I know I shouldn't be a Valentine's Day scrooge because, one of those previous memories aside, it hasn't really done anything to me. In theory any excuse to eat heart shaped chocolate and get a bit squiffy should be brilliant, right? Yeah except no.
Over to Charlie Brooker, who lovingly describes VD as "the only national occasion dedicated to mental illness":
"For those in established relationships, it's a perfunctory, grinding ceremony. On February 14 restaurants nationwide play host to joyless couples begrudgingly sharing an overpriced meal in near-silence, each of them desperately trying to avoid a row because, well, it's Valentine's Day, and nothing says "I sort of love you, I think, although I can't really tell any more" quite like the ability to sustain an awkward, argument-free detente for one 24-hour period a year."
That, in a wee nutshell, is why I don't like it. Not because my now dear boyfriend and I are incapable of having a fun dinner out but because it's never going to happen on VD. On VD everyone knows why you are there. It's VD. You have to be there. Staying home on the couch watching Avatar: The Last Airbender (which, by the way: awesome) feels like defeat so you slap on a rictus smile, pop on a dress and go out to show everyone how happy and in love you are. But of course you can't just go out and have fun you have to have Extra Super Fun because it's VD. You can't say I love you because you do, you have to say it because it's VD. Heaven forbids to have a wee shag because you're in the mood - you have to blah blah blah.
Single people should be grateful they don't have to take part in this macabre charade, but of course they can't just sit home and be happy can they? Brooker doesn't think so anyway...
"And, of course, if you're single, it's a thudding reminder of your increasingly desperate isolation. You're stranded somewhere out on Thunderbird Five, picking up chuckles and kissy-sounds from the planet below, separated from the action by the cold gulf of space. It's especially sharp if you've just been dumped and are feeling pretty raw about it, thanks. Under those circumstances, it's a cruel joke: you're like a one-legged man on National Riverdance Day."
The solution is, I think, quite simple. I wouldn't go as extreme as Brooker (who proposes an Unvalentine's Day, including it's own set of themed cards, particularly a range aimed at disillusioned long-term couples with greetings such as I CAN'T TAKE MUCH MORE OF THIS, IT REALLY ISN'T WORKING or my personal favourite DYING INSIDE) but what about ignoring the whole thing altogether? Simple but, I think you'll find, blindingly effective.
So this year I shall, as it turns out, be having a brilliant night out with someone I love but there will be no heart-shaped chocolate of any kind, no forced 'I love yous' or (here's hoping) reluctant sex. Instead there will be soldiers, war and (fingers crossed) a few manly tears. Happy VD indeed.