For the Day That's In It
In the effort of looking for something to write today that wouldn't be a disgustingly gushy love note to my sweetie, I had a wander over to Wikipedia. As always, I learned some things that might or might not be correct, but they are interesting.
Thanks to a concentrated marketing effort, Valentine's Day has emerged in Japan and Korea as a day on which women, and less commonly men, give candy, chocolate or flowers to people they like. This has become an obligation for many women. Those who work in offices end up giving chocolates to all their male co-workers, sometimes at significant personal expense. This chocolate is known as giri-choko (?????), in Japan, from the words giri ("obligation") and choko, a common short version of chokorēto (?????),, meaning "chocolate". This contrasts with honmei-choko, which is given to a person someone loves or has a strong relationship with. Friends, especially girls, exchange chocolate that is referred to as tomo-choko (????),; tomo means "friend" in Japanese.
By a further marketing effort, a reciprocal day called White Day has emerged. On March 14, men are expected to return the favour to those who gave them chocolates on Valentine's Day. Many men, however, give only to their girlfriends. Originally, the return gift was supposed to be white chocolate or marshmallows; hence "White Day". However, men have taken the name to a different meaning and lingerie has become a common gift.
I've often wondered, who really benefits from a gift of lingerie. I did a Google Search asking that question and got more than half a million hits. Clearly, I'm not the first philosopher to ponder this question. (I wanted to Ask Jeeves, but Jeeves has apparently been retired for a while now. How did I miss that momentous event?) Hitched Magazine, which endeavours to “entertain, educate, and inspire marriages,” provides easy lingerie buying tips for both men and women. But for some decent, practical advice, you can't miss with advice from a place called The Knickers Blog.
I have to confess, I've never been that keen on Valentine's Day. It has far too many memories of teenage angst associated with it. Looking at PostSecret this week, I'm not the only Valengrinch.