Katy Guest: The Rant & Rave of romance (12/02/12)

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The Independent Online


Because I have been deleting all the "targeted" Facebook advertising that tells me to get cosmetic surgery and lose three stone ("targeted" at me because I'm female, so sophisticated are their algorithms), I am left with lots of ads for chocolate and flowers. Not chocolate and flowers that I might want to buy myself, that is, but gifts that I am supposed to expect my beloved to buy me.

Apparently, women demand these things on 14 February, and have become so dazzled by advertising and the media that they feel betrayed and insulted if they are not smothered in pink for one day each year. Call me a contrary old feminist, but there's no date in any year on which I accept pink things or sweet nothings whispered by anonymous employees at Hallmark HQ.

So unless you're selling a pint, a curry, and an evening guaranteed to contain no roses, you're targeting the wrong woman.


I asked my friends to explain to me what exactly is so good about Valentine's Day. "It boosts a beleaguered and failing Royal Mail," said one. "It puts a smile on the faces of divorce lawyers," another commented, "as couples look at each other across expensive tables for two and wonder what on earth they are doing there."

One friend told me that he proposed and was accepted on the day after Valentine's, when tables at fab restaurants were much easier and cheaper to book. Another has a birthday on 16 February and is pleased when early birthday cards make him look popular. But apart from the Royal Mail thing, none of these things is something good about Valentine's Day! Why is everybody colluding in this hateful event?

Surely it is more romantic to write a letter than to buy a card? More thoughtful to cook a warming beef stew than buy chocolate-flavoured candy. More loving to give a massage than send expensive imported roses or support the poor, recession-hit board at De Beers. And more convincing to do any of these all year round rather than on 14 February.

Sorry, reader: I tried, but I cannot rave about Valentine's Day. I'll just shut up until 15 February.