Monday, February 11, 2008

VD: An epidemic that must be stopped

Of the 25 Valentine's Days I have lived through I have clear memories of two. One of them involved going to a seminal gig that happened to fall on February 14th with a friend (who, admittedly, I had my eye on at the time), the other involved going out with my then-boyfriend. One of them was brilliant, the other was shit and I'll leave you to figure out which was which.

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.
NOTE: If you’re not a bitter, twisted creature doomed to wind up living in a haunted mansion with 12 mad cats by the time she’s 30 like me you can read Dave or Rachel’s slightly more saccarine approaches to VD. Of course you’ll want to throw up afterwards but, hey, I can dig romance and shit.

14 comments:

Lindsay said...

Hurrah!

CB One said...

Awesome picture Kate!

VD?? I'll be having a nice "romantic" evening in with my good friends G & T. Oh, and maybe a little country music just to make the spiraling descent into depression a little more enjoyable.....

my name is kate said...

Pish posh - be glad you're not sitting over a shiteful faux Italian meal staring at your wineglass and talking about the garden.

CB One said...

lol. "My fettucini au pollo is a little dry and the damn slaters are eating all our seedlings!!" Sounds like true romance to me.

(wait.......will Christian Slater be there? Because I could tell him how awesome he was in Pump Up The Volume......and Heathers....)

my name is kate said...

And Lindsay you shall be the best Valentine's date ever.

my name is kate said...

There was a time not so long ago when spending VD with Mr Slater was this little girl’s dream. But then Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was a loooong time ago…

observer said...

And a happy bah humbug to you all.

Dave said...

I see through your facade, Kate. That's all I'm saying.

my name is kate said...

You mean you think I’m really a slushy flower-and-chocolates type or that I still nurse a deep undiminished love for Christian Slater? Because, um, yeah, one of those things is totally true.

CB One said...

It seems like it's undiminished love for "Prince of Thieves" Christian Slater, which, you know, is a little worrying. I mean you're only a short step from testifying to your undying love for Kevin Costner with that film. Just how many times have you seen The Postman Kate?

my name is kate said...

Shut up man, that movie is as underrated as Costner's feathery 'do...

the other kate said...

yeah, i'm not into VD either.. which is lucky, given that you and i will both be spending the evening cleaning/reading/sleeping/drinking solo while our dear boyfriends play some super-nerd boardgame together.

Anonymous said...

I have the fortune of February 14 being both my mum's and her mum's birthday... for a looong time VD barely registered on my radar.
Mr P.

my name is kate said...

Half your luck, Mr P. Nice name, too.