Maxed out 

Keep your head on Valentine’s

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Roses are red,

Violets are blue.

I’ve got a secret,

Betcha do too.

With the possible exception of secrets and the cult of self-esteem, Valentine’s Day is the greatest threat to romantic love ever invented. Secrets are the very antitheses of love. Secrets breed suspicion and suspicion breeds mistrust. Love and mistrust go together like matches and gasoline, often with the same explosive consequences.

The cult of self-esteem is, by definition, all about me. Or you, from your self-centred point of view. Love is about the ‘other’. Anyone who says you can’t truly love another unless you love yourself is peddling illusion. Illusion is to love what last call is to desperation, a prescription for making really, really bad choices.

But Valentine’s Day? The marketers might as well relaunch it as International Performance Anxiety Day for that is what it’s become. Every man who can peer into his heart of hearts without having his vision filtered through a gauze of self-delusion — and many a woman to boot — longs today for both inspiration and a fast-forward button, a painless segue to Friday and beyond, a safe trip through the minefield of love.

But the inevitable remains inevitable and forever February will remain the cruelest month, notwithstanding April’s claim to that honour. Love Hurts. Never more so than on February 13 th as the hours count down and you walk the streets — or pedestrian villages if you’re so lucky — of your town, a growing cloud of disillusion building into thunderheads over your chowderhead as you rack what’s left of your brain for a storm of a different nature.

What to do about Valentine’s Day?

Roses are red,

And ever so handy,

Diamonds are bloody,

But less fattening than candy.

Sometimes, when searching for a solution, it’s important to look backwards and remember what brought us to this Age of Insanity.

When Latin, not Italian, was the language of Rome, there was no Valentine’s Day, just a guy named Valentine. For centuries, Romans celebrated and feasted Lupercus, the god of nature. Not a major deity, Lupercus was your basically fun-loving, lower-case god and his celebration was yet another celebration of fertility, an ancient Roman word for lust.

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