So what do we think about Valentines then people? An excuse to spoil yourself and your loved one, to a special date night, or romantic break? Or a commercial schmaltz-fest that should be avoided at all costs? What will you be doing this Saturday? Studiously sticking to a Chinese Takeaway and The Voice? Or is the babysitter/dogsitter/dog-friendly restaurant already booked?
I have to say, that when it comes to Valentines Day, I’m in two or three minds. I remember when I was single, hating Valentines because it just seemed to highlight my singleton status. In fact it was pretty much the only time of the year I didn’t like being single.
But now I’m very much part of a couple. We’ve been together for nigh on thirteen years: yikes! On our first Valentines Day, we’d been together for almost a year, and the now-husband-then-boyfriend had already made the mistake of not buying me a birthday card so it was unlikely he was going to forget. So we exchanged cards and gifts and went out for a meal. Nice. But I don’t like to think that I follow convention, and I certainly don’t like any evidence of it, so by our second Valentines Day we’d ditched the gifts.
There’s a big part of me who rails against being told that this is the day to be romantic, have sex, eat out, tell your loved one that they are, well, loved. Because surely if you love someone, you tell them or show them that every day? Isn’t that how it works? Surely if you have the hassle of sharing your life with someone, considering them in even the smallest of decisions, ordering Chinese when you wanted pizza, listening to their shit taste in music blare out from the bathroom first thing in the morning when all you want is Chris Evans, listening to a dissection of their evening out when you just want to finish watching Midsummer Murders in peace, surely you deserve to feel loved all the days of the year? Not just one? Of course it cuts both ways: they put up with your tiny foibles too you know. And even though those small nuances are charming, amusing, and could actually be seen as part of the privilege of having you in their life, they still deserve to feel loved right back.
Perhaps that’s the point of Valentines. To remind us that love isn’t about one day. It’s about all the days. So this Valentines Day our little family will be going to one of our favourite restaurants, to celebrate having each other to love and be loved by. We know how lucky we are.