Wednesday, February 15, 2012





What began as a minor religious holiday dedicated to the patron saint of romantic causes, St. Valentine's Day is now celebrated throughout the world.

On February 14, people give their loved ones cards and gifts such as flowers to show their feelings toward them.

But for some, remembering the date can be difficult.

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day around the world: A couple kissing at a shopping mall in Hong Kong

Valentine's Day

Juvino Cruz kisses his wife after their wedding in Manila. 390 couples tied the knot during a mass wedding as part of a Valentine's Day celebration

Yahoo has revealed there is an annual spike of around 150 per cent more times the question 'When is St Valentine's Day?' on its search engine.

But to be fair to the men, women can be just as ignorant. Yahoo said 79 per cent of the searches are done by men, the rest by women.

The Internet giant found teenage girls are the most starry-eyed about the occasion. They make up a third of the searches for 'love quotes'. 

Yahoo also reported an increase in the number of searches for free and cheap things, like 'free valentines day cards', up 224 per cent; 'free restaurant vouchers', up 522 per cent; 'cheap lingerie', up 63 per cent; and 'cheap engagement rings', up 195 per cent.

Valentine's Day

In Thailand, Amrin Seprasert (L) and his bride Benjaporn Tang pose for photographers during their underwater wedding ceremony

Valentine's Day

The RAF Red Arrows practice their heart manoeuvre over Lincoln Cathedral

One couple will likely remember Valentine's Day as they celebrate their golden wedding anniversary.

Ron and Ann Valentine, of Horsham, West Sussex, be joined by family and friends at Horsham Cricket and Sports Club for a party today.

The couple, who have two sons and a daughter, met at a dance club in 1957 and set up recruitment agency Valentine Executives shortly after they married.

Anne, 69, said she 'could not resist' marrying Ron, now 76, on Valentines Day.

She said: 'I was glancing through the diary and saw that Valentines Day was a Saturday and we could not resist it.'

And it is not just humans who are celebrating as amorous animals too are showing affection for each other.

Valentine's Day

It's not just humans who are feeling the love as these skunks demonstrate

In an unlikely pairing,  a skunk who is more Pepe Le Pew than 'phwoar look at you' gets some l'amour from his female partner, proving that love and not bad smells are what count in the air this February 14.

And then after a romantic meal and whispered sweet nothings, there is nothing left to do than to retire to the bedroom and to follow the lead of pair of rabbits who only have eyes for each other.

Valentine's Day

Love is in the air for these two rabbits

Valentine's Day

Opposites Attract: A Golden Retriever and British shorthair cat

Even for those couples who have been together so long and may have lost that special something, what can be more inspiring than the sight of a puppy and a cat together?

Surely if these opposites can still attract then there must be hope for all of us.

Eleanor Thornton: Mistress of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu

'Theirs was a great love affair. She was the inspiration for the Rolls-Royce flying lady, or 'Spirit of Ecstasy', whose soaring curves are modeled on Thorn and recognized by motorists across the world as a symbol of quality and distinction.

It is a remarkable tale not merely because of the love story but also because Montagu's wife, Lady Cecil, not only knew about the affair, but condoned it.

For her part, Eleanor had a child by Montagu but, knowing that as a single mother she would be unable to continue to work for Montagu, gave her daughter up for adoption.

Born in Stockwell in 1880 to a Spanish mother and an Australian engineer, Eleanor Velasco Thornton left school at 16 and went to work at the Automobile Club (now the RAC).

Through her work, she met all the motoring pioneers of the day, among them John Scott Montagu. An MP for the New Forest Division of Hampshire, he was a great car enthusiast, who came third in the Paris-Ostend road race in 1899 and is credited with introducing King Edward VII to motoring.

But he was also married to Lady Cecil 'Cis' Kerr, with whom he already had a daughter. When he met Miss Thornton, however, the effect was instantaneous.

'I fell in love with her at first sight,' he later said. 'But as I couldn't marry her I felt I must keep away from her as much as I could. But she began to like me and realize my feelings as well.'

In 1902, when Eleanor was 22 and Montagu 36, she went to work as his assistant on Britain's first motoring magazine, Car Illustrated, in an office on London's Shaftesbury Avenue.

He explained: 'Before long, we discovered we loved each other intensely and our scruples vanished before our great love.'

It was a love whose light never went out. When Montagu's father died in 1905, John Scott inherited the title, becoming the second Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, and moved from the House of Commons to the Lords.

Miss Thornton was still very much on the scene, increasing her duties as his assistant accordingly. Montagu owned a Rolls-Royce and would often take her for a spin along with Charles Sykes, an artist and sculptor.

This is how Thorn came to inspire, and model for, the Spirit of Ecstasy.

Montagu was friends with the managing director of Rolls-Royce and between them they cooked up a plan for an official sculpture, which at Montagu's suggestion Charles Sykes was commissioned to design.

Sykes used Miss Thornton as a model and The Spirit of Ecstasy, or 'Miss Thornton in her nightie', as those in the know called it, graced its first Rolls-Royce in 1911.

Whether by this time Lady Cecil had worked out the truth about the relationship between her husband and his vibrant personal assistant is not clear, but by 1915, when Montagu had to leave for India to be Adviser on Mechanical Transport Services to the government of India, she certainly did.

It had been decided that Miss Thornton would accompany Montagu onboard the SS Persia.

Before the trip, Miss Thornton corresponded with Lady Cecil. Her tone is tender and conspiratorial.

'I think it will be best for me to make arrangements without telling Lord Montagu  -  so he cannot raise objections,' she writes.

Later in the letter she writes, tellingly: 'It is kind of you to give your sanction to my going as far as Port Said. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that as far as human help can avail he will be looked after.'

According to Montagu's biographer, the family felt that Lady Cecil 'became resigned, with no feelings of bitterness to her husband's affair and took the view that if he had to take a mistress then it was as well he had chosen someone as sweet-natured as Eleanor Thornton  -  rather than someone who might cause a scandal.'

But their days on the SS Persia would be the last Montagu and Thornton spent together. They boarded the ship in Marseille on Christmas Day in 1915.

Five days later, on December 30, they were sitting at a table having lunch when a German U-boat fired a torpedo at the ship's hull.

The massive blast was repeated as one of the ship's boiler's exploded. As the ship began to list, icy seawater rushed in through the open port holes, and in the mayhem, Montagu and Eleanor made for the decks, which were already beginning to split.

