Middle-class problems: Valentine's Day

By Holly Williams

So commercial. An invention of Hallmark. A commodification of love; a triumph of capitalism. Love isn't about buying stuff, is it? £3.50 for a card! That's just extortionate – it's guilt money. Love isn't about one special day, is it? We show each other how much we care every single day…

So goes the rational, slightly superior, I-did-a-module-in-Marxism-once middle-class stock response to Valentine's Day. Not for us, the fluffy bears hugging satin hearts – they fail on grounds of taste too, anyway (see also: "sexy" lingerie). We laugh in the face of a dozen red roses. How predictable! Our love could never be codified in such a fashion – and anyway, do you know the air miles of a bunch of flowers in February? And don't even think about going out for dinner: the struggle to get a table, the ridiculous mark-up, the limited menu, the other silently chewing couples all around you…

But you can, of course, protest too much. And woe betide the wooer who takes such snarks at face value. Because, if we're being really honest, no matter how much we might scoff and scorn, if 14 February (it's this Friday, eek!) passes entirely unremarked upon, a little corner of our heart will break.

No, we don't secretly want any of the above cheesy nods to Cupid. But maybe, if one's lover delivers a home-made card, or a mix CD, or a dinner reservation for the 15th, or – hell – even a text reading "Valentine's Day is capitalist bullshit but I do, in fact, love you"… well, we might just be able to put away the Adorno and find it in our hearts to adore you.