen, and that’s only because she was witty and wrote a social commentary as well. The book – and even less likely the film – didn’t live up to the hype. It was, in my opinion, just another love story and if that’s what is supposed to pass as S & M, well, I’m a Dutchman’s uncle. If you are going to write about S & M, make it worth reading. There are some authors who do it far, far better. I can recommend some if you like; I’m considering dabbling in that arena myself, although I doubt that they’d be able to convert those books into films. Not the type of film you’d see in a mainstream cinema, anyway. Anyway, enough of all that, I have a day’s work to do.

It’s no coincidence that the film was released just before St Valentine’s day… St There’s a thing. Friday night and Saturday night, the day itself, the restaurants are absolutely chock-a-block with couples doing what couples in love do: gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes over a Big Mac and fries. No, it’s not my choice for a romantic meal, I don’t really do McDonalds either but people have different ideas about what passes for romantic.

I seem to recall being taken to my local Indian as a matter of course on Valentine’s day in one of my relationships, and much as I love a good curry, when it’s somewhere you go regularly, it’s just not quite special enough for Valentine’s day.

St Valentine or Valentinus was a Christian martyr who was reputedly imprisoned for marrying Roman soldiers to Christians, which was forbidden as Christians were persecuted in the Roman Empire. He is also reputed to have healed the daughter of his gaoler.

It was back in the days of Geoffrey Chaucer when 14 February first started to be associated with romantic love, but it wasn’t until the 18th century that it started to become associated with giving each other cards, and the whole hearts and flowers thing started to take off. St Valentine’s keys were also given – to unlock each other’s hearts.

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Traditionally, in Norfolk, in East Anglia, Jack Valentine knocked on the back door of houses, leaving sweets and presents for the children that lived there. Unsurprisingly, lots of children were scared of him! I think I’d find it a bit freaky for someone I didn’t know leaving me presents and sweets too!

St Valentine is not just the patron saint of lovers, he is also the patron saint of epilepsy, otherwise known as St Valentine’s Malady, which, it seems used to be very common in Germany. In Slovenia, St Valentine is the patron saint of spring, good health, beekeepers and pilgrims.

Back in 18th century England, a trend for what was known as Vinegar Valentines flourished. These were cards that insulted people about everything from baldness to belly fat, and anything else besides. They might even be used to wish someone dead. Pleasant, huh?

I had a peaceful and quiet Valentine’s day this year, and watched the Equalizer starring Denzel Washington and had a curry and some wine. All things considered, that’s actually not a bad way to spend Valentine’s day.

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© Susan Shirley 2015

2 thoughts on “50 Shades of Valentine’s”

  1. More interesting facts. I feel a bit bad for Jack Valentine — he was doing something kind, though I can understand why people might be wary. And it’s nice to know that St. Valentine is in fact associated with some good things. I’d only heard about people being slaughtered and other terrible things on that day, none of which I ever verified. Sounds like your V-Day was nice. Booooooo to Fifty Shades!

  2. Yes, I thought that about poor old Jack too! Gianni, maybe we should collaborate to write some old toot that we can sell the movie rights for and make a packet? Ha ha!

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