The Valentine’s Day Grinch

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Meh.

Roses are red,

Bacon is red,

Bacon.

With a week to go until Valentine’s Day my social networking feeds are becoming filled with sweet messages of love, vomit-inducing images of couples gazing lovingly into each others eyes and ideas for tacky and unwanted gifts…

Oh joy.

I love love. I love being in love, reading romantic stories and watching romantic films. I’m an advocate for all things heartfelt and passionate and while I don’t believe in the idea of ‘soulmates’ I truly think that there is somebody out there for everybody. I love celebrations and holidays and I look forward to them every year.

However, there is one particular celebration that I dislike: Valentine’s Day. I am the Valentine’s Day Grinch.

I’ll never forget the jealousy I felt when my friend received an enormous anonymous card on her doorstep. It was beautiful, with ‘Will you be my Valentine?’ carefully written on the inside. I was 13 years old and had gone to her house after school for dinner – we heard the sound of the letterbox and there it was, staring at me.

“Who’s it from?” I asked, forcing a smile.

“I’ve no idea!” she squealed at me. (To this day, she still doesn’t have a clue who sent it).

I tried to be happy for her, but secretly I was suppressing a desire to punch her in the face. Why didn’t I get one? What was wrong with me?

This scenario, however childish, is just one of the many reasons why I don’t like Valentine’s Day, despite being in a committed relationship for years. In many circumstances the day serves as a huge slap-in-the-face reminder to single people that they haven’t met ‘The One’ yet, and while most of my single friends in their 30’s are past the point of caring, there are still plenty of those that do. Since the middle of January I have read posts from single bloggers with advice for preparing to spend the day ‘alone.’ I dislike the fact that some are made to believe that their self-worth is defined by their relationship status, and I dislike the pressure that the day often puts on our male counterparts, particularly in the younger generations to make huge gestures and declarations of their feelings for their partners.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I can’t rhyme,
Refrigerator.

However, scientific studies (and by scientific, I mean I asked my friends – but I’m sure there are far more scientific studies out there) have shown that couples equally dislike everything that the day has come to represent. In the shops the masses of Christmas tat is replaced with Valentine’s tat, accompanied by a sea of red cards as soon as the holidays are over, advertisements for flowers, chocolates and cuddly toys appear everywhere and the inevitable conversation between The Bloke and I happens at the end of January:

“Are we doing anything for Valentine’s Day this year?”

“We can if you like, but I’m not that bothered.”

“Me neither. Shall we just stay in?”

“Yeah, fine by me.”

“Are we doing the card thing?”

“Yeah, we can do the card thing, but let’s leave the presents. The vet/car/council tax bill is due next week.”

“Ok.”

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bruceallen.com

Most couples always start with good intentions and the excitement of the ‘Honeymoon Period’ is all consuming. I’ve been there on several occasions and those times have been the most exhilarating of my life. The first date, the first kiss, the first ‘I love you’ and everything else in between is a magical experience and everything the new spouse does or says is music to the soul. Family and friends start to roll their eyes as you regale them with yet another story of how wonderful/funny/sweet this person is and the passing of time seems to drag when you aren’t in their company.

However, life will always inevitably get in the way. The cute little underwear bought to impress starts to morph into enormous knickers and sexy night dresses become flannel pyjamas. The hair goes up and the make-up comes off. What is left is essentially the real versions of ourselves, warts and all.

While I love love, I condradict myself in that real life I am not an overly romantic person and I resent the fact that on this one particular day I am expected to be, in essence, ‘romantic.’ February 14th has no connection for me and The Bloke – our anniversary is in November. What if we’re not in the mood that day? What if one of us is ill, or we’ve had a bad day at work. What if I have a stack of marking that needs to be completed?

