• Polito: Valentine's Day conspiracy


    It's extortion, plain and simple. Every man is expected to present their wife or girlfriend with flowers, chocolates or some type of jewelry on Valentine's Day… or else!

    Don't hate me. I'm just the messenger who is brave enough to say it. For the record, the very special woman in my life received roses, chocolates and spa gifts. The other special woman in my life, my mother, received flowers. I did not do this because it is expected; I did it because I wanted to show my love. However, if you think that you don't have to do it, you're wrong.

    Like Christmas, Valentine's Day is a holiday with a message that should be carried in our hearts every day of the year. Unfortunately, you can be a hopeless romantic for 364 days, but if you don't come through with the goods on February 14, any chance of romance is hopeless. Your house will be colder tonight than the Chicago garage floor where seven bodies fell after being chopped up by bullets from Al Capone's machine guns.

    The history of Saint Valentine is shrouded in mystery. Most historians agree he was a Christian martyr who died sometime in the third century on February 14. But, there are accounts of three different men with similar names who all match that description. I doubt very much that any of these men gave their lives so that card manufacturers, florists, jewelers, restaurants, and chocolatiers would thrive.

    For the conspiracy theorists out there, I believe that it was a woman who first turned this holiday into a commercial bonanza. Massachusetts and my hometown share in that blame. In 1850, the first US manufactured Valentines were produced in Worcester by a company started by Esther Howland.

    See?! A woman is behind this annual ritual that forces men into showing their love by emptying their wallets.

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