Valentine's Day

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Valentine’s Day is this weekend and couples in love are expected to spend in the billions, but spending by singles may have even greater revenue potential. On today’s show, a look at China’s anti-Valentine’s holiday: Singles' Day and how it became the largest online shopping day in the world.

Then, from clamshell razors to electrolysis, humans have gone to great lengths to achieve a smooth, clean shave. We’ll take a look at the history of hair removal, and what it reveals about shifting views of racial and social status in the U.S. 

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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As editor of The New York Time’s “Modern Love” column since 2004, our guest Daniel Jones has read over 50,000 love letters.  Well, not love letters exactly, but letters about love.  Okay, and most of them aren’t actual physical letters, but emails.  Which says a lot about the state of romance in 2014, given how much of it sparks, burns, and is often extinguished from behind a computer screen.  Technology’s impact on modern love features heavily in Jones’ new book “Love Illuminated: Exploring Life’s Most Mystifying Subject with the Help of 50,000 Strangers”.

tarale via Flickr Creative Commons

Valentine's day is creeping closer…a big day to celebrate abiding love or seal the deal on a new one with a diamond engagement ring. And now for the wet blanket: diamond debt. You know that whole two months salary for an engagement ring calculus? It’s tradition, right? Not really. Diamonds were not associated with romance until the Debeers Diamond Company began marketing them for engagement rings in the 1930s. Debeer’s "Diamonds Are Forever" campaign remains one of the most successful of the 20th century. So, young men still march into jewelry shops prepared to spend…and retailers have plenty of financing available for those who don’t have money up front. Gerri Detweiler, is the director of consumer education for Credit.com, and she recently wrote a blog post about the common credit traps diamond buyers fall into.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lanier67/4691811080/in/photostream/" target="blank">lanier67</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

For Valentine's Day, we listen in on a few love stories from New Hampshire, stories about the many unusual places love can take us.

No doubt many of us are rushing out the door to grab a last minute Valentine’s Day gift for our significant others.

Our guest has a suggestion: hold off on the chocolates and flowers, and spend a little time talking to that loved one. 

Why The Best Chocolate Is The One You Eat Last

Feb 14, 2012

It's predictable, and hokey, to bring up chocolate and romance in one Valentine's Day post, but hang on — this is fascinating.

A study suggests that your preferences in chocolate may help explain how you pick out or judge potential romantic partners.

No, it's not that people who love dark chocolate are simpatico with others who love dark chocolate. That would be far too pat.

As comedian John Fugelsang recalls, all in life was dandy until one fateful day, at age 6, he noticed an odd motif in some photos: "In every family picture ... my mother was wearing a habit."

Last August, he tweeted his parents' unusual love story — with photos — on the first anniversary of his father's death. In a series of blurbs 140 characters or less, he tells it better than I ever could:

For those who find themselves alone this Valentine's Day, or who reject the holiday altogether, you might not want to read about star-crossed lovers pining for each other and — even worse — winding up together in the end. So here are three alternatives to comfort you this Feb 14. Each novel is just the right length to read in a single night with a box of drugstore-bought chocolates. And although these tales are indeed reflections on love, the characters they follow are skeptics.