I appreciate that the positive message behind it is that it is important to take the time to show your loved one that you care and before I start receiving indignant messages I am certainly not begrudging or judging anybody who wishes to go all out on Valentine’s Day, but the real us shouldn’t have to wait for a specific day of the year to demonstrate our feelings in the form of a hurriedly bought gift that has been picked up on the weekly shop. Of course, I’m generalising here, but shouldn’t we try to show our other half how much they mean to us as often as possible rather than on a day that has been created for the purposes of consumerism?

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Here’s a poem,
Now shut your face.

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dryicons.com

The Bloke runs me a bath in a morning before work. When I’ve had a crap day he cooks me dinner and rubs my feet. He would buy me flowers, but the cats take it upon themselves to eat them. He records TV programmes that he thinks that I’ll like. We surprise each other with little gifts, cards and date nights. My family and friends like him and the cats worship him. On the rare occasions when I return home from a night out after consuming my entire body weight in alcohol he politely ignores my endless wittering and then brings me breakfast in bed the next day to help with my inevitable hangover. This last week has been one of the most difficult that I have experienced in a long time, and he has been my saviour – picking me up from work very late in the evening, cooking my dinner every night, helping me with computer issues as I have done my work and most, importantly, he’s put his big arms around me and told me that it is going to be okay when I have cried on his shoulder. We look after each other when we’re ill. We talk about anything and everything. We’re occasionally grumpy, we snap at each other, and at times we’ve been known to irritate the crap out of each other. We’ve seen the best and the worst of each other. It isn’t perfect – no relationship is – but regardless of whether the day has been good or bad, I know that he’s the person that I want to wake up to each morning. I am an extremely difficult person to live with, he’s a very patient man and I’m very lucky.

So, instead of waiting until Valentines’s Day to tell him how much I love him and how important he is to me, I’m going to continue to (or at least try to) let him know how much I appreciate him in the form of a bacon sandwich every Saturday and Sunday morning, rubbing his feet when they are sore, holding his hand when we walk down the street, booking a table in our favourite restaurant as often as my bank balance will afford, laughing at his awful jokes (which I actually find very funny – don’t tell him that), kissing him goodnight before I go to sleep and apologising when I have been snappy at him.

So, Valentine’s Day, quite frankly, can kiss my foot.

What about you guys? Do you buy into the Valentines’s Day con?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

105 thoughts on “The Valentine’s Day Grinch

  1. Amen! I am right there with you! Valentine’s Day is a generic, manufactured, greeting card holiday. I am far more impressed when my husband does some sweet thing for me (like buying me a new set of potholders after I burn my fingers on a dish) on a random Tuesday in October than when social media dictates that he should! Bah humbug, I say! 🙂

  2. I completely agree with all you said! The Boy and I are definitely not big on V-day. This year we are…ordering a feast from dominoes and watching Die Hard, I think. When I was single I dreaded being in a relationship on Valentine’s day, for fear of becoming those at which I used to scoff, but thankfully that didn’t happen. Just because I’m in love, I still think it’s a con!

  3. “secretly I was suppressing a desire to punch her in the face” <- This made me laugh so much! Because…well, I feel the exact same way as you! Sadly, this year my husband and I will be apart for valentines (booooo!) but do you know what? It doesn't matter…because Valentines doesn't mean anything – it should be a special day, EVERY day!

    A great post! 🙂

    And as stated above, Happy every day valentines day ❤

    • Thanks Amanda! Totally agree with you – sorry your husband is away. The longest The Bloke and I have ever been apart is two weeks, and that was because I was stranded in America when the Icelandic volcano exploded in 2010. I was desperate to see him!

      • Two weeks is a long stretch 😦

        You do get used to it though. I see my husband every 4 weeks (being in a long distance relationship/marriage) and I’ve grow used to my own space…it’s hard when he comes back now! I’ve gotten used to hogging the remote control! 😀

        Anyway, enjoy the rest of your Sunday. Its a beautiful day in the South West – Sunshine…but still freezing!!!

