Thursday, 27 January 2011

Valentine's day: a do or a don't?

Now, before I go into too much ranting let me just state: I'm generally not a cynical person who likes to reign on parades.

That aside, Valentine's day has often annoyed me. At first it seems like a fairly harmless holiday: once a year you show your loved one that you care about them. Seems simple enough. That is, of course, until you factor in commercialisation, expectation and competition (I've known it to happen).

Those who know me well enough will know I'm a huge romantic sap. I will happily watch The Notebook multiple times and certain scenes will still get me the millionth time round. I adore a good love story. That probably contributes towards my lacklustre approach to Valentine's day: surely you shouldn't need a specific day to let someone know how you feel about them?

The following happened today in Wilkinsons with my boyfriend, who wandered towards the Valentine's bit not noticing what exactly the displays were selling so desperately...

me: that's the Valentine's bit, the kitchen stuff is over there *points in opposite direction, further up the shop*
him: (shocked) oh...Valentine's day stuff! But it's not even February yet

There was a slight pause and he turned to me, a look of panic on his face, "are we doing anything for Valentine's day?"

To be honest, I hadn't considered it. The year before we'd just written each other a letter and swapped it when he visited me at uni. Simple.

My thoughts on Valentine's day are pretty much this:

if you want to do something then do it, if not I'm not fussed. I'm not going to show up at your flat demanding flowers, chocolate, a stupidly ornate card and a giant teddy bear before you take me out for a romantic candle-lit dinner where you shower me with compliments...

...because that's just not me.

To me the smaller, more everyday things are what I appreciate rather than dictated shows of affection. For instance rather than Valentine's day why not have a date night once a week, or simply spontaneously do something nice for your other half like make their favourite cake or buy them their favourite sweets?

Another thing that bugs me with Valentine's day is the way it makes single people feel. I went through it year after year: the pitying looks from loved-up friends as they lugged around their card/teddy bear/chocolates/ jewellery (you get the picture...they got stuff) and I had nothing. The expectancy that because you don't have a boyfriend/girlfriend your life is empty and you feel dreadfully lonely and pitiful.

When the reality is that the majority of the time I was single I was quite happy about it. Valentine's day didn't bother me then and even as part of a couple I'm not of the thought that "I must have the most amazing, ostentatious, romantic day EVER or my life/relationship is doomed" because it's far too dramatic and ridiculous.

So, this Valentine's don't worry if you haven't got vans of flowers waiting on your doorstep, or even a little present because you don't need one day to make you brilliant. Look at the rest of your life: there's a lot of it that you love and a lot of people you care about, right? So enjoy those things as usual and appreciate those people. Go out with friends, hang out with your family, blast Beyonce's "Single Ladies" if you must but don't mope, please.

If you're in a relationship, heck you could do these things too. Or you could do something low key and sans presents with your partner. Or you could have a non-Valentine's day where you do something specifically romantic but without the fuss and Clinton Cards shoving red glittery hearts down your throat every time you walk past.

all images from weheartit

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