BEATRIX CLARK: Valentine's Day - don't you just love it?
The January sales are barely over, we re still paying off Christmas on the credit card and the marketing folk are at it again, enticing us to spend, spend, spend. This time we re supposed to be forking out on expensive restaurants, sexy underwear and anyt
The January sales are barely over, we're still paying off Christmas on the credit card and the marketing folk are at it again, enticing us to spend, spend, spend.
This time we're supposed to be forking out on expensive restaurants, sexy underwear and anything pink or heart-shaped - all because, well no-one's quite sure actually, but it's probably something to do with a Roman saint who died on February 14 and some Medieval lovers who chose that day to send each other soppy messages.
Which, obviously, means we must all do the same.
Like most women I love a bit of romance and in my teens and early 20s I loved Valentine's Day. I especially enjoyed those Valentines discos at which a fiver entitled you to unlimited cocktails, everyone flirted with everyone else and no-one batted an eyelid.
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But over the years I've become less keen - not on the idea of romance but on the idea that you should celebrate your love for someone on a designated date that has absolutely nothing to do with you as a couple and everything to do with boosting the profits of Clinton Cards.
My husband, who when he's not snoring, reading DIY catalogues or talking about Tottenham can be extremely romantic, thinks Valentine's Day is utterly meaningless and after a fairly spectacular row on the day several years ago I've come round to his way of thinking.
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Who's to say that one should wake up on February 14 feeling overwhelmed with desire for one's partner? I usually find that when I'm supposed to feel a certain way I feel quite the opposite.
Surely romance should be spontaneous and you should surprise someone with flowers and chocolate body paint because you want to rather than because others tell you to?
Then there's the fallout - the depressed individuals who are hoping to get a card and don't, and the attached ones who aren't supposed to receive romantic cards, emails or texts from anyone other than their partner but do.
Like, funnily enough, my husband who a couple of years ago received a genuine, bona fide Valentine complete with shiny red envelope and saucy message.
I don't remember the message as I chucked it in the bin but I do remember analysing the postmark and feeling irritated, while Mike, despite his usual disdain for Valentine's Day, spent that particular one feeling rather pleased with himself.
A relationship needs working at and every so often we need to make our loved one feel special. I'm all for couples buying each other flowers, cooking special dinners and having lie-ins on a Saturday morning. But the closest I'll get to a romantic meal on Valentine's Day will be a pizza (heart-shaped no doubt) with the kids.
I won't be sending any shiny red envelopes and my husband, I hope, won't receive any.