      • He will be away for 4 months in total. Then he will have the summer off before he moves to Coventry for a year (while I stay here) But at least he can come back for weekend visits (it’s only a 2 1/2 hour drive) and I don’t fancy moving again! I’ve moved enough in the past 3 years! :-/

  4. My oldest refers to Valentine’s Day as “Happy, sappy, crappy day”. It is three days after my birthday. I either get a gift on one day or the other. After 40 years of marriage we have come to the conclusion that the 14th of Feb. is an expensive day. Prices are hiked up on everything. Why buy flowers when you can get them cheaper the following week? Plus they make me sneeze, and my eyes water. The chocolates? Wait until the 15th and buy them at 50% off. Somehow they taste better cheaper. Dinner? Anytime we have tried to do the romantic dinner thing, we end up arguing and not talking to each other. On the other hand, I love Valentine’s Day. All my birthday parties as a child were valentine themed. When I see the pink hearts and the red hearts, they bring me excitement and make me smile… I just don’t buy any of them anymore. I am content to walk down the red filled aisles and have sweet memories of my childhood. As an end note… I would have punched my friend in the face and grabbed the card and pretended it was for me…

  5. Another terrific post! Well said!! People who love each other do not require an appointed day to show their love. It’s all commercial hype designed by the masses to make us feel guilty for not participating! Thanks for another good read!

  6. Bravo! Especially what you say about singles. And the hyped-up commercialization of another opportunity to guilt-trip us into emptying our pockets for what??? Exception: first or early love. But then, people at that stage don’t really need a special V-Day. We used to make our own cards for family members and special friends. What ever happened to that?
    Elouise

  7. Showing you care with bacon is brilliant!
    My cousin told me about celebrating ‘love’ day (on Feb 15th or 16th) – we’ve started believing in that too, if you must buy, do it when the all roses/valentine’s day treats all go on a post-Feb.14th sale!

  8. I’m not big on Valentine’s Day either, Suzie. But woe betide the hubs if he forgets to at least wish me it! In passing, at least, while he’s making me toast and coffee of a morning. Now, that’s love. 😉

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  10. No need to explain your disgust over all the b.s. It IS quite sickening. I don’t need social media to prove I love someone. I find it disturbing that anyone that lives with their husband/boyfriend/wife/girlfriend, etc., feels the need to publicly declare it, from the same damn room, but really, it’s just about others seeing it. That isn’t very genuine to me.

    You’re clearly in a perfectly normal, happy relationship. Good for you. 🙂

      • The original basis of the holiday was not passed down over the years, so commercialism took over. A lot of people truly think Hallmark, florists, and chocolatiers came up with it, but that’s not actually the case. Unfortunately, it’s made to look like that. Between that and all the diamond commercials, you’d think people only ever got engaged on Valentine’s Day. How cliche. It’s a lot of pressure for one day out of the year. In many relationships, loving each other each day and doing the right thing is much simpler.

        It makes lots of people rant. Christmas wasn’t even over and the stores were jam-packed with Valentine’s Day crap. I probably didn’t notice yet, but I’m sure the Easter stuff will be in its place soon.

  11. I agree entirely! As a single woman in her thirties, I get so fed up with all the manufactured romanticism and the pressure from society that you have to be in a relationship to be happy/fulfilled/complete/etc. I am so much happier now than I was when I was in a serious relationship and planning a wedding (that never happened)! Stuff Valentine’s Day – that’s my opinion!

      • Not at all! Everything was booked then about 4 months before the big day my ex told me she’d cheated on me. What’s more, she’d posted the invites that morning!! I later found out that she’d cheated on me more than once with more than one person. Needless to say, we broke up. Now I’m just relieved I found out before we tied the knot! That was a good few years ago now so I don’t mind talking about it. And although I’ve had a couple of boyfriends since then, there’s not been any other long term relationships. But most of the time I’m fine with that – I’d never have moved to China to teach if the wedding had gone ahead or I’d ended up in another serious relationship soon after that. I firmly believe that things work out in the end (although sometimes it takes a really long time)!

