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Valentine’s day. Still the most important day of the year for lovers?

Feb 14th is liked and loathed in equal measure by my coupled and uncoupled friends. It’s either a day to celebrate the joys, or potential joys, of a loving relationship, or yet another reminder that one’s other half is a) non-existent b) not given to gift giving.

I confess I’m a fan. Not necessarily of the rose-covered greetings cards, price hikes for flower bouquets or the over-ballooned restaurants, but more for the idea that there is at least one day of the year when it’s ok to celebrate love in all its silliness.

Him indoors is a little more circumspect. After 25 years of trying and failing to buy the right gift, he’s decided that women are just too picky and the whole things is a “Hallmark holiday blatant rip-off. Harrumph.”

It’s not that the gifts have been that bad, either. I have tried to feign interest in the new fax machine, the secateurs (I don’t garden) and the electronic flytrap. Not a word of complaint passed my lips when I unwrapped the hi-tech tin opener, the grow your own mushrooms kit or the doorbell which plays any tune you want. I am a polite person, I appreciate the sentiment and I’d never be (I hope) the kind of woman who whines about her husband’s present-buying ability.

Except, of course, these items all stayed in their boxes, and later mysteriously showed up on the local items for sale website. And I’m kind of giving the game away by putting pen to paper on the subject. It’s just that I believe Valentine gifts should be a bit more like love itself: random, scruffy, prone to volatility, challenging.

Gadgets aren’t necessary. (In fact, as a general rule, anything with a plug is a no-no.) Neither is an expensive meal in a fancy restaurant, posh chocolates or over-priced flowers. Something from the heart, spontaneous and gooey, will do just nicely. Read me a poem, tell me I’m beautiful on days when I know I’m not, and try to see the funny side of holidaying with my parents for two whole weeks. These, for me, are romance enough.

Although I wouldn’t say no to a nice bottle of something fizzy.

PS: Him indoors read this and said, archly, “scruffy and challenging? I know just the thing”. I suspect the football team kit bags now waiting by the washing machine aren’t full of rose petals…

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