Say it with flowers, spoons, and self mutilation...
As it's almost Valentine's Day, this is therefore the time of year when love is in the air and men and women traditionally show their romantic side with loving gifts and kind gestures for their partners and lovers. So to get in on the romantic theme and to celebrate Valentine's Day I thought I would do another of the True Or False quizzes which I post from time to time on my blog.
For anyone new to these True Or False quizzes, not all of the following romance themed 'facts' are true. Some are indeed true, but other 'facts' are nothing but devious bluffery. See if you can guess which is which...
|Lord Richard Wallesgrave went to extreme measures to|
demonstrate his love for Emily Burnett. Please note, the
sharp looking fellow in the picture isn't Lord Wallesgrave.
He's just an actor used as a modern day representation.
Fact 1) Extreme measures for love.
In 1745 Lord Richard Wallesgrave of Yorkshire went to the extreme measure of cutting off his own arm* to demonstrate the depths of his love for the subject of his affections, Emily Burnett, who had previously rebuffed his advances on more than ten prior occasions. Incredibly, this extreme gesture of self-mutilation had the desired effect and Emily finally agreed to marry him. Their married life was short-lived however as Lord Wallesgrave developed gangrene, presumably as a result of the amputation, and died within a month.
* Just for the record, a poem written by Lord Wallesgrave suggests it was his left arm which he cut off, so presumably he was right handed.
1) Extreme measures for love
Fact 2) Valentine's Day was a recent invention.
Valentine’s Day has been celebrated as a Christian festival for centuries but it wasn’t until the late 1800s that the romantic element was popularised. The practise of lovers exchanging cards on Valentine’s Day was first introduced in 1872 by the French greeting card company, Bergenoir Et Cousture, presumably with the goal of creating another day where the giving of cards became common and thus increasing sales of their own merchandise. Unfortunately though, their goal was never realised as five years later they went out of business.
However, rival card firms latched onto the concept and continued to sell romantic cards to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and so by the early 1900s Valentine’s Day had become firmly established as a day of romance and love throughout France and beyond.
2) Valentine's Day was a recent invention.
|Metal is the material of choice for most spoon manufacturers|
nowadays, although wood is still popular with spoons designed
for the purpose of mixing cakes, due to ... em ... some reason.
Fact 3) Getting the wooden spoon.
In the 16th and 17th century, if a gentleman wanted to demonstrate to a maiden that he was interested in her in a romantic way, one of the methods of courtship he could use to woo her was to present her with ornately carved wooden spoons. And surprisingly, rather than think, 'What a weirdo,' the maiden would be likely to respond to this gesture in a favourable manner.
Thankfully though, the practise of giving ornately carved wooden spoons to maidens* has pretty much died out nowadays. This is probably just as well when you consider that the modern day meaning of the term ‘to get the wooden spoon’ could potentially mean that the gesture could be misconstrued by the recipient of the wooden spoon.
* Or ‘women’ as they’re known nowadays.
3) Getting the wooden spoon.
Fact 4) Married in blue.
Nowadays brides tend to get married in white dresses with white being a sign of purity, but in the 1400s and earlier, white was seen as a plain colour, rather than a pure colour, and therefore it was associated with the lower classes. As a result white was generally avoided by brides as the superstitious nature of society at the time meant that to wear white on your wedding day would be to risk bad luck in all your future financial dealings throughout your married life.
It was more common therefore to get married in blue garments, as blue represented royalty and blue was therefore seen as a financially lucky colour.
4) Married in blue.
Fact 5) Women buy more Valentine’s cards than men.
The Greeting Card Association estimates that 85% of all Valentine’s cards are bought by women. When you do the maths, this equates to women being almost six times more romantic than men!
5) Women buy more Valentine's cards than men.
Fact 6) Say it with flowers.
The expression ‘Say it with flowers’ had added significance in the 18th century when as well as a sign of affection, flowers were also used to communicate messages in times of war. The flowers could be arranged in certain arrangements in order to communicate specific military messages, and the enemy would never cotton on, believing instead that the bouquet was simply nothing more than a gift of flowers.
The giving of flowers also gained importance in everyday society due to the way that public displays of affection were strictly frowned upon in olden times. Courting couples could therefore use the giving of flowers as a sign of love and an affirmation of their affection for each other without invoking the wrath of society for breaking the strict moral social code of the era regarding physical contact in public.
6) Say it with flowers.
Scroll down the page to find the answers and see how well you did...
Fact 1) Extreme measures for love - FALSE
I just made this up. Lord Richard Wallesgrave of Yorshire doesn’t exist. Or if he did ever exist, it’s just by a fluky random coincidence. I know some people in the olden days were a bit stupid but hopefully no-one was stupid enough to cut off their own arm as a romantic gesture.
Fact 2) Valentine's Day was a recent invention - FALSE
This is another one which I made up. Bergenoir Et Cousture Greeting Cards don’t exist. And I don't mean because they've gone out of business. I mean because they never existed. I just made them up.
In actual fact romance was already associated with Valentine’s Day as far back as the 15th century when it was popular to exchange gifts and hand-written love notes. In England, paper Valentine’s were already being mass produced in factories by the early 1800s and in the United States, Esther Howland began mass producing Valentine’s from embossed paper and lace and ribbons around about 1847.
Fact 3) Getting the wooden spoon - TRUE
In centuries gone by, giving a wooden spoon to a maiden was indeed seen as a romantic gesture. Nowadays of course metal is the material of choice for most spoon manufacturers and I doubt giving a woman a metal spoon would have the same desired effect. "Ar, I really like you ... so here's a spoon." She'd probably just think you were a bit of a nutter.
Fact 4) Married in blue - FALSE
Wearing blue on your wedding day for financial good luck sounds like the sort of daft superstition people would believe in the olden days, but in actual fact I just made this up.
Fact 5) Women buy more Valentine's cards than men - TRUE
As unbelievable as it sounds, if we use Valentine’s cards as a barometer of romance then women are actually almost six times more romantic than men! I find this hard to believe so I can only presume that perhaps men must prefer to buy more expensive gifts like jewellery and flowers, rather than send cards. Yes, I’m sure that’s what it must be.
Fact 6) Say it with flowers - TRUE
Nowadays despite the relaxation on displays on pubic affection, flowers on Valentine’s Day remain an excellent and popular way to express love for a partner.
Using flowers as a covert method of communicating military messages, however, has long since been phased out. Although admittedly I’m no expert on modern warfare, so for all I know armies could perhaps still be using flowers as a way of communicating battle strategies. If I had to guess though, I would say it was probably more likely that they use the internet and secure mobile phones and stuff nowadays, rather than flowers.
How did you do? Did I manage to take you in with any of my made-up romantic ‘facts’, or are you an expert when it comes to spotting love related bluffery?
|'By Whatever Means Necessary', the third book|
in the 'How To Save The World' saga.
How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy
Please note, the 'How To Save The World' books cover subject matter suitable only for mature readers (well ... immature mature readers, to be precise) and are therefore not recommended for prudes or squares.
For the benefit of anyone who's wondering "What has the 'How To Save The World' series got to do with Valentine's Day?" scroll down the page for the answer to your wonderings...
How To Save The World and Valentine's Day are totally unrelated. It was just a blatant plug for my books, which are available from Amazon for Kindle (just in case I haven't mentioned that yet already).