  12. As a married woman Valentine’s Day to me was a bit like ‘date night’ when we had kids. Our children were important and deserved to have our time and needed us to help them along their life path. By creating date night and celebrating Valentines day we ensured us as partners ( not parents) wasn’t lost totally in family life. Sure we did nice things for each other but often it was in between all the stuff that goes on to run a family ( it really us a like big business) . Just like so big business makes time for staff morale through parties we as parents used Valentines a Day and date nights. Now our children are all grown up. By doing this we have maintained our ‘partner’ side , date nights and valentines aren’t necessary…but with a healthy dinner neither is chocolate, wine and cream cakes but we still indulge in those too .

  13. Valentine’s Day is commercialism. Hubby and I recycle the same cards each year… saves a few trees and we may go out for a meal, if we can be arsed. Or, we may have a few drinks in the local pub. It’s no big deal.!
    A great piece and well written.

  14. Great post Suzie! Valentines Day is just mass commercialised hype which puts pressure on people to conform. I think we have been out on a couple of occasions and had awful meals so haven’t bothered since. Some years we don’t even do cards and I always come back to the same point – why do we need a set day of the year to show each other how much we love each other? I always think about those people who are alone/single/lost a loved one and think how they must feel having all this shoved down their throats? I have also worked with colleagues over the years who have bragged so much about what their other half has done for them on Valentines Day that I have felt like throttling them! Hope you don’t have any of those where you work!

    • Thanks Kirsty! No, there isn’t anyone who usually brags, and your hubs certainly doesn’t, although he often talks about the brilliant time you’ve had in your surfing adventures! I love the fact that you two go on so many adventures together in your surfing… Far better than a crappy meal any day!

  15. The pressure put on by the marketing guys is too much. Today’s newspaper carried articles on what to do on V-Day. And then they show interviews with singles and exclaim ‘Oh they are so happy’. I feel V-Day is losing its meaning and becoming more of marketplace. Loved your post.

  16. Happy Hallmark Day! I remember the sadness of a my lumpy,vacuous, teen self at boarding school … hoping for a card. I got an enviably lurid pink one from a Turkish penal that cured me for life. Years later, during nurse training, I helped a florist friend with manic Valentine’s Day deliveries in a beautiful area where I knew the geography. By 3pm recipients of gorgeous, expensive bouquets were grumping, ‘too little, too late!’ It was all about being seen, all day, with unique tokens of undying love, exactly the same as everyone else in the office!

  17. Like every other holiday, this is another one that gets competitive on social media with the over the top proclamations and demonstrations. Difference between this and Christmas is, you really can’t “compete” or pretend to unless you are coupled/dating/whatever. :-\

  18. Please keep adding a new poem each year to your valentine posts – they are just great! I remember as a teen and in my early 20’s where my friends – who’s boyfriends would treat like crap the whole year – would be given some giant tacky card and a sickly sweet stuffed toy bear – they would be elated. Why, I never understood. I agree it’s all about being sweet and generous and considerate to your loved one all year round. Making leek, onion and potato soup when they are poorly is a gesture that never fails any time of the year ;o)

  19. “I dislike the pressure the day puts on our male counterparts.” Amen sister! From your mouth to God’s ears. Also, you’re now part of the problem. Since you did a Valentine’s post now I feel pressure to do one too.

  20. Valentine’s really generates a response! We don’t do much in the way of Valentine’s day. Some years we might go out for dinner or something, but my daughter’s birthday is the day after so that time is usually devoted to her. We may exchange a card or something, but we typically don’t make a big deal. I reserve that for the anniversaries. 🙂

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  23. Totally agreed! I don’t really see the big deal in it, don’t get all out and don’t get or receive any flowers. Today we went and had brunch (as we normally do any other weekend) and there were so many men (why don’t women give flowers on valentines day? Do women generally give anything?) with flowers, one man with 3 individual flowers! (oh my :P)
    The florists were jam packed with flowers and balloons and teddy’s. I just don’t see the point and the flowers are massively expensive!

