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LETTER: The shocking roots of Valentine’s Day

Reader shares some tips to wooing a loved one this Valentine's Day

BradfordToday received the following letter from Albert Wierenga regarding Valentine’s Day:

Valentine’s Day. 

The roots of this day are rather shocking: The Roman festival of Lupercalia was celebrated on the 14th of February. It was originally an agricultural festival. It was associated with renewal and fertility. Young men would run naked through the city hitting females with leather straps. It was believed that this would help women get pregnant.

We have come a long way in changing the above scenario into what the day is today. Due to its avid promotion, many feel the need to do something about something to show something of which many are bereft. The solution to their problem is a late afternoon dash to the florist to buy a dozen roses for $80 or so.

What is not realized is that those same 12 roses would sell for $0.25 each in Quito, Ecuador, close to where they were grown. Another late option is a visit to a chocolatier who will sell a $60 box of assorted goodies derived from the cacao bean grown in Ghana. The price of a kg of cacao beans is about $3, at source. And these gifts are supposedly demonstrative of one’s passion and are used to impress the person we value the most.

I fully realize that having lots of money to spend on the opposite sex can be a successful strategy to obtain what one desires. A look at old rich men marrying younger attractive women proves this, as does the seamier side of life in some of the infamous streets, in say Amsterdam, Hamburg, or Bangkok

For those of you who have a more practical bend and, like me, are somewhat romantically challenged, and have through good fortune obtained a life partner, may I suggest a few ideas that may make your loved one’s heart beat faster without having to reach for ever higher denominations in one’s billfold?

In any case, back to trying to impress your loved one.

Consider the following:

It only takes a few minutes every now and then, but a clean sparkling ‘throne’ in a clean washroom is appreciated fantastically by most of the fairer sex, let alone us males, who adore them.

If you are not favoured by a dishwasher like us more primitive living ones, admiration can easily be earned by spending a bit of time each day washing and drying the dishes leaving a dry dish rack as a token of your adoration.

Valentine’s falls in the middle of our winter and snow is common in Ontario. A bit of sweat (unless you have a powered snow remover) to do some shovelling pays off handsomely. A clean, dry driveway is a joy for your loved one, who is bound to appreciate you.

If she really loves flowers and you want to bring colours and aromas into your house as a token of passion for your loved one, how can you trump spending some time and effort into growing some amaryllis flowers (and/or others) indoors to brighten up her and your day?

As you can see it does not take much to bring ‘romance' into your life. Give it a try and see what works for you. Forty years of marriage without the above-mentioned roses and chocolate purchases indicate that I have either a very tolerant wife or someone who appreciates the efforts put into making her life easier, something that she pays back multiple times in making me live in easy street.

If all the above fails, you can try to write poetry like one of my neighbours. He’s been married almost 50 years!

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Albert Wierenga, Bradford