It’s Valentine’s Day today. Commercial nonsense, smug couples sat at tables for two trying to outdo each other in various tableaux of domestic bliss, cheap cards, expensive flowers and too much perfume. Yes, today has been, or will be, depending where you are in the world – filled with this and more.
Today you won’t be able to open a newspaper without finding a bitchy, bile-filled commentary about how Valentine’s Day is an entirely unnecessary waste of time. Clichés about clichés. But I’m more sick of these than I am of any public displays of affection.
It’s too easy to imagine the bitter, single hack, hunched over his or her laptop bemoaning the artifice of 14 February. Valentine’s bashing is something of a 1990s pastime. I don’t want to talk about Sex and the City. But I know you were thinking that anyway. Nauseating, annoying and outdated.
Of course, I’m playing into another predictable hole. Moaning about the moaners. And so I’m going to finish my moan early and tell you why I love Valentine’s Day instead.
I like watching girls and boys master the art of carrying flowers awkwardly on their commute, feeling the envious eyes of fellow passengers burn holes in the backs of their heads while radiating mixed emotions of shame and elation.
I like the unlikely queues of teenagers and office workers piling into newsagents to buy the card they forgot to give their other half first thing in the morning.
I like how twee it is that a Valentine’s special menu will always come with two glasses of pink Prosecco, oysters and chocolate fondant for pudding. The chef might attempt to make couples old and new squirm with embarrassment. But actually it’s quite cute.
Bars, restaurants and pubs the world over are full, either with couples hamming it up or playing it down. Even the unattached masses who claim to hate Valentine’s Day take full advantage of their freedom by celebrating with friends. And they harbour a small glimmer of hope that today might be the day they meet someone special to spend it with next year.
I am one of them. But I love Valentine’s Day because I am a romantic. Unless I meet someone today who likes me so much they decide to take me out to dinner tonight, I will be taking my oldest friend, also single, out to dinner. I won’t feed him oysters (he’s allergic to them) but we will have a gay old time that won’t involve sneering at the couples around us.
It’s too easy to be miserable and there’s enough happening in the world to lower our spirits without seeking it out.
There we go – I heart Valentine’s day and so should you.