They considered trying to find a lifeboat but there was no time. One moment, Montagu had Eleanor in his arms, the next they were hit by a wall of water and she was gone.

The port side of the ship was submerged within minutes and Montagu was dragged down with it.

He was wearing an inflatable waistcoat and this, along with an underwater explosion that thrust him to the surface, probably saved his life.

'I saw a dreadful scene of struggling human beings,' he later cabled home.

'Nearly all the boats were smashed. After a desperate struggle, I climbed on to a broken boat with 28 Lascars (Eastern sailors) and three other Europeans. Our number was reduced to 19 the following day and only 11 remained by the next, the rest having died from exposure and injuries.'

They were eventually rescued, after 32 hours at sea with no food or water, by steamship Ningchow.

Montagu convalesced in Malta, then returned home where he was flattered to read his own obituary, written by Lord Northcliffe, in the Times.

The accident left him physically frail, but for years Montagu continued to search for his beloved Thorn. He also erected a memorial plaque in Beaulieu parish church beside the family pew, giving thanks for his own 'miraculous escape from drowning' and 'in memory of Eleanor Velasco Thornton who served him devotedly for 15 years'  -  an extraordinary public display of feeling under the circumstances.

Lady Cecil died in 1919 and Montagu remarried the following year, to Pearl Crake whom he met in the South of France.

She bore him a son, Edward, who is now the Third Baron Montagu of Beaulieu. But the repercussions of the love affair did not end with the deaths of the two women involved.

The current Lord Montagu did as he knew his father would have wished. 'I recognized them as full family,' he says, apologizing for the tears on his cheeks as he recounts the moving story.

And so, a century after Eleanor Thornton and John Montagu met, their story has now passed into history. But the spirit of their feelings lives on, in the form of the figurine that still graces every Rolls-Royce.

As the poet Philip Larkin once wrote: 'What will survive of us is love'  -  and rarely has there been a more vivid illustration of that sentiment.





Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death

Valentine's Day, a day set aside for expressions of love and affection. The traditional western holiday has spread to many countries around the globe, despite some efforts by religious and cultural groups to fight its adoption. Valentine's Day spending in the U.S. this year is expected to reach nearly $15 billion -- $2 billion of it on flowers alone.

Forget romance, the real reason we fall head over heels with someone is down to chemical reactions in our brains

What is love? According to Shakespeare, it?s a ?smoke made with the fumes of sighs,? ?a madness most discreet?, ?a spirit all compact of fire?. Four centuries later, Erich Segal, author of Love Story, defined it as never having to say you?re sorry.

But according to a new relationships book, Not Tonight Mr Right (Penguin, £6.99) the definition of love is somewhat more prosaic.

Love, says the author Kate Taylor, is a rush of oxytocin, a hormone released during love-making. ?When you?re experiencing oxytocin bonding, you?re literally addicted to the man who set it off,? says Taylor. ?Even his smell can jump-start your heart-rate and the brain chemicals responsible for your happiness, trust and intuition.

The bad news, she points out, is that ?unlike you, oxytocin doesn?t try to weigh up a man?s character values or check if his flowers came from a garage before it begins the bonding process.?

Although it may be a little disappointing to realise that infatuation with your chosen one is down to the activity of chemicals on the brain, rather than the fact that you are twin souls brought together by Destiny, understanding the science of how love works can be invaluable.

?Think how depressed people become when love goes wrong,? says Dr David Nias, clinical psychologist at the University of London. ?It causes so much human misery, which is crazy when you think of the millions of other potential partners out there.

?If we understand the chemical and psychological effects of love, we can help people have a different philosophical attitude.?

And imagine how many thousands of marriages would be saved, with incalculably positive effects on the children of those unions, if the extra-maritally involved could simply take pills to damp down the flush of dopamine and oxytocin aroused by the new secretary?

But if all you want is to arouse that divine spark in the object of your interest this Valentine?s Day, understanding the mechanics of love is likely to prove a far more successful strategy than bouquets and chocolates. So here?s how it works.

LUST: Lust is primarily driven by the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen ? in both men and women.?The sex hormones are what get you out there, looking for a whole range of partners,? says anthropologist Dr Helen Fisher of Rutgers University, author of Why We Love, and one of the best-known researchers in this area.

WHEN SHOULD YOU GO ON A DATE?: Research has shown that when women are at their most fertile, in the middle of their cycle, they spend more time on their appearance, and actually become more physically symmetrical (and thus more attractive to men).

However, their tastes in partners change too: at times of high fertility, women become more attracted to men whose facial features demonstrate high levels of testosterone (and therefore fertility). At other times of the month, more ?baby-faced?, nurturing men become more attractive, as potential long-term partners rather than impregnators. So if you suddenly find yourself unexpectedly drawn to the hairy-armed security guard at the office reception, it may just be that time of the month.

THE PILL: The influence of these hormones on our emotions is why women on the Pill (which contains low levels of hormones) are more likely to make the wrong choices when it comes to choosing a partner.

In one study, women were shown photographs of men and asked to choose their favourites. The women on birth control pills tended to choose men with more pronounced masculine features than those who weren?t.

These manly traits are linked to high testosterone levels, aggressive behaviour, and even higher divorce rates. If you?re serious about finding a partner for life, you may want to ditch the contraceptive pills before you start looking.

MAKING A GOOD IMPRESSION: If you?re the type who spends hours buffing up your chat-up lines, you?re wasting your time. Research shows that attraction has most to do with body language (55 per cent), then in the tone and speed of the voice (38 per cent) - think slightly lower and slower than usual.

Only 7 per cent is down to what you actually say. And a good first impression is crucial: we decide whether a person is a potential mate in under four minutes.

IMPROVING BODY LANGUAGE: We?ve all heard of ?mirroring?, where couples who are interested in each other sit or stand the same way and copy each other?s gestures. However, this also happens with close friends, and is, in any case, quite easy to mimic consciously ? it?s a favourite trick with con-artists.

A simpler method to arouse strong feelings in the person you?re talking to is to stare into their eyes. The New York psychologist Professor Arthur Arun carried out an experiment where he asked strangers to reveal intimate details about their lives to one another. They were then made to stare into each other?s eyes without talking for four minutes. Afterwards, many of the couples confessed to feelings of strong attraction to each other, and two even got married.

