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?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting and rewarding role ...

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Executive - UK / International

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be joining a long-established, renown...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - Signs and Graphics

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The key requirements of the rol...

Recruitment Genius: Company Commercial / Company Property Solicitor

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This south Warwickshire based s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Old London Bridge; how to fight UKIP; and wolves

John Rentoul
Muslim men pray at the East London Mosque  

Sadly, it needs to be said again: being a Muslim is not a crime

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible