The giant-teddy-bear trappings of Valentine's Day may be universal symbols of commodified emotion, but February 14th is no Hallmark holiday. The name of Saint Valentine in connection with romantic love was invoked as far back as 1382, by Geoffrey Chaucer; by the 18th century, couples honored the occasion much in the way we do now, trading flowers, candy, and greeting cards (once hand-written, now mass-produced).
In the time since, we have managed to take this practice to just about the wildest possible extreme, as we often do. American shoppers are expected to spend $2.3 billion on flowers alone for Valentine's Day this year, according to the National Retail Federation — much of that, it is safe to assume, on roses. Roses are the flowers we give on Valentine's Day and for other love reasons, ever since Victorian men would send them to women as a secret way to say "I love you" and probably also "I am going to poison your husband."
That's the other thing about roses: They die. So why say it with roses when you can say it with things that smell like roses? Fill your studio kitchen with the wafting scent of bright-red blooms for a few days before beauty turns to decay, or smell like you just popped out of the bouquet yourself for as long as the bottle lasts. Buy it for a loved one, or be your own Valentine's Day gift with these seven rose fragrances that will save at least a dozen stems on airfare from Colombia.
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