Valentine’s Day was created to make single people feel bad about themselves, historians have discovered. Dr. Helena König, a scholar of modern American history at the University of Connecticut, revealed that Valentine’s Day was invented by a smug twentieth-century man who was the first in his friend group to find a girlfriend.
“It’s a very interesting story,” related Dr. König. “In the winter of 1924, a Harvard student called Jonathan Fitzgibbon acquired a girlfriend, a young Wellesley girl from Italy called Valentina Rossi. However, all his friends were still single, and they were bitter about this. Fitzgibbon enjoyed teasing them about it so much he chose to dedicate a day to his romance. He selected the 14th of February because it was the one-month anniversary of his relationship, and he named the day ‘Valentina’s Day’ for his girlfriend.”
According to Dr. König, Fitzgibbon celebrated the first “Valentina’s Day” by avoiding his friends and showering his girlfriend with useless trinkets. He paraded Rossi around Harvard Yard and smiled condescendingly at every unaccompanied person he passed. Over the next few years the name of this celebration was anglicized to “Valentine’s Day,” and the traditions that Fitzgibbon started spread through Harvard, the United States, and the world.
Dr. König notes that modern couples observe similar customs on Valentine’s Day. They usually spend the entire day with each other, support the corrupt capitalist economy by purchasing useless gifts, strip market shelves of chocolate, and take all the dinner reservations. Most importantly, lovers openly flaunt their relationships so that they can feel better about themselves by tearing single people down. Dr. König theorizes that couples do this to perpetuate the illusion that their lives are better than they actually are. There is nothing benign about these activities, she says; such actions are sick and predatory because single people cannot say for sure that hanging off someone’s shoulder isn’t in fact better than two-n-plus-one wheeling or hanging out with their lame friends.
“My research team first thought that Valentine’s Day derived from the Feast of Saint Valentine, which celebrates the martyrdom of a third-century priest who performed unlawful marriages,” Dr. König said. “But we soon realized that the two holidays obviously could not be related, because the Feast of Saint Valentine honors selflessness. It is only a coincidence that they are celebrated on the same day.”
A letter sent from Jonathan Fitzgibbon to his parents in June of 1924 reveals that he broke up with Valentina Rossi sometime in the spring of that year.