I stopped by the news stand to pick up our Sunday newspaper this morning, and the young man at the check out greeted me with “Hello, love.” “Oh,” I responded “you’re from Yorkshire!”
Because I know this greeting has nothing to do with the fact that today is Valentine’s Day. “Love,” is a standard greeting in Yorkshire and Lancaster, and everyone one from the postman to local workmen have used this term to greet me.
Here in the south of England, “love” comes in a slightly different version. When we went to pick up our Friday fish two days ago, the fish monger greeted me with “Hello, Loverly, how are we today?” “Great,” I replied as an American. Here in England, in my experience no true Englishman would suggest anything more enthusiastic than “not so bad.” “I can’t complain” is close to euphoric.
But there is an interesting adjustment to an American greeting that has crossed the pond in recent years. It is often adjusted from the rather neutral “Have a nice day” to “Have a lovely day.”
I love it!
Best wishes for a happy Valentine’s Day — which, come to think of it, itself has little to do with St. Valentine who was shot through the heart by the Romans for refusing to pay homage to their gods, a dangerous practice that rulers could not tolerate on the grounds that it was the gods who control a people’s good or bad fortune.
Actually, perhaps not much has changed after all.