Roses are red,
Bacon is red,
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…
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,
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.”
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.
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?
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