It’s everywhere. Revolting swathes of pink and red nonsense filling shops, magazines and TV screens. There’s hype everywhere about getting The Perfect Gift for the object of your affection or you face a one-way journey to Doghouse-ville.
If you haven’t booked a table for an overpriced dinner on Feb 14 by now you might as well forget it. Your goose, as they say, is cooked.
And home-made isn’t going to get you out of the hole (or, ahem, into it, if that’s what you’re after). You’ll have to rustle up something of an aphrodisiac nature executed with the élan of a Michelin chef… and you won’t be able to get away with eating it in front of Corrie.
Throw money at the problem, then. Perfume, chocolates, lingerie, iconic handbags, electrical gizmos, the choice is bewildering and it seems only weeks since you were in the same fankle over the Christmas pressie. (That’s because it is). Only, this time the stakes are even higher. Chocolates will derail a diet (you weren’t listening), perfume lacks imagination (who wants to smell like Katie Price?), lingerie (I’m not THAT size).
Even the classic bunch of red roses isn’t without pitfall. Apart from the indigestion caused by the floral highway robbery, there’s the environment to consider. The blooms will likely be intensively farmed in Holland with a huge carbon footprint or jetted in from Kenya consuming the associated air miles. All that before the first greenfly crawls off or your swain sneezes with hay fever.
According to a survey, the average Valentine’s Day spend is £70. Imagine what you could do with that on a saner day.
But on Feb 14, what does it actually buy you? A roll in the proverbial? Perhaps, if all that rich food hasn’t made you bilious and the ill-advised new lingerie hasn’t cut off the circulation. And who’s to say it wouldn’t be a lucky night anyway?
Though, the reality is that St Valentine may inspire love, but he certainly doesn’t help its amorous companion, sex. The pressures are too great.
I remember the look on the face of a girl I knew once when the Interflora van drew up and the heavily laden chap came looking for her. Her features didn’t soften with love and gratitude, they hardened with triumph and she punched the air. Unfortunately for her, her beau – sneaking by for a canoodle – watched this scene. Their affair didn’t last much longer.
Hers was an extreme case, but most girls want to be seen to be loved – they’ll rush to tell their pals about your extravagant, or otherwise, gesture. Approval of one person is hard enough to earn, but the committee is impossible.
My solution to both the lovelorn and randy, is to call the whole thing off. No, not the affair, the Valentine’s Day shenanigans. Agree to give it the swerve, and then go a step further and agree to give each other the swerve for 24 hours.
Really. Then spend the day suiting yourself. Spend £70 on what makes you happy – new shoes, a flutter on the horses, a game for your Wii or tequila slammers. Do me-time – have a long bath, read a book, watch Rastamouse, lick the jammy bits out of a whole packet of dodgers. Don’t worry about what your other half might think, they’ll be too busy making a statue out of Hulahoops, stalking their boss or throwing rotten food off the motorway bridge.
And do you know what? By the time you see each other again on February 15, you’ll feel so damned relaxed and pleased with yourself, love will certainly be in the air, or wherever it is you want it. You have a mind of your own. Please use it; because not very many people find themselves moved by someone who behaves like a sheep. Leave the pack this Valentine’s Day.