As Valentine's Day lumbers over the horizon like a gigantic soft toy festooned with love hearts and squeaking "I wuv you" at deafening volume, let's link arms and show stubborn resistance to this total ball-ache of a celebration.
Whether you're single and don't fancy being reminded that no one loves you, or you're cacking yourself at the thought of your declaration being unreciprocated, or fearful that your partner has got you something much worse (or better) than you've got them, there are innumerable ways to be deeply disappointed by Valentine's Day. You wonder why we put up with it. Significant square footage of my local supermarket has been given over to objects that are either pink, insufferably cute or both, and I daydream about running amok down the aisle, smashing everything to pieces with a sturdy roll of supersized baking parchment.
But come Thursday, as you bawl your eyes out into a bowl of soup as you watch Titanic alone, or suffer a blank, uncomprehending stare from your long-term crush, or sit sullenly with your other half under a heart-shaped balloon in a restaurant looking at an extortionate Valentine bill and thinking how much cheaper that meal would have been yesterday, I'd urge you to remain optimistic. There are 320 more days left this year, all of them more suited to romantic gestures than Valentine's Day will ever be. If proof of this were needed, I hereby present you with a small selection of many bad Valentine's Day stories that were sent to me on Twitter. As Baudelaire once said: "Sod this."
@mathewsmithesq Aged 10, my parents made me reply to an unsolicited Valentine, apologising that I wasn't interested. I had to deliver it to her front door.
@Suburbman Arranged a surprise picnic next to a stagnant creek with my reluctant quarry in full view of the crammed balcony of the University Union bar.
@JustaRobin I was 14. I handmade a card for a girl in class. Got caught leaving it on her desk, fell over as I ran away, then she gave it back.
@RachelPatti My ex painstakingly planned a treasure hunt for a series of plastic flowers. He cried when I couldn't find the last one.
@74Promotions I took my girlfriend to Paris to see Robbie Williams. He cancelled the show. Then, during a romantic stroll by the Seine, a pigeon shat on her head.