Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hearts, roses, and viles of blood


I can't help but be cynical about Valentines Day. I think the idea of needing a commercial calendar day (with extortionately overpriced roses and impossible to come by dinner reservations) to remind you that you should act in a kind, loving, and romantic way towards your partner, is wrong. These things should come naturally, and throughout the year. And you should never, under any circumstances, be forced to spend that much money on flowers.

I was woken up this morning by not one, but two text messages from Inteflora reminding me of the various rip-off deals at my disposal. I use them for sending flowers to my mother and grandmother on their birthdays in South Africa, and as a thank you here in London. I doubt I'll be utilising their special offers on this occasion however, because although Robert is a modern and self actualised sort of man, I reckon he'd prefer some PC World kit over a bunch of flowers any day.

This leads me to a question that never fails to stump me - just what do you give someone as a Valentines Day gift? Flowers are easy enough for a woman, as are chocolates, unless she's on a diet, but I've yet to meet a woman who gets upset over receiving chocolates - diet or no diet. But what do you get for a man? Aftershave, boxer shorts, a vial of your blood on a chain? It's very confusing.

The other thing that's always strikes me as odd about Valentines Day, is the amount of couples out on that night - going through the motions. It's feels robotic and creepy being in a restaurant with table after table of twosome clones, with the mandatory long-stemmed overpriced rose (that never opens) on the table between them, and a bottle of the special (read: overpriced) house wine. Any other night of the year and these people would be laughing, chatting, enjoying their food, but suddenly they feel as if they should behave differently somehow - more romantically or lovingly (whatever this means), and the result is strained and uncomfortable. You know a good deal of them would rather be in front of the TV or in a bar together somewhere, but they do it because it's expected of them.

What's worse are the couples who sit staring at each other, and without the sound of football, Emerdale, or Celebrity Love Island in the background, find they have very little to say to each other. That always worries me - that on the one night of the year you should be celebrating your love (well, according to Hallmark that is) you discover you've run out of things to say.

On a separate note, for those of you in the cosmetics industry, especially La Prairie, Yves Saint Laurent, Estee Lauder, Eve Lom, Dermalogica, Clinique, Liz Earle, etc - it's my birthday on Monday. This means I'm in a generous upbeat sort of mood, and therefore welcome any and all hampers packed with wonderful skin, body, and makeup products, that you may need to offload. Same goes for anyone working at Jimmy Choo. Please, don't thank me, I know I'm good that way.

Having a birthday two days before Valentines day generally means I avoid the whole dinner dilemma. Robert is taking me to a nice restaurant on Monday, and I told him (as I tell him every year) that we'll treat it as a combined valentines/birthday dinner. This means the poor man doesn't have to stress about finding an additional booking for Wednesday. Oh, and that no matter how nice they look, a long stemmed rose (that never opens) will not be necessary, really. Chocolates however, I'm open to negotiation.

Photo: happynews.com

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