Monday 13 February 2012

I hate...

I don’t hate much. I’m pretty equable most of the time. But right now two things are really pissing me off. Thing One: Muppets. Sorry, don’t get them. Maybe I’ve not met the good ones but Kermit and Miss Piggy are just plain…irritating. I want to light matches to their fur. It’s not the puppet thing. Truly.  I like Mongrels. Actually I like it quite a lot. Probably more than I should. I started watching it thanks to James who,  come to think about it, probably shouldn’t be watching it at all. Anyway.

Thing Two. Valentine’s Day. I spent last VD ensconced in a spa, dodging canoodling couples in the steam room and being the only person eating solo in the candlelit and balloon-festooned dining room. Frankly I’m not sure I’ve recovered yet.  I still wince at anything red and heart-shaped.
I abhor stiff scentless red roses. I don’t eat chocolates.  I don’t drink champagne. I can’t abide balloons. Why is it that Valentine’s infantalises normally sensible adults?  I’m all for indulging one’s childlike sense of fun but that doesn’t extend to going gooey over heart-shaped balloons. Balloons?  It’s not a fecking children’s birthday party for feck’s sake!  And soft toys – that’s the other one. Big pastel-coloured teddy bears clutching hearts with ‘I WUV U’. WTF? And the baby language – snugly wuggly baby waby possum blossom?

It’s not some middle-aged cynical thing either. I dreaded it way back when I was a teenager. In fact, the one time I managed to have a sort of boyfriend when I was at school, I ditched him the week before because I couldn’t bear the thought of it.  The certainty of disappointment. Not that he wouldn’t do or buy anything for it, but that it would be…dutiful.
And it’s not that I’m not a romantic. Far from it. It’s just that I can’t bear the commercial, fake, anodyne bastardisation of love.  As if love can be bought with a ready-made card and a token present. Or, even worse, the need to prove love with something expensive and ‘precious’.  The eating out in restaurants bits? Garn.  Something just smug and self-satisfied or dutiful and sad. Not to mention over-priced. 

If you like it, great. Go for it. Good luck to you. But me, I don’t feel love needs one special day out of a year. I don’t feel love needs to be put on show. I feel lovers should surprise one another with spontaneous affection/passion/preferably both or with seriously thoughtful, heartful tokens (not costly, but from the gut, heart, soul).  Whenever I’ve been out on Valentine’s Day (night) it’s all felt rather…sad somehow.  So many people going through the motions; doing what is expected; proclaiming to the world ‘I’m in a couple’ like it’s a badge of honour, a sign of belonging. It’s like cats spraying or dogs pissing - marking out their territory.  Should you really need to do that? 

Anonymous declarations of tormented passion, on the other hand?  Now those I do get.  I’ve always felt that Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be for the neat cosy couples, for domestic love, but for insecure, unhitched, unbridled, unsaddled, unstirruped (any more riding adjectives?) lust and longing. Is there anything more delicious than the frisson of an unknown admirer?  My father never understood this. Bless him, he’d send me Valentine Day cards with ‘Guess who?’ written on them in his very distinctive script. I loved him for it (he knew how the girls at school would sneeringly ask, ‘And how many did you get?’) but I craved mystery, suspense, not knowing. I wanted imagination, for feck’s sake!  

Did I get it? No. Not really.  Maybe that’s why I’ve got such a downer on the whole thing. Maybe I’m lamenting a youth in which I didn’t get the hopeless gesture; the beautiful poem; the gut-wrenching love song; the hand-made card…that nobody took me on a midnight picnic or swimming in a moonlit lake or blindfolded me and…

Or maybe I’m just odd. 

