February 14? What’s love got to do with it?

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As one who writes romantic fiction you would think I would be in my element as St. Valentine’s Day rolls around.

You would think that as the shops fill with hearts and flowers my mind would be overflowing with inspiration for tales of star crossed lovers or folks finding their soul mates and living happily ever after.

But no, the day has the opposite effect on me. It turns me off romance. There is about as much ‘true love’ associated with Valentine’s Day these days as there was in Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ marriage. It’s one giant big constructed fib of a day which seems to get gaudier and gaudier as the years pass.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti love. I believe that, as the song says, love is indeed a many splendid thing. I believe that you can find the perfect person to spend your life with and that love can grow as the years pass. I believe in the wonder of falling in love and all the soppy, lovey dovey wonderfulness that brings.

But St. Valentine’s Day can wrap itself up in its shiny red cellophane and do one.

There is no need for it - not the way it has become anyway. No-one truly needs a massive teddy bear gormlessly holding a stuffed satin heart declaring: “I love you beary much”.

No woman in her right mind needs some uncomfortable, red nylon, not-really-there ‘sexy’ knickers to try and seduce the man in her life because some card company declared it a day of love. And much as I love roses - do any of us really need to spend a fortune on a dozen stems just because of the date when a week later you can get them for half the price?

It’s the pressure of the day which irks me the most. The expectation that no matter what else is going on this is a day when you have to be gloriously in love.

The lack of spontaneity about it makes my blood boil. I know I’m not the only person who believes that we should all make an effort throughout the year.

The smaller gestures - a cup of tea when you are settled on the sofa for the night, a hug when you need it, an unexpected bar of your favourite chocolate when you are having a bad day and need a little pick-me-up, a reassuring word when you are doubting yourself - these are all infinitely more important than the forced actions of February 14.

Celebrate the little things - as the popular saying goes - because one day you will come to realise that they were the big things all along.

Love is about more than just one day.