Americans love superheroes. They love movies about them, TV shows about them, comic books about them, etc. There were...
This week marks the celebration of love, Valentine’s Day. Americans and Brits go all out to show their love. They give flowers, balloons – and sometimes jewellery. We also give valentines – cards with a message of love. In primary schools, most classes give a valentine to every person in the class. The best ones have a lollipop! While most of us give lovely gifts and cards to people we are fond of on Valentine’s Day, this wasn’t always the case!
In Victorian England, people would sometimes send rude valentines with insulting messages. These are called ‘vinegar valentines’ (because they are unpleasant and not nice, just like vinegar) and people sent them to anyone that annoyed them – the butcher, a person who won’t take the hint that you aren’t interested in them romantically, even a shop keeper could get a vinegar valentine. Vinegar valentines were sent anonymously; it makes one wonder if these cards were the Internet of the Victorian era!
Here are a few comical/mean ones with explanations. Some of them are shocking by today’s standards, but while we’d never send anything as horrible as this on paper, some people have no problem making similar comments on social media. The vinegar valentines of 100+ years ago included fat-shaming, calling people ugly or stupid and even going so far as to suggest suicide. Thankfully, Valentine’s Day has changed – as long as you stay away from the World Wide Web!
to go all out = se surpasser
jewellery = des bijoux
lollipop = une sucette
this wasn’t always the case = ce n’était pas toujours le cas
rude = très impoli
to take the hint = comprendre l'allusion
romantically = amoureusement
mean = méchant
by today’s standards = selon les critères actuels
fat-shaming = ridiculiser/stigmatiser les gros
as long as = tant que