Eat Your Heart Out: History of Valentine’s Day

Eat Your Heart Out: History of Valentine’s Day

By Rachel Birdsell

We don’t know a lot about St. Valentine, but thanks to hours of mind-numbing research and the ability to make up stuff, I’ve discovered the origins of how we came to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It originated on February 14, 1835, when Harold “Skippy” Pendergrass III sent his sweetheart, Clara Jenkerson, a cow’s heart as a way to symbolically show that she had captured his.

Clara, not being a complete idiot, didn’t understand that Harold was professing his undying love via bovine organ and baked the heart and fed it to him for dinner that night with some Brussels’ sprouts and pickled beets. Harold wasn’t sure how to feel about Clara cooking his symbolic heart, but decided it was better than her tossing it to the dog.

The day has only gone downhill from there.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that Valentine’s Day had a rather stupid beginning. I agree. From stupid beginnings come stupid holidays, and Valentine’s Day is one of the dumbest. I’m not just saying that because I’m bitter from being dumped once on Valentine’s Day. I’m saying that because I’m bitter from being dumped once on Valentine’s Day via email, and adding insult to injury was completely unnecessary.

I’m not the only person who is less than fond of this day. There are millions of single people across the globe that dread the coming of February the 14th. Offices are filled with cringing, single women having to listen to non-single women squealing every time another dozen roses are delivered. And in every office, there is always that one woman who after receiving five dozen roses feigns concern that, “You haven’t received any roses, yet? Not even one of those single ones from the gas station that are made from a pair of panties? It must be really sad to be single on Valentine’s Day”.

The only reason women like to get five dozen roses is because their husbands are scared that if they don’t send them, they’ll get stabbed in their sleep with an ice pick. They’re the same women who spend hours making heart-shaped foods, because what could be more romantic than heart-shaped boiled eggs? They don’t just give regular Valentine’s Day cards, either. These women buy a $50 card and then stuff live lovebirds in it that will fly into the air once the card is opened, mostly because they want to get as far away as they can from the nutjob that just shoved them into a Valentine’s Day card.

I haven’t always been so cynical about Valentine’s Day. Once upon a time in 1978 I actually liked it. That was the year Todd Allen gave me a card that he’d made himself out of pink and red construction paper, a heart-shaped doily and as much fourth grade level love as he could muster. In my perfect world, that’s how every Valentine’s Day would be. Everyone would get a homemade card, too, not just coupled people. And those high maintenance five dozen roses women? They’d get to spend the entire day trying to wash lovebird poop out of their hair, but I’d make sure their shampoo was rose-scented and came in a heart-shaped bottle.

Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can follow her at or drop her an email at

Categories: Commentary