Valentine’s Day tortuous in youth but could be fun now

I HATE St Valentine’s Day and always have.

At school it was murder for those of us who fitted the description that Janis Ian outlined in her 1975 hauntingly sad hit At seventeen.

You know the types, “those of us with ravished faces, lacking in the social graces” who were forced to acknowledge that “love was meant for beauty queens” or for “girls with clean-skinned smiles” — or the bloke’s equivalent.

We were the ones who never got cards or messages; thus my pathological hatred of February 14 and anything to do with it.

I suppose that going to an all-male school probably cut my chances down a bit.

And I do suspect that some of those blokes who claimed they had received messages of love and passion from supposedly unknown sweethearts might, if they were absolutely truthful, admit they knew the author ... themselves.

And back in those days, between the ages of 14 to 17, women — or more correctly, teenage girls — were mysterious creatures, every one a potential Medusa.

Of course, the thing that really bugged you back then was that when you left school you found out the young lady who you had harboured feelings of great affection, if not lascivious and lecherous thoughts, for also fancied you.

But, let’s face it, Valentine’s Day should have no meaning for you once you have left school.

Once you step out into the scary, big world you are unlikely to be getting Valentine’s Day cards from anonymous people, unless you are Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Hawkins or Catherine Zeta-Jones.

And if Valentine’s Day cards started turning up in the mail box addressed to The Lioness there would be trouble, because I reckon I would know if I had sent them or not.

Valentine’s Day is nothing more than all of us being conned — albeit in a nice way for those who get a ticket to the game — by commercial interests who have borrowed from ancient Christian beliefs to line their pockets.

But what the heck, why should it be any different from Christmas Day or Easter?

In fact, St Valentine’s Day has completely lost its way over the centuries.

Originally it was to remember some bloke called Valentinus and then it was used in the plural because they started to find a few more fellows by the same name who had entered the Martyrdom Hall of Fame.

But the love side of things came into play when Geoff Chaucer, he of The Canterbury Tales and something of a lad when it came to the girls, got a hold of the tradition and decided he could start one of his own.

Young Geoffrey was a bawdy sort of chap, so if anybody could take the subject of someone getting the chop — often in the most excruciatingly painful way possible — and turn it into something a bit romantic it would be him.

A couple of other literary giants in merry old England had a bit of input and before you knew it the English had stolen yet another custom and made it their own before the people of the good ol’ US of A took up the running and made it into one of the ultimate consumers’ day.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’ll do the “right thing” and send The Lioness some sort of gift or flowers or a card, even though she knows who is sending it and it is a bit of a waste of time accordingly.

But when you think of it, maybe the day could be used to have a bit fun.

Why not send fake Valentine’s Day cards to people who are mortal enemies, with each proclaiming undying love for the other.

Or just send anonymous cards generally to anybody you can think of.

Perhaps Valentine’s Day is not such a bad idea after all and it can be used as a day when you can employ a delicious array of embarrassing strategies to get back at some jerk from your past who really deserves it.

Let’s see what use all those Valentine’s Day cards are to him now.