THE UNRELIABLE GUIDE TO SURVIVING VALENTINE’S DAYWho was Saint Valentine anyway? Google him and no one is quite sure if he even existed, but, somehow, celebrating him has become a multi-billion dollar industry promoting guilt and misery. There’s even a film about the whole awful nonsense – the 2009 release, ‘I Hate Valentine’s Day’.
Hate it we may, but surveys like finder.com.au suggest that we each spend an average of $119 on Valentine’s Day rubbish. I plan on spending $0, so that means some love-struck folk are forking out a lot more on overpriced roses and repackaged chocolates, whether they want to or not.
Valentine’s Day can be depressing if you’re single, but if you’re in a relationship it can be even worse. Many a happy couple has run aground trying to make the day ‘special’. If Valentine’s Day seems as romantic to you as a trip to the dentist, never fear: the Unreliable Guide is here to help…
1. The Mystery of the Unknown Sender – The problem with receiving a card or gift from an unknown sender is that you have no idea of the intention behind it. Is it a real declaration of love, or is it a piss-take? If it is real, is it from that special someone or is it from that total idiot in accounts? Worst of all, it might be from your mum, sent in case you didn’t get a Valentine’s gift from anyone else. The uncertainty of the unknown sender provokes more angst than anything – except not getting a gift at all, of course.
2. Be Happy About Receiving Nothing – Fact: it’s far better to receive nothing at all than something awful from someone you don’t like. What’s tough about being empty-handed is dealing with that competitive Valentine’s gift/card tally at your school or workplace. If you work in an office, you’ll know that on Valentine’s Day most of the ladies circle like wolves around any delivery of flowers. This level of competition and expectation can be very draining. I suggest that if you find yourself in such a situation, just cheat. Buy a generic, cheapo card and send it to yourself. When the office bitch sees it on your desk, say (nonchalantly), “Oh yes, I got one, but I’m not interested. It’s all commercial bullshit. I would have just thrown it away, but I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings…”
3. Don’t Get Ripped Off – Feelings of inadequacy often lead people to overspend – just look at all those tiny bald men driving around in fancy cars. Valentine’s Day is a pressure pot of emotion and retailers know that. Florists, chocolatiers and restaurants shamelessly hike their prices at this time. Don’t spend more than you can afford. Quality time and a simple gift presented with love should be enough. If it’s not, you’re probably giving that love to the wrong person.
4. The Valentine’s Day Break-up Effect – Relationship counsellors must rub their hands with glee when February comes around again. Valentine’s Day can bring about feelings of ‘do or die’, and ultimatums never help a relationship. She buys him a pink teddy bear with his name embroidered on it, he buys her nothing, and both suddenly realise that they are with completely the ‘wrong person’.
Finally, the Unreliable Guide suggests that if the above has put you off roses and chocolates forever, just make yourself an anti-Valentine’s Day safe space. Invite some like-minded friends, count your blessings and, if needs be, Google ‘Valentine’s Day Massacre’. I guarantee you will feel better.