Saturday, February 11, 2006


A blue note on the red hearts

The annual Valentine’s Day rip-off is here again and I’m feeling nostalgic for the time when it was just a bit of fun, a mystery to be solved, a chance to indulge in a little fantasy of lust or love about someone you fancied. It was simple: you sent a card, leaving as few clues as possible to your identity and the object of your affection enjoyed guessing who the person with such impeccable taste was. Now it’s serious business. No time for fun or mystery. No point doing good by stealth. Your partner needs proof of your love. Time to take up Tesco’s offer of a free half bottle of champagne with every two dozen red roses. But if marketing doesn’t hook you, guilt will. My hairdresser told me she’d made it clear that she'd be very disappointed not only if she didn’t receive an impressive display of red roses, but if they weren’t delivered to her salon, where her colleagues and clients could see what a romantic husband she had.

But whilst I can’t join in that sort of daylight robbery, I would be up for re-enacting the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, with me playing Jack McGurn and Mr Tesco as Bugs Moran. The seven gangsters to be bumped off could be chosen from an all star line-up of high street marketeers, who would then be lured to a garage, with an irresistible offer, not of cheap Canadian whiskey, but a lorry-load of hearts, chocolates, flowers, teddies and bottles of champagne. Me and my five cohorts would then turn up in our stolen police van (ok we might have to compromise on that), order all the gear to be lined up on the wall, and with a pyrotechnic display of automatic paintball machine guns we’d splatter the lot until not one green bottle was left hanging on the wall.

I think I’m married to a fantastic man, but I won’t be expecting a Valentine’s Day gift from him. But I don’t mind because I much prefer the totally unexpected, no special occasion gift he gave me recently–a little book by one of my favourite authors, left on the bedside table. Now that’s romantic.

Perhaps he would have preferred to give it to you on Feb 14 but didn't want to compromise your principles - or be spattered with paint balls.
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