So, here it is again – the most contrived celebration of love since Ryan Giggs’s wedding vows: Valentine’s Day is back. Conveniently (some might say, suspiciously) located roughly half way between Christmas and Easter, to minimize the lull in the greeting card industry…

An Ode to the Worst Day of the Year

The one day of the year, that the whole of the nation,
Demonstrates their love under calendarized obligation:
Saint Valentine’s Day is back once again,
To test failing relationships under the strain.
And why do we indulge in this annual bleating,
This ovine expression of two hearts beating?
Because corporate fat cats have claimed and besmirched
A 3rd century Saint of the Christian church,
And monetized his benevolence so they can line their pockets
As they hock cards and teddies and chocolates and lockets.
The ultimate cliché being the table for two,
Restaurants packed liked sardines with clones of me and you
Leaning over the table for an uncomfortable kiss,
In derisible affectations of romantic bliss.

Why do we buy into their bestowed requirements,
Of hackneyed gifts and fancy attirements,
Of the same “romantic” tropes repeated each year,
Our actions dictated, nothing personal or sincere?
Because, we’re lazy and thoughtless and selfish and grumpy
And aware that our bodies are increasingly lumpy.
So, we must be seen to be trying on love’s rollercoaster
But still need the prompting of some saccharine poster:
They say buy chocolates, so chocolates I’ll buy
On the ad it brought a tear to his lover’s eye.
Of course it did! A tear of boredom and sadness!
You’re walking straight into immaculate madness,
Filled with niceties and box-ticking and repetitive platitudes,
Impersonal intimacy with laissez-faire attitudes.
Buy into Valentines’ and you buy into your doom,
And the accompanying heartache and disparate gloom,
The rut and the routine and the inexorable slide
To the memory of watching how your relationship died.

This year let’s take a stand against schmaltzy bleakness
Do our own things, and reclaim our uniqueness;
Stick two fingers up at shysters’ instructions for romance –
Which just happen to lead to their improving finance.
We can go for a meal any night of the year,
We can buy each other tat and walk down to the pier,
We can, and should, say “I love you” every day,
We shouldn’t need reminding of when and what to say.
So, let’s be us, let’s stay home, ignore the burden of convention,
Spend time with each other, pay ourselves some attention.
Let’s get a bottle of wine and a takeaway for our belly…
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.
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I hope the Mrs bought all that, cos there’s a good film on the telly.