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Sunday, February 13, 2005

Valentine's Day Special

One of two articles I was press-ganged into writing wrote for Insomniac, a publication of the NUS Arts and Social Sciences Club. I also had one on the fee hikes, which contrasted starkly with the one in NUSSU's publication 'The Ridge' (which is registered with MITA, unlike us - hah!), but no one wants to read about such boring matters anyway, so I shan't put it up.

Original text follows:

On Valentine's Day, millions of men give millions of women flowers, cards and candy as a heartfelt expression of the emotion that also motivates men to observe anniversaries and birthdays: fear.” - Dave Barry

Once again, we have come to that time of the year beloved of Screwed Up Girls (at least those who are attached) – Valentine’s Day.

It is a day they look forward to eagerly, where they may judge how much their boyfriends love them by what surprise they have planned, what ‘sweet’ things they do and what Valentine’s Day gifts they are given. Many, on their part, will meanwhile engage in some equally meaningless endeavour; folding lucky stars, perhaps, or even baking a cake (though whether the cake turns out to be edible or not is another question). Meanwhile, retailers and restaurateurs rejoice at the seasonal windfall.

Item 110 of ‘How Girls Waste Time’ instructs us that they: “[Impute] undue importance to certain essentially meaningless dates… then kicking up a big fuss if they are not adequately commemorated”

Why the undue emphasis on this one date in the calendar? I think that the answer lies, as for many other quirks that much of the female gender is possessed of, in the girls’ insecurity. If, on a day when couples are urged by all and sundry to reaffirm their love for and commitment to each other, they do not receive similar reaffirmation, their insecurity and paranoia kick in, propelled along by the barrage of advertising equating Valentine’s Day gifts with love, the implication being that the absence of the former indicates a dearth of the latter.

Gift giving and ‘sweet’ acts performed for significant others should be spontaneous, and not prompted by some upcoming occasion, or the risk is run of giving gifts just for the sake of doing so. Expecting gifts, and levying sanctions of varying punitiveness if they are not given is hardly becoming, not being true to the spirit of love, and indeed of Valentine’s Day.

Then again, perhaps beleaguered boyfriends should be glad for Valentine’s Day, for at least it acts as a foil, saving them from having to think up too many novel schemes to impress and reassure their insecure girlfriends through the rest of the year. An added bonus is that a great, albeit overpriced, range of greeting cards, presents and such is on sale in the lead-up to D-Day for those bereft of ideas.

Love comes from the heart, not from following motions, gift-giving or adherence to societal norms about the expression of love.

--- Having climbed down from his bully pulpit, Agagooga is currently in hiding, avoiding the mob of Screwed Up Girls just waiting to lynch him

The main editorial change was replacing the term "Screwed Up Girls" with "Whiny Attached Girls". Actually I do think that the latter term was more suitable, so I have no quibbles about that editorial decision (though I was chided for not being diplomatic enough - ah well, what's new?)

For those more romantically inclined, here's a poem seething with erotic tension from heathcliff24, my JC senior, which also appeared in Insomniac:

my heart is a slave who obeys
gentle touch which torches my stove
the untamed flames feeding on your tender skin
as you cupped your hand over mine smolder me
into soft white ashes as if i were burning a fever
still my heart is a silent kiln and will blaze
only within for the moment i knew
if you will explode like
the stars but oh --
how willing i am
to burn for

(Apologies for my poor ASCII art skills)


Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia: Yahoo! News - Saudi Morality Police See Red Over Valentine Roses

"Saudi Arabia's morality police are on the scent of illicit red roses as part of a clampdown on would-be St Valentine's lovers in the strict Muslim kingdom.

The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, Saudi Arabia's powerful religious vigilantes, have banned shops from selling any red flowers in the run-up to February 14."
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