    I did buy my boyfriend some chocolate roses and chocolate hearts as a surprise because I know he wouldn’t expect it as I’m a bit of a valentines grinch too.

    We had a quiet day and then ate some cake and icecream and that was it for us 🙂 Like you said, we show our love every day we don’t need a specific day to declare it.

    The sad thing is all the guys I work with were huffing how their girlfriends/wives are this massive burden because they want things for valentines day. It was just a bit sad to hear, why couldn’t they just be happy that their partners wanted to spend time with them? Instead all I heard was about the ‘ol ball and chain’ 😦

    • So sorry about the late reply – thanks for your comment! I have lots of male friends, and it’s a bit of a joke that’s generally passed around that they are going to dump their girlfriends before Valentines’s Day so they won’t have to buy them a present. I have known of one or two when I was in my 20’s that actually did that!

  24. I’m not naturally romantic, and, in fact, my husband and I did exactly nothing for each other this Valentine’s Day…but I have nothing against the holiday, at all. I use it as great excuse for fun. As a teenager I was notorious for sending sneaky secret admirer letters to siblings or friends….the first V.Day I was married, the husband was working, so I went to a bonfire with friends, and this year, I had a party with a group of teenagers in our community and we all decorated sugar cookies to give away to friends and family–it was a blast! I guess I have lots of good memories of Valentine’s Day.

    • So sorry about the late reply – thanks so much for your comment! I think that your approach is lovely – what great memories that you have made of each Valentines’s Day! I love your ideas too – I might steal them next valentines day!

  25. What a great post and I agree that Valentine’s Day has largely been subsumed by more commercial intentions these days! Your Bloke sounds like a decent kind of chap, which is, after all, what most of us are looking for. Wishing you both a very happy Saturday!

  26. Fab post – I must confess I am more of a Christmas Grinch although Valentine’s Day (mmm – maybe there’s a reason it has the initials VD) is nudging it very, very close.

    Have just discovered your blog and look forward to following and reading more – you have a sassy style my dear!

    • So sorry for the late reply! Thanks so much for your comment Mel – I’m really pleased that you like the blog! I LOVE Christmas – I always seem to go overboard on it as I love spoiling those around me, but don’t feel the same way about Valentines at all!

  27. Yep, I’m ‘meh’ about Valentine’s too. Did a blog post about it, even, LOL!

    It’s just not my gig…at least, not anymore. I don’t feel the need to ‘prove’ my love for my husband. Our conversation was pretty much word for word the one you had (minus the bill part, our bills are different, LOL).

    • Thanks so much! So sorry for the late reply, I am just getting round to catching up on my comments. Glad you liked them, last one was one I actually received in a card from an ex. In two years together he never really bothered to get any cards for any occasions, so when I demanded a valentines card (I was a teenager) he wrote this in it. Ahh, young love. How romantic.

  28. Lovely post – Foot massage beats cruddy, sappy cards any day 🙂 We unanimously decided to rechristen the day “Family Day”, and spent the day running around doing fun stuff together – all the five of us. Whilst the restaurants filled up with couples paying huge sums for dinner, we all squished up on the sofa and watched “Madagascar” together. Much more fun!

    • Thanks my lovely – so sorry for the late reply, I’m just catching up on all of my comments now… I think that your ‘Family Day’ is just lovely, one of the best things I’ve heard in a while!

    • Thanks Nadia – so sorry for the late reply, I am just getting round to catching up on all of my comments now. I totally agree – opportunities should be taken throughout the year to show your loved ones how you feel, not just on a specific day. Thanks for stopping by from SITS (I love the Sits Girls!)

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