Validating Valentine’s Day

That romantic, not in the least clichéd time of the year is almost upon us – V Day! ‘V’ perhaps being for ‘victory’, for those lucky enough to have found someone to share the cheese with. For (most of) our singleton counterparts, ‘V’ is more likely to be represented by ‘vulnerable’, ‘vexed’ and ‘vigilantly on the look out for a suitable soul-mate’.

It was oft remarked that stock-broking is a full service role, encompassing amongst many others, concierge, confidante, chauffeur and chaperone. When a client says ‘jump’, your well-conditioned Pavlov dog response is ‘how high?’ Of the many things I have had requested from clients over the years, one of the more unusual has to be the setting up and logistic arrangement of a blind date; that and writing a ‘classifieds’ type synopsis of a client for publication on a dating website (not for practical joke purposes). Oh, and proffering advice and support, counsellor-style, on how to shed one’s single status – my only qualification being my married status and little else. Frankly it had been so long since I’d been on the dating scene I was more than a little rusty and sadly ill-equipped. It turned out that my audition as the next Cilla Black was a doomed one though and my role as matchmaker consequently a short-lived one. 

Personally, I have always felt V Day a bit of a cringe-fest. As a teenager it was all part of the conspiracy to undermine one’s already pitiable self-confidence (and a chance to bloat the egos of those with already more than sizable egos). As a twenty-something single girl, prematurely branded a member of the Bridget Jones brigade, it was an excuse for a prying status update from one’s mother trying to gauge the imminence of a trip to the milliners. And as a fully-fledged member of the grown up gang of cosy couples, it is an excuse for restaurants to prey on one’s purse strings and steam roller unsuspecting lovebirds into handing over recession-defying sums to fund tacky set menus and blooming bouquets – both of the overpriced and substandard variety.

The very first V Day I knew my now-husband, I was so hell-bent on not coming across as a starry-eyed sweetheart of the institutionalised crock of romance that constitutes V Day, that I bought myself a bunch of fancy flowers the day before – to pre-empt any possibility he might feel the need to go down that route and subsequently nip that possibility in the proverbial bud. After all, I already had flowers so any additional would just be superfluous. Youth is an odd thing.  

These days I make a secret admission to no longer harbouring such an aversion to the odd romantic gesture – the by-product of age and insecurity may be? Mr A and I still won’t be endorsing the Valentine’s Special Set Menu a Deux down at our local restaurant, but this year it might possibly stem from necessity over choice – babysitters, like black cabs after 10pm, raise their rates on V day; not to mention the fact that most babysitters probably would rather share the most romantic night of the year with their valentine, than a less obliging nappy-clad child of (nearly) one. 

Luckily for me and at serious risk of coming across as smug, Mr A is apparently cooking me a special meal on Saturday evening. At the end of the day, shallow as it may seem, V Day is really just a no holds barred excuse for making that special someone feel like a V important person, glass of vino in hand – let’s drink to that.

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