Saturday, 13 February 2016

Valentine's Day


Whether you've seen the "look how easy it is to send your girlfriend some roses" Moonpig tv advert, or been tempted by the Tesco special offers on cucumbers and whipped cream, we're all being reminded that, love it or hate it, it's almost Valentine's Day. I can't say I've ever been a pro V-Day kind of girl, but this year I thought I'd try something different...and try and be one of those girls. Before you're all sick in your mouths, stop reading and imminently exit this tab, I have some explaining to do...

My problem with Valentine's Day has always been how fake and soppy and commercialised it is. Every time I see a card with "To the most special person in my life ever in the whole wide world universe space and time" (or something of that nature), or Clinton Cards rammed full of tiny helium balloons and all the stupid, meaningless crap you could have ever imagined existed, I get angry. I get angry that people actually buy this stuff because it's so painfully impersonal and cliché that it becomes totally trivial. Christ, if someone ever buys me a teddy bear holding a heart... I get angry because this is what Valentine's Day has been reduced to. What started as a celebration of romance and of love is no longer really about that. It's about paying an extortionate amount for a meal just because it's Valentine's Day, being forced to drink Prosecco when you really wanted a beer because it comes free with your set menu, and a means to buy a present you don't want to buy and you don't know what to buy in case your s.o. has bought you something and you don't want to be that guy whose girlfriend honestly didn't care (but definitely really did). 

So I reckon I'm going to do it differently. For a start, there's no gifts. There's no cards. No flowers. No nothing. There's nothing I want, there's nothing I can think to buy Simon, and why should a celebration of love involve the exchange of gifts. Aren't I present enough...? Second, there's no going out for a meal and surrounding yourself with other couples who are feeling just as awkward as you about having this weird, artificial evening out and being forced to drink Prosecco, even though you just want a beer, because it's included in your set menu. There's no set menus, because I bloody hate a set menu, and I just want to eat what I want to eat. It's time we started personalising Valentine's Day and being a bit more creative about it. For us, Valentine's Day is going be more like a date night, well, a date weekend - a chance for just the two of us to be together and do the stuff that we like doing. Our current plans for having epic lie ins, eating tasty food, going on long walks and watching good films don't actually sound that different from our usual weekend plans... but this time I've placed orders with both a butcher and a fishmonger, and we've got National Trust memberships (thanks Mum...) so it's going to be awesome. It's a chance to get away and be together and hang out and appreciate each other and everything we have. To me, that's what Valentine's Day should be about. 

So next time you're hating on Valentine's Day, forget about the the token mug/keyring/fairy lights/endless amounts of stupid rubbish sold by shops that's everywhere, and think about it as a day for loving. Whether that's romantic love, or just grabbing your best pal or your mum or sibling and hanging out. In the wise words of Hugh Grant (or the screenwriter of Love Actually): if you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion...love actually is all around. 

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