|Yes, this is just a picture of our dinner tonight. It is delicious, though.|
It’s never nice coming down off your high horse about something. I don’t think anyone enjoys resigning themselves to the fact that perhaps they spoke too soon, didn’t give something enough thought, were a bit too quick to judge. With that in mind…
A couple of years ago, I made my anti-Valentine’s Day stance pretty clear. And, rest assured, I stick by most of it. I still can’t be bothered to care about it, really. However – yes, sorry, but you must have known it was coming – however, this year, I am feeling… Valentiney. I can see the appeal. Hell, I can see the need for a calendar day earmarked for romantic nonsense. Or, to put it another way: I certainly don’t think one calendar day of romantic nonsense is going to do anyone any harm. Yes, it’s cheesy and cliched and really just a money-maker for Thorntons and Paperchase, but you know, so’s Christmas, up to a point.
So why, this year, am I giving up being vehemently anti-V-Day?
Because life is fucking short (I’m not dying; it’s just true).
And once you get out of your student funk, and into a life where all the things that really define you have to be crammed in between 6pm on a Friday and 10pm on a Sunday, you realise that this is it – this is all we’ve got. Here, now. You have to seize your joy where you can. There are more than enough dark, depressing, horribly unfair events unfolding everywhere, all the time. If we have a chance to revel in being totally and utterly, revoltingly in love, then by God, we should grab it with both hands and not forget that it’s a bloody great privilege.
And also, why not? If you’re lucky enough to be with someone – and it is luck, really; a game of numbers and fortune (the lesser-known book franchise) – then why not utilise the opportunity to embrace that, and indeed, them?
I’ll admit, part of my new-found enthusiasm for V-Day has come from actually having a good idea for a couple of small gifts for DB. I’m a terrible present-buyer, so whenever I do have a flash of inspiration, I feel the need to act on it sharpish. I’m not really bothered about receiving anything myself (no, really), because I can’t think of anything that I need or want, and anyway, it’s my birthday next month. Also, the usual Valentine gifts designated for women are, for the most part, wasted on me. Chocolate? I do not need any encouragement to eat it. Don’t be an enabler, unless you can handle me wanging on about the calorie guilt. Wine? See ‘chocolate’. Flowers? I’m just not particularly interested in them. The flowers that give me most joy are the ones you find growing in woods or on roadsides – accidental flowers. Bluebells, snowdrops, primroses, daisies. It doesn’t help that I have an incredibly poor sense of smell – you’d be better off buying me a nice bit of Brie.
As I’ve said, the vast majority of Valentiney bullshit irritates the socks off me – and most other people, I’d wager. I certainly won’t be posting photos of a massive bunch of roses on any social media channels (#bestboyfriendever), nor will I be tweeting about how “blessed” I am, or how much I love “my man” (I’m getting queasy just typing this, and it’s nothing to do with the amount of malted milk biscuits I ate this afternoon). FYI, unless you are a sassy black woman, or an eighties disco queen, you cannot get away with calling him your man.
But I stick by my sort-of U-turn on this one. A bit of romance is only ever a good thing. So enjoy it.
I cannot emphasise how much I love the song I’m going to link you to, and how much I regret completely forgetting about this band’s existence. This track is what would have become of Bruce Springsteen had he grown up in Vegas in the eighties. Singing along and punching the air: not optional.