YES, I’m All For Valentine’s Day
Charlotte Collins, Fashion Editor
I need to make something very clear. I think Valentine’s Day has been despicably commercialised, its growth fuelled by cynical sellers of cards, balloons and naff teddy bears. There’s only been two pay cheques since Christmas (one if you assume January’s only just about tided you over the inexplicably long month), so the last thing both we and our bank balances have capacity for is another occasion that requires a big old expenditure. But Hallmark cards and other heart-shaped goods aside - isn’t it lovely to celebrate love?
Let me tell you about my daily routine and you see if this feels familiar. My boyfriend leaves the house at 6.48am, precisely three minutes after I have prized open my eyes and two minutes after I’ve begun Insta scrolling. He steals a quick peck (morning breath), and races out the door. Twelve hours later we both begin to traipse home - him arriving through the door sweaty from his 10k run back (martyr or what), me grumpy and irritable from my one-hour slog across London. That’s if we’re not both out with friends, or at work dinners, or he’s not in some far-flung country on business. We work hard to schedule date nights, holidays and weekends together, but as far as the day to day is concerned, other things just come first.
To those who say you should practice the things Feb 14th demands - flowers, little notes, romance – all year round, I of course agree. But with work, technology, friendships and everything else our lives now entail, it’s just not always possible. My boyfriend and I really, really love each other. But on an average Thursday in February we don’t get a chance to acknowledge that, least of all celebrate it. Valentine's Day is an excuse to stop, focus and put your relationship first – quite frankly, we could all benefit from having more than just the one day a year.
Sure, some men shower their Juliet in flowers and little gifts on any day of the year. But if your significant other is more rom-e-no than Romeo, at least you know you’re certain of one, annual dose of traditional romance. He may be romantic in other, more subtle ways throughout the year, but you can’t beat a good, old-fashioned bouquet-and-card combo; and if you’re one of those modern naysayers who claims they don’t need flowers from their male SO, then to you I say stop kidding yourself. Receiving flowers from your boyfriend is nice – simple as that.
This world can be a pretty miserable place sometimes, and whether it’s stress at work or looming Brexit, there are a million reasons to be sad. So one, bonus occasion that doesn’t have any religious connotations or political motivation, and simply exists to celebrate love, couldn’t possibly be a bad thing. And that doesn’t have to be romantic love; I know countless people who receive cards from their fathers, or embrace the now ubiquitous ‘Galentines’. An excuse to be happy and thankful for the amazing relationships you have? We should all be grabbing it by the balls.
NO, Valentine’s Day Isn’t For Me
Pascale Day, Features Writer
There are two types of people in this world: the ones happy to intimately feed each other in public, and the ones sitting nearby just trying to enjoy their lunchbreak Hula Hoops in peace.
The latter, of course, is me. And there probably need to be a quick disclaimer here: I am not an intimate person. I don’t like hugs. I don’t like pet names. And I don’t like PDAs.
And there lies my problem with Valentine’s Day. It’s not that I have a problem with the ‘corporate greed’ greeting card companies like many others. In fact, did you know Hallmark is a family-run business that also makes Crayola? Yep, the people that create the cringy cards you buy for your loved ones also make all the colouring crayons that keep millions of kids happy. They’re hardly the antichrist.
My problem is with the power it gives couples. Although admittedly I am not necessarily big on affection, I appreciate others are and should show random acts of romance and kindness – to each other, in the privacy of their own homes. In public, I can handle a hand hold here, a small peck on the lips there. But we’ve all had that friend who thinks it’s ok to go all-in on the kissing front while you’re trying to enjoy drinks at the pub, or do those awful baby voices that you know should just stay within the walls of their own home.
Valentine’s Day is like a romantic version of The Purge. It’s a 24-hour period in which couples think it’s ok to throw all these feelings out into the world with abandon, punching us in the face with their love, smothering us with their affection for each other until we ain’t breathin’ no more. It’s the idea of sitting in a restaurant and looking around, knowing that everyone else in there is in a relationship and having that smug feeling surround you, like you’re in some elite group.
I also think it’s perfectly fine to give your partner flowers, or a card. But don’t be showy about it – for example, avoid sending a huge bunch of balloons to their office – don’t be that person trying to prove to your girlfriend’s work friends you’re the best boyfriend out there.
It’s as if Valentine’s Day somehow makes everyone feel they’ve got something to prove. And social media has made this worse – you only have to look at Facebook to see that. There are all sorts on there: the girl who has to hashtag ‘#TheBoyDoneGood’ because just having the flowers sent to her office isn’t enough, or the singleton who insists she’s ‘Loving life!!!!!’ with far too many exclamation marks for it to be true.
Let’s just tone it down a bit, people. If you’re in love, I’m happy for you, but this is not a good enough excuse to be throwing your love around, willy-nilly. Be in love, sure, but don’t force me to witness it. Tell someone you’re into them, but not on a balloon, or with a flash mob on the underground. Steal a quick kiss, but keep it PG – this isn’t a movie, there’s no Counting Crows song playing in the background. Please stop acting like there’s no one else in the world. I’m here. I can see you.
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