Monday 1 February 2021

Saint Valentine

Valentines day....Love it, loathe it or just tolerate it...?
It comes but once a year on February 14th. 

There are many Saint Valentines but the one that we chose to remember and celebrate is St Valentine of Rome he had many spiritual responsibilities, well known for being the patron saint of engaged couples, happy marriages and watching over the lives of our loved ones but surprisingly he was also known for interventions regarding bee keeping, travelling and health conditions like epilepsy, fighting the plague and fainting.

Historically valentines was celebrated by holding a festival named Lupercalia, which is a fertility festival. A goat and a dog would be sacrificed, the goat for fertility and the dog for purification. The blood, would then be  dipped onto strips of goats hide. The strips would gently slap both women and crop fields. Women welcomed the slap as they believed that it would promote fertility. According to legend, later on in the festival the women would all write their names onto pieces of paper and place in an urn. The bachelors would then take it in turn to choose a name and then the pair would match and often marry.

Nowadays it's more of a commercial celebration between loved ones. 
It seems that couples are everywhere and when frequently single I often feel like there are smug couples every where. I sometimes long to be part of that smug couple! The romance, the love, the sex and everything in between. Yes I know I will now take off my rose coloured spectacles as I know that Valentines isn't necessarily all that. It can just feel that way after years of being a singleton.

I have celebrated a good few over my 42 years. Some nice and some pretty know just going through the motions as it's what is "expected" 

I've also had some pretty crap ones....

The most memorable one and if I'm honest by far the very best and most fun was one where I was single! I know sounds strange but I had the best ever valentines day.

It had been a couple of years of splitting with a long term ex and I'd had many many dates up to that point but found myself single on Valentines.
So after sitting alone in my house a couple of nights before the 14th  I thought I'm going to go out and celebrate valentines! .......

So I phoned up my local curry house and booked a table for 1, they did repeat the number 1 with a curious tone in their voice several times before believing I was serious. And so it was booked! Table for one at the local curry house at 7:30pm on valentines! 

I turned up and as expected red balloons and streamers hung from the ceiling. The tables were decorated with red heart sparkles and a single red rose on each table, covers of cheesy love songs playing in the background as the restaurant hadn't a licence to play the real songs and a small romantically lit candle flickering on each tablecloth.

The room at this point was half filled. At first, on lookers didn't seem to stare at me as for all they knew my "significant other" may well have been hanging a coat or parking the car or popped to the toilet. But as I was seated and the waiters took the second place setting away, it was clear I was alone. The looks I received were mixed, ones of surprise, curiosity and sympathy. I looked like I had been stood up. As couples arrived people did appear to be noticing the table for one.

I carried on without a care in the world and munched my way through the special valentines set meal. By the time I had finished my main course, a group of 6 women entered the room. A combination of ages, they sat down, laughing joking and in general good spirits... couples looked in disgust that their romantic meal was now being disturbed by a bunch of tipsy women but they didn't seem to care. 

The women were in direct line of my table and once they had established that I was sat alone beckoned me over. I hesitantly walked over clutching my sparkling pink rosè. They spoke over one another all trying to ask me why I was alone. The majority thought I had been stood up. 

I took a deep breathe and proudly said, I am single and decided I wasn't going to be forced to stay in just because the social norm is for only couples to come out. They cheered and said that was why they were all out too, they were all single and wanted to celebrate that. They had love for one another which was evident and to me that was the loveliest love to see.

The waiters returned and asked if I wished to be seated at the table with them. So as they ate their main courses I sat and drank waiting so we could all enjoy desert together.

We spoke about love, live and the universe. Following on from desert they asked if I wanted to join them to go to my local pub as "the night was still so young" of course without any hesitation I agreed and the night was one of new friends, good friends, laughs and too many drinks!

It certainly was a Valentines to remember.

So can valentines be celebrated singularly as one can love thy self, or with friends and family? Does it really have to be significant others that we celebrate with? Lets change the world and celebrate love with whom ever we love and care for, romantic or otherwise.

As for this year due to the pandemic and being single for yet another valentines. I might bake myself some heart shaped cookies, pour myself a large baileys and stick on a feel good chick flick, that never fails to make me smile and feel warm.

Will I feel sad? Most likely.... As at this moment in time there is only one person other than myself who I'd like to share valentines with. Perhaps I will drop that person a text just to say I am thinking of them.... for I'd lasso the moon for that person and I know if that person could they would for me too...

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