…and there you sit, Friday evening at eight, the crowded Italian around the corner, Udo Jürgens (deceased German pop star) sings that he has never been to New York nor to Hawaii, sweet sparkling wine to warm up, and later then the glibbery oysters, whose consistency you have never been able to stomach, never, not to mention the taste, but you can’t get out of it, as well you know, the damned table has been reserved for weeks, it’s Valentine’s Day, 50 euros for the “Menu Amore”, all-inclusive, even the forced-romantic plastic bouquet located between you like a throbbing memorial, painfully reminding you of the long-faded, dissipating dreams you gave up for one another back in the day, a long time ago, given up for the great whole that nonetheless connects you and makes you greater than all the others – doesn’t it? – which purely for reasons of self-preservation you call love. After all, you have to give the bolted horse a name, you also think, while you gulp down the glibbery oysters together with your hope for a vague tomorrow, which at last tastes like that particular warm Nutella toast and at last feels like the first stolen kiss when you were thirteen, fourteen or fifteen, perhaps in a dark corner of a party room or on the way school through the summer rain., You remember and you still know exactly what it felt like, that kiss, and then: “Card or cash? And how about a coffee on the house?”
Since it has been common knowledge far and wide for several months now that the finest is the undisputedly most investigative of all magazines in the northern hemisphere that always calls a spade a spade, we of course do not wish to hide from you the fact that the scene described above would never
– could never – play out in that way – because the “Menu Amore” is really called the “Menu de San Valentin” and costs 60 instead of 50 euros per person.
That fact in advance.
And also that you do not have to be ashamed of at last saying to your partner between sparkling wine and oysters from the depth of your heart and with a twinkle in your eye; “Darling, you’re just sick!” From a purely biological perspective, you are absolutely right: what we still spontaneously and hastily call love is nothing but a hormonally
controlled obsession which, thanks to substances loaded with side effects such as cortisol, dopamine, endorphin and adrenaline (the latter triggers, among other things, nervousness, fear, hallucinations and cramps), the symptoms of which remind you of illustrious pathologies such as schizophrenia and various psychoses. This, according to that romantic-allusive poetry portal Wikipedia, contributes to the fact that lovers could at times be in a “state of mental incapacity”, lose inhibitions and can be tempted to perform irrational actions. After a short time, however, the body gets used to the secreted doses and the brain terminates the sensory intoxication (according to the World Health Organisation after 24 to a maximum of 36 months). Dreams over, alarm clock off, the kids want breakfast!
OK. Now that we have thrown excessively sensuous and blissful light on the emotionally turbulent part of 14 February, we now turn briefly to the universally beloved world of statistics (also to prevent the clatter of your cutlery at the Italian around the corner from getting too loud as you search desperately for topics of conversation): in Great Britain, almost half of the population spend money on Valentine’s Day gifts – around 1.3 billion pounds for cards, chocolates and flowers. The latter are also very popular among the Germans: for Valentine’s Day in 2018, Lufthansa Cargo transported an impressive 800 tonnes of red roses to Germany. Now that leaves a pretty CO2 footprint on your heart. Americans go a step further: around 9 million US citizens give Valentine’s Day gifts to their pets. And in South Korea, finally, women give men chocolate on 14 February, and on 14 March (“White Day”) men give the women gifts – but if the esteemed South Korean gets nothing on both days, on 14 April, the so-called “Black Day”, they eat noodles with black sauce called “jajangmyeon”, even enabling them to shed splendid crocodile tears over their existence as a single.
In the same spirit: you, dear readers, are infinitely preferable to us than any bitter-sweet box of chocolates. So we’ll see you, you know, Friday evening in the Italian around the corner, Amore and San Valentin – you with oysters, us with black noodles… or vice versa?