The Emperor's New Clothes (10/02/13)

Valentine's Day, pah! Commercialised, sentimental fuss. Incurable romantic David Randall begs to differ...

Share
Related Topics

Right, gather round, men. I understand there's been some grumbling in the ranks about Valentine's Day. A lot of you have been saying that this is an entirely commercial creation of the greetings card industry and the floristry trade, and you resent being expected to buy trite cards with saccharine inscriptions, feel conned by flower sellers sticking their prices up for the day, and know that every restaurant will be full to bursting point with couples going through some pre-ordained romantic motions. Spontaneous it ain't. Furthermore, the alternative tokens of your undoubted affection, such as chocolates or a bottle of some exotic liqueur, are ruled out on account of the diet or health kick she is currently on. In short, you feel cornered.

Well, the first thing to say is that you're not wrong. All of the above is true. It is an artificial festival of American origin designed to make you lighter of pocket and laboured of heart; an event where you will feel obliged to sign up to contrived and clichéd sentiments that, in reality, have all the sincerity of a Royal Bank of Scotland insurance salesman. You are right to resist, and want to make a principled (and, incidentally, money-saving) stand.

But wait. Consider the Lilies, the Roses, Emmas, Lauras, Sarahs, and Pams; or, if you're in a civil partnership, or edging towards one, the Brians, Marcs, Terrys, and Steves. What of them? They pretend not to care, but they do. They know it's silly and sloppy, but a 14 February that passes unmarked will sting a bit. Above all, chaps, think of yourselves: the kudos that will be bought with a small trifle, the credit in the partnership bank you will accrue; the loinward impulses that may be stirred. For, as the poets were trying to say but somehow never quite pulled off, what is romance but mutual self-interest?

And partners, if you are reading this, remember that, contrary to popular myth, it cuts two ways. For us, a small tasteful card with an inscription of your own devising, a plant for garden or window-box, a chocolate orange, perhaps, and an impromptu cuddle. We, like you, don't ask for much. But we like to get something.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Syria's Kurds have little choice but to flee amid the desolution, ruins and danger they face

Patrick Cockburn
A bartender serves two Mojito cocktails  

For the twenty-somethings of today, growing up is hard to do

Simon Kelner
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent