status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage
Love, love love…
I have never been a fan of Valentine’s Day.
To anyone who asks, I usually claim my distaste is due to the element of commercial hogwash involved: How dare Interflora and Hallmark hold me to ransom; telling me when to be romantic, how to be romantic and at what cost?
But the reality is also that I have long objected to the feelings of misery and rejection that this day induces in those unfortunate “unloved” and “unadmired from afar”.
For years I looked forward to the 14th of February; an excited tingle in the pit of my stomach promising me that this would be the year in which a longed-for secret admirer would pick me out of the crowd, and make me feel special just for being me.
It never happened.
And as far as I recall, neither of my brief teenage pairings coincided with that most loved-up of days – or if they did, nothing the poor youth did to mark the occasion managed to wangle a mention in my memory bank.
Which brings me to my second issue with this date; for since attaining adulthood, I have most definitely been in long-term relationships over Valentine’s Day, and yet when asked just the other day, I had zero recollection of the romantic gestures performed thereon.
That is not to say that there weren’t any.
It is perhaps more an indication of the value I put on the thoughtful spontaneous gestures – those provoked by real concern for the well-being of the loved one, that gifts of flowers, chocolates and restaurant meals dictated by a ruthless global “romance-fest”, do very little to float my proverbial boat.
But since I now appear to find myself in another relationship, I thought it prudent to test the waters before declaring these opinions in case I had inadvertently lumbered myself with a traditionalist.
Thankfully, Tigger’s disinterest in Valentine’s Day managed to eclipse even my own, so I decided to instead spend an Anti-Valentine’s night out with a girlfriend in the seaside town of Sanremo; happily coinciding with the first night of the “Festival di Sanremo“.
This well-known event has taken place since 1951, and is a celebration of the Italian music industry; showcasing new talent and new songs, together with many old favourites.
The evening was awash with a scented profusion of ladies in fur coats (rarely have I seen a town that still does such unabashed trade in this nasty item of clothing – possibly explained by the following hilarious photograph purloined from Facebook:)
“2012 will be the end of the world; come to Sanremo – we’re 50 years behind…”
many also bearing that wide-eyed, creased-pillow lipped, snubbed-nosed, expressionless countenance of the cosmetically fiddled-with: another Sanremo speciality…
Also to be spotted were the more edgy music types; exotic as parrots in this provincial little corner of Liguria, with their Indie Rock hairstyles and alternative fashion senses.
Occasionally an excited babble of photographers would rush past, hot in the pursuit of some artiste or other, and on two occasions we even witnessed them cornering their prey in a pyrotechnical explosion of flashbulbs – but unfortunately were unable to identify the stars in question; even without the face-obscuring qualities of big fluffy microphones, all of our group were apparently stunningly uninformed when it comes to the Italian celebrity circuit.
Thus passed an extremely amusing Valentine’s Evening, as we goggled at all the handsome out-of-towners, attempted to spot famous faces we had no hope of recognising: all whilst simultaneously poking fun at the parade of girls tottering along in their spangly dresses and overly high heels, clutching the mandatory rose in one hand and their Valentine date in the other.
And the very next evening there appeared at my door, Tigger, clutching a large box of Swiss chocolates.
Best of both worlds? I think so… 🙂
And for all the romantics out there, here is a romantic song – You’ll Return to Me – written and performed by a local band, some of whom even hail from My Little Italian Village…
This is Status Viatoris, feeling the luuuuuuuuurve, in Italy.