After some extensive digging through the archives, Tatler is finally able to pinpoint a few of Mr. Valentine’s predecessors.
One of the most cherished and exciting St. Mary’s traditions is Mr. Valentine. However, you may not know the true origin of how this tradition came to be.
While we are not sure who exactly started Mr. Valentine or even when it started, a small article from the February 1980 edition of Tatler revealed that there used to be a contest called “Vote for Your Valentine.” However, this contest was not a success because the girls didn’t follow the voting rules: there were three jars for girls to vote for their “Valentine,” and each student was allowed three votes, but many voted more than three times. Additionally, it appears that more than half of the upper school did not even vote!
After that failed attempt, the Student Council and Tatler tried once again in 1983. This time the contest was called “A Man for All Seasons.” The students were surveyed to find what they were looking for in a man. The results from this survey were “between 5’6” and 5’10” tall, blue eyes, brown hair, and possessing a Chris (Christopher) Reeves body type [and] is 15-18 years old.” Sadly, it was never announced if the “man” was ever found.
The first Mr. Valentine that is remotely similar to ours was held in 1985. There were 12 “handsome male contestants.” The questions and tasks asked then were similar to the ones asked now, such as “Compose an impromptu love poem” or “If you were stranded on a desert island, who would you want to be stranded with?” After the talent portion was over, rather than having the entire high school vote, there were four judges who deliberated to decide the winner — John Monaghan.
While there isn’t much information about the 1986 Mr. Valentine, we do know there were 16 students competing to win the title of not Mr. Valentine, but “the King of Hearts.”
In 1989 boys from Memphis University School, Christian Brothers High School and Briarcrest competed for the hearts of St. Mary’s girls. In this Mr. Valentine, there were three portions to the show: the questioning, the biographical slide show and the strutting show. During the questioning, one of the contestants responded to “Describe yourself in one word” with “Perfect.” This just shows that private school boys were as confident back then as they are now. Boys also had to “strut their stuff” with a personalized walk for the audience. Six judges chose Mr. Andrew Crosby as Mr. Valentine.
After reading about previous Mr. Valentines, it is weird to see how much it has changed. We now only have six contestants and the entire high school is able to vote. Also some of the questions and activities the boys were required to do then would not be acceptable now. But that is all just because of how the times change. Overall, I am greatly thankful for St. Mary’s girls from the 80s for giving us this wonderful and hilarious tradition.
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