As a result, people who don't love each other are forced to buy flowers they can't afford, eat at expensive restaurants with lots of other couples who can't stop pawing each other and send expensive cards bearing untrue greetings.
Today is St Valentine's Day. It is also National Impotence Day and falls at the end of National Marriage Week. Inevitably, it provides the excuse for a thousand surveys which turn up "findings" on love, marriage and romance.
Did you know we will spend pounds 22m on flowers today? (Flowers and Plants Association). Or that almost 25 per cent of marriage proposals are made in bed? (Definitive Guides). Or that Arsenal supporters are more likely to receive a Valentine's Day card than any other team's fans? (The Royal Mail). Or that men are more likely to be given a power drill or DIY tool than a romantic present? (Variety Club Gold Heart Appeal).
Valentine's Day is more and more commercialised, with social pressures being brought to bear on men, in particular, to be seen to be romantic.
Fantastic then, given that failure to gain an erection is often brought on by pressure, that St Valentine's Day has been chosen as National Impotence Day. The Impotence Association has given way to the inevitable and adopted 14 February after a private clinic named the day and was bombarded by the media, which found the timing irresistible. "It attracted a lot of attention, so we endorsed it this year," said Ann Craig, the association's director. "We're bringing in extra staff for our helpline to handle the extra calls. We don't mind marking St Valentine's Day if it helps."
For men with no such problems, romance comes with mountains of bouquets, bunches and blooms including 7 million roses. But odds are they won't be English roses. Because of the St Valentine's demand for them, nearly all are imported, so those you give to your lover were probably grown in Colombia, India, Israel, Kenya or Zimbabwe.
The Impotence Association helpline number is 0181 767 7791.Reuse content