Friday, 13 February 2009

Valentine’s Day

A friend was asking me the other day what I was doing and where I was going out this weekend, because her fiancé and her wanted to come along too. This surprised me because the friend in question hardly ever lets herself persuaded to go out, on account of tiredness, long office hours and a multitude of house chores and other worries and activities which occupy her time. And now she was ready to put all that aside and make the effort, even take initiative!! My eyebrows raised half-way into a questioning look, but then it dawned on me: tomorrow is Valentine’s! So that’s why!

Well, having been too involved in work and darts lately, I wasn’t out enough on the streets or in markets/shops, to notice the usual Valentine’s Day preparations (in shop windows and stalls, because what other preparations are there?), and I had completely forgotten. Which was for the best, because for the first time in years I had a peaceful two first weeks of February, without elbowing my way up pavements swarming with spotty teenagers choosing the fluffiest, pinkest and preferably cheapest teddy bears to offer their girlfriends, hoping to ease their way into their bras or knickers even!

Let’s stop for a minute and analyze this ‘Valentine’ concept before we rush head first into the swirl. The claim is that the 14th of February is the international day of love and romance, a day to show the person you love that you love them. Hang on! Something doesn’t quite add up here: if you love that person, aren’t you supposed to show it every day? Why would you do it only on the 14th of February? Or why would you overdo it on the 14th of February? Why not on your partner’s birthday? Or your anniversary as a couple? Or any other freakin’ day of the year, a day you choose, rather than a day the masses have adopted without question?

Because, unfortunately for the retailers, there is no other massive spending opportunity between Christmas and Easter, so one had to be created. Think about the most common discussions about Valentine’s day: ‘what will you buy her?’ ‘what did he get you for Valentine’s?’ ‘where did he take you for dinner?’ Does any Valentine slogan out there advertise or encourage anything else but spending? No. It is all about exploiting gullible consumers. In fact, although it claims to be about love, this artificially created and inflated ‘event’ is about money alone, thus achieving the opposite of what it claims by putting a price tag on feelings.

Love and romance are good, as is showing appreciation and thanking the person who puts up with you when you snore, when you have a go at them because the person you’re really angry with is out of reach, when they still think you are beautiful and sexy when you’ve caught a cold and have a runny nose and look and feel like shit. But doing it on this particular day, whether you are in the mood for romance or not, just because they say you should and because ‘everybody else does it’, is laughable to say the least. I’d rather endorse the Steak and Blowjob Day ( than this Valentine’s hysteria which turns rational people into a herd of brainless spending robots who crowd every single street corner, pub, club, park, cinema and restaurant, filing in and out of these places in neat files of couples. Where’s the romance and especially the intimacy in all this?

If you do love someone and want to show it, don’t drag them to a place packed with tens, hundreds or thousands of other couples doing the same thing on the exact same day/night. Because your every gesture will lose all charm, all individuality and ‘specialness’ for the mere reason that everyone around you will be doing the exact same things. And don’t buy them cuddly toys that they will throw away the next day or hide under a bed until they think you have forgotten and it is safe to dispose of it. In fact, don’t buy them anything. Don’t take them anywhere. Celebrate your love by being there, by listening, by smiling and being supportive. And do it every day of the year, not just on the 14th of February!

1 comment:

  1. touching!
    and you are right, obviously
    but the machine must go on, they must spend, etc
    and the horde needs circus, reed baloons and chocholate