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Do Russians celebrate St.Valentine's Day? In Moscow, Cameron Sawyer does: "Does anyone remember now how plaintive is the phrase "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" in its original context, namely the eponymous 1949 song by Jules Styne and Leo Robin, which is all about the sordid and lonely lives of gold-digging mistresses. I can't decide whether it is a virtue or not that our culture sanitizes and perhaps trivializes everything that comes into it:

The French were bred to die for love
they delight in fighting duels
but I prefer a man who lives
and gives expensive jewels.
A kiss on the hand may be quite continental
but diamonds are a girl's best friend.
A kiss may be grand but it won't pay the rental
on your humble flat, or help you at the automat.
Men grow cold as girls grow old
and we all lose our charms in the end.
But square-cut or pear-shaped
these rocks don't lose their shape
Diamonds are a girl's best friend
..Tiffany's ... Cartier...
Talk to me, Harry, Winston, tell me all about it!
There may come a time when a lass needs a lawyer
but diamonds are a girl's best friend.
There may come a time when a hard-boiled employer
thinks you're awful nice
but get that ice or else no dice.
He's your guy when stocks are high
but beware when they start to descend,
It's then that those louses go back to their spouses
Diamonds are a girl's best friend.
I've heard of affairs that are strictly platonic
but diamonds are a girl's best friend,
and I think affairs that you must keep liaisonic
are better bets if little pets get big baggettes.
Time rolls on and youth is gone
and you can't straighten up when you bend
but stiff back or stiff knees
you stand straight at Tiffany's
Diamonds... Diamonds...
- I don't mean rhinestones -
but Diamonds, Are A Girl's Best Friends

-- Jules Styne and Leo Robin, from the show "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes".

Ronald Hilton - 2/15/03