Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Lupercalia!

Yes, Lupercalia.

Ever hear of it?

Pagan Roman festival, possibly descended from a Greek tradition.  Probably the ancestor of St. Valentine's Day.

Many Christian holidays were placed at times of pagan festivals.  Why not?  People were used to celebrating then, so just change WHAT they were celebrating.  Examples include Christmas, New Year's,  Easter, and Halloween.

In any case, despite what some may think, it's not exactly a "Hallmark Holiday."  It's been around since recorded history.  It IS a "Hallmark Holiday" in that many people celebrate it and many don't. 

The original idea was that priests would take blood soaked goat skins and slap women (gently) with them to increase their "fertility" for the next year.  Also during this festival, eligible single women would be paired up at random with eligible men.  So the festival was more about sex than romance, really.

Sex and romance.  Sometimes they meet, usually not.  Don't confuse them.

Kind of like sexual preference and gender identity.  But I digress.

But now, in the 21st century, we have St. Valentine's Day (Vday).  For better or for worse.  Many people HATE the holiday.  In fact, there's a whole culture of haters out there.  Donna Rose mentions here opinion here.  What do most haters have in common?  That's easy. 

Their hearts have been crushed by someone.  Destroyed.  Ripped out their body

Maybe it starts in Elementary school.  A local radio show discussed this topic this morning.  In Elementary school, everyone has to give everyone a valentine.  Makes sense.  But by the time middle school hits, only the popular kids get them.  Non-popular kids?  Forget it.

So the resentment may start there.  For some, that resentment just grows.

Then there's the High School Valentine dances with the rejection and the wanting so much to be the one wearing that beautiful outfit and being asked to dance.  Didn't get better in college, with Valentine's formals and the gorgeous gowns and perfect hair...

Oh, just for some useless trivia.  Of course, the heart may be the symbol of the day, but the heart is not the center of emotion.  it's just a pump.  The emotion center of the brain is the Hypothalamus, which is located deep in the middle of the brain.  Fascinating thing, the Hypothalamus...

Sorry... back to the point.

I remember many VDays that I was absolutely in a black mood.  I almost always took off work when I was bartending, as I learned first of all that Vday in restaurants are "Amateur night in Dixie" where no one tips, and being in a bad mood wasn't going to help tips either.

(To my Southern friends, before you send me angry messages, it's a joke!)

The worst one was after my first fiancee cheated on me and left.  That was in October the year previous, but my heart was still very raw.  That day sucked so bad.  Even thinking about that VDay hurts to this very day- twenty two years later.

Wearing Red

I love telling the story of a VDay in college.  I asked out a girl in one of my writing classes.  made reservations at a nice restaurant in town that had just opened, borrowed money to pay for it, dressed in my best yuppie sweater look (it was the 80s), and brought a single red rose. 

I arrived at her door, knocked, and she answered.  She saw the rose and flipped.  "Just because you brought me a rose don't think you're going to get anything from me!" she shouted and slammed the door.  I stood there stunned.  Many of my fraternity brothers were hanging out at one of the bars that night, so I joined them for wings and shots.  Lots of shots.  I never saw this girl again, not even at class.

Many people in the TG community are alone.  As my therapist has said (she was quoting someone, I forget who) "Being Transgender is the ultimate solvent- it dissolves everything: jobs, relationships, everything."

Many of us are haunted by the memories of our lost loves during this holiday.  Nothing hurts worse.  Something tells me that this isn't news to anyone reading this.

I wish there was something I could say, some advice I could give, to help people feel better when it comes to heartbreak.  But the only thing I know that works is Time.  And sometimes it doesn't.  I suck at heartbreak recovery.

Well, be that as it may, none of us are truly alone on this day.  We have our sisters who understand us, even if no one else can.

At least someone does.

And on a day where women are wined, dined, romanced... or ignored... we at least have that.

May the day bring you Peace.



  1. There are several historical accounts of this 'Hallmark Holiday'. I believe that the original St. Valentine was a Catholic that was beheaded by a Roman emperor sometime between 200-300 AD. Being beheaded for your faith seemed to be a common way to achieve sainthood back then. I believe that February 14th was the date of his death. There was no romance that I know of attached to St. Valentine and I suppose the only connection to the color red was his blood.

    Nevertheless the anniversary of his demise was observed and during the middle ages it tended to co-incide with the return to central Europe of some migratory birds who would tend to mate every year in mid-February. As such it would seem that the mating habits of migratory birds is the genesis of associating romance with St. Valentine.

    Legend then has it that later in the middle ages a prospective bride wrote a love note to her groom shortly before their mid-February marriage. Hence the practice of exchanging cards became a marketing bonanza.

    In my sometimes warped view of things I suspect that the popularity of the holiday surged after the St. Valentine's Day mobster massacre.

    Just some thoughts.


  2. The ultimate solvent....had to laugh or I would cry