Love and hate – there’s not much in it really. Two things that are equally disparate at times, yet totally in sync at others. This notion is epitomised for me in February where my favourite holiday (unofficially) Pancake Day, is almost hijacked by the loathsome carnival of amorous crap that is Valentines Day.
Seriously, I speak on behalf of couples just as much as singles. As a twosome, I cannot imagine anything worse than sharing your dinner time with swarms of other couples at the local Italian chain which has an e-voucher deal on. Nothing says romance like flashing that promotional code on your phone! As opposed to being a day to reconfirm your love, it is often used as a type of ‘ultimate test’ of the relationship, on par with going on holiday, where inevitably one half of the pair’s lack of imagination and dedication is often unveiled and scrutinised.
Annoyingly, people assume that if single, you’re bitter and suicidal, when to be fair, watching any Working Title film on any day of the year can easily induce this. You then have to endure never-ending queues at Clinton’s when you’re only there to buy someone’s birthday card (cue Moonpig). You also tend to evilly sneer at women who boast about the ‘amazingly thoughtful’ heart-shaped chocolate box they received at work, as well as witness the sad sight of smugly suited men on the Tube as they clutch onto their M&S £9.99 rose bouquet and £10 meal for two.
However, I hate to be the purveyor of doom and gloom so if you do insist on acknowledging this day, whether under obligation or in protest, here are a few do’s and don’ts:
1) Watch Pedro Almodovar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. It should restore your faith in strong, independent, if slightly mentally unstable, women.
2) Go on the Jack the Ripper walking tour (nearest Tube: Aldgate East). A little macabre but a good antidote. Why save it for Halloween? If this doesn’t cement your relationship nothing will.
3) Head to Heaven (The nightclub. I’m not encouraging suicide). Most females, whether single or not, would welcome a break from hetero males and there’s no better remedy than being surrounded by shirtless Adonises and being complemented on your carefully co-ordinated outfit.
4) Visit the gym. It will hopefully be empty or only have toned singles working out. Quick elimination process. Done.
5) Shun the Shard or the London Eye. Overpriced tourist infested entertainment is not romantic. If you disagree, then you might as well go to Madame Tussauds.
6) Go to the cinema. I know, I know, isn’t this the archetypal couple’s outing which one should stay clear of on this calamity of a day? Not this year. Die Hard’s fifth installment, A Good Day to Die Hard, is released on February 14. Enough said.
So there you have it. Plenty to do and avoid. Although, if you do want to steamroll it all together, let’s promote Pancake Day to, as it should be, a full three-day festival. Yippee-ki-yay.
Image by terren in Virginia courtesy of Flickr