14 Feb / Scenes from an Impending Marriage: a prenuptial memoir by Adrian Tomine
Shockingly enough, Valentine’s Day wasn’t actually created by Hallmark! In fact, the heartfelt holiday has two versions as to its origins. The Christians say the date commemorates three martyrs all named ‘Valentine’; St. Valentine’s Day was established at the end of the 5th century, only to be wiped off the Catholic calendar in 1969 – must have gotten too commercial for the Vatican, ahem! The other version has even longer history and is associated with fertility celebrations. The same Pope Gelasius I who put the Valentine martyrs on the official Catholic calendar apparently did so to replace those messy archaic festivals. For awhile there, holy death trumped baby-making …
Thanks to Geoffrey Chaucer (“Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote”-dude of Canterbury Tales) who’s given credit for being the first to meld the deadly sacred day with deep romantic love back in 1382, we’ve now had this annual celebration of lovers for centuries. So all that to explain why I can’t let the day of hearts go by without a killer –but oh so mushy – posting.
Adrian and Sarah are engaged. “Weird,” they decide. As soon as Sarah starts listing the necessary preparations for the upcoming nuptials – from the best date to venues to who gets to be there – Adrian’s first reaction is to interrupt her monologue with “Any chance you’d want to elope?”
No such luck. The planning ensues: arguing over the guest list, complete with the scratched-out-delisted (ouch!); choosing between a rooftop, a state park, and a raw space; trying to appease both sets of parents with “a bunch of guys in diapers banging on drums and a bunch of guys in skirts blowing into bagpipes all at the same time!”; suggesting a ‘buffer zone’ between the “quiet, sober, West Coast Asians and the loud, drunken, East Coast Irish”; deciding between a real DJ and an iPod shuffle, “making a list of expensive stuff you expect people to buy for you,” and the most challenging of all … creating the “if you really, really, really loved me, you’d do this”-perfect wedding favor.
This little ditty is indisputable proof that manga-master Adrian Tomine really, really, really loved his Sarah who is now his wife. It’s a charming, silly, tongue-in-cheek look at the more-often-than-not-argument-inducing rituals of modern weddings; it’s also a definitive reminder of all the crazy things we do for love.
Happy Hearts Day indeed!