Call me a hopeless romantic, but I can’t help but love Valentine’s Day. Sitting in earshot of dozens of other couples in a crowded restaurant, trying hard to look the most loved up whilst enjoying a special Valentine’s menu. Who knew you could get a heart shaped steak? How about telling our loved ones how we feel by purchasing white teddies clutching flame-retardant hearts? Sending 12 of the 1 million roses that Interflora will be delivering on Monday? Or, if you believe a marketing email that I recently received, a sophisticated Valentine’s Day gift for your beloved would be, naturally, a roll of heart printed toilet paper.
Proof, once and for all, that romance is dead.
Ok, so you got me, I don’t love Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a huge commercial racket. And I don’t even like pink.
I do wonder what St. Valentine would say about heart-print pants and romantic toilet roll. Like many saints, actual details about Valentine's life are hard to come by. There are at least three saints with that name, but the famous one was a Christian priest who lived in Rome in the third century.
After Pope Gelasius set aside the day to honour St Valentine in 496, the saint gradually became adopted as the patron saint of lovers.
I should add that St Valentine was also subsequently held up as a patron for epilepsy and the plague. Neither of these has proved to be commercially viable.
If you are trying to offer love and passion on a zero-budget, then perhaps I can help. Poundland’s range of Valentine’s gifts should however be avoided. Invariably polyester, definitely the wrong side of tasteful, and almost certainly manufactured in questionable conditions.
The Daily Mirror has a tip for those who haven’t picked up a card yet. You won’t find a cheaper card on the market than Wilkinson’s 10p offering. To the point, the “You’re worth every penny” greeting is close to the Cash Queens’ hearts.
Just remember to take the price tag off, lest they discover they are in fact worth just ten said pennies.
If you don’t have the funds for a lavish gift and aren’t tempted by Poundland’s offerings, The Guardian suggests you write a love list.
Write down 10 things you love about your partner on a sheet of paper and stick it somewhere they will see it first thing in the morning, such as inside their wardrobe or on the bathroom mirror. If you are hard-pushed thinking of 10, go for five instead.
For me, this is concerning. If you’re hard pushed for 10 reasons, you’re probably going to be hard pushed full stop.
It's very possible that the only person who is truly happy on Valentine's Day is the chief executive of Hallmark. But we can perhaps all draw a little solace from remembering that there's always somebody worse off: Saint Valentine ended his days by being pelted with rocks, clubbed and beheaded. Not a terribly good start for the patron Saint of love, although, unlike some romantic liaisons, at least that would have been over pretty swiftly.