When Valentine’s Day in Dallas means catching cheaters, forced fun and sweet revenge
Editor’s note: Go back to Dallas Morning News Archive.
Valentine’s Day is traditionally known as the feast of love – although its meaning and methods of expression are subject to interpretation. For some, it’s a time to celebrate romance and affairs of the heart, to bestow their affections on those they love. For others, it’s the party they love to hate – viewed as an overly commercialized event, a reminder of lost love and broken hearts, and an overpriced obligation that breaks the bank.
We’ve gone through over 100 years of Valentine’s Day coverage from The Dallas Morning News archives to examine love through the local perspective. While we uncovered many standard depictions of the day, from Cupid’s campaign to match couples, to legends of love, to suggestions for gifts, cards and flowers, we also recognized the emergence humor and different celebrations for the holidays. From sardonic to satirical to downright critical, the cover captures many unconventional perspectives and customs.
Review headlines and highlights from The news’ Valentine’s Day cover.
Breakups should not be played with
Longtime couple Barbie and Ken separated just before Valentine’s Day on February 13, 2004. According to a press release from Mattel, “The couple parted ways on the soft sands of Malibu, Calif. near Barbie’s Dream House. A paparazzi photo…shows a Barbie in a yellow bikini with her back to a pouting Ken. The couple had been together since 1961, and the breakup apparently happened due to pressure from the growing popularity of MGA Entertainment’s Bratz dolls. “Matel reps compared the split to that of J. Lo and Ben, though the dolls never had to suffer from being called ‘Kenbie,'” wrote writer Ashley Powers.
Caught in flagrante delicto
Valentine’s Day doesn’t always mean connection. Sometimes it’s about conducting clandestine operations, that is, catching cheaters. On February 13, 2010, private investigator Daniel Gomez showed readers “how to counterattack Cupid’s arrow.” A former Dallas police officer, Gomez admitted that his stalking tactics weren’t much different from those he used as a homicide detective – only then would the perpetrator be caught red-handed. “Capturing infidelity is his specialty,” wrote Jon Nielsen.
Still bitter about your ex? On February 3, 1989, sending your ex a bouquet of dead flowers hand-delivered by a grim reaper was one way to express those feelings. Drop Dead Florists’ bouquet delivery service has gone the extra mile by delivering bouquets to recipients at their workplace for an added humiliation. “A big part of the sender’s satisfaction from such a disturbing gift,” writes Nancy St. Pierre, “is the humiliation of the recipient.” Most want us to send them to the office of the person receiving the flowers. so they can really be embarrassed in front of their colleagues,” Ms Roberts said.
Ah—the sweet revenge of love!
On February 12, 2013, Matt Wixon slammed Valentine’s Day, saying it necessitates the not-so-spontaneous “date night” of consumerism and overspending as the stakes (and spending) on Valentine’s Day rise . Labors of love, Valentine’s Day gifts, and acts of affection can become analogous to the tasks one performs at work or, as Wixon puts it, “kick a romantic clock.”
Love in the first byte
Before message boards and even the Internet were commonplace, a company thought to dream big on February 4, 1985. Sextex was “a sexy news service” where customers paid by the minute to engage in classified conversation X. Former writer Steve Levin took the plunge to experiment with the site and met a woman named Shauna. Little did he know he was an early pioneer in online dating and faced the misfortune of an instant spark and demise that is common today.
Divorce is a recurring theme
Is it true that Cupid has a sense of humor? Maybe for 15 couples filing for divorce on February 14, 1945, he does. Seven years later, things have gone from comical to miserable for the plump cherub. On February 15, 1952, only 20 lovers got married on Valentine’s Day, while another 27 filed for divorce. On February 14, 1985, The News reported that “it’s not at all uncommon for people to get their divorces [on Valentine’s Day] …while maybe three, four or five years ago they got married on Valentine’s Day.
It seems the North Texans have a penchant for making Cupid work double shifts on his special day. “Cupid no longer shoots arrows of love; he’s swallowing Rebel Yell trying to find enough courage for today’s courtroom drama.
Things to do
Forget a quiet candlelit dinner: Dallas residents often celebrated Valentine’s Day in untraditional ways. One option was to explore the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre that took place in Chicago on February 14, 1929, when seven gang members and their associates were gunned down. In 1970, from February 12-14, you could take your date on a scenic walk through the annual Massacre Creative Arts Exhibition to really visualize the events of the day.
Or if you fancy a more hands-on approach, in 1965 you could dress up in 1920s costumes and head to your local gun club for cocktails and several rounds of shots – and I’m not talking about drinks . What could be more romantic?
On February 14, 1960, Anna Draper of The News offered some advice for men who wanted to “keep the chasers away” on Valentine’s Day. She suggested a few ironic ways to do this: “For the poor man who can’t resist the lure of perfume, we suggest: Turn to science. Get the latest oxygen mask” and “Turns by any route are the real danger. We suggest glasses with lenses that allow others to see in but the wearer cannot see out. Or, the blind. …
You could also try the power of righteous thoughts. Was it a foreshadowing for Valentine’s Day 2022? Dulling your senses is definitely a way to avoid romance; for those going that route, a face mask should do the trick this year.
Romance against comfort
Love isn’t a hot 24/7 romance. On February 13, 1991, some couples shared how it’s not just about accepting your flaws, but maybe even working them out. feel too. A man “no longer fears being rejected when faced with an attack of flatulence”, while another woman “goes most of the winter without shaving her legs”. Comfort around your partner may be the ultimate representation of your love, but a divorce lawyer warns you not to turn comfort into The Twilight Zone. Once the romance is rinsed, the real relationship can be born.
Researchers Alyssa Fernandez, Meagan Hurley and Ana Niño contributed