We’re marking V-Day by sitting on the settee, not touching, while I write this post and he reads the Sunday paper. This is romantic – the tele isn’t on. To be honest, we wouldn’t be celebrating “properly” even if we didn’t have two children running us ragged enough to be bit-part extras in Fagin’s gang. It all just seems a bit forced and, while I’m aware that this sounds really twattish, we also don’t like being told what to do by card and flower companies trying to make a bit of extra cash in between the actual “things” of Christmas Day and Mother’s Day.
Of course our relationship could do with some romance – after 13 years and 2 children whose relationships wouldn’t need an injection of some of the sexy stuff? However, I just can’t get excited about being bought a bunch of flowers and a card on a day that is basically made up. Now, if you have celebrated Valentine’s Day and are now annoyed at me, please don’t be – it is of course perfectly possible that I’m just twisted because no one has ever bought me flowers, or chocolates, or a card, or breakfast in bed on the 14th February. (At this point the “husband” is going to pipe up with “I have!” in an incredulous tone because today he bought me some Maltesers).
As a result of my lack of experience in this field, I am also rather uncertain about the etiquette of Valentine’s – is the onus on the man treating the woman, or is the idea that the man and woman are nice to each other? And if it’s a man and man, or woman and woman, who buys the present/flowers/ card then? And what if you are (whisper it…) S.I.N.G.L.E on Valentine’s Day? Well, there I do have an answer because there seems to be a concerted effort by “the media” to make people who are single on Valentine’s Day feel better. On my Facebook feed today a video popped up from the people at Stylist magazine titled, Why being single is the best gift you can give yourself. Intrigued, and feeling slight masochistic, I went onto the website and found several other articles dedicated to making people who are single on the fourteenth-day-of-the-second-month-of-every-year feel ok about all of the coupledom that is being thrust down their throat. The thing is, however, that while I appreciate that I’m not the target audience for these articles so you’re welcome to shout “what do you know?” at your computer screen, this all just seems a little patronising. I was also rather confused by one of the articles I read which was encouraging single people to go out and buy themselves a Valentine’s Day present. I mean, call me a coupled-up clueless fool, but the last time I checked, going and spending your own money on something for yourself, was just called “ going shopping”, right? Anyway, having now probably pissed off a whole bunch of people that I don’t really want to piss off, the point I’m trying to make is that it seems to me that there is one demographic for whom Valentine’s Day really is agony: parents of small children. And no one is making us feel better.
Admittedly, there is a chance that having met a person with whom we have procreated, the people who write these “How to cope on Valentine’s Day” type features think we have got it sorted. However, it seems to me that all of the traditional methods of celebrating this occasion are no-go (or at least hard-to-go) areas for parents – romantic meals (haha), special expensive chocolates (that only you get to eat and which are not deposited, half-chewed into your reluctantly out-stretched hand), flowers (or as the BSCB likes to call them, food) – all of these things exist temptingly out of reach and some are even accompanied by significant risk (the combination of candlelight and Disney Princess dresses makes me come over all hot and Health and Safety). So when our childless counterparts post pictures of themselves enjoying any of the above on the social media site of their choice, it doesn’t just make the single people sad, it’s also a thorny rose in the heart of the average parent. Couple this with the eternal assumption about child-free people that they have enjoyed at least one full night’s sleep in the last year, then parents of small people feel decidedly blue on this resolutely red day. And all of this, of course, assumes that you are still in a relationship with the person you had sex with and made another person. Eff me – imagine what V-Day is like for people who are single AND have small children?
Anyway, in a weird kind of backlash, a bit like the non-mumsy mums who are currently taking over the internet, there are people out there who take pleasure in marking Valentine’s day in rather less typical ways. A trip to Ikea? A £5 Superdrug voucher? A cross stitch proclaiming “Come the fuck in, or fuck the fuck off”? Or perhaps some cookies with the words penis, cunt and cock emblazoned across them? No? Well perhaps you would like to celebrate by being sick on the kitchen floor at 3am after one too many on a girls’ night out, and gift your husband the pleasure of mopping it up? Rather less exciting, but equally unromantic, I went to a yoga class followed by a walk (I didn’t want to go home) then the “husband” went off for a bike ride while I took the kids to the park. We basically spent the day apart. BUT, and I reserve the right to be soppy, having said all of that, and perhaps having offended any number of different people, its all ok, because in my life right now this is what love looks like:
P.S. This is not comment on the state of my relationship btw – I am under strict instructions not to post anything where the “husband” is recognisable…