THE PERFECT DATE: There?s a good reason why candle-lit dinners are so popular. When the lights are low, our pupils dilate to see better ? exactly the same way they do when we are aroused by what we are looking at. Consequently, a couple gazing at each other in a dimly-lit room will be giving off unconscious positive signals.

An even better first date, however, might be a joint bungee-jump or a terrifying film. In a famous US-based research project, male subjects were asked to cross two bridges, one wobbly, the other sturdy, to talk to a female researcher, who subsequently gave them her phone number.

The subjects who met the researcher on the wobbly bridge were more likely to call and ask her on a date. This was because the adrenaline sparked off by the dangerous task was associated by men with excitement on meeting the researcher. ?It?s amazing how often we mistake anxiety for passion,? says Dr Nias. Be warned, though: this tactic is not infallible. Dr Fisher cites a case where one of her research assistants invited his chosen one on a terrifying rickshaw ride across Beijing in the hope of arousing her affections. When the ride was over, the woman clutched his arm and said ecstatically.

?Wasn?t that exciting! And wasn?t the rickshaw driver handsome!? ?You can think you know an awful lot about love,? says Dr Fisher, ?but there will always be magic to it ? chance and timing and other factors that we can?t control.?

MUMMY'S BOYS, DADDY'S GIRLS: You?re in with a good chance if you look like your beloved?s parent. Studies carried out by cognitive psychologist David Perrett at the University of St Andrews show that when students in his experiment were shown their own face, morphed into that of the opposite sex, it was always their favourite choice.

According to Perrett, this is probably because it reminds us of the faces we looked at constantly in our own childhood years. Like ducklings, it seems we fall in love with our own parents first.

IT'S ALL IN THE NOSE: The parental preference even extends to smell. In a study at the University of Chicago, female subjects were asked to sniff t-shirts of various scents and overwhelmingly chose the smells that closely matched those of their fathers. Which means inspiring love could be as simple as finding out what aftershave her father wears and splashing it on all over.

Confusingly,a different sweaty t-shirt study at the University of Bern in Switzerland in 1995 showed that women consistently preferred the smell of men with different immune systems to their own.

The reasoning behind these apparently conflicting studies seems to be that the genes of a potential mate should be similar enough to ensure the offspring benefit from a tried and tested immune system, while being different enough to discourage in-breeding.

SHOULD YOU PLAY HARD TO GET?: Contrary to widespread belief, this doesn?t really work. What we find most attractive are people who play hard to get with everyone else, but find us irresistible.

The theory of ?selective difficulty? was tested by scientists using computer dating: one woman was keen to meet any of the dates selected by the computer, another was unenthusiastic about all of them, and a third only showed interest in one candidate. The choosy woman was preferred by all the male participants.

ATTACHMENT: The hormones: Once you?re over the heart-pounding effects of dopamine and adrenalinee and starting to feel comfortable with one another, cosier chemicals take over.

Chief among these are oxytocin, released by both sexes during orgasm, which should mean that the more sex a couple has, the greater their bond. The other is vasopressin, otherwise known as the ?monogamy hormone?, the importance of which has been isolated by scientists during studies of prairie voles, which are naturally monogamous.

If they are given a compound to suppress the effects of vasopressin, however, they lose their devotion to each other.

According to Taylor, the effects of oxytocin and vasopressin can be completely neutralized by testosterone. The more macho your partner, in other words, the less likely he may be to bond with you after lovemaking. Women, thanks to their lower levels of testosterone, are more likely to fall in love with a man after sex, thus putting themselves at greater risk of having their hearts broken.

KEEPING LOVE ALIVE LONG TERM: ?There are many things you can do to sustain love in a long-term relationship,? says Dr Fisher. ?One of the most important is to do new things, because that increases levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. That?s why vacations can become so attractive. I advise people to have a date-night, when they go out and do the things they did before they got married. Ideally, they?d do something exciting and slightly dangerous like nude swimming after dark.

?Having sex with your partner also drives up the dopamine in the brain and right after orgasm there?s a spike of norepinephrine which I think can sustain feelings of romantic love.? Intimacy between men and women is sparked by different activities, she says. If you?re a woman trying to make your man feel loved, sit side by side with him and do some activity together ? which could be as simple as watching television. ?This is because in prehistory, men faced their enemies and sat side-by-side with their friends,? she explains. Women, by contrast, feel intimate with someone they are facing, probably because that is how they have interacted with their babies for centuries.

?So for a man to make a woman feel loved, he should look at her face-to-face and talk to her.? But even the smallest gestures can make a difference to the strength of a relationship, she advises. ?Getting up and greeting your mate when they get home, spending 60 seconds asking them about their day or just giving them a really good kiss rather than a peck on the cheek ? all that can change brain pathways.? Happy ever after could be as simple as that.


A couple kisses during a flashmob organized by a local television station on the eve of Valentine's Day in the Russian city of Stavropol, on February 13, 2012. (Reuters/Eduard Korniyenko)

  • Horace Greasley captured by Germans and sent to camp in Polish Silesia
  • Fell in love with Rosa Rauchenbach, who worked as an interpreter
  • After being moved to new camp, would sneak out at night to see his lover
  • Also pictured demanding more food from SS Chief Heinrich Himmler
  • Wrote a book about his experiences, now being made into Hollywood film

Like so many captured British soldiers in the Second World War, he tried constantly to escape. But despite crossing the wire over 200 times, Horace Greasley would always creep back in to captivity. This incredible story of the young PoW sneaking out for snatched moments with his German sweetheart is testament to the enduring power of love amid the hatred and suffering of war. Discovery would have meant death by firing squad for Horace, but the risks run by his lover Rosa Rauchenbach were just as great. Having hidden her Jewish roots from the Nazis, she was an interpreter at the camp where he was held.

Defiance: Horace Greasley comes face-to-face with SS monster Heinrich Himmler
Defiance: Horace Greasley comes face-to-face with SS monster Heinrich Himmler. At the age of 90, Horace recounted his exploits in a book, Do The Birds Still Sing In Hell? Now, the wartime romance is being turned into a Hollywood movie. When Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia in Spring 1939, 20-year-old Horace was working as a barber in his home town of Ibstock, Leicestershire.

