Falling in love has never been quite so...impersonal.

February 14, 1999

A period of time affectionately known as Valentine's Day, according to some of our better-informed friends.

A day of wine and roses, champagne and caviar, bouquets and romantic getaways - all the things people do in the name of that nebulous thing we'll call love.

And then there are those left-wingers who celebrate it as the birthday of the anti-Christ - we tend to lean towards this view ourselves ;-)

If you're an attentive reader of our bi-monthly regurgitations, you'll know that we aren't big fans of that diapered and deranged hell-spawn named Cupid - as a matter of fact, in our wilder moments, we fantasize about taking those love-tipped arrows of his and giving the little devil a taste of his own poison ;-)

However, since it appears that the rest of the world doesn't share our opinion [a fact which bothers us not a whit], and is merrily walking the road to a broken heart, we thought that it was time we devoted an issue to love and loathing in cyberspace.

And so we've compiled a list of sites that you're sure to find interesting [dare we say amusing?!], regardless of whether you've just fallen in love [our heart goes out to you], or have been rudely drop-kicked out of it [been there, done that!]

So let's cut the chitchat and get to it!

http://www.intellmktg.com/im/inlove/val_hist.htm

If you've ever wondered about the origins of the goriest day of the year [all those bleeding hearts can get quite upsetting], it's time for a quick history lesson.

The story goes something like this: when the evil Roman Emperor Claudius realized that all the young men in town found spooning with their women far more enjoyable than going to war, he was so annoyed that he banned all marriages in the city. Enter Saint Valentine, a do-gooder who disobeyed Claudius and performed marriages for young lovers in secret.

Needless to say, this pissed old Claudius off, and he sentenced Valentine to prison. Valentine languished in prison, a martyr to the cause of true love, until his death on February 14, 270 BC [not a minute too soon]

http://www.flowerfarm.com http://www.lindt.com http://www.911gifts.com

Looking for a gift for the love of your life? Try some red roses, a box of chocolates or [our personal favourite] some chocolate body paste for a lip-smackingly good time! ;-)

http://www.indiagiftshop.com http://www.homeindia.com http://www.rediff.com

Our Indian readers can also avail of gifts and free Valentine cards at indiagiftshop.com, while NRIs can use HomeIndia's gift service to send flowers to their sweethearts in India. And Rediff.com has a whole bunch of gooey gifts just right for the season too!

http://www.egreetings.com http://www.bluemountain.com

In the digital age, cards extracted from the bark of dead trees are passe - electrons are way, way cooler! So for all you Romeos out there who still think a picture is worth a thousand silly words, try E-greetings or BlueMountain for the perfect card!

http://www.valentine.com

With a name like that, you just know this is one site that only gets mentioned once a year ;-) But Valentine.com is a pretty cool site - they have electronic cards, tales from the love trenches, pick-up lines and a build-a-date application which lets you put together your perfect fantasy date from scratch. And don't miss the name - they call it the "love at first site" ;-)

http://www.virtualkiss.com/ekiss

Ah, the kiss - lips meeting, tongues darting, groans and moans of delight, music playing, maybe a full moon...if this sounds like something you do every other day, then we'll forgive you for not turning head over heels with joy when you hear about VirtualKiss.com, a site that tries to get you as close as possible to the real thing.

VirtualKiss allows you to blow someone a kiss via email - check out the vampire kiss and the martini! As for us, we're traditionalists at heart - we'll take the good ol' French kiss anytime [and that, ladies, is a proposition if you ever heard one ;-)]

http://www.lovecalculator.com

"What's in a name?", mumbled the Bard one sunny morning - and history was made!

"Lots!", says Dr. Love [now that's a name that inspire trust] - he claims that names are not randomly chosen, but have a greater cosmic purpose. And so he's designed the Love Calculator, which allows people to calculate the probability of a successful relationship on the basis of the principal actors' names [someone was going to do this eventually - it was just a matter of time!]

We were so intrigued by this strange and wonderful concept that we just had to try it out - trust us, you don't want to know the results!

http://usacitylink.com/cupid/yummy.html

'Tis said that the road to a man's heart is through his stomach. 'Tis also said that using a rusty knife guarantees a slow and painful death - but that's another story ;-)

If you're comfortable in a kitchen, what better way to celebrate V-Day than sitting together munching on some home-made Cupid cupcakes? Try out a few recipes - you never know what might happen!

Enough! Time for some stuff from the other side of the lunatic fringe, before all this sweetness and light drives us stark raving bonkers ;-)

The Anti-Valentine's Day Page http://www.netreach.net/~trishy/vday.html

I Hate Valentine's Day - The Song http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~cmgroves/Jewel/Songs/IHateValentinesDay.html

The Anti-Valentine's Day Wake http://www.pacifict.com/ron/valentine/vd.html

Anti-Valentine's Day Central http://www.westworld.com/~elson/me/columns/index.html

alt.holidays.suicide - How To Survive Valentine's Day http://www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~norm/love.html

If you detest Valentine's Day and all that it symbolizes, try these sites - they're absolutely hilarious, and well worth bookmarking. Here's an excerpt from some of them:

"Valentine's Day... ah, the powerful emotions it doth evoke. Images of young lovers holding hands, the exchange of flowers and heart shaped boxes of chocloate candy, laughter, joy, love, love, love; all this coupled with the promise of the impending spring thaw.

It's enough to make a free thinking individual want to gouge his own eyeballs out with an old rusty pair of scissors."

"A heart. Actually, it's not really even a heart. Nor is it actually heart-shaped. It is really a bourgeois capitalist fallacy created by pagans for the sole purpose of driving typically earnest normal human beings out of their tiny little MINDS!"

So pucker up - and if you get lucky tonight, send us some mail! ;-)

Till next time...stay healthy!

This article was first published on 14 Feb 1999.