So Valentine’s day, eh? Four years ago I was reflecting on this day on my old blog, and the topic is still as divisive as ever. Some people love it, some despise it, and others couldn’t give a devil’s umbrella. The question I had this time, though, is – and it’s a genuine question – what is the generic men’s gift on Valentine’s day? We all know chocolate and flowers are the generic purchase on the holiday of love, but I don’t think many men would expect or even appreciate this gift – at least, not outwardly. So what do we buy them? Cheese? Beer? WD40?
Seems a bit odd, but there are a million (boring) reasons about why we have ended up where we are with this particular holiday – what is masculinity and why can’t men receive flowers; what does it mean to be successful/loved and how people need to prove that on facebook; how capitalism has shaped the way we view many holidays; how capitalism has shaped the way we view ourselves… it could go on forever. I don’t have the energy to launch into a discussion about these theories, but what I do like to wonder is that maybe the original meaning wasn’t very clear in the first place and therefore what you do with Valentine’s day is completely open to interpretation. Such is the way with so many elements of life – you don’t have to be a slave to the way you think you should be! And anyway, the cause of where we are now with this particular holiday is layers of mythology, misunderstandings of events and much story-telling (in other words, history). So why only buy into one version of the story? This is where I’m at in my life – with these kinds of (boring) thoughts.
I’m sure you’re wondering what I did this year – was I a hater, popping heart balloons wherever I saw them? Was I showered with gifts from my partner in crime? Did I hatch ambitious plans in my secret lair to take down the meaning of this Mister Valentine? Well, no, as much as it pains me to admit that I don’t have a lair, my long-suffering partner in crime and I went for a walk around the arboretum and looked at some cool trees, and then we had a coffee at the cafe. It was excellent.
It’s difficult to avoid those pangs of envy, though, when I see men everywhere carrying bunches of flowers. I’m secretly a sucker for romance, or, at least, the romanticised idea of romance – which, as we all know, doesn’t actually exist. So, although walking and looking at trees in February in England isn’t the most exotic or exciting or passionate thing to be doing, it makes us happy and who gives a shit what any one else thinks! Besides, I can always buy myself flowers.