Do you ‘do’ Valentine’s Day?

My husband and I don’t do Valentine’s day.

It wasn’t something we contracted previously before getting married. It wasn’t something we both decided and agreed on. We didn’t say “Oh, we don’t like soppy things like that” or “we should love each other everyday, not just on the 14th of February.”

I think it’s nice that there is a day on which people celebrate love by giving each other tasty things and colourful plants. They say men are visual but I think all humans are visual. What woman isn’t swayed by a nicely dressed significant other who smells fantastic and is presenting an array of colourful flowers, just for her? Not me for sure.

I like pretty presents. During our first few weeks of marriage my husband used to buy me lots of presents. Expensive bracelets, high quality perfume, a pair of ghd straighteners which I could never afford and which, now I know, he couldn’t afford either. First class train tickets to London. Giant boxes of chocolate (which I let my family eat because I was watching my figure), a giant cream cake (seriously, do you WANT a fat wife?), a tray of colourful cupcakes (say whaaaat). He wanted to impress me. He didn’t know he’d already impressed me with his clean cut fashion and his smell and his infectious smile. But I wouldn’t say no to the other things.

My mother, pragmatic as always, said, “he’ll stop opening the car door for you soon.”

Two years later, he has stopped doing it. I guess he doesn’t need to ‘impress’ me anymore. But sometimes he does. When it’s a special occasion. Like when we escaped the family and went to a retro cafe and I wore lipstick and a flowing dress and he wore his expensive coat and the cashmere sweater that I love.

My husband hates hearts. I don’t know if its a ‘macho’ thing, or if he is still a bit immature (he is 24). He gets irritated by them.

“If I see a heart,” he said once, impassioned, “I’ll… I’ll punch it in the face!”

I found this so hilarious that I laughed about it for three days straight. I still laugh about this. I am chuckling away to myself as I type.

So yes. We don’t do Valentine’s day. We don’t schedule dates. We don’t plan holidays. We don’t get gifts. We just never think about that. It doesn’t matter to either of us. we aren’t the celebratory type. We aren’t mushy, and can be awkward demonstrating our love.

Do I, as a woman who can be emotional sometimes all the time, ever feel bad about it?

Honestly, hand on heart honest, I don’t.

 

Some people feel very low about Valentine’s Day. They feel more lonely, surrounded by loving couples. It is a day that can exclude a lot of members of our society, even though it is not only meant to celebrate romantic love, but all love.

To other people, Valentine’s Day is pointless, ridiculous consumerism and a way for the capitalists to make their capital gains.

To me, Valentine’s Day is the sweet day Katy Carr and her siblings exchanged heartwarming (and sometimes chuckle-worthy) poems by a roaring fire, surrounded by comfort and love.

What are your thoughts on Valentine’s Day? Do you ‘do’ Valentine’s Day, or would you ‘do’ it?

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In Which I Talk About Books

Good morning, fair maidens and noble gentlemen.

I went to a car boot sale on the Sunday morning past. I have never been to a car boot sale before, this is my first time. I must say I was rather excited. I was just thinking of all the books stored in people’s attics that they have no use for anymore (GOODNESS knows why!).

It was scheduled to rain, but people had their spreads out in rows; long aisles of cars and the unwanted clutter of pasts and long bygones spread out in front of them, while heavy clouds gathered above.

“It’s going to rain”, the sellers said to each other over steaming cups of tea, as buyers milled around their piles of junk, “Awf’lly gloomeh today”, their Leicester accents sticking out a mile.

But oh, there were some remarkable people there. People with boxes of the most beautiful books I have ever seen. I don’t know why they would want to sell off such beauties, but I was glad for it.

Here are the titles I deemed fit to buy:

  1. First and foremost, What Katy Did Next, by Susan Coolidge. I have read this book, and I own it too, butI don’t own THIS beautiful old red hardback! The publication date isn’t specified at all, but it’s certainly around 1940-1950, and has the old, slightly musty, most delicious bookish smell that is only reserved for really old books. At the cost of 25p. That is a quarter of a pound, which is 38 cents in American dollars. How’s that, eh?
  2. Next I found, amid tremendous heart palpitations and small breathless squeals of excitement, Little Men by L.M. Alcott. It is the third book to follow Little Women and I have been looking for a beautiful old copy for YEARS, and to finally have it, at the grand price of 20 pence, is to be in pure bliss. Inscribed on the inside cover in large, sprawling handwriting is this: Joyce Pallenden, 15 Estcourt Rd, South Norwood, CHRISTMAS 1948. How endearing. How alluring. Somebody got this for Christmas in London two years after the end of the second world war. What was her life like? How old was she? Is she still alive, even?
  3. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel. I haven’t read this book yet, but I am anxious to sink my teeth into it because I have watched the film (yes, I know, NEVER watch the film before reading the book..) and I found the story so fascinating and haunting.
  4. Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe, Jenny Colgan. I love baking. The author mentioned that she was inspired by The Great British Bakeoff, and I ADORE the Bakeoff, so I reckoned that, at the price of 20p, this was the book for me.
  5. My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You, by Louisa Young. Saw this last year when I was meandering about in Dublin, and I have wanted it since. 25p. What a bargain.
  6. The Girl With All the Gifts, M.R. Carey. 50p. Guys, the man who sold it to me said nice things about my growing pile of books, and offered to give me a bag to hold them all. He even commented on my choice of books, saying how his daughter loves What Katy Did. Then his wife spoke up and told me that the book I was looking at was a wonderful read, and how she thoroughly enjoyed it, and they seemed like such a bookish little family so of course I couldn’t resist. Okay? OKAY? Completely justified.
  7. Last, but not least, The Dubliners, by James Joyce. 50p. A Penguin Classic edition. I couldn’t believe my luck! “Look!” I exclaimed to my sister in law, who had been all this time patiently following me around on my book frenzy, “I need this for my course, and they told me I had to spend £7.99 on it!”. She didn’t exhibit any interest, apart from a raise of the eyebrows and an exaggerated ‘wooowwww’, followed by a smile. “Go for it then”, she said. So I did. “Good luck with your course”, the lady selling it to me said, ever so kindly, handing me my change. How sweet was that?

So those are my books, and this was my haul. I hope you enjoyed it. I might feel inclined to post a review or two here after I have devoured my precious finds. I do so love finding well-loved childhood classics to keep at home, don’t you?

H