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Valentine Schmalentine

Before I start, I think the key point to remember about Valentine’s Day is that it is a much bigger deal than it should be because it is one of the many occasions during the year that commerce can guilt you into squeezing a few more cash dollars from your already fully milked No Fear velcro rip wallet . Of course, I don’t want to come across as jaded and completely unromantic, but you have to acknowledge that there is a huge commercial agenda behind Valentine’s Day these days. Yes, I might have been sucked in, in times gone by, and possibly ordered a delivery of flowers to a girlfriend’s office, but I’ve never gone so far as to abseil down the side of the office building, burst through the window wearing nothing but what I was born with, announcing my love in grand rom-com style fashion.

I would suggest that the supposed ‘importance’ of the day is probably felt more strongly by those who are single than those who are not; in reality, most couples don’t see it as very significant at all. It is just another day and many of my coupled up mates don’t see why this day should be any different to another when it comes to romantic gestures.  This could be because they are lazy, tight fisted arseholes, or maybe they were just saying all of that to make me feel better, but either way, most people will go to work and not even think about it, let alone receive cards or flowers. The majority of the build-up is the result of intensive commercial marketing by shops and TV shows. And I think the ones who expect so much on Valentine’s Day are often the ones who believe that life should be like it is on Friends or movies starring Jennifer Lopez and a male actor who should know better than to star in a movie opposite Jennifer Lopez.

So, having had extensive experience of being single on Valentine’s Day, as well as some experience of being in a couple, here are my suggestions for good ways to spend the day:

1. Go to the gym: It’s likely that quite a few of the people there will be single, and wanting to escape the tedium of the day. You can either concentrate on getting some really good exercise in and feel great as a result, or you can do some gym based sharking with a few cracking chat up lines:  “Is that a ladder in your running tights, love, or is it the stairway to Heaven?” There.  You get that one for free.

Stairway. Denied.

2. Have a ‘Me’ day:  It sounds cheesy, but going to your favourite place / watching your favourite telly show / eating your favourite Monster Munch is a great way to actually enjoy the day. Go to a cafe and treat yourself to a delicious meatball sub, nose around a bookshop and read the smutty bits in the erotica section without looking like a pervert, or try out some guitars in a shop until the staff have to wrestle the Rickenbacker 360-12 out of your hands and escort you from the building – it all depends on what you want or what you like, but do it for YOU and no one else.

3. Invite some friends round for an epic night in: This is my personal favourite, and to be quite honest I’d love more nights like this. You could have a marathon of low rent B-movies or a horror fest; nothing gets your mind off the tedium of romance than The Human Centipede.  Another option would be a vintage video game tournament.  See who can Hadouken the heck out of Ryu, who can display near super human dexterity and win Daley Thompson’s Decathlon or maybe just play ‘snake’ on an old Nokia.  Either way, there is nothing better than hanging with your mates and no amount of roses and chocolates can ever change that.

4.  Avoid cinemas and restaurants at all costs.  They will be filled to the rafters with miserable looking couples all seething with a secret resentment for each other and wishing they’d taken that promotion and moved to New York last year but instead I stayed here with you and now we’re sitting in Pizza Hut in Guildford sharing a stuffed crust and I can’t help wonder where my life went wrong.  Or something similar…possibly…ahem…

Either way, the most important thing to remember is that it’s just like any other day that has been hijacked by Hallmark and marketed within an inch of its helium balloon-festooned life.  Personally i think we should spend more time on the likes of Cow Appreciation Day (25th July) or Cat Herders Day (15th Dec).

The happiest Valentine’s Day I have ever spent single was when I locked myself away with the Breaking Bad Series 2 box set and a 6 pack of Nik Naks.  Now THAT is true love.

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