[An updated and improved version of this article was published in Brunel University's 'Le Nurb'. Find it on page 14 (topically) of the online archived version here]
It always surprises me that Valentine's Day means so much to couples and society. And what's interesting is this obligation of participation. One friend asked me yesterday why I didn't buy anyone anything. No, of course I didn't. And I'll tell you why.
It seems to me that most people assume that the 14th of February is the one day of the year where you must show affection to your other half. Posts and photos of happy couples are endless on social networks; "I love you so much baby girl! <3" accompanied by the unoriginal cliché mirror pose. And it always amuses me when you see couples eating together, not a word to say between them: only out because they feel they ought to be. There's the couple that are the most "in love", attempting to kid themselves and everyone else in the restaurant. And the corporate husband who can't part with his Blackberry for five seconds whilst the wife waits patiently rubbing his hand thinking: "I know he loves me really". And she's probably right, I'm sure he does. But business is business and, after all, it's a Tuesday.
And yes, it's Tuesday - another normal, average working day. And if you truly are in a loving relationship then I get the impression that you don't really need this day to prove it. But whether you're pleasing your partner because you feel you have to or because you genuinely want to, here's my logic: surely Valentine's Day is the one day of the year that you DON'T buy your partner a gift. If it's the one day they're expecting something, it seems standard and obligatory; buy them something on nearly any other day of the year and it seems so much more.
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