Spread the love every day, not just on Valentine’s Day or when we’re told to
PUBLISHED: 21:58 13 February 2019 | UPDATED: 21:58 13 February 2019
Did you give a card or get a card? Or did you not bother? Rachel Moore says we don’t need to be forced into displaying love
As if February isn’t depressing enough, dark and dank with the feeling that winter is going on forever, then comes Valentine’s Day.
Never a ‘bit of fun’, but loaded with pink and red tat and pressure to be part of it, and now grasped as a means of harassment and a dating hot potato.
Avoid like the plague, unless your Valentine celebration is making her breakfast, warming her slippers and having a perfectly mixed gin and tonic waiting at home for her at the end of a long day, in which case, every day should be Valentine’s Day.
More than 22 million people would have bought into the pressure (tradition) of sending cards today as declarations of love.
Tonight will see couples caving into the hideous pressure of booking a table for two and sitting among other equally pressured couples doing what is expected, trying to look all lovey dovey and cooing over a glass of bubbles when, if they were truthful, they’d rather be at home on the sofa watching Silent Witness with a tube of Pringles.
It’s all so contrived, unoriginal and forced. Does anyone walk out of a Valentine’s dinner not just a little disappointed, even if a proposal was delivered by a diamond chip in a chocolate brownie?
All so they can tell everyone that they were “surprised” by a romantic steak dinner and they were part of the great forced love-in.
But beware if you’re planning what generations have done before and fire off a cheeky card to the colleague you like the look of in accounts and have had the odd flirtation with at the photocopier, if that is even allowed to happen anymore.
Workers have been warned this year to resist any urges to send cards to colleagues they admire from afar because it could lead to disciplinary action under the ever-widening umbrella of harassment at work.
As if the humiliation of possible rejection isn’t enough, you could be hauled by Ms Tick Box in HR to be slapped with a written warning. The embarrassment of trial by the fun police.
I guess this could be translated into colleges and schools too, where teenagers see today as the perfect chance to show their interest in a so-far unrequited love, and then spend the rest of the month moping because the gesture wasn’t returned.
Working out the sender of the mystery card, or crying because no card ever arrived, is a February right of passage for a teenage girl.
Now, she can be accused of harassment and a charge of bothering by a Hallmark card. It’s bonkers beyond words.
Back in the real world, every year, today’s “tradition” – brainwashing by business for a post-Christmas revenue spike after the post-Christmas January lull - gets naffer and naffer.
This year, we have the M&S love sausage – heart shaped and really quite ugly –a “bouquet” of fish and chips, the creation of a Gloucestershire chippy, with potato roses on wooden stems with fish gougons as ‘foliage’ and Krispy Kreme doughnuts two for one offer on its special edition heart shaped Valentine’s range of doughnuts.
In days of innocence, Valentine’s Day was marked by a visit from Jack Valentine, a knock at the door with a small gift left on the doorstep.
In Europe, today is far more tasteful. Lovers give Valentine’s keys as romantic symbols, as invitations to unlock the giver’s heart. Far better than a petrol station red rose and a grim nylon teddy holding a felt heart.
In Japan, women are pushing back against a national tradition that dictates that they must give chocolates to male colleagues today, furious at the “forced giving”.
The tradition of Giri Choco is reciprocated by men on March 14, but this year the women are fighting back at a custom invented by chocolate makers only 30-odd years ago and want companies to ban it as a form of abuse of power and harassment.
So, a shower of love for Dr Amy Pollard, who has come up with my favourite Valentine’s invention to warm any chilly February heart, the Great British Valentine Project, designed to combat lonelieness.
Love and warm thoughts are about more than romantic partnerships.
The project urges strangers to send cards to connect with others, non romantically, in a random act of kindness and thought.
People sign up to the project to send and receive good wishes to someone they have never met to bring a ray of joy to their lives.
Simple gestures, like a random smile in the street and opening a door with a smile for people, can impact positively on our well being and help reduce feelings of isolation.
We should embrace the Great British Valentine Project for every day, spreading kindness, love and smiles to those who need them, and as a matter of course.
Sending best wishes and hoping good things happen to others have a power to cheer that is so underrated.
Life and humanity would be so much better without these silly designated days to celebrate love, mothers, fathers, women if we opened our hearts and arms every day for a special word, hug, card or smile.