"This was the Transit Museum’s fourth annual Valentine’s Day party celebrating Missed Connections, the sporadic moments of longing that spike city life with mystery and melancholy. Charles Baudelaire may have missed the quintessential connection, passing by a woman in a Paris street: ‘Fleeting beauty / Whose look was my rebirth / Will I never see you again?’ But Craigslist, which started Missed Connections in 2000, has pushed the concept into the pop culture mainstream.”
[Image: Henry Grabar]
If you’re looking to add a digital spark to your relationship this Valentine’s Day, you can download the new app Romantimatic.
Romantimatic will send you scheduled reminders to contact your significant other and give you pre-set messages to fire off. The pre-set messages include simple, straightforward classics like “I love you” and “I miss you.”
Or maybe that doesn’t sound appealing. It sure doesn’t to me. In that case, I recommend you follow my lead: Take a solemn oath before the Greek god Eros and vow to never, ever go this far down the outsourced sentiment rabbit hole.
If my warning rings hollow and you believe—like a writer over at Wired does—that the app is a valid “last resort,” keep in mind Romantimatic offers its own recommendation. It comes loaded with a single but highly revealing “pro-tip”: “Maybe don’t mention that you’re using an app to remind you to express your affection.”
Read more. [Image: Robinson Meyer]
On a clear day in Laguna Niguel, California, Anthony Franco and Shawna Stewart stood together at the altar, surrounded by 40 family members and friends. It was a traditional ceremony: The two Colorado natives smiled in a sea of purple and white, Franco’s lilac tie matching the strapless dresses of Stewart’s five bridesmaids. Sunlight bounced off of the round brilliant-cut diamond on her left hand. But one small detail set their ceremony apart from others. When the time came to exchange wedding bands with one another, Franco was already wearing a ring.
According to a recent survey by XO Group Inc.—parent company of leading wedding Web site The Knot—5 percent of engaged men are wearing mangagement rings. It’s difficult to pinpoint the origin of this little-known piece of jewelry, but it certainly predates the 21st century. Vicki Howard, author of Brides, Inc: American Weddings and the Business of Tradition and an associate professor of history at Hartwick University in New York, spent hours poring over jewelry trade magazines to trace the history of what the industry calls the “mangagement ring.”
In 1926, jewelers tried to popularize the concept, but to no avail. Companies like L. Bamburger & Co., a large department store later rebranded as Macy’s, joined together for a cooperative advertising campaign. The ads, which ran in East Coast newspapers, featured black and white photos of a man’s left hand, a cigarette resting between the first two fingers and a large rock flashing on the fourth. The rings even had ultra-macho names: the Pilot, the Stag, the Master. But these campaigns were unable to overcome the ingrained femininity of the symbol, and the movement flopped.
Read more. [Image: Etsy.com]
Today is the day of unmet expectations. It’s the day for rushing to make your way-too-early dinner reservation, only to be wedged between two tables of loud talkers. Or of trying hard not to hope for surprise flowers because you’re not officially boyfriend-girlfriend yet. Or of trying to find a last-minute gift, only to make a desperate run to CVS to buy some crappy little thing.
Most people agree that Valentine’s Day is a good, if somewhat random, opportunity to shower loved ones with affection. At the same time, people also seem to resent the holiday’s obligatory nature. A survey of 6,400 people by the National Retail Federation found that fewer people are expected to participate in Valentine’s Day this year (54 percent compared to 60 percent last year). Those who do take part will drop $134 on the day’s festivities.
And yet, people expect that their significant others will spend more on them for Valentine’s Day than they themselves want to spend. As Martha C. White pointed out in Time, both men and women who are in relationships want their lovers to shell out an average of $240, yet men themselves say they plan to spend $98, and women just $71.
For many, Valentine’s Day showboating just doesn’t evince the same excitement that, say, Christmas dinner or a surprise birthday does.
Read more. [Image: lolostock/Shutterstock]
Oh, Valentine’s Day. It’s a holiday everyone loves to hate—a chance for the world’s curmudgeons to assert their moral superiority over the Hallmark-industrial complex.
But even if you want to take the anti-consumerist high road, your beloved might not be so keen. He or she secretly wants to know how much you care, and it has to be today. Suddenly, you find yourself panicking at 5:55 pm, pen in shaking hand, already late for your 6:30 dinner date. It’s so hard to maintain the appearance of above-it-all detachment and ironic disapproval of clichéd greeting cards while still being charming. What to write?
Worry not: You can do what college students have been doing for decades and crib your prose from the Western canon. If a philosopher said it, then it must be high-minded, right?
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia/The Atlantic]
How a Sweetheart Is Made: The Epic Industrial Odyssey of the Most Famous Valentine’s Day Snack
Since the turn of the 20th century, more than 300 billion Sweethearts have rolled off the conveyor belts of the New England Confectionery Company near Boston. Today the company makes 4 million pounds of Sweethearts in the six weeks before Valentine’s Day. This is the story of a little candy heart — born in a mixer, mushed by a roller, tattooed, stamped, fed through an oven, and stuffed in a huge sack for months. (Don’t worry, it has a happy ending.)
Read more. [Images: NECCO]
If you haven’t yet, spend a few minutes with this story from NPR’s Morning Edition.
Morality police in Malaysia kicked off Valentine’s Day by raiding cheap hotel rooms to arrest more than 80 young Muslims trying to “celebrate” the holiday. The unmarried couples were charged with “close proximity,” which is basically being alone with a member of the opposite sex, a crime that is punishable by jail terms of up to two years.
The raids took place almost immediately after midnight on Tuesday and focused on budget hotels and public parks, suggesting that the “couples” may not have been together that long, making them easy targets for morality warriors.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]