Every year on Valentine's Day, the media scrambles to publish any story that's vaguely romantic or heart-related. Here we present, in no particular order, a rundown of this year's weirdest holiday stories, from kidney donations to Weinermobile rides.
"The Saddest Valentine In Britain: Dumped Student Hunts For Mr Right With A Sandwich Board At The Side Of The Road"
Birmingham University student Janie Brown's boyfriend recently dumped her, so today she "cut a pathetic figure," by standing on the side of the road wearing a sandwich board advertising her availability. Brown explained she didn't want to spend Valentine's Day alone because it would be too "depressing," yet just looking at this picture is bumming us out. [Daily Mail]
"Woman Gives Fiance Kidney for Valentine's Day"
Amy Anderson of Minnesota is giving her fiance Ron Spanier one of her kidneys. It's always touching when someone donates an organ so a loved one can live, but the only newsworthy thing about their story is that they're heading to the hospital on February 15. [AP]
"The Plastic Heart That Beat For Three Days"
Oh, New York Times — we expected better from you. This is a picture of the world's first artificial heart, which was implanted into a man awaiting a heart transplant in 1969. It's an interesting story, but not a very cheery Valentine's Day tale, since the patient died a few days later. [NYT]
"Valentine's Paper Hearts Re-Appear In Vt. Capital"
Every year since 2002, someone has posted read hearts all over Montpelier, Vermont on Valentine's Day. Who wants to bet that for the past nine years, the AP has published the same story on the mystery decorator? [AP]
"Why Feminism Has Been Good For Romance"
Stephanie Coontz has just published a book about Betty Friedan called A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s. The book doesn't really have anything to do with Valentine's Day, but since it was released in the past month, Coontz is asked to theorize about what the feminist icon would think about the holiday. She says:
She would certainly hate the way it has been commercialized. One of the most powerful chapters of "The Feminine Mystique" – and one that still rings true to readers today – is called "The Sexual Sell." Friedan used the internal memos of motivational research firms to expose how marketers fan our insecurities, to persuade us that buying things will satisfy our hunger for meaningful relationships and meaningful work. She would be very critical of the ads claiming that you can solidify your relationship by buying the right gift or find happiness by receiving such a gift.
On the other hand, she would probably welcome the celebration of romantic relationships. Contrary to myth, Friedan was not a man-hater, nor was she anti-marriage. In fact she argued that when women gained confidence in their own abilities and found meaning in their own lives, they would be better partners…
"Longest Kiss For Valentine's Day"
In general kissing is romantic, but when you've locked lips for 33 hours to break a Guinness World Record, it probably loses its charm. Particularly, because couples in this Thai contest had to continue kissing while sipping water, coffee, milk, or juice through a straw and were required to remain attached even during bathroom breaks. [The Sun]
"Vegas Wedding Chapels Deal With Love Recession"
In this trend piece we learn America is in a "love recession" because this year Las Vegas wedding chapels married the fewest number of people since 1993. "Small mom-and-pop chapels have been hit the hardest," so please, won't you give them your support by getting a quickie wedding performed by an Elvis impersonator? [AP]
"McDonalds Serves Up McWeddings In Hong Kong
If tying the knot in Vegas seems too formal, you could get married at a McDonalds in Hong Kong. For just $1282 you can buy the wedding of your dreams, complete with "wedding gifts, pink invitation cards emblazoned with golden arches, decor featuring the likes of Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar," and of course, a side of fries. [Reuters]
"Couple Gets Married On A Real Love Train In Philly"
Over the weekend, Krisy Plourde and Tom Golden got married in a ceremony performed on an elevated train in Philadelphia, or if you will, a "Love Train," like the O'Jays sang about in the early '70s. This gives us hope that someday we'll get to ride Aretha's "Freeway of Love." [AP]
"Oh I Wish I Had An Oscar Meyer Wedding
There's still one couple that has them all beat. Texas newlyweds took the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile, which the bride drove across the country one summer, to their wedding reception. As if a steady diet of delicious hotdogs isn't enough of a reward, the company offers a ride to all former Weinermobile drivers on their wedding day. [MyFoxTwinCities]