Thursday, February 14, 2008


Today is the day dedicated to lovers the world over. It is the day on the calendar where a relationship could falter due to a lack of consideration on either of the parties involved or where one might be cemented for life. If one consideres its history, it is a rather strange holiday. Its basis goes back to the Roman holiday of Lupercalia, which celebrated the fertility of family, flocks, and fields. The Ides of February was reserved for young men to extract a billet with the name of an available young woman on it and pin it to their sleeves. The expression "to wear his heart on his sleeve" came out of this practice. But when the Church needed a figure about which to "Christianize" the holiday, it came up with a minor martyr named Valentine whose history would hardly be considered worthy of association with love. Marriage, yes. Love, no. In fact, Valentine, a man who unquestionably was chaste, was executed for performing marriages, not for promoting love. We have come to make Cupid, as the Romans called the son of Venus, or Eros, the son of Aphrodite as the Greeks knew him, a symbol for this holiday. That probably stems from the earlier practice of wanton sexual activities during the height of the winter season. So, at this time, what is it that really ramps up a relationship? Is it the chocolate that acts as an aphrodisiac? Is it the aromatic scents of the bouquets given to one's love? Or is it the other gifts -- jewelry or otherwise -- that engages our urge to merge? I know that the most intense of all senses associated with love is the sense of smell. Pheromones given off by the opposite sex have been shown to be among the most attractive of forces. (Of course for same sex couples the same must also be true.) I know for most men, the sense of sight must also be considered high on the scale. In case you question that statement, I have one word for you: pornography. Women are not wired the same way, it would seem. They are turned on by visual cues, but not to the same extent as men. For example, I have heard of very few men complaining their wives were up late at night surfing porn websites and not spending time with them. But I do not want to accuse men as being inconsiderate, boorish cads. I would like to point out that their fascination with being excited by visual cues makes for the sparks that light up a relationship. Whether it is imagining a blonde, buxomy bimbo or a demure, delicate distaff as their ideal mate, doesn't seem to matter. Whatever is behind it is what makes the sex drive of the male as strong and passionate a force as can be found in nature. I, for one, have my fantasies too. If there is one body part of a woman that turns me on, though, it is probably her brain. But some will say that is a cop out. So I will admit that as to external charms, I have always been turned on by eyes, the windows of the soul. I see myself melting in the deep, emerald pools of my soul mate's orbs. But this is Valentine's Day and fantasies, after all, are as close as a pair of contact lenses and a wig.

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