Gord Turner: Being a lover on Valentine’s Day

Columnist looks at Valentine’s Day ideas

When I was young and courting my wife over a period of two or three years, each February when Valentine’s Day approached, I looked around for a special gift. Needing to stay in her good graces, I stopped at the candy store and bought expensive-looking, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. Though the chocolates were ordinary and not very fresh, the elegant red-hearted boxes made her happy.

Now that I am no longer courting her in that youthful way, I sometimes almost forget about Valentine’s Day. But about five years ago, I decided I had to get back to being a lover — not just a husband. So I have been showering her with flowers — lovely red carnations — each Valentine’s Day. She loves these offerings, but occasionally she asks what happened to the chocolates.

This year, I think I will write her a love note. Way back when we initially met and dated, I wrote notes to her which declared my love. In recent years, I still express my love, but I haven’t put pen to paper — and certainly not on Valentine’s Day. Why not, I asked myself the other day? And so I decided to keep an eye out for elegant writing paper — and perhaps a few chocolates along with the love note.

Valentine’s Day for lovers has been with us a long time. Though the tradition clearly goes back to earlier Roman times, the first published words naming Valentine’s Day as a day to love and rekindle love were written by English poet Geoffrey Chaucer in 1382. Chaucer wrote: “For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day/When every bird cometh there to chase his mate.” He wrote these words for King Richard II’s engagement to Anne of Bohemia.

The great English bard, William Shakespeare, in the early 17th century couldn’t resist a Valentine’s verse: “Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day/All in the morning betime/And I a maid at your window/To be your Valentine.” He wrote many more love songs, but this one focuses upon Valentine’s Day.

You’ve heard the little ditty about “roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you.” However, perhaps you don’t know that the original verses were published as early as 1784. They read as follows: “The rose is red, the violet’s blue/The honey is sweet, and so are you. Thou are my love, and I am thine/I drew thee to my Valentine.”

So if you decide to do something for your spouse, your partner, or your lover when Valentine’s Day approaches, you are doing so following a long tradition. This year I will be on a South American cruise with my wife/lover, and although I like to present her with flowers for Valentine’s, that may be impossible. So I may aim for a bottle of Kahlua or Bailey’s, both of which she loves, and perhaps we will share it. But maybe specialty chocolates will be available.

Exotic Valentine’s gifts are everywhere on or before Feb. 14, so why not on a cruise ship? I may have to switch to a new trend in giving — such as Valentine’s jewelry from Cartier, or Valentine’s perfume from Chanel, or Valentine’s lingerie from Victoria’s Secret, or Valentine’s trips from Collette travel, or Valentine’s champagne from France.

Maybe Valentine boudoir photos or Valentine dinners will be the order of that seductive day. When it comes to pleasing a lover or gaining the favours of your loved one, Valentine giving may go a long way.

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