"Auf Wiedersehen" to those fallen on the German side. Not made to glory Nazi's or their views! It is the way of DEATH. There were young German men that were caught up innocently and forced to hate and instructed in hate from a young age. Hatred leads to DEATH plain and simple. The Nazi religion is inspired from Satan. Comments turned off because this was made only for history's sake and it seems to gather wacko's making comments about the glory of the cultic Nazis.

One of his clients offered him a safe, well-paid job as a fireman, but Horace opted to join the army. After seven weeks training with the 2nd/5th Batallion Leicestershire Regiment, he was sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force.

Horace Greasley Horace Greasley


Fearless: Horace Greasley as a 20-year-old soldier before his capture, left, and in retirement in Spain. Captured by the Wehrmacht during the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940, Horace had to endure a 10-week forced march across France, Belgium and Holland. Exhausted and malnourished, he ended up in a marble quarry labour camp in Polish Silesia. Rosa, the 17-year-old daughter of the quarry director, was working as an interpreter in the camp. Horace recalls an instant mutual attraction, and the two snatched meetings whenever they could. But the two were forced apart when Horace was transferred to Freiwaldau, 40 miles away. To see his lover Horace had to remove the wooden bars from his cell window, crawl under the camp's perimeter fence, and make a break for the chapel that was the location for each rendez-vous. Once out, Horace had no chance of escape. The nearest neutral country was Sweden, 420 miles to the North. Instead, he would creep back into the camp under the noses of his captors, often with packets of food for his comrades. These illicit trysts were not Horace's only act of defiance. An incredible photo shows the emaciated prisoner face-to-face with SS leader Heinrich Himmler. Showing the mass murderer his protruding ribs, he demanded more food for Allied PoWs.

Entitled to escape...but at risk of death. Around 135,000 British PoWs were held by Germany in WWII. Most were treated relatively well, as both nations were signatories to the Geneva Convention (1929) and the Red Cross had access to camps. Officers were never made to work, and other ranks were usually compensated for forced labour. This relatively humane treatment resulted in a 3.5 per cent death rate among British PoWs in German camps, the lowest of any Allied nation.

Most PoWs were held in camps in Germany, some in Poland. Under international law, POWs were entitled to try to escape. However the German 'bullet decree' allowed guards to shoot those who did. The secret MI9 unit was set up to assist with escape attempts by British PoWs. Stalag 383 was regarded as the best camp. Guards left its day-to-day running to British officers, and pets were allowed. Stalag IX-B, meanwhile, was one of the worst. PoWs slept 160 to a room, sharing a single tap and a hole in the ground for a toilet. In 1945, Freiwaldau was liberated by the Allies. Although Horace travelled back to England and Rosa became a translator for the Americans, the two continued to communicate by letter.

But the correspondence suddenly stopped when Rosa died in childbirth. Horace never found out if the baby - who also perished - was his. Swearing he would never take orders from anyone again, Horace ran a hairdresser's, a taxi company and a haulage firm back in Leicestershire. He met his wife Brenda in 1970, they married in 1975, and retired to Spain in 1988. Aged 89, Horace was introduced to the ghostwriter Ken Scott, and his story appeared in print in 2008, time for his 90th birthday. His tale told at last, he died in February 2010.


Thai-Swedish couple William Timhede, 23, left, and Napatsawan Timhede, 39, swing out on a rappelling rope as part of an adventure-themed wedding ceremony in Prachinburi province, Thailand, on February 13, 2012, on the eve of Valentine's Day. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn) #

A couple embraces among the tents on the third day of the Glastonbury Festival in Worthy Farm, Somerset,


Pink roses in a flower shop, the day before Valentine's day, in Vienna, Austria, on February 13, 2012. (Reuters/Lisi Niesner) #

An aerial view of the Rio Roses farm where workers are preparing roses for export before the upcoming Valentine's Day in Cayambe, Ecuador, on February 8, 2012. Ninety percent of the flowers Americans will give to their sweethearts are imported, and nearly all of those imports originate in Colombia and Ecuador. (Reuters/Guillermo Granja)

Crazy Crazy for feeling so lonely I'm crazy Crazy for feeling so blue I knew You'd love me as long as you wanted And then someday You leave me for somebody new Worry Why do I let myself worry Wondring What in the world did I do Crazy For thinking that my love could hold you I'm crazy for trying I'm crazy for crying I'm crazy for loving you Crazy For thinking that my love could hold you I'm crazy for trying I'm crazy for crying I'm crazy for loving you


(2 of 18) A worker prepares roses for export before the upcoming Valentine's Day at Rio Roses greenhouse in Cayambe, Ecuador, on February 8, 2012. (Reuters/Guillermo Granja) #


(3 of 18) A worker picks out roses for Valentine's Day, at a farm in Cajica, Colombia, on January 30, 2012. Colombia exports 450 million flowers for Valentine's Day, and flower farmers say that day alone accounts for 12 percent of their annual income. (Reuters/John Vizcaino) #


(4 of 18) Workers select roses to be packed ahead of Valentine's Day at a flower farm of "The Elite flowers" company in Facatativa, near Bogota, Colombia, on February 1, 2012. In giant greenhouses outside Bogota, the flowers are clipped and shipped worldwide, accounting for 65 percent of the roses imported in the United States and many of the bouquets delivered in Europe. (Guillermo Legaria/AFP/Getty Images) #


(5 of 18) A worker packs a rose to be shipped to the US ahead of Valentine's Day at the Mongibello flower company in Chia, Colombia, Monday, on January 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara) #


(6 of 18) Workers prepare bouquets of flowers at a flower farm of "The Elite flowers" company in Facatativa, Colombia, on February 1, 2012. (Guillermo Legaria/AFP/Getty Images) #


(7 of 18) Flowers are displayed during a venue at Veiling Rhein-Maas wholesale flower auction center five days before Valentine's Day on February 9, 2012 in Straelen, Germany. (Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images) #


(8 of 18) A worker prepares roses for export at Elite greenhouse in Facatativa, Colombia, on February 6, 2012. (Reuters/Jose Miguel Gomez) #


(9 of 18) An Ecuadorean police dog named Simon sniffs for drugs in flowers packed for export and ready to be loaded onto cargo planes at Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport, in Ecuador, on February 10, 2012. (Reuters/Guillermo Granja) #

Today is Valentine's Day, a day set aside for romance and expressions of love and affection. The traditional western holiday has grown to be observed in many countries around the globe, despite some efforts to fight its adoption by religious and cultural groups. As couples exchange traditional gifts of flowers and chocolate, they fuel a robust industry in the United States, where Valentine's Day spending this year is expected to reach nearly $16 billion. Gathered here are images of this Valentine's Day from all around the world.

