It’s that time of the year again. Yes, February 14th is closing in fast. But not fast enough to pass me by in a flash that I can ignore. It will build up and ooze by like a semi-stagnant river of sugary sentimentality. Valentine’s blah, blah, blah. And conversations will consist of the usual mawkish questions:

“Have you planned anything special for Valentine’s?”
“No!”
“Did you get a nice card and present for H?”
“No!”
“Are you taking H out for a romantic meal?”
“No!”
“Oh, you’re not very romantic!”

As I said: Valentine’s blah, blah, blah …

Yes, you guessed it, I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day.

Bah humbug! I hear you shout (or is that just reserved for Christmas). Well get on with your chastising, whatever shape or form it may take, because I just don’t care. I’m no starry-eyed teenager, who will succumb to the hype of Valentine’s Day. I’ve been there and done that. But no longer. I now class myself as a happily grumpy old man, who gives zero shits about keeping the card manufacturers afloat in mid-February.

It’s not that I think it doesn’t belong. After all, from a historical perspective, Valentine’s Day has been normalised and established through the long passage of time. Yes, Valentine’s Day has a long history, dating back to third century Rome. It is even said that it was promoted by the Christian church as a means of hijacking the pagan festival of Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus. In the Middle Ages in England and France it was believed that February 14th was the beginning of the mating season for birds, which strengthened the idea that the 14th February should be dedicated to love. Now it’s the second biggest money-spinner for the card industry, after Christmas.

So what is my issue with Valentine’s Day?

It’s simple: I don’t subscribe to Valentine’s Day because of the pure commercialisation that surrounds it; because of the commercial coercion children, teens and adults are subjected to. Now, I realise it’s just supposed to be a bit of fun, but there can also be an element of negativity associated with the day, especially for kids and teens if they are the ones in their peer group not receiving a card.

And Fidget & Little Man’s mum agrees.

Coffee and Keyboard Contemplations

Maybe I just don’t get it. For instance, I’ve just arranged a weekend away for mum and me – It’ll be our first long weekend away without the kids, ever, and Fidget will be six next month! – and, yes, I shied away from Valentine’s weekend, because prices go through the roof just because it’s Valentine’s. The destination is the same; it’s just the outlay that’s different. Let’s face it, Rome is a beautiful city any time of the year. But I wanted it to be for us, because of us. Not because of a prescribed day.

Many friends initially thought that me booking a trip away at this time of year was a wonderful Valentine’s surprise. But it’s definitely not because it’s Valentine’s. It’s something Fidget & Little Man’s mum deserves, at any time of the year. She’s a wonderful mum, wonderful partner and the best friend a guy could have. And I try to remember that all year round, not just when a particular date on the calendar nudges me to do so.

We have been together for over twelve years now and we have never given cards or exchanged gifts at this time of year. And it’s not because we are missing the proverbial romantic bones in our bodies, so to speak. It’s because, we don’t feel the need to declare our feelings on a prescribed day of the year in the middle of February. We would rather be spontaneous with each other. We prefer the surprise to the expectation of a specified day and celebrating with a card containing a pithy, nauseating rhyme. For me – for us – spontaneity says more than a card and box of chocs ever could.

I don’t subscribe to Valentine’s Day because I don’t feel the need for a card to say ‘I love you’ once a year to the one I love. Fidget & Little Man’s mum hears it every day of the year. As do Fidget & Little Man. And it’s not just repeated daily out of habit. It’s not repeated daily because I feel they need to hear it. It’s definitely not repeated daily because they don’t believe it. It’s repeated daily because I feel it daily.

So please forgive my little rant, but I believe that every day is ‘Valentine’s Day’ for our little family.

Damn! Does that mean I’ve been wrong all along? That I actually oversubscribe to the premise of Valentine’s?!

In that case, I’ll try this for size: happy Valentine’s, everyone!

Nope, it still annoys me.

 

 

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