Here we are again, then. 14th February. Hearts, flowers, huge ecologically destructive helium balloons, cheap chocolates, even cheaper sentiment and lager and lime-flavoured condoms as far as the eye can see.
It has been tradition for most of us – who don’t have a vested interest in peddling romantic tat, at least – to slag off Valentine’s Day as a huge sickly con and its devotees as slobbering morons tricked into buying off-the-peg romance. Cynicism is the thing. And I have more than enough of that to go round. For years now, I’ve dismissed it, rubbished it and assured anyone who buys into it that they’ll be first against the (pink, heart-encrusted) wall should the revolution come.
But the only thing I like more than being horrible about everything is a carefully timed backlash against a backlash against a backlash so here it is and here we are. 14 reasons “V Day” (remove yourself from society if you ever say that seriously) is actually a good thing.
1. Whenever do you get the chance to insult your other half in the name of love?
Most of us, I’m sure, have lost count of how many times we’ve longed to tell our other half just how insignificant they are and how we have in fact ‘settled’, that they are a permanent irritation. Valentine’s Day now gives you the chance.
To come home from work on a Tuesday in September and hand over a card like the above would probably result in a full-scale row and bowls of pasta being emptied over your head. Dole out the disses on Valentine’s Day, however, and the sentiment HAS to be accepted not only as a joke, but an affectionate one. They CANNOT get mad at you. It’s liberating.
2. You can judge how much a piece of shit someone is by the flowers they get delivered to them at work
Given that almost everyone you meet at work these days seems to have had some bizarre kind of media training, and says things like “I hear you” instead of “your idea stinks and you have the business acumen of a Brazil nut”, working out how who you can and can’t trust from 9 to 5 has never been tougher.
If you can hang on to your job until the week of Valentine’s Day, however, you will soon benefit from the most perfect indicator of dickheadery imaginable. Simply wait in your veal-fattening pen, as you wonder whether that whirring sound is your hard drive’s fan or your brain counting the hours until shutdown, and watch out for some flowers. It’s a scientific fact – and I can show you the research if you like, in the lines of my face – that 95% of people who have Valentine’s gifts delivered to them at the workplace are absolute garbage and not to be trusted.
Oh, and the bigger the bouquet, the more of a duplicitous and monstrous piece of work they are. Be warned.
On the rare occasion that this entire delivery has not been carefully stage-managed by the thirsty recipient, it means their partner has actually arranged this of their own accord, but that doesn’t get your colleague off scot-free. Choosing to become entangled with such a person proves they show poor judgment and they should not be trusted. In fact, they are probably already stealing from petty cash. You should search their desk.
If you have a partner who does this for you and you’re all touched, don’t be – he’s just letting you know he’s massively insecure and thinks you’re having an affair with a colleague.
3. Insecurity over what your Valentine’s gift actually means keeps you on your toes and is the key to a healthy relationship
Chocolates last year, but flowers this? Lingerie the year before, but a nice dressing gown today? Is your man saying you’re putting on weight and aren’t sexy anymore? Who knows?! Why don’t you drive yourself mad thinking about it, and maybe go on a diet while you’re at it – just in case.
4. Flashmob/viral/YouTube proposals
Absolutely nobody proposes marriage anymore unless there are at least three phones trained on them to capture the ‘moment’.
There’s no greater thrill on Valentine’s Day than watching someone spring back in horror because their boyfriend starts filming them on their phone. “This is it!” they think. And sometimes it is, but usually he’s just arsing about with the MSQRD app and turning them into Conchita Wurst.
5. It really irritates single people
Single people are annoying, aren’t they? I spent long enough as one and dating them, so I should know.
“When am I going to meet someone?” they groan, as you drain your third glass of pinot and hope they remember they haven’t bought a round yet and that you promised your partner (how modern) you’d be home for Corrie.
Valentine’s Day is your revenge – they hate it. They tell you how much they’re dreading it, how inferior it makes them feel and how stupid it all is.
You remind them Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about secret crushes anyway, not being in a couple, but that doesn’t help and oh look they’re crying. Maybe keep quiet, eh?
Fast forward a year when they’ve finally convinced someone to go out with them and all of a sudden they are all over St Valentine’s traditions like there’s no tomorrow. Turncoats.
7. Your partner getting it wrong can give you a power trip worthy of Kim Jong-Un
If your other half forgets/buys the wrong gift/gets too drunk or generally ruins Valentine’s Day for you in any way, you can pretend this has really upset you and can live off the position of power this puts you in for the rest of the year. You own them.
Until you shift things around again by getting off with someone at your office Christmas party.
8. Reading out the Valentine’s Day messages in the local paper is never anything but hilarious
In among the execrable “wuv u snugglebum”s and incredibly earnest proposals of marriage that would probably have worked better in person, you may find the odd gem:
9. You’re quite likely to get sex
Whether you want it or not. Even though you can’t move after that romantic meal of steak and chips. Despite the fact you have to get up really early for a meeting tomorrow. It’s Valentine’s Day – you’re doing it. Come on, get on with it. It’s ROmantic.
10. It’s going to be a busy night on Tinder or Grindr, let’s face it
11. Tacky restaurants really need this
Orlando’s Trattoria down the precinct lives for this day, and the more restaurants like this stay open, the more room there is for you in the ironic pizzeria-cum-burger joint – with live vinyl scratching contests on a Sunday – that’s putting Orlando’s out of business six doors down.
12. The loveless feel loved, even if it is just for a day
It’s the one day of the year when even the most stone-hearted feel obliged to give affection, where the downtrodden, long-suffering partner will get confirmation, be it through a wilted bouquet or some perfume off the market, that their feckless other half does actually know they’re there. Confirmation you’re not actually invisible – it’s underrated.
Sure, it’s business as usual the following day, but hey. Some people don’t have time for hearts and flowers any other day of the year. Whether they’re basic as hell is up to you, but if it’s special to them, it’s kind of sweet. Right?
13. Nobody can slate you for blaring this out on Valentine’s Day
14. Cynics enjoy slagging it off
Part of the fun of pretty much anything these days is waiting to see whether people are enjoying themselves and, if they are, dropping right on in there like the huge, cartoon foot in the opening titles of Monty Python and telling them why they’re wrong or just how stupid it all is. It’s our lifeblood, whether we really mean it or not.
This is an industry. Never mind the stationers and chocolate makers coining it in from St Valentine, newspaper and magazine columnists all over the world are charging actual hundreds of pounds to write a few words saying what a shallow shitshow of mass-consumerism it is.
Valentine’s Day is pay dirt for people who would turn up to your wedding and tell you your dress is horrible.