Rhiannon Harries: 'OK, you want to prove your love. Just don't say it with toast

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Ah, Valentine's Day. Wonder how that's working out in the Terry/Woods/Jolie-Pitt households? It's a tough call – when things are a bit rocky, do you redouble your efforts with the cards and flowers (which might make you look as if you think a one-off romantic gesture is a solution) or do you tactfully ignore the Hallmark holiday (and risk looking as if you couldn't care less)?

If Mrs Terry has thus far managed to restrain herself from connecting her husband's cranium with the nearest blunt object, surely the sight of him cheerily clutching any kind of heart-shaped merchandise would push her over the edge.

So who is Valentine's Day for, then? If your relationship is good, you probably don't need an annual reminder to go out for a nice meal. Especially not one that comes at twice the usual price in a restaurant full of couples trying desperately not to be the ones who can't think of anything to say. And has anyone's relationship ever been enhanced, even momentarily, by the sight of a piece of toast with "I love you" stamped into it?

I must be in the minority, however, or else manufacturers wouldn't continue to make "romantic" toast stamps and men wouldn't find it so hard to believe me when I say that I'm really, honestly, not bothered about Valentine's. That, in fact, I actively dislike the whole affair.

Without exception, boyfriends assume that this is a form of treacherous, feminine double speak. "Ha! Yeah right," is the slightly infuriating, I'm-not-falling-for-that-one response. Why they think this is some kind of perverse test, I don't know. Particularly since I am always at pains to point out that I have no problem whatsoever with flowers and gifts on any other day of the year.

Obviously, there are plenty of other completely unspontaneous celebrations where we occasionally have to go through the motions. New Year's Eve, official night of universal fun, is usually pretty dull. But it's one thing to force yourself to stay up late and sing "Auld Lang Syne" when you'd rather be at home on the sofa, and another to feel like you have 24 hours in which to complete an arbitrary romantic checklist in order to prove that you genuinely care.

I'm aware that perhaps I ought to reserve full judgement until I am finally taken at my word and I'm never again the lucky recipient of heart-shaped egg poachers or ill-fitting underwear. In the meantime, though, I am sticking to my guns – no cards, no flowers and, please God, no "I love you" toast.