Affairs

Society

Labour of love— London

Preface

Valentine's Day is about thinking big but a little planning goes a long way too.

Valentine's Day, Lobster, Love

14 February 2013

I know what you’re thinking: how obvious is it that I would do a Monocolumn on Valentine’s Day. I can already hear your shouts: of course, Adrian Craddock, Monocle’s resident man of love would be rolled out to address us on this, the most romantic of days. I assure you it’s a coincidence of scheduling. Actually, now I think about it, as I am so hyper-aware of Cupid and his mysterious methods, perhaps it’s not. People need me right now and I’m happy to oblige. After all, if there’s one thing I know – it’s “the babes”. So I present to you – Craddock’s Four Rules of Love (Valentine’s Day edition).

Rule one: beware of grand romantic gestures, they can often set the bar of love too high. As a younger man I once drove my now girlfriend up to the highest point in Perth, Australia. The cover story was that we were meeting friends. But when we got up there, this master of love began to unravel his most cunning love plan. I kindly asked her to get something out of the boot of my car while I pretended to find something in the glove box. As she undid the latch, the A3 card with “Surprise Picnic” written in Sharpie pen was exposed. And underneath the sign – a lobster sandwich. Much like a fantastic first date, the problem with all of this is that I’ve never again been able to recreate a gesture to this standard. Which leads me to rule two.

Rule two: don’t keep dining out on a romantic picnic that happened five years ago. In fact, take my advice: the babes need more romance than just one Valentine’s Day a year. This is something that’s been cleverly observed by the Taiwanese, who have not one but two national days that celebrate love. The first on 14 February and then another on 7 July. This confirms something I’ve always suspected. Forget the swooning French, the passionate Italians and the fiery Spaniards. Surely it’s the Taiwanese who are the true lovers.

Rule three: don’t talk about how consumerist Valentine’s Day is. No matter how much your partner says they’re not really that “into” 14 February – they are. Everyone I’ve spoken to in the last few days has scoffed something about how they and their significant other are staying in with a ready meal and some TV box set. If that’s true, why do the only roses left in London at the moment have fewer than four petals? Why are there only 10pm bookings left for every restaurant that boasts a front door with hinges? Valentine’s Day is something to be celebrated. In the US alone it is expected to contribute $18.6bn (€13.9bn) to the economy. That means a lot of jobs and believe you me – the babes find employment prrretty sexy.

Final rule of love: when given any kind of public platform, always use it to name-check your loved one. I took this rule from the recent Grammys where more time was spent celebrating celebrity wives and girlfriends than musical ability. So to the girl who opened the boot of my Kia Cerato – Karys, happy Valentine’s Day. That’s going to score me so many points.

Adrian Craddock is associate business editor for Monocle.

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