I don’t go in for it. It’s not that I’m not a romantic. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. That’s why That Man is going on a Schmalentines date with his best mate to the gym tonight, and then to the pub. Of course. That’s what boys in a bromance do, right? And I’m fine with it. Let me explain.
My high-school years weren’t spent swatting away boys with my fly swat, their bunches of supermarket flowers wilting; nor did I receive the requisite blunderbuss of long-stemmed roses in my early 20s on Valentines’ Day. Actually – perhaps I did, but I classified them as ‘sorry flowers’, as all flowers from this boyfriend were, designed to make up for such abominable misdeeds that I seared their heads off with my upset laser eyes. They don’t count.
So, I get it. Valentine’s Day can be a lonely and sad place when it seems everyone’s loved up except you. It’s natural to look inwards, and ask what it is you want, and whether you’re where you want to be. I’m not complacent and so showered in love and gifts that I’ve become jaded. In a relationship though, it can be a kind of dumb day. Early on, it can be an awkward ‘are we doing this yet? Are we ready for big red cards? Are they? Do I?’, and then later on, it can be pressure-filled as women hope for jewellery or proposals while men just try to make it through without crushing too many unmet and unimagined expectations. In a marriage? It can be a time for reflection too, partly because some bitch in the office was delivered a massive bunch of flowers in an ostentatious manner by her fiance. Just rude. To all the single people, I mean.
What do I want? Why don’t I care if That Man’s at the gym tonight? Because I want my romance to be unique, and not a one-size-fits all happy meal that’s instead served in a restaurant, cheek-by-jowl as couples are told which three courses to eat from their set menu. You must drink champagne. You must love chocolate. (Is it strange that I’d rather eat cheese?) It’s very difficult to have a real conversation under such circumstances, unless you’re fond of speaking like mice and have naturally smiley faces. My resting ‘bitch face’ can present a problem, at times. So that kind of Schmalentines Day is not for me.
The flowers that come these days from That Man are surprise flowers, often delivered from the hand of my biggest, and they’re the best kind. The dates we have are often of the takeaway sushi and DVD on the couch type, where we can even end up having a fight, loudly if we feel like it. Which is fine by me.
Wine, dinners out, being told I look hot, getting dressed up, and all that other stuff is definitely on my radar. In the bullseye. (Do radars have bullseyes?) But not today, cos everyone else is doing it and that’s no fun. And FUN is what it’s all about, when everything else gets tired, I suspect. When I’m saggy and my boobs need tying around my ankles so I can run down to the shops without tripping over, I hope I’m not the only one laughing.
Before That Man went to bed last night, dead tired, he did the dishes. He also contacted a school book cos he knows I hate it. (Covered it in contact, I mean. He didn’t ring it up. That would have been strange.) Looks like Valentine’s Day was yesterday, people. That’s love.