‘Can we agree not to do Valentine cards this year?’ I said to Adrian this morning.  I would hasten to add that I had bought him two packs of socks from Tesco earlier in the week and presented them to him with a wry, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day, darling.’ 
‘Are you sure?’ he said, his eyes first registering alarm (that he’d clearly forgotten) and then lighting up at the realisation that he wouldn’t have to race down surreptitiously to the shop.
‘Absolutely. You know I hate it.’
‘Well yes, but that’s what men are supposed to say, not women.’
I frowned, with a slight growl. ‘Are you saying I’m a man?’
‘No way, fella,’ he replied. 


Mary Vensel White said...

That's funny, Jane. I also told my husband to dispense with Valentine shopping and he looked like a rat in a trap, trying to figure out my angle. Also, my kids are unaware that the holiday is related to sweethearts, or love, or anything of the sort. They think it's about kids getting candy. You know, like Halloween. And Easter.

Milla said...

I'm spared making a card for first time in, God, 30 years! The glue and bendy wire and torn paper and all that gubbins can go untracked down. E's birthday is the 10th and it was always a pain trying to go out for a meal on that day as the week either side of the 14th is hijacked for bloody over-blown menus. So tawdry, tacky, embarrassing. Glad to be out of it!

Gappy said...

Yes, boo to Valentines Day, absolutely.

And boo to The Muppets too. Miss Piggy was abjectly terrifying when I was small - that nasty shrill voice still gives me the creeps.

Exmoorjane said...

@Mary - WHAT???? You give children sweets on Valentine's???? Hell, I hope my son doesn't catch onto this concept. You lot have wrecked Hallowe'en for us, and now you've got your sights on VD? I dunno... :)

@Milla - see, my love, there IS an upside! Wayhay!

@Gappy - Quite so. Nightmare-inducing. The trotters make me shudder. Let alone the voice.

Tee said...

Valentine's is ridiculous. I am a believer that with love, you have a Valentine every day. And that's how you should treat it.

While chocolate, flowers and mad passionate sex is all fun and games, who wants someone to feel obligated to do it?

Maybe it's because I'm single wait, it isn't. I've never bought into this. And yet, for some utterly effed up reason, I feel like I SHOULD be adored and showered with love on this day.

Ugh. Whatever. Waste of money. Waste of time. But then...

My new motto is that I'm all about the love. So...

I've decided not to do a ranty angry Valentine post this year, but a nice one. Addressed to my lover, wherever and whoever he may be.

Surprise. Surprise.

Rona said...

I'm with you on this one Jane, no valentines here! What about these 'valentine meals for a £10' how cheap skate and unromantic can you get?
But.... i may make a heart shaped cake for the fun of it.
We have a babysitter staying this week so thought about going to the pictures, so you don't recommend the muppets??

Alison Cross said...

Well, our friendship may be at an end: You do not share the delights of bad Fozzy Bear jokes, nor Waldorf and Staedler howling abuse from the royal box.

Sunday night in our house The Muppets were compulsory telly viewing *eye twitches*

Valentines Day is utterly commercial. I never get anything, BUT I've got a man who will drive to Glasgow to pick me up the morning after a late-evening bender when I can't trust my innards to behave on a train/ferry combination. And even remembers to bring a bucket. THAT'S love.


Ali x

Erica said...

Totally with you. Don't celebrate it at all, never have. I find it all very strange.

Rob-bear said...

I gave my beloved her engagement ring the day before Valentine's way back when. (Married 42 years now, and still going strong.) So we celebrate our time ahead of the supposed saint's time. For the record, I got her a non-valentines love card.

As for you and Adrian, have fun, whatever day it is.

Greta said...

And so say all of us! It's a load of contrived, commercialised bullsh*t.

But I do like the muppets.

Hilary said...

I sniggered at the acronym VD, probably says alot...

JOHN SHORTLAND, Cotswold Hills, England. said...

The only time I laughed at the Muppets was the skit with Miss Piggy being Margaret Thatcher.

She was having a meal with the cabinet when the waiter serving her food said "What about the vegetables?" to which she replied, "They'll have the same as me."

Not PC these days, no doubt, but it just about sums up politics in any era!