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What The Deal With Valentine’s Day?

Next week is Valentine’s Day, when we celebrate love and and all that good stuff. For a lot of people it’s a day in which you can show your beloved just how much he/she/it means to you. If you are single, it’s kind of a suck day that reminds you of your loneliness and the inevitability of death. I remember as a kid I would get really excited whenever mid-February would role around mainly because I like those chalky message hearts. Today, millions of cards will be exchanged, gifts will be given, and you are almost guaranteed to get lucky. Again, if you are in a relationship. If you are alone you will probably just play XBox, eat some Totino’s Pizza Rolls, and cry yourself to sleep again. But just what is Valentine’s Day? The celebration of love on February 14th goes back at least a thousand years. Here are five facts you might not know about V-Day.

Who is St. Valentine?

St. Valentine was a real dude who lived in the third century CE in Rome. He was a Christian priest with a soft spot for young love. The Emperor Claudius outlawed weddings because he was in the middle of a war and he thought single people fought better than married folks, (Claudius was clearly not married). St. Valentine conducted secret weddings in the sewers of Rome, (que romantico!), and was arrested for his trouble. The people asked the emperor to release St. Valentine and Claudius almost did…until Vizzle tried to convert the emperor. They cut off his head and ever since then we celebrate that he sacrificed his life in the name of love by buying our sweetheart candy and useless crap.

Sweet Sweet Money

Valentine’s Day is one of the most lucrative days for the candy industry along with Halloween and Easter. Billions of dollars in chocolate and other sweet treats are sold American lovers. But how did it start? In the 19th century doctors prescribed chocolate to people suffering from broken hearts. Unlike other 1800’s quackery, this actually has a bit of truth to it. Chocolate contains a chemical called Phenylethylamine that releases endorphins in the brain. This chemical is also released in large quantities when you have an orgasm or fall in love. So, if you are alone today, just eat a couple of Nestle Crunch bars and feel better.

Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

Another business that makes a killing on Valentine’s Day is the floral industry. Decorative flowers are an important export that pumps billions of dollars into the economies of several Latin American countries where they are grown along with bananas, coffee, and cocai…um…sugarcane. over 150 million roses will be delivered today to guys and gals, often at their place of work. It’s estimated that 15% of women send themselves flowers from fake boyfriends so they don’t feel like losers. I’ve never really understood the whole love and flowers thing. Sure, they are pretty but they will die in a couple of days. Aren’t you basically saying that your love will not last?

If You Have A November Birthday…

Valentine’s Day is also a popular day to pop the question or get married. Thousands of people will probably get hitched up this weekend just in time to get that sweet sweet tax break next year. It’s also a pretty popular day to get knocked up. One of the months that has the highest number of births is November which just happens to be 9 months from now. So, if you have a November birthday it is likely that your parents did the nasty on or near V-day. Happy conception day!

¡Oye, Julie!

Shakespeare set the most famous love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet, in the city of Verona, Italy. Willy Shakes figured that it was a more romantic setting than stinky Elizabethan London. Every year the city gets over a thousand letters that delusional people send to Juliet. I guess they don’t realize that A) She is fictional and B) Even if she had been real she would have been dead for 500 years. But whatever. People ask Juliet to bless them in love and help them find a mate. It’s a good play, don’t get me wrong. But I wonder if people have ever really think about the story. A 17 year-old boy falls in love with a 13 year-old girl and their 3 day relationship leads to six deaths. Swoon?

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