Reasons To Smile – Valentine’s Edition

Last month I grappled with the maudlin muddle of mental health, and through sharing his mischief, memorialised my uncle. 

This month’s counselling session is all about affairs of the heart, and so naturally we’ll also be mourning my love life. Pontificating on passion. The sweetheart seminar. A heartfelt homily. Lectures of love, if you will. 

Get ready to fall head-over-heels, and for Cupid’s sake find a reason to smile!

“Five-foot-six-and-a-half, passive, white, middle-class, Uranian Midlander seeks well-groomed graduate business associate to accompany him to family events and masquerade balls. Must be a minimum of 6’10. Age 21-30. Full driving license required. 

Other necessary conditions include: the body of Dionysus; access to a tuxedo; a butler’s uniform, don’t forget the gloves; a massive, throbbing, roundhead vocabulary; well-endowed; irredeemable wealth. The faint but detectable scent of desperation and a can-do attitude is essential. Mid-to-low levels of easily-satiated narcissism are welcome. Apply within.”

Now for the marketing post-mortem. You’ve got a two-in-one parody there, because I’m not just pillorying myself – I’m poking mullock at the rest of you as well! I think the important thing to take away from this is that deep down – we’re all incredibly shallow. 

In the immortal words of Leonard Cohen, “Everybody’s talking to their pockets, Everybody wants a box of chocolates, And a long stem rose, Everybody knows”.

In this country, Valentine’s Day, much like Christmas, Easter and Halloween, boils down to a ploy by the Lizard People to sell us more chocolate. The Lizard People are secretly the de facto owners of Big-Choc, and have infiltrated our sacred annual human rituals by duping us with the strained blood of the noble cacao bean. 

Romance still lives, however, in far-flung corners of the globe, such as the Netherlands and Wales. The Welsh don’t cuddle, they cwtch. The Dutch have a knuffel. The French câlin, the Italians coccola, and the Norwegians klemme. 

The Welsh have their love-spoons, and the Mexican and Texan Kickapoo people woo with intricate whistle tones. In Niger men participate in beauty pageants, something we could perhaps appropriate here. 

Thank the Saints you’re not in Fiji because the courting ritual there involves a prospective groom diving into the ocean to wrestle a tooth from a whale. There isn’t a vegan option. 

Speaking of teeth, apparently Hindu Balinese society in Indonesia traditionally instituted tooth-filing prior to marriage in order to cleanse the couple of sin. Consequently, BDSM is basically sacrament. 

In Taiwan, an Aboriginal tribe called the Atayal showed their ability to provide for a family by displaying their sundried severed heads. No wedding rings, just facial tattoos. My point is fellas, you need to step up your game.

At the ides of February we should really be celebrating the Pagan festival of Lupercalia by sacrificing a goat for fertility and a dog for purification. 

Much like Easter, the traditional Christian origins of Valentine’s Day are rooted in the parabolic martyrdom of an anarchist living in the Roman Empire. It marks yet another milestone in the persecution of all the fun religions. 

Where once we danced naked around a fire in the forest to the primeval beat of drums, we now spend £3.50 on a mass-produced card sporting a clip-art teddy-bear holding a heart-shaped balloon.

The best and most obvious way to show your amour adoration this Valentine’s is by meeting in a cave at midnight, covering yourselves in sacrificial blood, and praying to Faunus, the Roman God of fertility and agriculture, on a billy’s freshly imbrued hide.

I hope you’ve found a reason to smile today, I’ve certainly been amusing myself.

Originally published in Only In Brighton magazine.

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