Don't be a Valentine's Day curmudgeon. It's not like you've ever suffered in love

"Not wanting a fuss" would be fine if it weren't for the feelings of inadequacy one has in the face of "the Valentine's fussers". You can't beat these sort of Valentine's people. But you can join them and do it with a big open heart

Grace Dent
Friday 12 February 2016 22:08
Illustration by Ping Zhu
Illustration by Ping Zhu

For Valentine's Day this year, I say, why not go big? Be bold. Be passionate. Wake your lover at dawn with a lustful open-mouthed kiss, overlooking their satanic morning breath and the fact that a cat is grooming its own anus in the gap between your pillows. Rise with love in your heart! Fill the house with the aromas of warming croissants, and serve them with a giddy array of unsalted organic butters and speciality preserves in tiny jars laid out on heart-shaped doilies! Fill two chilled champagne flutes and raise a toast, shouting, "Happy Valentine's Day, love of my life! Today let's celebrate l'amour!" At this point the love of your life will say, "What the hell is wrong with you? Are you on drugs? It's seven in the pissing morning! Is that the Bollinger we were saving for a special occasion?"

Ignore this silliness. Not all of us can be immediately open to experiencing the most romantic and unforgettably Instagrammable and Facebook-worthy Valentine's Day ever. Your lover might be terribly British and say, "Hang on! I thought we kind of agreed we weren't making a fuss?" At this point, simply place a finger to their lips and whisper, "Hush now, pretty. Don't talk, just kiss." Then commence raining soft erotic kisses on their neck, reaching as far down as the washing instructions on their Camp Bunac T-shirt. Or perhaps lick the crevice of their elbows in the manner of Pepé Le Pew making another doomed attempt to seduce and shag a yardbrush.

Because "not wanting a fuss" on the 14th February would be fine if it weren't for the feelings of inadequacy one has in the face of "the Valentine's fussers". These people are just better at being in love than you. Like that couple on your Twitter timeline broadcasting that they're breakfasting in Geneva. Or the boyfriend who ties balloons to the garden gates while she commissions a romantic artwork or bakes a gluten-free multi-tiered cake. Or like those lovers on treasure hunts or luxury shopping sprees, or the ones down at the jewellers having extra diamonds stuffed into eternity rings. Or the ones who rise at 4am to go to Billingsgate for fresh oysters and don't secretly think that they're overpriced and taste mainly of salty snot. You can't beat these sort of Valentine's people. But you can join them and do it with a big open heart.

So this year, why not love like you're supposed to on Valentine's Day? Love exactly like you've been prodded into by marketers since you were six years old? Try to love as if, in years gone by, you never stood, with plaintive expression, at your letterbox only to be furnished with a debt reminder from the Britannia Music Club. Why not love like back at school you never waited fruitlessly for an anonymous, bashful, secret crush to present you with a Hallmark card the size of a bus stop. Try loving like you've never been dumped for someone with bigger tits or a heavier wallet. Or perhaps love like someone to whom all of the above happened. But it made no lasting impact. Because you just love to be in love.

This year, why not surprise your lover by learning a one-man-band version of "All Of Me" by John Legend? What could be lovelier than you crooning about "curves and edges" while bashing out a sensuous rhythm on knee cymbals? Or why not organise a Valentine's Day flash mob? Who wouldn't want to be hijacked in Leicester Square by dozens of enthusiastic but not very attractive people from a regional extras agency frugging to High School Musical tracks on less than the minimum wage?

As night falls, it will be time to head to a romantic restaurant, which you booked months ago with military levels of forward planning, because after all, you are a soldier of love. The restaurant will have be divided into tables of two by waiting staff who never see their own loved ones and resent you heavily. The chef has been hard at it thinking of pioneering ways to wrap bacon around a scallop. In keeping with the gravity of the occasion, you may find yourself ordering the third least expensive wine on the menu and eschewing side orders of fibrous veg because there will be an unspoken pressure to be a sexual athlete on one's return home. Flatulence won't help with that.

Conversation at dinner will be flirty, enlivening and emotional. You will not bicker about the dog's inoculation schedule or make weekend plans to grout the downstairs toilet. A shady sort may well appear at your table flogging half-dead roses shortly after you've enjoyed your crème brûlée, and you'll find it charming, not frightening. It is imperative to take photos of all of the day's events and post them on multi-platform social media. If a Valentine's couple walk through a forest alone and no one sees the Snapchat, did it even happen?

Congratulations! You have won at Valentine's Day! And now you've got 365 days to make next year's cavalcade of romance even more romantic! Buck up now. No one ever said love was easy.


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