The 14th February has come and gone. This year what did I get my lover? What alluring gift did I splash out on to convince her of my heart-felt devotion? Was it a dozen red roses (at £25 from a well-known internet card shop)? A big box of Belgian chocs (another £20-odd)? A giant, over-blown tacky card with “Be my Valentine” blasted on the front (about a tenner)? Or sexy lingerie (£7+p&p from ebay)?
None of that. We spent Valentine’s Day at work and then in the evening we stayed in from the dousing rain for beans on toast while watching Humphrey Bogart in In A Lonely Place on YouTube (http://youtu.be/6-B4x7eeh-g).
Right, I put monetary values on those ‘gifts’ and had a cheap night in with my girlfriend. I know that makes me sound like some sort of miserly skinflint, but that’s not what I’m trying to say here. The prices above are a sample of the over-priced items the discerning gentleman can buy is loved one, and our evening “in” was a decision we both made – a political decision, if you like. We chose not to participate in the commercial lovefest that is Valentine’s Day.
Commerce and the Retail Industry have given us men the green-light to say to the sexual partners in our lives, “I love you!” As though saying those three words on the other 364 days of the year never occurred to any of us. That spending huge sums of cash on tat and chocolates and bunches of red roses says “I love you!” better than someone just saying “I love you!” to their lover.
But we don’t need that validation. Any of us. We don’t need to buy those chocs, silly oversize cards, that ‘romantic’ weekend away, those sex knickers, and prematurely murdered flowers.
I said to my ex “I love you” every day for over ten years until the words stuck in my throat and choked me. Perhaps if I’d brought those over-priced goods I would still be saying “I love you” to her… But I don’t think it was the fact that I said “I love you” everyday which caused our problems. Had I not said “I love you” for the first 365 days of our relationship, I doubt very much if I would’ve had the chance to say that phrase over the next nine years. No, it wasn’t that I said “I love you” everyday, until I stopped saying it which brought about the end. It was more the peripheral things, like we couldn’t stand the sight of each other. While we were together, saying “I love you” made all the difference.
On the issue of gifts, what’s the point of buying sexy lingerie for a present? At anytime, let alone on Valentine’s Day… I mean, she’s not going to be wearing them for very long, is she!? And if she is, gentlemen, perhaps you’re sending too much money on the wrong woman!
If you came home, gents, on a 14th February, less card, chocs, dead roses, or sexy knickers, it wouldn’t matter a jot. The folks at The Debrief claim all she would prefer is a kiss to “an extravagant present” (see: http://www.thedebrief.co.uk/2014/02/apparently-we-re-all-cheap-dates-on-valentines-day?gclid=CMSl4Iin0bwCFQKWtAodBH8ApQ), apparently. So instead of blowing your hard earned cash on gimmicks, try a good snog when she goes to work, to the shops, comes home from work, blah, blah blah. It’s a lot cheaper, and a lot more effective. Although the author of The Brief article doesn’t seem to think so herself.
My current girlfriend and I decided against the usual candle-lit dinner-for-the-cost-of-four for two, and opted for our homemade fare with Humph and YouTube, and a good cuddle after. It was so much better. I think, even though it was Lovers’ Day on Friday, having a good kiss and cuddle in a restaurant after dinner wouldn’t have gone down too well. Which does illustrate my point. Valentine’s Day is no longer about love or those who practice it. It’s been hijacked by those who wish to make money from lovers, from people in lover or those who think they’re in love. Like Christmas, Halloween and Easter, the sentiment (if there ever had been any) was surgically removed long ago and replaced by the teachings of St Buck, the patron saint of squeezing cash from ‘consumers’.
So, for 14th February 2015, try doing something different. Like, in the previous 300-odd days, try a bit of spontaneity and saying good things (like “I love you” and “You look great today” etc., etc.) on a daily basis. You’ll find it works much better than an over-priced commercial romantic gesture.
(This is post No. 69!)