Happy Valentine’s Day. I Fucking Hate It.

February 14, 2012 § 40 Comments

From yesterday’s Times:-

The last time I took any notice of Valentine’s Day was when I was fourteen.  That was, erm, thirty-three years ago.  I spent hours, perhaps days, choosing the perfect card for the boy with whom I was in love.  I remember the joy of finding one which, I thought, had a subtlety and integrity about it.  I practised perfecting the very shape of the question mark which was the only thing I was going to put inside it.  I felt a thrill of excitement and fear as I finally put it in the letter box.

The “relationship”, after one kiss, was and remained steadfastly one-sided.  I never received a Valentine’s card from him, or anyone else, for that matter.  In fact, I do not think I have ever in my whole life been sent a Valentine’s card (except maybe from my mother, who was worried for me), or been given any kind of Valentine’s treatment on 14th February.  My (now ex-) husband thought it was a load of bollocks and faithfully ignored it for twenty years.  If any of my friends go in for it, they keep jolly quiet about it.  It may be the raison d’etre of Clinton Cards or the apogee of Hallmark’s existence, but it is not the thing for people with any judgement or, let’s face it, taste.

I [fucking] hate Valentine’s Day.

Perhaps this is a defensive and somewhat sour-grapes stance, but I do honestly think it is naff and commercial beyond belief.  If it is for anyone, it should be for teenagers alone, who are given to all that love heart kitsch and mysterious pining.  For people my age, there is about it a certain lack of dignity, I think.  Romance should not be prescribed and packaged and given a specific time-slot, but instead be a spontaneous thing arising out of genuine feeling.

Not that there is much of that around for the aging Plankton.  I wish! I bumped into a man from my youth the other night.  We had both fancied each other but it turns out, we both thought we were out of each other’s league.  He is happily married and his wife is lovely, but he sent me a very sweet email that made me smile.  That’s a romance which missed its time-slot, but it is heartening to know that it might have been.

So it is, [today] shall pass me by with even less ceremony than next week’s Shrove Tuesday, which may be marked by making some pancakes for the children, if I remember to buy enough milk, and a lemon.  In fact, bugger all on Valentine’s Day, as usual, no card, no chocolates, no hug, no dinner, no text, even though the shops and papers are brimming with it so you can’t get away from it even if you want to.

Just like every other day, in fact, only more so.

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§ 40 Responses to Happy Valentine’s Day. I Fucking Hate It.

  • Caz says:

    …fabulous rant P! A pity you don’t like exercise….always good to go for a swim (just off) or a long walk on a hill makes the world seem a better place. Your post is an unexpected breakfast treat (especially for those not lying in bed being served with their breakfast cuppa!).

  • AnonW says:

    I totally agree with everything you say. In the forty years my late wife and I were together, we paid little exception to it, but we usually managed a meal, if one of us could remember to book it and it wasn’t one of our hard-up periods.

    I think it brings out the worst in the general public. I put this post on my blog.

    http://anonw.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/a-large-valentines-day-present/

    If you haven’t got time to read the story, the UK has spent £41 million on their pets this Valentine’s day. That’s probably why people like Plankton, myself and many others may well spend today alone. Although, if the weather perks up today, I might go to Portsmouth to see Ipswich play.

  • Barry says:

    Happy Valentines’ Day P ….xx

    • The Plankton says:

      That’s about the first time anyone has ever said that to me, with the astonishing exception of one of my children this morning! Thank you, Barry, very much. Much appreciated. Px

  • Jamie says:

    My recipe for any singleton today is to go and see “Carnage”. If that does not make you feel relieved not to be part of a couple, nothing will!

    • The Plankton says:

      I am going tonight! Can’t wait! Thank you. Px

      • MissBates says:

        Oh — great play! Saw it on Broadway and loved it. Curious to see how it will “translate” to London. In any event, a most un-Valentine-y treat that I hope you will enjoy.

        As for myself — I’m here at the office at the crack of dawn, as I am waiting for my client to do some last minute prep before his DIVORCE trial starts today. If that’s not hearts and romance, I don’t know what is….

      • Jamie says:

        Ooh – well make your reaction to it a subject for tomorrow’s blog….

        And Happy VD from me too.

        Jxx

      • For some people, the completion of a divorce is the happiest day of their lives- People really have divorce parties, complete with florists, musicians, phototgraphers, caterers, and a cake that says “his” or “hers”….

