Opinion: Has Valentine’s Day had its day?

Red roses  so often considered a perfect Valentine's gift. Red roses  so often considered a perfect Valentine's gift.

Sharon Griffiths
Friday, February 14, 2014
1:46 PM

Roses are red...and ridiculously expensive this week as demand soars for Valentine’s Day.

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Meanwhile the commercial world pulsates to the throb of flashing pink hearts, giant balloons, satin cushions and uncomfortable lingerie while the mountain of tat gets ever tackier – veering between the twee, the nauseating and the downright obscene.

Not to mention desperate as everyone tries to cash in. Like everything else, tradition has just become another shopping opportunity, fuelled not by true love but hard commercial pressures.

My favourite this year is a sat nav “so your true love can always find her way home to you” – which sounds as though the copywriter was confused between a grown woman and a spaniel.

Still, that’s better than some nasty knickers with a saucy message. And probably better than those poor little forced and scentless roses that are doomed to die before they even blossom.

Your Valentine’s views

Kim Murphy, 31, a carer from Norwich, said: “I’ll be celebrating. I think it’s important to show your love for your partner. We’ll be going to dinner; I usually get some nice perfume, chocolate and flowers. I’m hoping for the perfume I’ve been wanting this year.”

Abbie Whitehead, 23, a receptionist from Cromer, said: “This is actually my first ever Valentine’s Day so I’m looking forward to celebrating. I’ll be going out for dinner. It’s not exactly important, you can say “I love you” any day of the year. I think Valentine’s Day has just come over from America, like Halloween.”

Susie Lynn, 47, from Norwich, said: “It’s my daughter’s birthday so we’ll be celebrating with a nice family meal, but my husband and I will go out at the weekend as a couple too. It’s nice but you should really do it every day, Valentine’s just makes you feel guilty so you go out and buy something. We get cards and things but not big gifts.”

Mark Youngs, 45, from Chedgrave, said: “I’m not celebrating because I haven’t got a girlfriend, but I think it’s important because it brings people together.”

Amanda Hannegan, 49, from Norwich, said: “It’s a waste of time, you should love someone all the time. I’ve never celebrated it.”

Martin Ward, 54, from Norwich, said: “I don’t think it matters, but it can to some people. I won’t be celebrating. There are so many celebrations, there’s practically one every week, it just gets too much.”

Just a bit too symbolic.

Thank goodness for chocolate. You can never go wrong with chocolate.

Does anyone over the age of 15 really like Valentine’s Day? Probably half of 15-year-olds don’t like it much. Wonderful if you’re popular. Wretched if you’re not.

Which leaves the grown-ups exchanging cards over breakfast.

Real love, we know, has nothing to do with romance.

Romance, said some survey recently, wears off after about 14 months, which is when couples give up making an effort for each other and relax into slobby comfort.

It’s one of the reasons that elaborate weddings are so often doomed to failure. How can everyday life with its laundry, washing up and loos to be cleaned, live up to a fairytale day that’s been years in the planning?

Though at the other end of the scale, some friends of mine knew they were meant for each other when as young broke students they were sharing a tiny tent on a very basic Spanish camp site. Let’s just say… dodgy prawns… hot weather… bucket… You get the picture.

Having survived that experience they reckoned life together could only get better. Thirty years later they’re still going strong.

A recent report claimed taking the bins out as a romantic gesture. Bit extreme, but you know what they mean. It’s the loose change of ordinary life together where love shows – the remembering, the attention to detail, the willingness to do the tedious jobs as well as making a bacon sandwich exactly as you like it.

My very wealthy nephew was always one for great romantic gestures – flowers, champagne, plane tickets. When working in New York he decided to fly over to London to surprise his then girlfriend on Valentine’s Day and take her to Paris for lunch.

She wasn’t impressed. She’d planned to spend the weekend with her widowed dad and didn’t want his plans upset.

So forget the grand gestures. You’re probably better off practising the perfect bacon sandwich and remembering to take the bins out.

Have a wonderfully romantic time.

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