So Valentine’s Day is rolling around again, a time when many people feel compelled to pretend the person they are with is anything other than a petty annoyance preventing them from living the life they could have done had it not been for feeling really lonely and vulnerable that ONE time.
Having to actively appreciate your partner starts earlier every year. From the moment the baubles come down the hearts go up, every shop so bedecked in red that you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve entered the final layer of hell, or a Republican rally. Same same.
But have you ever wondered why you are forced on this commercial merry-go-round of bullshit? And why you should hop off it permanently?
Allow me to enlighten you.
A Brief History of Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day has its history in someone many people question ever actually existed – like Christmas day, Easter Day and Darren Day.
The story goes that back in Roman times Emperor Claudius thought that men performed better on the battlefield if they weren’t distracted by carnal matters. This may be true. I know the hubby is far more likely to pick a fight with me if we haven’t had sex for ages.
And so Claudius banned soldiers from marrying, which explains why Centurions wore those stupid brushes on their heads –they probably went some way to drawing the attention of the enemy away from their permanent boners.
Anyway, some fella called Valentine started marrying people in secret and he ended up being killed for his troubles. And so it all began. Or did it? Because the history books actually record no less than THREE St Valentines, all dying in the name of love, separated by hundreds of years. Which leads me to believe that at least one must have had a more pedestrian name, but they changed it ‘cos no-one wants to get a card asking ‘Will You Be My Geoff?’
The Bullshit You Are Forced To Buy
Speaking of which, Valentine’s Day cards are THE WORST. An average £3.50 spent on a piece of paper and full of someone else’s words. And what words! The infinite monkey theorem states that if you have one monkey typing for an infinite amount of time you get the works of Shakespeare. But if you have one monkey smearing its own excrement on some paper, you get a Valentine’s Day card.
Like this one…
People say this a lot because the moon is some 238,900 miles away. You have to travel around the world ten times to cover that distance. It is indeed a LONG way. But equally the Apollo 11 space mission only took 8 days 14 hours and 45 minutes, so essentially you’re saying you give your relationship less than a fortnight.
The presents are also bloody ridiculous. Take frilly boxes of chocolates for example. Assuming this Valentine’s guy really did martyr himself for love, is this how he’d like to be remembered? It’s a bit like giving someone a marzipan Jesus, or a Martin Luther King cake with a sparkler coming out of his butthole.
And nothing says ‘I love you’ like a ceramic mug that has the words ‘I love you’ on it. Only trust me. ANYTHING says I love you more than that.
Don’t get me wrong, a mug is a good practical present. You can drink hot drinks out of it. Or cold ones. You can even clean paintbrushes in one. But remember this: every time it gets used, it will act as a reminder of your wanton lack of imagination in the present buying-department. Or your mediocritea, if you will….(what? I enjoyed it…)
And what about cuddly toys for adults? Well apparently 50% of all grown men still cuddle up to their favourite childhood toys. When you consider the punishment a single-use tissue takes in an adolescent boy’s bedroom, you can only imagine the horror those poor plushes have been through over the years. Stop the cruelty!
It’s Not Even Restricted to Your Partner
Valentine’s Day isn’t just about your partner anymore either. Last year I was forced into a Secret Valentine thing at work. I was told I needed to buy a present for some random name out of the hat and spend actual money on them. I was like WTF? I don’t spend actual money on my husband and I’m banging him.
In the end I succumbed and bought something red and heart-shaped. It was a sheep’s heart. I wrapped it up in a lovely little bit of tissue paper and put it on their desk. Oh, you should have seen the look on their face. Made it all worthwhile, it did.
Hearts Aren’t Even Heart Shaped
I lied in that last bit. Sheep hearts are not heart-shaped. In fact no hearts are heart-shaped. If you look at a proper heart, you’ll notice that it has loads of tubes and shit coming out of it. But at some point, some Hallmark marketer must have said ‘one day we’re going to have to mass-produce miniature velvet cushions in the shape we choose, so I say we go with the upside down bum one instead.’
Even the idea that love comes from the heart is plain wrong. It actually comes from the raphe nucleus, ventral pallidum, nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental regions of the brain. But that’s a fucker to try and squeeze into a poem.
It was the Egyptians that started the whole heart rumour, but they also used to think that the hearts of heaven-worthy people weighed less than a feather, which begs the question of how the fuck they built the pyramids with such a shit grasp of physics.
What About the Poor Singletons
And pity the poor fucker who is unhappily single at this time of the year. It’s like there’s a sequence of festivals to rub solo-dom in your face. Christmas? ALL ALONE! New Year’s Eve? PANIC BOOK SOMETHING! Valentine’s Day? SUCKS TO BE YOU! Easter? YOUR EGGS ARE DYING! Even Passover must have a whole different meaning.
No, I’m Not Bitter
Now I realise you may all think that I’m just bitter. That I’m in a lousy relationship and I’ve had to tell myself I don’t give a shit or else the pain of not getting a bunch of overpriced carnations would be too much.
But I’m not.
I’m actually all for lavish public displays of affection. Hell, I once jerked my husband off on my doorstep, and it was only our second date.
But (and I say this as a marketer by trade) this commercialised pressure to perform on one day of the year is meaningless and unnecessary.
It’s the reason why restaurants are crammed with people paying a premium to sit and look uncomfortable with one another, when they might normally be having rare laffs watching Goggle Box at home.
Why supermarkets can get away with selling landfill in the name of ‘love’, when our money could be better spent on good causes.
Why we’re illegally chopping down trees to make 1 BILLION cards a year when we could be taking a walk hand-in-hand through a forest.
Who knows, the St Valentine’s Day massacre might actually have been prevented had Al Capone not found himself angrily surveying flowers at a gas station all those years ago.
Let’s Start a Revolution!
So I say we start some new, non-commercial days, peppered throughout the year, to show our love for one another. Days like:
“ Let’s take joint responsibility for cleaning mucky hand prints off the bi-fold doors day”
“I promise not to hate you when you unintentionally steal the duvet in your sleep day”
“Yes, you do behave like a prick after two bottles of white wine, but you also dance like Rhianna after one, so, you know, swings and roundabouts and all that day”
Or you can share your ideas below.