Share your Valentine's nightmare -- and win

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By Breena Kerr

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Send your personal Valentine's day horror story (300 words or less) to culture@sfbg.com by Wednesday, Feb 11. We'll print our favorite on the SEX SF blog, and its writer will win two tickets for a five-course meal and a show at Teatro Zinzanni.

Though it's tempting to write off Valentine's Day as a Hallmark holiday invented by Corporate America, the truth is that its origins extend back much further than American capitalism. In fact, it's thought the celebration we know today started with the Christian appropriation of Lupercalia, the mid-February pagan festival ancient Romans celebrated to honor the coming of spring.

Back then, ancient priests (Luperci) sacrificed a goat and a dog for fertility and purification. The goat's hide would then be sliced into strips and carried into the streets by boys who paraded around, dipping the lengths into bowls of sacrificial blood. Making their way across town, the young men slapped women and crop fields with the bloody strips, marking them with the promise of fertility for the coming year — and getting their girls horny in the process.

Thus the Valentine's Day connection between sex and carnage was born. In our modern times, however, the carnage is often less literal and more emotional: impossible expectations, botched dates, ridiculous gifts, and horrible sex. In honor of this day of Great Disappointments, we invite you to send in your Valentine's Day horror story.

I'll get us started with mine, courtesy of V-Day 2008: