Sunday, 14 February 2010

Valentine's Day- Prose Not Poetry From A Singleton (Provisional)


Seemed appropriate!

I didn’t send any cards today and I'll be pleasatnly shocked if I get any in the next 15 hours either. That’s the way it is for me at the moment. However, you never know who is going to come around the corner in your life do you?

Not that I resent people who do all that stereotypical Valentine’s Day stuff. I’ve done it in the past and will no doubt do so again in the future.

Not that I don’t believe in romantic love. However, there is a lot less out there than people sometimes think. They mix it up with liking and fondness and friendship and lust and sex and enjoying the company of some people more than others. All of it gets labeled ‘love.’

No, I’m going to moan about two aspects of Valentine’s Day, which undermine all that it is meant to stand for.

First Problem: February 14th. Who on Earth decided that was the best day of the whole year to celebrate love? It sounds like some decision made at 4.30pm after a particularly long liquid lunch.

For a start, it is in the middle of February. An awful bloody month by any stretch of the imagination. Who had the brainstorm to think February = Most Romantic Month of the Year? By now you’ve given up your New Year’s resolution. Indeed, you’ve probably forgotten them by now, haven’t you? It is cold and grey (I mean, I could understand it if Valentine’s Day was invented somewhere warm and sunny and Southern Hemisphere, but it is a very Northern Hemisphere winter phenomenon- again, why?) and damp and freezing and basically an utterly totally inappropriate time of the year for celebrating something which is warm, if not hot, in all senses of the term. I suppose being with your partner in front of a roaring hot fire in a log cabin in the middle of the tundra with a sauna in the next room is pretty romantic. Anywhere else- nah!

Put it this way. 7 or so weeks ago it was Yuletide, Christmas, New Year. A time for fun and celebrating and meeting up with people who are in the mood for fun and maybe a bit more than just a good laugh. Fast forward 7 weeks or so from now. Spring will be here, the clocks go forward, it’s light early evening, and young men’s (or old men’s; or young women’s; or old women’s…you get my drift) fancies turns to love and relationships and getting it on, especially if like in England the first sign of sun and the temperature going over 12 degrees Celsius/Centigrade means people go to the park or the beach, even during the week in their lunch hour, take a towel or find a deckchair and start taking clothes off and try to get a tan. You get my drift- and if not, don’t be so coy!

Suffice to say, February 14th basically comes mid-way between the two most romantic and passionate times of the year. If I can make A Modest Proposal- move Valentine’s Day to late September. No Spring or Summer distractions on the horizon to undermine your togetherness. Indeed, you would be more likely to stick with your Valentine as the Autumn begins, as the cold and dark and early nights draw in, followed by the rain, sleet, fog, snow and gales. At that time of year having a warm friendly body next to you to help you both get through the grottiness that awaits makes a lot more sense.

Second Problem: romantic love should be spontaneous and free-flowing, but it gets all stuck in a straightjacket of formality on Valentine’s Day. The card, chocolates, flowers, going to a restaurant surrounded by lots of other couples all in the same boat etc etc etc. Then there is all the stuff in the media about how Valentine’s Day SHOULD be like. No wonder on Feb 14th so many arguments start, things get thrown, or even worse- the silence (and as the relationship gurus often say- when you stop arguing, you might as well give up). It reminds me of people who make rigid rules about people they find attractive, would like to go out with and marry. (Those types, admittedly, are not as bad as those who want to get married and settle down by a certain age…AARGH! Put the two together and watch the moon turn red and the stars fall from the sky…) People who over-intellectualise and over-theorise about relationships are trying to nail down, not very well, one of the most anti-intellectual and anti-theoretical things in human existence- basic attraction to other people. Which often ain’t rational one little iota. It’s like trying to nail jelly and blancmange to a brick wall with plastic nails. You do not need to justify who you find attractive- that’s just the way it is! Or is that too theoretical?

However, I don’t want you think I’m a Cynical Singleton. If I am cynical, it is all in the name of romantic idealism. Frankly, I think if your relationship can survive Valentine’s Day it might be the one that sees you through to the end, or at least a fair bit of the way (as you never know who is around the corner...). It’s a bit like going on holiday with your partner for a few weeks (a romantic/dirty weekend does not count). Let’s be honest: two or three weeks in the company of the same person is asking a lot. If you cannot abide a person’s close company when you are supposed to be enjoying yourselves, how will you cope when the dull compulsion of the domestic envelopes you both? If you come back at the end of a holiday and still think ‘you’re alright’, I think you’ve pushed it forward to the next stage. The same holds with Valentine’s Day. If you celebrate and end Valentine’s Day with someone who, in your opinion, is pretty bloody good, you are doing well relationship-wise. I just hope it continues that way!

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