February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day has some big obstacles to overcome.

First, the view from India:
The Delhi unit of Shiv Sena has termed Valentine's Day as "Prostitution Day" and will hold a protest march near Delhi University to oppose the celebrations.

Sena sources said that they have named the day as "Prostitution Day" because they see it as Western society's poisoning influence on India....

The Sena's Delhi unit chief has also requested the Delhi Police to prohibit any functions and take strict action against all those indulging in 'vulgar displays' of affection.

Of all the vulgar displays, is affection not the best?

Here in the U.S., there's the guy who apparently thought mass suicide was just the right Valentine's Day gesture:
A 26-year-old man allegedly used an internet chatroom to try to entice up to 31 lonely single women to kill themselves on St Valentine's Day.

Gerald Krein was arrested last Wednesday at his mother's mobile home in the town of Klamath Falls, Oregon...

"He invited them to engage in certain sexual acts with them, and then they were to hang themselves naked from a beam in his house. He was indicating in these chat groups that he had a beam and that it would hold multiple people."

It's un-lonely, but...

[ADDED: Clearly, trailer homes have no beams capable of supporting several people, even with the weight of clothing subtracted. The 26-year-old man who lived with his mom in a trailer was coming up with some crude phallic imagery here with his "beam."]

In Saudi Arabia, you must be secretive about red teddy bears:
In gift and flower shops across Saudi Arabia, the flush of red has started to fade.

Each year shortly before Feb. 14, the country's religious police mobilize, heading out to hunt for -- and confiscate -- red roses, red teddy bears and any signs of a heart. In a country where Valentine's Day is banned, ordinary Saudis find they must skirt the law to spoil their sweetheart.

[ADDED: And let's not forget Bin Ladin's attitude toward the day.]

In Canada, they are worrying about stress:
The stress from the politics and etiquette behind it can affect all ages, says Josey Vogels, a Toronto dating and relationship expert.

"There is too much pressure," Vogels says. "It has become so commercialized, like Christmas. And we wonder why so many people break up on Valentine's Day. It's the pressure of not living up (to an ideal)."

The pressure starts as early as elementary school with the exchange of valentine cards, continues through the phases of adulthood — intimate relationships, business relationships, friendships, marriage breakdowns — and culminates in old age, when too many think the idea of Valentine's Day is unseemly.

Through it all, there's the opportunity for as much pain as pleasure.

That's true in younger kids, when Valentine's Day is a prime opportunity for hurt feelings.

Teachers often try to help children cope by handing out a master list with all their students' names. If kids want to give out some valentines, they have to give them to everyone in the class.

Well, love is pretty stressful, and people do get jealous when others get more love than they do. Valentine's Day just makes a spectacle of that reality. Love is enough trouble without making a day out of rubbing it in.

Whether it's the religion police or the emotion police, Valentine's Day has some big obstacles to overcome. It's Valentine's Day! The anti-Valentine's people are all over the place. You pro-love, pro-Valentine's people are going to have to counter all this negativity.

The rain that fell all day yesterday and overnight has changed over to a delicate snow, here in Madison: nature whispers its message of romance.

Good luck, everybody, everywhere!

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