Hooray, we are on the other side of that romantic watershed of Valentine’s Day. Judging by the number of sheepish looking men I met at 6.30 a.m. on the morning of the fourteenth, who were clutching red roses outside the local flower shop, there were a fair number of people (predominantly male) who were caught unaware by the fact that Valentine’s Day fell on a Monday. My own hopes were not high as I overheard Husband asking the Drama Queens what date Valentine’s Day was. I had to restrain myself from shrieking, “It’s not a moveable feast.” To be fair, we had agreed to a no-present pact, but I did fear he might have interpreted this as a “get out of jail free” card, rather than a chance to display romantic fervor untainted by material excess. Fortunately for the marital relationship, he came through with the goods by taking me out for a glass of pink champagne, which ticked romantic and entertaining boxes.
I think my attitude to Valentine’s Day is a product of my teenage years where early February was dominated by twin concerns: a) how to find a suitably romantic, sensitive but not soppy card to send to whatever benighted Glaswegian teenager my fancy had lit upon—and the stress of disguising handwriting as the horror of being discovered would have been too much to bear, and b) worry about whether I was ever going to be a recipient of one of these anonymous offerings—just for the record I do have to hold up my hand to receiving one card. The really sad fact is, I am pretty sure it came from my mother and the cleaning lady acting in concerned concert.
I was flummoxed when we moved to America, where the concept of sending just one Valentine seems to be completely alien—as for anonymous longings, forget it, you sign your name with pride. I discovered all three of the Drama Queens, who were in primary school at that point, were required to produce a Valentine’s card for every member of the class. Lovely for producing mass love-ins, less good for creating a sense of anticipation around the whole event. Any emotional highs experienced I think would probably be down to the sugar consumed as the result of the candy attached to each card rather than flutterings of unrequited love.