Today, in honor of everyone’s favorite romantic holiday, I bring you everyone’s symbol of love and romance…GUNS.
Where did these come from? I really have to wonder about the level of frustration in the lives of designers of vintage valentines. Were they so tired of doing commercial illustration that their Valentines took this macabre turn?
I wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day. Here are further thoughts on the subject:
I watched “Call Me By Your Name” recently. This is one of those movies I kept putting off because I had to rent it. I think kind of forgot about it after I read the book in preparation for seeing the movie, because there was this pandemic thing going on that made me seek out lighter fare, like, for instance, “The Good Place” (we won’t speak of “Tiger King”).
But for reasons I don’t like knowing about, Armie Hammer has been in the news lately. And that made me remember that I’d never seen the movie. I wanted to watch it before my perception of Armie Hammer’s performance could be clouded by any more creepy stuff about him–and I just know that more creepy stuff is going to come out about him. Don’t you feel it lurking in the wings, waiting to settle over his pretty face like a big, murky cloud of privilege and perversion? Or is that just me?
Anyway, I decided it was time to watch “Call Me By Your Name.” I had to rent it for $3.99, which was fine, because I’m cheap, but I’m not THAT cheap. The movie, like the book, is thoughtful, beautiful, and wrenching. It required patience to read the book. It requires patience to watch the movie. I feel that my patience was repaid, but your experience may vary. It’s a sad and romantic movie, and hey, speaking of romance, it’s almost Valentine’s Day.
So in honor of Armie Hammer, here are some vintage creepy Valentines with overt references to acts of cannibalism.
I have omitted the racially offensive cannibalism valentines. YOU’RE WELCOME.
Hoping your Valentine’s Day includes romance, hearts and flowers, and absolutely no cauldrons.
SO MANY valentines reference hotdogs that I hardly know where to start. I have left off the examples that have people carrying around hotdogs, leaving those in the strange meat valentine category. These are hotdogs without people. Just hotdog after hotdog. Self-slicing hotdogs. Amorous hotdogs. Married hotdogs. And there are the lonely hotdogs, and the pairs of hotdogs, and the hotdogs seeking buns. Hmm. There seem to be so many plays on the word “relish,” which has fallen out of favor these days except as a condiment, and on the word “frank,” which is likewise not used much anymore.
Why are there so many of these? I have no idea.
I don’t know how these tie in with the idea of romance, either. Cannibalism and butchery shouldn’t be part of the romance plan, should it? Were all the designers of vintage valentines secretly serial killers?
My intention is to do a future post devoted to hotdog valentines, which figure prominently in the vintage valentine lexicon of love. But I’ve included the ones with people and hotdogs here, because, well, meat. However, we have steaks, baloney, wurst and hotdogs, and…veal. But let’s start with a lovingly rendered slice of marbled beef, because I know that says romance to so many.
Kinda grooving on the baloney slicer, I won’t lie. I’m sure the true bonds of love are formed with sausage links when, for instance, you cook breakfast for someone. Okay, maybe not. However I do love this one. Especially that little dog. The rubber gloves, the cleaver, the deranged grin, the oddly clean apron–Boy, I bet that guy gets a lot of dates.
A VEAL THEMED VALENTINE?? That one just makes me sad.
I’ve enjoyed finding Creepy Valentines and sharing them with you, because who doesn’t want a murderous or suicidal Valentine greeting, am I right? So recently, I came across a feature on antique Halloween postcards from the “Golden Age of Postcards.” I think this is the same era as the Christmas cards that feature dead bugs and homely suffragettes. Anyway, among the witches, I was surprised to see so many postcards featuring amorous pumpkins. I guess even way back when in the days of yore (just like now), nothing says loving like a squash (though wasn’t an eggplant in the olden days). So, here we go. Also, all these cards are in the public domain, so right click to your heart’s content.
Please note the handwritten note: “I send you a kiss-” And what a kiss it is. Two hirsute and swarthy orange globes, all puckered up. I can’t tell if this is a gendered osculation, but one squash has some mighty impressive sideburns. I mean, how romantic! Wouldn’t you be all a-flutter if you received this postcard? Romance galore! However, the cat doesn’t seem to agree. The cat actually looks a little freaked out. Shouldn’t we all be a little freaked out?
A more genteel take on the kissing pumpkins. Here, the pumpkins are a bit less androgynous, what with the breeches and skirts and whatnot. And look, he presented her with a posy of carrots, so that’s romantic, yes? I mean, a little on the phallic side, but at least they’re not eggplants. Also, the apparently male pumpkin is green, which is a nice variation. I like how their little stems perch on their heads like tiny hats. But again, the cat is really freaked out. Perhaps the black cats are a kind of Greek chorus, providing the audience reaction when seeing pumpkins kiss?
Okay, I’m a little more comfortable here because despite the clothes, these are actual Jack-o-Lanterns. I have to say, I like the carved pumpkins better than the smooching anthropomorphized pumpkins. These country pumpkins have a down home lovin’ kind of air about them, like scarecrows come to life. Even though the kiss isn’t shown, Jackie is pointing to the place where she wants Jack to plant a big ol’ pumpkin smackeroo. The cat appears a little wistful, instead of aghast. And it seems the moon approves…
Okay, now, hold up. What in the Sam Hain is going on here? There’s a pretty girl sitting on a huge Moon squash, and a serpentine parade of pumpkin creatures with zucchini limbs and vacant eyes coming to…do what exactly? Take turns looking at her foot? Or are they going to bow? Pay Halloween homage of some sort? Or is it something more interesting than that? What are the pumpkin zombies up to? “Strange things will happen” for sure! If only there were a black cat to provide reaction and commentary on the action.
Okay, speaking of strange things…
“On Halloween your slightest wish
is likely to come true,
so be careful, or the gobelins
will spoil your wish for you.”
I’d like to know who is wishing for what, here. It seems like the pumpkin person is the most likely to be making the wish, what with the googly eyes and goofy smile. But there’s a chance it’s this Diana Moon Goddess person whose wish is the subject. Is she supposed to be a witch? She has moons on her shoes. Perhaps she’s hoping to animate the pumpkin man (though he looks quite animated to me) (all he needs is an eggplant at this point). The “Gobelins” give me no clue. I would hope they’d interrupt this pairing, but they look delighted by the budding romance between Moon Goddess and Squash Man. The little weirdos. What’s going on? Again, without a black cat to react, I am lost.
Okay, even though this witch is making advances on a member of the vegetable kingdom, this still strikes me as relatively tame compared to the other cards. This Jack O’Lantern isn’t aggressively amorous. It’s just a nice Jack O’Lantern that seems completely amenable to being kissed. It probably helps that this pumpkin doesn’t have a body. Or sideburns. And the witch is pretty. There’s nothing overtly aggressive about her little closed-mouth peck, which almost seems innocent. Overall, there’s no foot worship, no weird leering going on. And we don’t have a black cat, but we do have an intense little bat speeding over like a traffic cop to break this up. Come on, little bat. This looks harmless.
Happy Halloween, and may all your pumpkins be normal.