People seem to be growing snotty about Valentine’s these days. I broached the subject with our engaged friends, the other day. ‘Oh no, we don’t celebrate it’. They furrowed their eyebrows. ‘It’s too commercial’, he added. My boyfriend and I look at each other glumly. Perhaps we weren’t taking our relationship seriously enough. We’ve been together nearly three years; we should cut this fluffy Valentine’s Day crap.
But, no! I like Valentine’s Day. There, I said it. It’s the one day of the year where you’re guaranteed a slap-up meal, chocolates and sex, and if that’s commercialism then I’m buying (or even better, he is). I’d swap it for Christmas, which is just as commercial but involves far more stress whilst holding no certainty of sex. You see, after being together long enough to have had the other fart on your leg in bed and been witness to every possible bodily excretion, this is the one night that feels like a ‘date’ date. Sure, it’s kind of corny and at restaurants you’re surrounded by other cloyingly gooey couples, but it offers a welcome reminder of ooh-this-is-exciting first date type feelings. And sometimes they even give you a free glass of prosecco.
One journalist said ‘lingerie outlets seem to think that couples across the country only have sex on 14 February and therefore encourage women to dress like strippers hired for a stag night’. Wrong. Oh so wrong. Couples have sex all year round but Valentine’s provides the ideal excuse for women to dress like strippers; adorning ridiculous silk knickers and titillating stockings utterly impractical on a freezing February night. Women will wear what they like. And if you don’t like the feeling of Brazilian knickers gradually riding up your behind while you’re enjoying your hors d’ouevres, then don’t. Or even better don your comfy M&S briefs and switch them for the dominatrix costume post-dinner.
Of course undeniably Valentine’s has its niggling annoyances….the myriad of nauseatingly pink and heart-filled cards, the very idea of buying a fluffy teddy bear for anyone over the age of fifteen, restaurants becoming over-priced and over-crowded, and the phrase ‘love birds’, all spring to mind. Plus, it is men who are unfairly burdened with buying romantic tat for their little princesses. Since when have men not appreciated a nice box of chocolates too? Get your act together, ladies.
So ultimately what I’m saying is: Yes, Valentine’s Day is commercial, just like Easter, Shrove Tuesday and all the rest. Yes, it maybe archaically gender stereotyped. And yes, it feels a bit silly, but that’s no excuse to opt out. Do it your own way. Hell, celebrate it on 13th if you wish. But please, amongst the seriousness of shared bank accountants, MOTs, and wedding anniversaries, can we not get stuffy about the loved-up ridiculousness of Valentine’s Day?