  • Penny says:

    Hello Plankton. 14th Feb to me is just another day. I dont care anymore, dont waste any energy on hating it. Yes too much fuss by the media etc is made. even if I was with someone wouldnt want to go out to a restaurant where all the tables are for 2 and the restaurant is decorated with hearts, awful. At least you were married for 20 years, Valentines day is contrived and men shouldnt feel they have to buy stuff on that day. I have married friends who dont believe in it, either.

    You are not alone, remember all the people who are not getting anything today, there are lots of us!

  • Elle says:

    St Valentine’s Day is a christianized version of the Roman fertility feast Lupercalia. Young men called Luperci ran around with whips beating naked women into submission for the day. It was basically a sado-masochistic orgy.

    Much more fun than the contemporary pink, fluffy, saccharine excuse for selling schmaltzy cards, sticky chocolates and overpriced meals in crowded restaurants.

    Happy Lupercalia Plankton!

    • zoe says:

      Elle, welcome back. I thought you’d disappeared there.

    • The Plankton says:

      You too, and thanks! x

    • You got me curious now, so I just looked this up- This may be common knowledge for people who grew up in household with religious Christian families, but I just learned this from wikipedia-

      Apparently the term “Saint Valentine” does not refer to one single person, rather it refers to a group of 14 people whom the Romans killed, mostly during the 3rd century. Almost nothing is known about the one of those 14 people who is celebrated on 02/14…

    • EmGee says:

      David Malki had a very different take on Lupercalia today:

      (sfw, just really silly, and if you hold your cursor over the comic, there’s is an added bonus)

      Welcome back Elle!

  • joules says:

    Ok – something to make everyone smile. We have a visiting scientist from Spain in our team at work. He arrived in January but we all know him from his working with us a few years ago for a couple of months. He is lovely and so is his girlfriend who he has brought with him this time as he has a scholarship to be with us for 2 years.

    I do not really subscribe to valentines day – the ex was much more keen than I on it and look what he dit.

    BUT this morning myself and my female student came in to find little red heart balloons on our desks. We are certain it is from our lovely Spainish co-worker (he is out working in the field today) and I for one am touched. It did make me smile – it is non-threatening and just a nice thing to feel that – hey he noticed I am a girl. It means nothing more than that but it was nice.

    Gave the British men in my office a bad time advising them to “Watch and learn.” They smiled as well – think it made all of us a bit happier with the day.

    So – just a little balloon is all it takes.

  • Twinkletoes says:

    Don’t think I’ve received a Valentine’s card in the last 10 years.

    Do I care? Not at all! 🙂

    The cynic in me sees Valentine’s Day as just another exercise in commercialism for the retailers to try to profit from. Bah humbug!

    Keep your chin up, Ms P, we all love you x

  • marriednotsmug says:

    The thing I hated about Valentine’s Day was working in an office full of girls and one by one they would be called down to Reception to take delivery of large bouquets of roses which were then cooed over. I always used to think maybe next year it will be my turn. Well it never was. Oh and I never received cards when I was a teenager either. The first person to send me a card/flowers was my lovely husband who I met in my late 30’s (on the internet!)

  • rosie says:

    Yes, the office girls thing is a bit gutting, even if you think V Day is a load of tacky marketing nonsense. Glad I don’t work in an office anymore.

    • AnonW says:

      I heard a good tale in the pub at lunchtime. The landlady, said that in the 1960s she used to work in an office, where the boss had his birthday on February 14th. So he always brought in a big cake and some bottles and they had the best day of the year. It was always bonus day too as the boss had generally got last years accounts finalised, so usually everybody went home with an extra week or twos money.

  • Jane says:

    Well I’ve had a fab Valentines day – away on a different continent at a trade show and dinner with my team of 5 guys (all yanks and a Japanese)I am the only woman. At the end of my evening – they are all going on to the local branch of Hooters- one of them announced that they think I am a ‘cougar’ as defined by him ….’a beautiful woman,,,,blah blah……’ I can’t even remember the rest of the fucking sentence, because basically it was bullshit and I told him I was insulted. Whereas the man that has recently broken my heart (and yes is younger) hasn’t even responded to my 2 texts and 1 e-mail wishing him a Happy Valentines day. So HAPPY VALENTINES DAY ladies, hope it was as good for you as it was for me!!

  • Leftatforty says:

    I always thought V day was bollocks. My husband loved it and would celebrate it with presents, cards, or whatever. This is my second V day alone and I find myself thinking about it. Happy V day to those of you who are lucky to be in love.

    • AnonW says:

      So right. This is my fourth after my wife died. We had this valentine joke, where I’d buy her some expensive underwear in the January Sales and give it to her on Valentine’s Day.

