They’ll piss and moan about all those cruel reminders that they’ve yet to find their special someone. They’ll gripe about Interflora, suggesting that they're operating the kind of racket that would make the five families feel like underachievers. And they’ll probably have a go at the happy couples who choose a window seat in their favourite restaurant, so the whole world can see them demolishing a chocolate fondant with two dainty forks.
Well I say ‘fuck you’ and your cardless mantlepiece. Valentine’s no more fun when you’re in a relationship. In fact, it’s a cold, merciless invention, utterly bereft of the spontaneity and emotion that love is all about.
As you press your runny nose at the restaurant window, silently cursing the people inside, look closely at their body language. Stifling yawns, refolding napkins, and trying to talk about anything other than their day at work, they’re struggling to act as though they’re enjoying themselves. Because they're worried that everyone else looks happier than they are.
One of them is wondering when babysitters got so expensive, and the other one is probably working out how much money they could have saved by having the same meal at home. Christmas might be Santa’s busiest day of the year, but come Valentine’s Day, Cupid might as well be on a booze cruise to Calais, because there’s fuck all for him to do here.
Those couples who don’t brave the hordes for a specially overpriced meal could always have a night in with a DVD instead. The shelves of HMV are stacked with unimaginative, drippy rom-coms featuring the same tired plots, contrived scenarios and unrealistic bed-hair. But they’ve been helpfully repackaged in a pink cardboard sleeve, with a cut-out heart on the front.
And don’t fret about that big romantic meal, because Marks & Spencer is here to save the day with its ‘2 for £20’ offer. Fork out a couple of tenners and you can be enjoying a delicious ready meal, with a bottle of sparkling Cava that may be undrinkable, but it’ll put a shine back on your cutlery.
You’ll probably also need some romantic music, in order to set the mood for the first sex you’ve had since the clocks went back. Every year, the record companies helpfully repackage the same shitty ballads in a new 40-track compilation, as if anyone in the world needs another copy of Minnie Fucking Ripperton.
Oh, and don’t forget to spend twenty minutes in the card shop, trying desperately to find something that won’t make bile burn the back of your throat. It doesn’t matter that most cards show a crushing lack of awareness about how people in relationships actually talk to each other. Shell out your three quid, scribble a quick signature and try to imagine that the term ‘love machine’ applies to you, rather than the one that eats batteries by the bucket-load and lives in the bedside cabinet.
Face facts. Valentine is shit for everyone. Even if you’re happily settled down, it’s a point-by-point deconstruction of everything you’re doing wrong. It doesn’t matter how successful your relationship is, or how happy you are together. If you don’t look like you just fell out of an ad for Sandals Resorts, you’re a miserable failure. And chances are, you’re still going to die alone.