Sontaya Tiemjun, left, and Praputson Mahavong, right, swing out on rappelling ropes during their wedding ceremony Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011 in Prachinburi province, Thailand. The mountainside ceremony has become a favorite of adventure seeking Thai couples looking to marry near or on Valentine's Day. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)



Rose petals fall as Thai brides and grooms look up from a cliff side while rappelling during wedding ceremonies Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011 in Prachinburi province, Thailand. The mountainside ceremony has become a favorite of adventure seeking Thai couples looking to marry near or on Valentine's Day. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn) #


Performers gather during a senior citizens parade celebrating Saint Valentine's Day in Guatemala City, Friday, Feb. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #


The personal profile page of an applicant hangs from bushes during a matchmaking event at People's Square in downtown Shanghai February 13, 2011. The page displays details such as her age, income, occupation and desired character traits in a prospective mate. The event is organized by dating companies and parents hoping to find partners for their children during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, a day before couples around the world celebrate Valentine's day on February 14. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria) #


Florist Susanne holds up roses for the Valentine's Day outside a flower shop in Germering near Munich, Germany on February 14, 2011. (REUTERS/Michaela Rehle) #


Chef Angelito Araneta Jr. prepares to mix a South Sea pearl and a one-carat African diamond to his Acqua Diamanti Necro Boteglia vodka edition in Manila February 10, 2011. The vodka, which contains 24-carat edible gold leaves, two South Sea pearls and a one-carat diamond, will be on sale on the upcoming Valentines Day for 489,000 pesos ($11,000) per bottle, according to Araneta. (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco) #


Palestinians buy flowers for Valentine's Day in a shop in Gaza City, Monday, Feb. 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Adel Hana) #


Journalists take pictures and videos as a gay couple kisses at the location where a kissing contest was planning to be held on Valentine's Day at a business district in central Beijing February 14, 2011. Chinese homosexual groups sought for public support of same-sex marriage by organizing promotional campaigns on Valentine's Day. The homosexual couples were trying to take part in the kissing contest as part of their campaigns, but the contest was canceled by the organizers claiming that the former participants dropped out. (REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic) #


Iraqi Kurds decorate apples with cloves to offer it to their partners on Valentine's Day at a restaurant in the Kurdish city of Arbil in northern Iraq on February 14, 2010. The preservation of a red apple with cloves is a Kurdish tradition on the feast of love symbolizing Adam and Eve's relation with the apple representing love and prosperity. (SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images) #


Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena activists burn greeting cards during a protest against Valentine's Day celebrations in Jammu, India, Monday, Feb. 14, 2011. Hard-line Hindu groups routinely protest against the perceived invasion of Western culture into India. (AP Photo/Channi Anand) #


A vendor sells balloons tied in the shape of a heart for Valentine's Day in Beijing Monday, Feb. 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #


Women pose for photographs with a picture board displaying a wedding portrait of lesbian brides during a homosexuality promotion campaign on Valentine's Day at a business district in central Beijing February 14, 2011. Chinese homosexual groups seek for public support of same-sex marriage by organizing promotion campaigns on Valentine's Day. The boards display two wedding portraits of gay grooms and lesbian brides with their heads cut-out for people to take photos. (REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic) #


Couples kiss during a mass wedding ceremony to mark Valentine's Day in Taipei February 14, 2011. Around 25 couples tied the knot together on Monday with Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin as the witness for the ceremony. (REUTERS/Nicky Loh) #


In this Feb. 8, 2011 photo Hewitt Bruce, center, dances with Betty Fisch, left, at Edgewater Pointe Estates retirement community in Boca Raton, Florida Women often so greatly outnumber men in retirement communities that Valentine's Day can be a lonely time. But one development has found a solution to its perennial shortage of men at its dances: They're importing them. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) #


A Pakistani boy selling balloons on Valentine's day walks along a road looking for customers in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, Feb. 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) #


A newlywed couple, Joey Bayo, 24 and his wife Lea, 20, plant a mangrove tree after a mass wedding of the theme "Love affairs with Nature", in San Jose town, Puerto Princesa, Palawan city, western Philippines on February 14, 2011. At least 150 couples were married on the Valentine's Day in Palawan. (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco) #


Muslim women shout a slogan as they show placards during the Anti-Valentine's Day Campaign in Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur February 11, 2011. Malaysia on Friday launched a campaign to raise awareness among Muslims that Valentine's Day celebration is not a part of Islamic religious practice. The placards read "Beware the trap of Valentine's Day." (REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad) #


A flower vendor waters his flowers while waiting for clients on Valentines Day in Harare, Zimbabwe Monday Feb.14, 2011. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi) #


"Blondie" is led to through the crowds during a Valentine's Day doggie wedding in Managua, Nicaragua, Sunday Feb 13, 2011. The event was organized by Fundacion Amarte, a local animal protection foundation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix) #


A Bulgarian couple passes by red heart-shaped balloons for sale on a street in Sofia, Bulgaria on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011. Valentine's Day, named after the Christian patron saint for lovers, has gained popularity in Orthodox-dominated Bulgaria over the past few years. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova) #


Aquarists Kathryn O'Connor and James Oliver fend off a giant green sea turtle as they part in a blessing on Valentine's Day in the Ocean Reef Display in the London Aquarium on February 14, 2011 in London, England. The couple, dressed in wedding finery and breathing apparatus, received their blessing surrounded by giant green sea turtles, cownose rays and shoals of colorful fish. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images) #


Chinese workers wrap up flowers for customers' orders ahead of Valentine's Day at a flower shop in Dongyang, in eastern China's Zhejiang province on February 13, 2011. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #


Activists of the right-wing Hindu organisation the Shiv Sena damage Valentines day related products during a demonstration denouncing Valentine's Day in Amritsar on February 13, 2011. The Shiv Sena strongly oppose Valentine's Day celebrations citing them as a cultural invasion on the Hindu way of life. (NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images) #


