I am writing this for all the people who have not received cards, flowers or chocolates. Do not despair. It doesn’t mean no one loves you if you are in a relationship, it means your loved one has more sense than to spend money on overpriced things that he/she could buy any day of the year for much less!
Yes, I’m being my usual cynical self. I have known my husband for well over forty years and we have never given each other a valentine’s card or gift in all that time, yet I am secure in the knowledge that things are good between us and always have been. He brings me cups of tea in bed if he is not out working. He makes me breakfast in bed most Sundays. He never moans about the time I get up in the morning!
When I was at school, St Valentine’s Day was a laugh. We waited to see if we would get a card from an unknown admirer and that was the point. It was supposed to be a surprise, not something from someone we already knew loved us.
Since Valentine lost his sainthood it has become nothing more than a commercial opportunity, just like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Halloween. I won’t put Bonfire Night in the same category because that is surprisingly low key considering how long it has been going. (Did you know it used to be law that you had to celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes?) And I won’t mention Christmas which is the biggest commercial opportunity of them all with many businesses depending on a good Christmas for survival.
Now instead of a simple card, gifts and treats are expected, not just for new lovers (you can expect them to be overly indulgent) but everyone is encouraged to take part.
So how does this affect people uncertain of their relationship? I’m sure there must be floods of lonely tears shed when that card, box of chocolates or bouquet of flowers does not turn up. Let alone when someone is not whisked off for a romantic meal.
The people I feel sorry for are those who were born on the 14th February. Almost any other day of the year they could go out for a meal with family and/or friends on their birthday at no extra cost. But on or near Valentine’s Day ‘special’ meals are put on in pubs and restaurants which are often more expensive than normal meals, especially if the day falls at the weekend as it does this year. My local pub is making Valentine’s Day last all weekend, with a special meal on Saturday and Sunday.
Maybe it sounds like I’m complaining unnecessarily. But what I’m trying to get at is you don’t need one particular day to show that you care for someone. You can buy them chocolates or flowers any day of the year; you can treat your loved one to a meal any time. And the more unexpected it is, the more appreciated it is (unless your partner thinks you are guilty of something, of course! Ouch, I just bit my tongue). And you can show them your love without spending a fortune just by the way you behave. All year, not on just one day.
And having one day when everyone is celebrating having a loved one with them, it brings to mind all the loved ones who are no longer with us, bringing grief instead of joy.
So all in all, the only people to really benefit from Valentine’s Day are the retailers. So as my daughter said in a Mother’s Day card she sent me a few years ago,
Happy Hallmark Greeting Card Day!