February 14th, now that’s a date in the calendar of love and letdowns.
Remember your schooldays when a couple of girls came in clutching a veritable bundle of cards or some horsey classmate, with no interest in boys as yet, brought one in that everyone suspected she herself – or her horse – had sent.
And remember that time when you finished with your boyfriend – or worse still he finished with you – in the first days of February. Oh the pain of watching men hurrying out of underground stations bearing red roses and pink Champagne.
The memories may be mixed. The fabulous trip to Paris arranged by the man who turned out to be a bounder and a cad. The petrol station bouquet purchased by that lovely man who’d driven the length of the country and turned up soaking wet and in his work boots.
It’s not easy for a man to get it right. When we say “Let’s not bother with Valentines gifts this year” how is he supposed to know that we don’t mean it, that it’s a test of his love? Valentine’s Day, like anniversaries, is something we need to be clear about if it’s not to become a reason for resentment or grounds for divorce.
Where does Valentines Day come in our calendar of Christmases, birthdays, anniversaries? Is it right up there, or is it a card and a reason to make love?
Will it become an annual disappointment or part of keeping the romance alive as the years go by? Are we supposed to accept the inevitability that the dinner a deux in a top restaurant, the roses and Champagne, will if we are lucky become a Chinese takeaway and a hastily-bought card further down the line? Should we, in any case, use it as a measure of real love and devotion?
Does Valentine’s Day matter more than all the other days of the year? If he clears the ice off your windscreen before leaving for work, if he brings you a morning cup of tea, takes the dog out for a walk, massages your aching shoulders, is he still a rat if he doesn’t remember February 14th?
Maybe he has his PA send you flowers, book the restaurant, does that count?
Perhaps the most important aspect of Valentine’s Day lies in the C word – Communication! We need to avoid setting traps for him to fall into and discuss it in advance. If it matters, we should say so. If money is tight we should decide together what is wanted and what can be afforded.
If money is no object we should tell the poor bloke the gift we are hankering after and not leave him floundering so that he can only fail.
Yes, we all hope for a partner that somehow just knows what we want. Oh for the soul mate that knows us so well! But men are mere mortals, they can’t read our minds.
So we should take some time before Valentine’s. Talk to him, listen to him and agree whether this year we are pushing the boat out or just having a cuddle!