An engaged couple sits on a bicycle as they pose for wedding photographs to the theme of "naked wedding", on a pedestrian bridge on Valentine's Day in central Beijing February 14, 2011. "Naked wedding" is a popular new expression in China which means young couples get married with no houses, cars or little bank savings. (REUTERS/China Daily) #


A same sex couple kiss as they are being married during a mass wedding ceremony in Iztacalco in Mexico City February 12, 2011. A mass wedding ceremony was held for 311 couples on Saturday before Valentine's Day. (REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez) #


People walk with roses during a parade to celebrate Valentine`s Day on Istiklal Avenue on February 14, 2011, in Istanbul, Turkey. (BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images) #


Witch apprentices, from left, Melisa, Casanndra, Alice and Esmeralda, aged between 13 and 15 years old, pose for a picture before taking part in a Valentine's Day ritual in Mogosoaia, Romania, Monday, Feb. 14, 2011. Romanian witches performed a lovers' day ritual crafted to help people find true love. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) #


A couple kisses on the Pont des Arts, on February 14, 2011 in Paris, during Valentine's day. (FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)


(10 of 18) A worker of wholesaler Bloomways moves flowers for dispatch at their warehouse five days before Valentines Day on February 9, 2012 in Straelen, Germany. (Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images) #


(11 of 18) A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialist uses a magnifying glass to look at a snail that he found and placed in a bottle to identify later, while inspecting flowers for any foreign pests or diseases at the UPS facility at Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida, on February 10, 2012. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #


(12 of 18) A customs inspector X-rays boxes of flowers packed for export, checking for drugs at Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, Ecuador, on February 10, 2012. (Reuters/Guillermo Granja) #


(13 of 18) A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialist holds a bottle containing a tiny snail that he found and placed in the bottle to identify later while inspecting flowers for foreign pests or diseases at the UPS facility at Miami International Airport February 10, 2012. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #


(14 of 18) Red roses packed for dispatch wait for transportation at the International Flower Auction Bangalore, Ltd., on the eve of Valentine's Day on February 13, 2012. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images) #


(15 of 18) FedEx worker Johnny Brown sorts some of about 25,000 boxes of flowers from ProFlowers at the FedEx airport facility at Oakland Airport in California, on February 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) #


(16 of 18) Workmen wheel roses into the flower market in preparation for Valentine's Day in Los Angeles, on February 10, 2012. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson) #


(17 of 18) Sandeep Nagra stands in a pile of cut flowers while making Valentine's Day arrangements at the Yuba City Florist in Yuba City, California, on February 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Appeal-Democrat, Chris Kaufman) #


(18 of 18) A man sweeps the sidewalk outside a florist shop decked with roses in preparation for Valentine's Day in Los Angeles, on February 10, 2012. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson) #


A Muslim couple takes pictures at the "Million Lights, Million Hearts" display ahead of Valentine's Day celebrations at Shah Alam commercial hub i-City, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on February 13, 2012. Islamic authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia have been conducting raids on Valentine's Day after an edict was issued in 2005 banning Muslims from celebrating the occasion, considered a Western celebration that could erode Muslim's faith. (Reuters/Samsul Said) #


A couple place a lock on a bridge railing of the so-called "Bridge of Love" to celebrate St. Valentine's Day in Kiev, Ukraine, on February 14, 2012. Words on the lock reads "Love forever". Hundreds of locks that lovers leave as the symbols of their love decorate the bridge, covered with the names of the couples. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky) #


African penguin Howard carries a valentine heart written by a visitor to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, on February 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) #


Women march through downtown Sydney demanding lingerie themed Valentine's Day gifts during a rally sponsored by a lingerie company in Australia, on February 13, 2012. (Photo/Rob Griffith) #


A heart-shaped sculpture made of sand and stone, during low tide at a beach in Hong Kong, on Valentine's Day February 14, 2012. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) #


An Iranian woman buys a Valentine's Day cake at a pastry shop in Tehran, on February 13, 2012. (Reuters/Raheb Homavandi) #


A patissier serves chocolate syrup to visitors at a "chocolate spa" at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, Japan, on February 12, 2012. The spa is the venue for the month-long event amid the celebrations for St. Valentine's Day. (Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images) #


Pakistani women belonging to religious party Jamiat-e-Ulama Pakistan shout slogans as they set fire to a Valentine's card during a protest against Valentine's day in Karachi, on February 14, 2012. Valentine's Day is increasingly celebrated in Pakistan, a Muslim country where many conservatives disapprove of the occasion as a Western import. (Rizwan Tabassum/AFP/Getty Images) #


In a celebration of Valentine's Day, couples try to set the record for the largest synchronized kiss in Virginia on the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall in Winchester, Virginia, on February 11, 2012. The record of 97 couples was set last year at the first Big Kiss. (AP Photo/The Winchester Star, Jeff Taylor) #


Thai-Swedish couple William Timhede, 23, left and Napatsawan Timhede, 39, are chased by an actor in pirate costume as part of an adventure-themed wedding ceremony in Prachinburi province, Thailand, on February 13, 2012, on the eve of Valentine's Day. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn) #


A woman looks at a 2-meter tall, 3-meter long shoe made of 60 kg (132 lbs) of chocolate on display for Valentine's Day, at a department store in Seoul, South Korea, on February 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man) #


Muslim women shop for lingerie for sale ahead of Valentine's Day at the port city of Sidon, Lebanon, on February 11, 2012. (Reuters/Ali Hashisho) #


An employee applies gold leaf to a client's face at the Viet My beauty salon in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 13, 2012. Despite tough economic conditions, including soaring inflation, people in Vietnam seem to be spending heavily as usual on special occasions like Valentine's Day. Viet My is one of a small number of salons in Vietnam that provides 24k gold leaf face mask therapy, said to help make skin whiter. A single facial costs 1.8 million Vietnam dong ($86.41). (Reuters/Kham) #


A young couple kisses in the Vltava River during a festival held in the center of Prague, Czech Republic, on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2012. (AP Photo/CTK, Michal Kamaryt) #


An autorickshaw ferries roses from the International Flower Auction Bangalore, on February 13, 2012. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images) #


Lela Mc Arthur, left, and Stephanie Figarelle, both from Anchorage, Alaska, pose for photos on the observation deck after their Valentine's Day wedding ceremony at the Empire State Building, in New York City, on February 14, 2012. The two women, who met at the University of Alaska, became the first same-sex couple to be married at the Empire State Building. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) #

Statue of the famous moment a sailor kissed a stranger in Times Square at the end of World War II to be installed in San Diego on Valentine's Day

The most famous kiss in America will soon be memorialized along the the California coast. A statue depicting the infamous couple kissing in Times Square to celebrate the end of World War II will be installed in San Diego on Valentine's Day. The 25-foot bronze statue weighs 15,000 pounds and will be placed along the Port of San Diego, near the USS Midway Museum.


