Valentine's Day makes me reach for a gun

Share
The horror is almost upon us. Next Monday, it all happens. The St Valentine's Day massacre. Already the shops are filling up with red and pink objects, in grim warning of the madness that is upon us: Red hearts. Pink soap. Red velvet greetings cards. Pink champagne. Red boxes of heart-shaped chocolates. Pink ribboned nameless things...

"Already I have had floods of inquiries from punters about St Valentine's Day," says one greengrocer who prefers to remain anonymous. "`Have you got anything pink or red?' they say. `A bunch of red fruit or veg as a change from red roses?'

"`Well', I say, `I can give you some rhubarb. Or some pink grapefruit.'

"`Wonderful!' they say. So I've got 40 kilos of rhubarb and a hundred pink grapefruit on order.

"One bloke came in and asked if I had any heart-shaped vegetables. I told him: `The odd potato is heart-shaped.'

"`I'll have a dozen,' he said.

"It's madness!"

And it's deep red, heart-shaped madness!

"Yes, it's mad," says a butcher who doesn't care if he remains anonymous or not. "I've had people from early January asking if we do any heart- shaped pieces of meat. `Well, we do ox heart, if that's what you mean,' I said.

"No, that's not what they mean. Heart isn't heart-shaped, apparently. Won't do at all. Looks like an operation gone wrong. What they want is a steak cut in the shape of a heart, for cooking pink. So that's what I do. More and more every year. It's madness."

Yes, it's definitely madness, according to Dr Hertz van Rental, a psychiatrist who specialises in post-Valentine stress disorder and hates to remain anonymous.

"I have identified several new syndromes caused entirely by St Valentine's Day. One is pre-Valentine anxiety, caused by worrying whether the sufferer, typically female, is going to get any Valentine's card at all. One is post-Valentine anxiety, caused by getting a card but not being sure who it is from, and suspecting even, if the sufferer is female, that her mother has sent her a Valentine's card just to make sure she gets one. Another form of this is caused by getting several cards and not knowing who they are from!

"The strain of having unknown admirers is unbearable.

"There is also post-Valentine stress, in which the sufferer typically dreams he or she is being crushed to death by wobbly pink things, or being pursued by a pink or red monster called `Tiggly-Wumps' or `Your Sweet Thing'. And increasingly, I find that restaurateurs are having anxiety attacks when it comes to St Valentine's Day."

"You can say that again," says a restaurateur who would like the name of his restaurant prominently displayed, so let us call it Wood's.

"Valentine's Day is the most depressing day of the year, especially when it is on a Saturday, when it's going to be full anyway.

"But whenever the 14th falls, you get a room full of silent couples going lovey dovey to each other, which is as dreary as you can get. Ambience? Forget it. Last year wasn't quite so bad, actually. One couple had a huge argument, which everyone else listened to, culminating in the woman storming out and driving off in their car, followed by the man on foot. Unless, of course, it was a well-rehearsed plan to avoid paying..."

This column is dedicated to the memory of Reinhardt Schwimmer, a Chicago eyeglass fitter. Schwimmer was fascinated by gangsters, and on 14 Feb 1929 went along to Clark Street to hang out with the Bugs Moran gang. Before lunch, he had been machine-gunned to death with six genuine gangsters, and thus suffered from St Valentine's Day even more gruesomely than the rest of us.

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Yarl's Wood in Bedfordshire, Britain’s largest Immigration Removal Centre  

Thanks to Channel 4 we now see just how appallingly Yarl’s Wood detention centre shames Britain

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
 

If I were Prime Minister: I’d ensure ministers took mental health in the armed forces as seriously as they take physical wounds

James Jones
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor