Valentines Day. It sounds so simple, a day to say to someone special, ‘I love you’.
Wrong! If you believe that you are in trouble.
Valentines Day is commercialism at it’s best. Cleverly it has been sold to us as a day we show our loved ones how much we love them, by buying them cards and gifts.
What we buy is a test. Pass or Fail?
But what is the correct thing to do? Buy too much, you look needy, too little you look mean. No pressure but you have just a couple of days left to figure it out.
Personally I think it all depends on where you are in life.
As a teenager it was all about wishing.
Wishing I got a card from a “someone in particular”.
When I did receive cards full of rhymes about “sugar and spice”, and “pyjamas being close to my nightie”, they were always unsigned. That didn’t matter for me, for regardless the true identity of my valentine, in my head I had got it from the “One”.
Then at nineteen I finally met my “One”.
In the early days of love, Valentines Day was all about wondering.
How much did he love me? A card alone no longer sufficed. The amount of thought that went into the gift equaled the depth of his love. Would there be flowers, a teddy or love heart cushion, a card, a romantic meal? Maybe all the above? Not only would I now know how much he loved me, just as importantly my girlfriends would know!
Thankfully many Valentine Days came and went. He got it right usually and we became very much an item. Yet as the early years of love and gifts passed our love for each other became ‘normal’ and part of our every day. It was at this point that I think the goal posts moved.
As a couple Valentines day became a test. A test my boyfriend was unaware of!
I remember one Valentine’s day in particular. We had got engaged and moved to live in Australia for a while. I became great friends with a fellow nurse, Paula. who was of a similar age and had also recently got engaged. After work one day we got into a discussion about Valentines day. For both of us money was tight and we came to the conclusion it was a marketing rip off. Once we’d decided we were being ripped off we got more and more vocal about it giving out about the price of roses and the nonsense of cheap cards.
There was only one thing we could do. Boycott it.
Arriving home I told my boyfriend he was to get me nothing. No cards, flowers, teddies, etc. We were not going to participate in the charade. He, needless to say, was delighted! Valentines Day came and went. We exchanged hugs and kisses and stuck with our boycott.
The following day I went into work as normal. My fellow workmates were mostly young nurses who delighted in sharing what their partners got them for Valentine’s day. As I listened I admit I was a little peeved. When Paula arrived I commented on my lack of valentines day and how sick I was of listening to everyone else. She looked at me smiling.
“What?” I asked.
“You got nothing?” she asked.
“Eh, no. Remember we were boycotting it?”
“Hahahahaha. Alan knows me better than that. I got a dozen red roses”.
I was beyond speechless. As the day went on I got more and more cross. Why did I get nothing, not even a token of his love? By the time my valentine arrived home I was boiling. Did he not know me at all? He quickly reminded me of our boycott but I was having none of it. The poor fella was at a loss. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.
The next day I returned to work my good humour restored. Paula was working the afternoon shift. As we met she kept grinning at me. “What’s up with you?” I wondered.
“Nothing, just wondering how you got on last night? You looked a bit mad going home”. She then burst out laughing.
Right then it dawned on me. She had got nothing for Valentines day, no expensive roses, nothing!
“You wagon! You were lying about the roses. Oh my God, I murdered E at home last night”.
This just led to even more hilarity on her part before she added, “We’d a great night. Spent it laughing imagining what was happening at yours”.
Needless to say I didn’t tell my partner the truth. Instead I kindly announced “I had forgiven him”. He had of course learned an important lesson.
As a long time married/co-habiting couple always mark the day.
It doesn’t have to be a large gift, but something, no matter how small is always appreciated. As the years have gone by ‘yer man’ has understandably remained forever nervous about Valentines day. All I can say is he must be doing something right as I cannot remember valentines day last year, and everyone knows if they get it wrong we never forget!
He obviously passed the test.