Stocking up on wine, roses and cards with soppy messages in time for Valentine’s Day tomorrow? Not everyone is feeling in love. JOANNE SAVAGE can’t stomach the tired commercialism
There is nothing less romantic than the consumer-created hearts-and-flowers fakery and sickly schmaltz of Valentine’s Day.
It’s a day when those in love feel stifled and bullied by the cliched imperative to have an over-priced meal for two while pretending to be enraptured rather than faintly bored and irritated by each other in a packed restaurant of similarly stressed couples with enforced smiles.
At best, if you are happily coupled up, you can smile your way through the tawdry cliches together, wincing at how capitalism has repackaged romance and sold it to the masses in garish cards with stupid little poems, heart-shaped chocolates and over-done bouquets of red roses.
Nothing is less spontaneously sexy than Valentine’s Day because there is nothing more likely to kill the mood than the social pressure to be madly in love on cue and on time; spontaneity – the unexpected gesture – is so much more heart-warming than staged romance on demand. Who wants a hideous mass-produced card reducing love to cheesy couplets that are crass and embarrassing?
You’ll likely end up in front of your favourite boxset with an M&S meal for two, valiantly attempting to keep the spark alive while feeling excessively bloated.
And then there is the awful misery of being single on Valentine’s Day when the coupled-up status of what feels like most of Western civilisation – with the glaring exception of you – is painful and maddening to fathom.
If you’re so very lovable and entertaining then why are you sitting on your own tonight? Valentine’s Day is basically a cunning corporate ploy to make the unattached feel inferior while smug marrieds enjoy the schadenfreude.
And pity those who have been together for decades – when the contempt of familiarity, resentment and bitterness has really set in and you are feeling thoroughly asexual in suburbia. Most partners know they’ll be in the doghouse if they don’t make a show of still finding you indescribably sexy and adorable – when deep down you know the relationship is built on a toxic cocktail of insecurity and fear!
Love and romance are the great joys of the human condition. What is life without love and what is more exhilarating than heady romance? If you’re in love, be in love every day while expressing it in terms that are particular to you rather than working to a timetable society has enforced.
Be surprising and original – a box of Milk Tray, a terse card and cut-price rose is too tired and cliched a combination to cut the mustard on February 14. If you must partake in this ghastly feast day please, at least, have some style.