Thursday, February 14, 2008
The Humboldt sociology of Valentines Day
So anyway, I bought chocolate today. Sjaak's (new retail name Venlo's Chocolates) dark chocolate. Then I went up to Partrick's to grab a couple of heart shaped lollipops for the kids. Both establishments were doing a brisk business today as can be expected.
I guess by the Brooks analogy (Obama Whole Foods, Clinton Safeway. Is Trader Joe's John Edwards?) Sjaak's is for Obama supporters and Partrick's for Clinton supporters. Both were full of men, so strictly speaking in statistical terms those not McCain/Romney/Paul voters were more likely to be Obama voters in either store. And I couldn't notice any significant socioeconomic differences in the men today. One guy was Hispanic, but he was delivering flowers to his girlfriend at Venlo's.
My kid spent much of the past couple of nights making his own valentines for his class. He brought home those he received at their school party today and most of them were also homemade. Maybe it's just the hippie thing, I don't know. I remember as a kid the only student who brought homemade valentines was a creative hippie girl (also into unicorns, John Lennon, and Kalil Gibran's The Prophet by the time she got to junior high school - if I'd stuck around for high school I'd probably have been pining for her). Some of the jerks in the class who were probably Rams fans later in life called her efforts "gay." Meanwhile most of the rest of us passed around exactly the same Hallmark valentines sold at Alpha Beta pretty much the only grocery store in Half Moon Bay at the time.
From Wikipedia, the earliest known reference to St. Valentine as having anything to do with romance.
The first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer:
- For this was on seynt Volantynys day
- Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese [choose] his make [mate].
This poem was written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. A treaty providing for a marriage was signed on May 2, 1381. (When they were married eight months later, he was 13 or 14, and she was 14.)
A "bryd" is a bird.
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