Joy: The historic black and white photograph was captured on V-J Day (Victory over Japan Day) on August 14, 1945 by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt

Monday, Feb. 13, 2012

Modern day: The 25-foot high statute, Unconditional Surrender, weighs 15,000 pounds and will be installed at the Greatest Generation Walk at the Port of San Diego, near the USS Midway Museum

Sculptor J. Seward Johnson Jr. created the giant piece of artwork inspired by the pose, naming it Unconditional Surrender.

The historic black and white photograph was captured on V-J Day (Victory over Japan Day) on August 14, 1945 by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt. Sailor, George Mendonsa, has been identified as the man in the photo who planted a wet one on Greta Friedman, a dental assistant, in Midtown Manhattan as the nation celebrated the end of the conflict.

The picture was published by LIFE magazine and has become a symbol of the nation's joy at seeing an end to the devastating fighting that claimed the lives of more than 400,000 Americans.

Mr Johnson created the sculpture to keep the famous pose alive.

On August 14, 1945, Alfred

George Mendonsa,

Smooch: Sailor, George Mendonsa, was the sailor (left) who planted a wet one on the woman in Times Square. He has been confirmed (right) as the official kisser



Just a kiss: Greta Friedman (left) had no idea who the man was who kissed her on that historic day in 1945. She has been officially identified (right) as the recipient of the infamous kiss

He has since produced several replicas of Unconditional Surrender, one was placed in Times Square, one in Pearl Harbor and one was commissioned to stand in Sarasota, Fla.

The San Diego version of the piece was installed in 2007 and was intended to be a temporary display.

But the community decided to commission a permanent version. The USS Midway Museum raised around $1 million to pay for the statue, in a fundraising effort called 'save the kiss.'

The statue was transported, uncovered, from the sculptor's home in Hamilton, New Jersey on a flatbed truck to San Diego.

San Diego is home to the largest U.S. Navy base, with a population of 20,000 military personnel and 6,000 civilians.

Its installation will be completed by Valentine's Day and the community will mark its official unveiling in a ceremony on Saturday.

Couples who were married during World War II are expected to gather to renew their vows at the Navy Pier that sits next to the statue.

Admirer: A little boy poses by the top of the temporary statue, that previously stood in San Diego since 2007

A worker approaches the legs of

Goodbye: The temporary statue was dismantled to make way for the bronze permanent version of the pose

The picture has become a source of controversy because Mr Mendonsa was drunk at the time and grabbed the woman at random to kiss.

'Suddenly, I was grabbed by a sailor. It wasn't that much of a kiss,' Friedman recalled, in a interview for the Veterans History Project in 2005.

'I felt that he was very strong. He was just holding me tight. I'm not sure about the was just somebody celebrating. It wasn't a romantic event,' she continued.

Some have questioned if the public should be celebrating a non-consensual act of intimacy but she seemed to conclude that the man was just swept away in the emotion of the moment. It 'was very symbolic at the end of a bad was a wonderful coincidence a man in a sailor's uniform and a woman in a white dress... and a great photographer at the right time,' she said. Mr Mendonsa was engaged to another woman at the time and had taken his fiancée to a show at Radio City Music Hall. It is thought that his inebriated state had inspired the dalliance and despite it all, his fiancée did end up marrying him.

Unconditional Surrende

Lights of Broadway: A version of Unconditional Surrender was installed in Times Square, New York - where the infamous kiss actually took place back in 1945


The on-stage kiss was a recreation of the famous moment captured by German-born photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt in New York's Times Square in 1945. It was snapped on the day that Japan surrendered to the U.S. which effectively ended World War II.

Iconic: A kiss shared between Katy Perry and a U.S. marine (above), that aimed to recreate a famous photograph from 1945, has become iconic in its own right. The image above was captured by another marine

Iconic: A kiss shared between Katy Perry and a U.S. marine (above), that aimed to recreate a famous photograph from 1945, has become iconic in its own right. The image above was captured by another marine

Original: The first photograph (above), taken on the day that World War II effectively ended, was snapped in Times Square. It depicts a U.S. sailor and a nurse enjoying an unplanned moment fueled by sheer joy

Original: The first photograph (above), taken on the day that World War II effectively ended, was snapped in Times Square. It depicts a U.S. sailor and a nurse enjoying an unplanned moment fueled by sheer joy

The new photograph was taken by fellow marine Corporal Jeffrey Drew at the singer's special concert for a group of U.S. sailors at Brooklyn's Pier 9 last Wednesday night.

The sailors had just stepped off ships that had docked in Brooklyn last week for Fleet Week.

The original black and white photograph had been taken on V-J Day, which was August 14, 1945 (not September 2 as it is now celebrated) during a spontaneous event that took over Times Square after Harry S. Truman, the U.S. President at the time, announced that Japan had surrendered.

The photo, which is often referred to as The Kiss, was published in Life magazine a week after it was snapped.

Since the photographer's death in 1995, rights to the original photograph have been transferred to the J. Paul Getty Museum in California as part of its Life Pictures archive.

Although a nurse named Edith Shain, who has since passed away, had claimed she was the woman in the white dress in the photograph, some disagree.

Passion: The pop star performed at a special concert in Brooklyn, New York, that welcomed U.S. marines to Fleet Week. She had invited Marine Lance Corporal Thomas Smith on stage during her hit track Part of Me

Passion: The pop star performed at a special concert in Brooklyn, New York, that welcomed U.S. marines to Fleet Week. She had invited Marine Lance Corporal Thomas Smith on stage during her hit track Part of Me

The sailor's identity remains unclear also.

The recent kiss is not the first popular culture reference to have been made to the famous photograph.

In 2005, a life-size sculpture of the kissing couple titled Unconditional Surrender was unveiled at Times Square during a 60th anniversary event.

The bronze sculpture was created by American artist John Seward Johnson II.

