A Sage’s Guide to Valentine’s Day


In 2015 there are few among us that can claim to be anything less than even slightly cynical about this whole “Valentine’s” day idea. I could treat you to a paraphrased wiki-history of it, but I’m sure by now we’re all aware that the highly commercialised industry of greeting cards and Pandora bracelets has little to do with Saint Valentine, or even that little impish prick Cupid (the Scrappy Doo of classic mythology). However, seeing as this will be my 6th valentine’s day with my partner, and given that we’re both under 21, I feel in a unique position to drop some knowledge on the subject.

Don’t go out to eat

This is the worst possible decision you can make. February the 14th is, even in London the city of culinary delights, a train-wreck. You will pay through the nose for something that has been prepared with less love and attention than your morning toast and they will often serve a massively reduced (and massively pink) menu. On this one night of the year they will divide the whole floor into two-person table units, giving you the unsettling feeling of dining in an excel spreadsheet, something exacerbated by the fact you will often only have the table for a 90 minute interval before the next poor souls come in off the street. The most bizarre thing of all, however, is the fact that you are not alone in this, because every other table in the house will be filled with other couples; long-standing affairs, awkward first encounters, some going well, and some visible falling apart before your eyes. You start to wonder who on earth would come to such a prescribed and inorganic idea of “romance” before remembering that you yourself are here, at which point the bottle of Chablis is already dwindling and you realise that this is hardly the time nor place for an existential crisis.

Don’t buy each other gifts

I’m deadly serious on this one. In this society the sky really is the limit when it comes to this shit. I’m not really talking about flowers because, let’s be honest, flowers are barely a gift. The level of joy they can bring someone is so vastly disproportionate to the level of inconvenience you go through in buying them that you should really be bringing them home on a weekly basis if you’re serious about each other and the funds permit it. I’m talking in about these people who buy expensive jewellery, unnecessary technology, or that anachronistic combination of both: the wristwatch. Has there ever been a less romantic gift than an iPad? People actually do it, I don’t know why but people go crazy and decide it’s a good idea for a present. Let me just say now that it’s worst possible idea for a present, it essentially screams “Hi honey, I bought you something so you won’t have to interact with my face anymore.” Technology gifts are crass and vulgar, do not make that mistake. Jewellery is not so bad, it can even make a very tasteful gift, however you have to be very careful choosing it because it’s blindingly obvious when you haven’t made the effort picking something that suits them. It really doesn’t matter how much money you spend, far more important is the time you spent looking for it. Better to turn up with nothing at all than an owl pendant from Argos.

Don’t do anything at all.

Honestly, every time you leave the house on Valentine’s Day it raises your chances of seeing someone else propose to unacceptable levels. Keep it in the kitchen. Cook a nice dinner for you both (an actual nice dinner, with napkins and all that), get 3 or 4 bottles of wine (start with the best, work your way down to the £2.99 bottle last), loudly commentate on whatever shite happens to be on the telly (realising in the process that you are both incredibly witty, which is super hot), put some music on incredibly loud, have an ironic dance, fall over, laugh, and finally fuck on the floor. Does it sound cheap? Yeah it sounds incredibly cheap, but you’ll get a lot further if you do something properly soppy and romantic for your anniversary; not only because you will have both clocked enough hours with each other to feel like you earned it, but because you won’t do it in the uncomfortable knowledge that every other couple in the world is simultaneously doing the same thing.

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