AS VALENTINE’S DAY COMES AROUND AGAIN, CESCA FROM TUNBRIDGE WELLS IS WONDERING WHY WE MUST ONLY CELEBRATE LOVE ONCE A YEAR
I firmly believe that, like Marmite or Father Christmas, Valentine’s Day divides people into two camps – those who believe, and those who don’t. And, I fall into the latter.
It’s not that I believe love isn’t worth celebrating, but it should be celebrated every day, in a variety of ways – not once a year with an exorbitant diamond and cringeworthy pictures all over Facebook to show how much more in love you are than everyone else.
The whole camaraderie of Valentine’s Day feels to me like a farce. Couples who spend 364 evenings a year barely conversing as they mindlessly play Candy Crush on their phones are suddenly insufferably ‘loved up’, displaying their tacky gifts to all and sundry. We all know that tomorrow they’ll be back to bickering about the washing up, but on February 14th couples everywhere will spend a small fortune pretending they’re more besotted than Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddlestone circa 2016. And we all know how that turned out.
It doesn’t help that my birthday falls on February 13th. As a child this wasn’t too cumbersome – there was usually some kind of Valentine’s disco held around my birthday, which meant my mum would let me wear makeup and I looked vaguely nice in pictures. So, for the family albums, it was beneficial. However, once I became old enough not to celebrate in a school hall with crisps mushed on the floor, I began to realise how irritating Valentine’s Day was. When I was 15, my boyfriend, who I was completely head-over-heels for, dumped me a week beforehand. Apparently, one gift would have been acceptable, but two?! No chance.
By 25, things still hadn’t improved. By this point I at least had a partner who didn’t think throwing pencils at my head was the height of romantic wooing, but nonetheless, trying to celebrate both events still proved troublesome. Dinner inevitably meant paying over the odds for some pretentious dish served with a side of wilting roses, ordering flowers needed a mortgage, and even finding a half-decent birthday card amongst a sea of mushy (or slightly inappropriate) love messages was nigh-on impossible.
By 30, I had given up completely, and resigned myself to a life of always postponing birthday celebrations – which does have its benefits (reduced heart-shaped chocolates are always a plus). No friends ever want to socialise on my birthday weekend because they’re too busy paying over the odds for champagne in a restaurant with their significant other. And, even if they claim to be part of the haters club, they still need to ‘keep the night free’ (in case their partner surprises them, clearly).
My husband, also part of the hate camp, has always claimed that Valentine’s Day is ‘commercial rubbish’, but of course, this could be a clever ploy like the others to avoid double gifting and having to take me out more than once a year. That said, at least he’s consistent – he never buys me flowers, birthday or otherwise, so I don’t think he’s lying.
Plus, he does wash my car for me on a frequent basis, and cooks dinner for me when I’m working late which I’m very grateful for. Maybe I’ll take him for dinner to thank him. But you know, when there isn’t a national celebration of forced feelings coinciding with it…