So, that time of the year is rapidly approaching. The one singletons the world round hate, men usually despair of and card shops love. Yes, with less than a week to go to Valentine’s day, the retail industry has gone into love over-drive.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been a little disconcerted that my husband’s work had the audacity to schedule a three day conference in Istanbul over Valentine’s weekend, meaning he’ll arrive back home at about 11pm on Sunday the 14th. No romantic candle light dinner for me then.
However, stopping to get petrol on the way home from work last week, I had a moment of clarity. As I was waiting to pay at the cash desk, I couldn’t help but notice the tacky counter displays. They had a selection of cheap, small soft toys in lurid colours, the perfect gift for Valentine’s day apparently. More fit for my dog in my opinion.
And then, who could of missed the 30+ flower emails that have landed in our in-boxes, bright pink stands in our local card shops and even Tesco are on the case with their TV advertising. But, if romance is a cheap bottle of cava and a box of chocolates from Tesco, then quite frankly I’m not interested.
Now, please don’t think that this is me insisting my husband should spend pots of money on me or that I’m a miserable old shrew. I love romance, I love romantic gestures and I love my husband. I’m also not immune to a gorgeous Valentine gift. There are two Valentine’s days that I can recall to you with absolute clarity simply because of the thought and the gift my husband got for me.
But, the tackiness and commercialism of this day is making me cringe. The debate on commercialism isn’t a new one. We see it at every possible holiday or event where retailers think they can make money. And from a business perspective, if we’re buying the stuff and if it’s profitable who can blame them?
Yet, surely love should be about spontaneity and doing something because you want to, not because you feel obliged? Now, I’m sure there are some women out there that if it wasn’t for Valentine’s day they’d never see a romantic gesture from their partner. So maybe it does have its place. But, is love about money and commercialism or the everyday things your partner does for you because they care?
When I was writing this I thought about the top things my husband does every week that shows me he cares. And nearly all of them are free:
- Takes the compost out to the garden as it’s stored behind the conservatory which is a virulent breeding ground for spiders
- Gets up in the middle of the night when I’ve screamed and jumped on top of the bed because a spider has ran across the bedroom floor
- Bought a battery powered spider hoover that sucks up spiders harmlessly, so that he doesn’t drop the sneaky eight legged suckers and then can’t find them (are you noticing a theme here?)
- Always cleans up the dog mess in the garden as I can’t even do one without dry heaving
- Cooks dinners from a weightwatchers book & then eats the food with me even though he hates most of it & he’s so slim he has no need to lose weight
- Fixes my laptop, including completely hacking into when I’ve forgotten my password so I don’t lose all my stuff
- Goes up to bed a bit earlier than me on cold nights too warm it up, because I’m always cold.
While expensive gifts are great and don’t get me wrong, I’d never turn one down. Sometimes the small gestures are just as good.