      On the Richard bacon program they’ve been filling in the old “Roses are red” poem.

      This was a topical one.

      “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’d like to be under permanent house arrest with you.”

      SOme of course, weren’t so repeatable.

  • EmGee says:

    Valentine’s Day, ugh. We shouldn’t need a day to remind people that they are loved.

    Joules, your Spanish colleague is very sweet though, so in that spirit, Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone! ❤

  • Aidos says:

    I agree it’s complete bollocks…. however I did did send flowers to a friend who I am very fond of (but with no prospect of romance) in the hope that she wouldn’t feel as lonely as she otherwise might. Hedging my bets I guess!

    • The Plankton says:

      Please let us know what happens…? xx

    • MissM says:

      That was a really sweet thing to do Aidos. Regardless of whether or not any romance comes your way out of it, I would bet it did improve her day, and if more people were to do nice thoughtful things for others it would make the entire world a better place in general.

  • Chris says:

    Planky at her best, telling it like it is. I fucking love it !!!

  • J says:

    I take a rather different view of Valentine’s Day nowadays …

    During January 2010, I’d got to know someone based abroad for a few months with the Armed Forces (Military Police) fairly well online. We did actually have a few acquaintances in common, as my ex was Forces; I knew that this guy was bona fide. He and I had both been contributing to a website for the Forces. A female friend on the same site told him that I was very recently separated and badly shaken and that he should message me, as he had told her he had recently separated from his wife.

    I’d had a grim time at Christmas 2009 as my 5 year live in relationship had ended violently and with me being taken to hospital, so this guy’s messages were a real source of solace. He was very sympathetic and I confided in him a lot. I’d been living on my own for around two months when Valentine’s Day 2010 came round and expected nothing and went out shopping.

    When I came home that lunchtime, I found a big box full of red roses and a cute little teddy outside my door courtesy of M and S and the postman had delivered a card too. They had been ordered by this guy and I felt so very, very lucky. I kept the roses going for weeks by keeping them in the porch in the cool air.

    We were in touch until the summer; we chatted most days; once he had got back to the UK, he sent messages asking to meet (and yes, stay over) but the logistics made it difficult.

    Out of the blue that August, I got an e-mail from a woman, an e-mail copied to about 5 other women, including me. The e-mail said that she and he had been a couple for about a year, which was in fact true. He was separated, but had got together with this other woman during his separation before going abroad and they had got a house together in Portsmouth.

    I had a brief, civil conversation with her online that evening; I just said that I was really shocked and told her about the lovely Valentine’s roses. She said that he had been a very busy boy that Valentine’s Day and had placed a job lot of orders online for various Valentine’s gifts for his harem. I guess I wasn’t special after all.

    Since then, the whole Valentine’s thing doesn’t really do it for me. I know that on that Saturday afternoon, February 14th 2010, when I saw the delivery from M and S that my heart lurched and I thought, ‘oh my goodness’ and I felt such a sense of elation. I haven’t received anything today, February 14th 2012 and I’m pleased, because I think that if I were to go home now and find something outside the door, I would feel really uneasy.

    Getting what you were really, really hoping for on Valentine’s Day isn’t always a good thing ….

    • MissM says:

      Wow… just wow. I’ve been on the receiving end of a deceptive person’s attentions, and it gave me the happiest moments of my life while I was, but absolutely devastated me when I discovered the lies. Thank you for sharing that J.

  • Lydia says:

    It’s nice to be romantic. It can be a good reason to remember your other half as a sexual person etc. I’m not against it at all even if I spent it on a date with someone who is virtually a dwarf and told me about a woman he met internet dating who wanted someone 35 – 55 so he procured young men for her, some even 25 and he’d watch and join in. That was the most interesting bit of our conversation actually (although my scene) Still fascinating. People are so interesting even if it leads to nothing more.

  • AnonW says:

    Another reason to hate today in particular.

    Dory Previn died peacefully at home today at 86.

    Her songs were such comfort to me, when my late wife died.

  • AMJ says:

    I think it’s cute. I love seeing loads of twenty-somethings downtown after work carrying around bunches of flowers, young guys shyly buying boxes of chocolates and bottles of wine. Absolutely gorgeous, in my view, to have a day set aside for love, for those inclined to celebrate. Yes, yes, people can feel like shit if they get left out and that’s horrible, but I still can’t help a smile when I see a youngun lurking around the florist’s, knowing someone’s going to feel like a million bucks as a result of his effort.

  • Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. Please, please lighten up a bit and then, with a bit of luck, your Prince Charming may appear on your scene

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