Dating 101Single survival

Valentine’s Day: Say no to romance at gunpoint

Thanks to the internet and snark becoming an acceptable way of life, moaning about Valentine’s Day and deriding everyone who gets involved in it is almost as big an institution as buying your beloved a bouquet on the day.

And it’s highly monetised, with cash changing hands for a billion think pieces on the death of romance.

We mock those who simply must book a romantic meal for two on February 14th, because either their partner will give them the silent treatment from the 15th until the end of March, or, more usually, because everyone else expects you to be doing something for it. And if you’re not doing something, they want to know why not. Welcome to the dictatorship that is Valentine’s Day.

I’m not bitter, though. I don’t care about commercialisation, tacky helium-filled balloons or bright red valentines imploring you to roger me senseless. I’m unmoved by special Valentine menus and badly  mixed ‘romantic’ cocktails named after cocks and tits. Lovers inspired by Fifty Shades Of Grey and throttling themselves with chicken wire? Up to you. No problem. All good.

What bothers me about Valentine’s Day is that it’s not a day for lovers to show how much they love each other. It’s actually a chance to show off, to not-so-humbly brag about how happy and in love you are. Like a really cheap annual wedding. If nobody else were watching, you’d be on the sofa scratching your arse and arguing over the takeaway menu like any other normal day.

My least favourite parts:

People getting flowers at work
If you have ever sent flowers to someone at their workplace: fuck off. Go on, just eff right off and don’t come back. You’re shameless.

It’s awful, beyond cliché, but people can’t help themselves. I know people (mainly women, I’m afraid) who have actively encouraged their beau to send a stonking great bouquet to their office. I can only imagine the devastation caused by Valentine’s Day falling on a Saturday this year, denying many 9-to-5ers their moment in the sun.

These floral deliveries serve as a massive “fuck you” to anyone with less considerate (or less easily manipulated) spouses, plus it has the added bonus of making all the single people – who we will come to later – feel even more fantastically inadequate, dreading the endless crowing about it all afternoon long.

The bouquets get bigger and more ostentatious every year, as everyone tries to outdo each other. We are probably about seven years away from someone just having done with it and Kew Gardens airlifted and delivered to Tracy on Reception.

The romantic meal, shared by a zillion others
This never goes right. It is easier to get Perez Hilton admit he is wrong than secure a table for two on 14th Feb. Once you do get your hands on one, you arrive at the restaurant to discover – surprise surprise – the entire universe also crammed in there nose to nipple, half-heartedly pretending to enjoy dinner à deux.

Anyone not eating is queuing for tables, eyeing your dinner jealously, wondering when you’ll be finished so they can claim your space for their own. It is like eating dinner underneath a wasps’ nest, knowing they are going to come out and sting you – you just don’t know when.

Your waiter, by the way, will detest you. He looks down on you for all being in there at the same time, ordering the ‘special romantic deal for two’. He knows you never usually eat out and you’ll order the second-cheapest wine on the list – because that’s what they all do, he’ll sneer – and you’ll either be extremely rude generally or treat him like a subordinate to impress your date.

Why are all of you out at the same time? Why today? Why not a candlelit supper at home à la Hyacinth Bucket? But of course there would be no point: nobody would be able to see you. When asked by someone about your evening, dinner at home for just the two if you, sounds lame, like you’re not really trying. You can’t walk into work the next day, as the bouquet withers atop your monitor, and say “Oh, we just stayed in”, can you? They’ll think you have relationship problems, or are too poor, or have some weird psychological problem with a pre-assigned day for being romantic, and we can’t have that.

Forced romance
Sometimes, in a couple, you really need to have an argument. Fact of life. Either they have done something to really irritate you or, much more likely, you have been an arsehole. Everything seems worse on Valentine’s Day, however, because it is supposed to be perfect. It’s like the opposite of burying bad news – you just can’t. Everything magnified to epic proportions.

“Why?” you’ll scream at each other, right after your Valentine meal in a crowded Nando’s because you couldn’t get a table anywhere else. “Why did you have to spoil everything, today of ALL days?” Of all days. Quite.

Sex on a full stomach is not sex, it’s torture
I can have sex pretty any time you like. Name the day. I am Mr Sexy Sex of Sexville. But on St. Valentine’s 24-hour love-in, it doesn’t feel as much fun. It’s kind of an obligation.

Not to mention having to ‘do it’ with that stressful romantic meal wobbling about in your belly, suppressing prosecco-scented farts. And there’s always one who’s too tired, or not feeling into it, or, cruelly, desperately horny but too pissed and full to go through with it. But you will. You do. How romantic.

Single people are idiots on Valentine’s Day
Almost as bad as couples on the big day are single people. For about a month before, as the last empty bottle of fizz from New Year’s Eve is chucked into the recycling, single people will moan incessantly that they have nobody to share Valentine’s Day with. Memo: you’re alone every other fucking day of the year too. Ever wondered why?

They’ll take every cheap teddy bear, wilted bouquet or smutty card presented to their friends as a personal slight that they have nobody who’ll blow £50 in Clintons on them. They become desperate for a date and will allow themselves to be fixed up with all manner of unsuitable people, just so they’re not alone. A million awful, useless, will-this-do relationships begin on Valentine’s Day, purely because they might as well.

So maybe… pick another day?
Try your anniversary, the day they first stuck it in you, your birthdays or the day you first moved in together – maybe even the day you argued in Ikea and bought a big bed just to have make up sex in. And also, y’know, you might actually get a bloody table in the restaurant.

But maybe that defeats the purpose. After all, if you’re romantic on another day of the year, how are you going to outdo yourselves, and everyone else, on February 14th?

Start planning for 2016 now – you’re going to need a bigger bouquet.


  1. Very true. I have to admit to being one of those single people . Each year I try to just let pass me by but every year it seems the day becomes a bigger deal for couples that it is hard to not moan. A lot of home truths in this post

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