The artist also created a 25ft tall version of the sculpture that has been on display at various locations across the U.S. including San Diego.

Lucky: The marine had impressed the singer by attempting to climb onto the stage himself. She then invited him up to join her

Lucky: The marine impressed the singer by attempting to climb onto the stage. She then invited him to join her

Achievement: The 20-year-old man fist-pumped the air after he locked lips with the mega star

Achievement: The 20-year-old man fist-pumped the air after he locked lips with the mega star

The Simpsons also nodded to the famous photograph during an episode titled Bart The General.

The episode showed Lisa Simpson being kissed by a school mate who was dressed as a marine. Unlike the actual moment, the cartoon character slapped the sailor in the face after the pair locked lips.

As for the most recent photograph, Marine Lance Corporal Thomas Smith, who comes from Waterford Township in Michigan, had been invited on stage by Ms Perry after he had impressed her by trying to get onto the stage himself.

She had brought the handsome man in uniform to the platform, stealing his hat in the process.

Wiggling her hips, she coyly asked the crowd: 'Does it look good on me?'

Tribute: The Kiss was also referred to in a episode of The Simpsons (above) Tribute: The kiss was referenced during a 2005 exhibition in Times Square (above)

Tribute: The photograph has been referenced countless times such as in an episode of The Simpsons titled Bart The General (left) as well as an exhibition in New York's Times Square in 2005 (right)

The singer then asked the rowdy sailors whether they were familiar with Alfred Eisenstaedt's photograph.

She then turned to the marine and asked: 'Do you know what I am talking about? You want to do it? You promise you are not going to drop me? You're not gonna drop me? If you drop me, I am going to sick all my friends on you,' she said pointing to the rowdy crowd of uniformed men.

Counting to three, Katy instructed the man to kiss her on the lips.

Dipping her back, he then eagerly locked lips with the brunette bombshell.

After the pair came up for air, he then fist-pumped in the air as fellow marines cheered him on.

How chivalry is not yet dead this Valentine's Day: Men are the biggest risk takers in love - and it's all down to evolution, research finds

  • Like Lancelot, men are willing to risk all for a woman's love
  • Researchers say it evolved because risk-taking helped men attract a mate
  • Tests show men are more willing to take risks where romance is involved

Sir Lancelot was prepared to risk his honour as a knight, death at the hands of the villain Maleagant, and even the wrath of his king to win the love of Queen Guinevere. And it seems modern men are little different from the knights of Arthurian legend. A new study reveals that men are willing to take dangerous gambles to get the attention of the opposite sex, and the romantic tendency is apparently firmly rooted in evolution.

Sir Lancelot rides off with his lover Guinevere, the wife of King Arthur: A new study reveals that men are willing to take dangerous gambles to win the attention of the opposite sex - and the tendency is rooted in evolution

Sir Lancelot rides off with his lover Guinevere, the wife of King Arthur: A new study reveals that men are willing to take dangerous gambles to win the attention of the opposite sex - and the tendency is rooted in evolution

One version of the Lancelot legend has the gallant knight falling in love after catching only the briefest glance of King Arthur's wife Guinevere.

After she is kidnapped by the evil knight Maleagant, Lancelot is willing to jeopardise his honour as a knight by riding in a cart reserved for criminals, then face death in a duel to rescue her.

Finally, after further trials, he risks the jealous rage of King Arthur himself by becoming Guinevere's adulterous lover. And it's not just Lancelot: from Romeo to Robin Hood, myths and fiction are are littered with men willing to face potentially deadly trials in the name of romance. But taking risks to impress women has a strong foundation in real life, where the willingness to face dangers for the fairer sex has been commonplace since the dawn of man. A recent study from the Journal of Risk Research finds risk-taking behaviour has in part been evolved to enhance an individual's ability to attract a mate. According to the study: 'In the evolutionary past, our ancestors were faced with a hazardous environment where they were forced to take greater risks in order to find shelter, food and sexual partners. 'Thus, individuals who played it safe in that they did not take any risks at all, were unlikely to survive.'

I-I-I love you: The study looked at three examples of risk taking behaviour in men and women - sexual risk taking, gambling and reckless driving - and found men were more willing to take risks for women

I-I-I love you: The study looked at three examples of risk taking behaviour in men and women - sexual risk taking, gambling and reckless driving - and found men were more willing to take risks for women. So, it appears, men have inherited this willingness to face dangers for women from our risk-friendly ancestors.But in a modern age where these primeval problems are all but extinct, men are looking for other risks to boast their willingness to face danger. The study looks at three examples of risk taking behaviour in men and women: sexual risk taking (like unprotected sex), gambling and reckless driving. In all three tests, men were more likely to take the inherent risks involved once a romantic element has been induced. Women however showed no more desire to take unnecessary risks. Of course, the authors note, while these activities may have perceived short term benefits, their long-term effects are potentially devastating. That's something wannabe white knights may want to consider in the run-up to Valentine's Day.


A husband and wife who were born on the same day and celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary last year have died just a day apart. The couple's son Les Brown Jr said that 94-year-old Helen Brown died on July 16 and 94-year-old Les Brown died on July 17 in southern California. Mrs Brown had stomach cancer while Mr Brown had battled Parkinson's disease.

Lifetime of love: Helen and Les Brown whose marriage lasted for 75 years died just a day apart in southern California

Lifetime of love: Helen and Les Brown whose marriage lasted for 75 years died just a day apart in southern California. The Browns were born on New Year's Eve in 1918. They met in high school and became teenage sweethearts before eloping in 1937 at the age 18. The couple eloped because their parents thought the marriage between a wealthy man and a working-class woman would never last. Last September they celebrated their 75th anniversary. Their eldest son Les Jr told the Long Beach Press-Telegram: 'It was a real love match, wasn't it. They were together every day for 75 years.'Their youngest son Daniel also told the newspaper: 'My mom often said she didn't want to see my father die, and he didn't want to live without her.'The couple moved to Long Beach in 1963. Mr Brown pursued a career as a photographer while Mrs Brown sold real estate. There will be a joint memorial service for the soul-mates on Saturday.

Teenage dreams: Helen and Les met in high school and eloped after their parents disapproved of them getting married. They were together for 75 years and never spent a day apart, their son said

Teenage dreams: Helen and Les met in high school and eloped after their parents disapproved of them getting married. They were together for 75 years and never spent a day apart, their son said.


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