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By Katie Dabin on

Be Mine Anti-Valentine

Valentine’s Day is like herpes: just when you think its gone for good, it  rears its ugly head once more (and perhaps it’s no coincidence its initials are the same as Veneral Disease?). Are you cringing from all the cutesy declarations of love? Avoiding all aphrodisiacs (including heart-shaped vegetables – no seriously they exist!)? Well here’s some suggestions from our collections of what not to give the love of your life on VD day…

1. Cosmetic Enhancement.

Cosmetic devices from the 1700s, England. (Image credit: Science Museum)

Breast pads to enhance cleavage, cork discs to plump out hollow cheeks, and a multitude of beauty spots to hide smallpox scars – whilst this cosmetic kit might have gone down a storm in the 1700s, as a surprise Valentine’s gift today it might leave your beau wondering why you’re focusing on their flaws just a tad too much.

To be fair – cosmetic enhancement isn’t always unromantic. Some people (and not even in the distant past!) would give their loved ones the gift of new dentures – which meant having all your teeth removed first. Ahhh there’s nothing that says “I love you” like serious dental work.

2.  A Chastity Belt.

Iron chastity belt, Europe, 1501-1600. Ah the heart detail on this chastity belt says it all. (Image credit: Science Museum)

Hmm me’thinks in this day and age a chastity belt screams trust issues. Whilst seemingly medieval – the majority of chastity belts and the stories that surround them appear to be the product of over-active 19th Century imaginations. So whilst your intention may be to present this padlocked token of love to your chosen lady to help her demonstrate her devotion – it’ll  definitely leave her thinking that you’re stuck in the Dark Ages.

3. Gonorrhoea Pants.

‘Gonorrhoea’ lingerie used in TV 'Essential Wear' ad campaign, London, England, 2007 (Image credit: Science Museum)

Whilst lingerie is usually the order on Valentine’s Day, this lacy little number probably won’t help you get into someone’s knickers. (Still – they could prove handy if you need to pass on a not so subtle message about what you inadvertently picked up there…).

4. A Heart Resuscitator.

Defibrillator, London, England, 1970-1980. (Image credit: Science Museum)

A heart-felt gift (groan!) of one of these would sure cause a shock (bigger groan!). That is assuming you don’t need an ECG to check that your loved one  is still sending you heart signals…

Developed in the 1950s, defibrillators deliver electric shocks to the chest. It’s used when the electrical signals in a person’s heart ventricles become chaotic – causing their heart to stop beating effectively.  Sadly, I don’t think it can be applied to heart-ache caused by erratic relationships.

5.  Scold’s Bridle.

A scold's bridle, Germany, 1550-1800. One of the more disturbing items in the collection. (Image Credit: Science Museum)

Used up until the early 1800s, Scold’s bridles were used as a punishments for women considered to be spending too much time gossiping or quarrelling – as wearing the mask prevented speech.  As a gift with the phone bill in mind – probably a no no.

Still, might come in handy if nagging for a decent Valentine gift gets too much?