One of the administrative assistants in the office has some leftover Valentine hearts on her desk.* I noticed today that in addition to the typical "Be Mine" and "Cutie Pie" messages, there was a message I have never before seen: "Email Me." I wasn't able to find a picture of the same heart online, but I did find this, which includes a white "Chill Out" heart.**
I'm beginning to think that we could learn a lot about cultural practices and technological change from analyzing candy. Does this fall under the sociology of culture? The sociology of food?
*In the interest of full disclosure, Valentine heart messages have been a subject of some fascination to me since 8th grade, when I gave each of my teachers at the private evangelical school I attended a plastic bag filled with Valentine hearts. I came to see that this had been a terrible mistake when my Bible teacher (yes, my Bible teacher) read the messages out loud at the beginning of class. Of course I hadn't checked the messages in each bag, and so the whole thing was a big embarrassment. Just another data point on my list of unintentionally/intentionally cruel things that happened to me at that school, but that's a post for another day.
**As a side note, I have no idea what the subtext involved in giving someone a "Chill Out" heart would be. Chill out and leave me alone, you crazy person - I don't love you? Chill out b/c Valentine's Day is so last year? Chill out because we live in the north and it's freaking cold out there? Chill out because we live in south Florida and need to get into the air conditioning?