Saturday, 11 February 2012

Be My Valentine

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that a certain prominent yet divisive date on the February calendar is coming up. Let me just pause here and give you the chance to roll your eyes at yet ANOTHER reference to Valentine's Day.

But love it, hate it, or couldn't care less, February 14 is upon us again. How could you fail to notice? The shops started turning red toward the end of January, cute little teddy bears with
'I love you' stitched on their tummies showed up along the aisles, and chocolate boxes tied with a flourish went on display. And, just in case you were blind to all that, conveniently placed placards on windows and door frames bore the words, Valentine's Day, February 14 so that there was simply no escaping this day which has become so commercialised that it brings out as many sappy romantics as it does cynics. 

And because I'm more of the former - hopelessly so, in fact - I took a little journey.

Ironically, it started with an innocent craving for chocolate. Thanks to ads in newspapers, sides of double decker buses and changing slides at bus stops informing me that KitKat had new chunky versions, I'd walked into a corner shop knowing exactly what I was going to buy to satisfy that craving. I got the white one, thank you for asking.

As the shopkeeper rang my purchase through the till, he commented on the popularity of chocolate in February, adding with a wink, 'it's probably given you a few memorable Valentine's Day celebrations...'

I winced a little. (That's the general reaction when people wink at me - and no, I can't explain why either.)

But it got me thinking...a memorable Valentine's Day...

I'll spare you a trip down my Mushy Lane and tell you instead of the mysterious February 14th years ago in school when, aged 12, I was flushed with excitement because I'd received a hand-written declaration of love from a 'Secret Admirer' who was so good at the secret thing...that I never found out who it was. Step aside Nancy Drew, I could have turned detective for all the analysis and investigations this particular note emitted, and boy did I get a good exercise merely from jumping to conclusions if any of the guys in the class lingered around me a tad longer than necessary. (Is it him, Lord?). In fact, I must give a special 'shaddout' to my besties at the time who were equally intrigued by the mystery.  

Those were the days when we were in the first flush of teenage hood. Who can forget being scandalised - and almost awed - by (sometimes exaggerated) stories of who-had-done-what-with-whom in some corner of the class/school on Valentine's Day? Or, how, for days after, previously 'quiet' characters in the class acquired new-found notoriety on account of their antics on Val's Day... 

Memorable? Oh yes.

Fresh from the conversation with the shopkeeper, I decided to have a love-in with friends and strangers. The question was simple: What is the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for you? 

I have been touched by people's stories of love found, got a little misty-eyed by those of love lost, and basked in the sheer pleasure of listening to a good story that warms the cockles of the heart. From chatting with friends to striking up a conversation with the middle aged woman in the poultry aisle of the supermarket, these are some of my favourite responses to the question:

- The most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me is...marry me. (Man)

- He still cooks for me. (Woman, old aged pensioner, married for yonks)

- My boyfriend and I play video games together. I know it's not the most romantic thing, but it's our time together yknow? (20-something woman, not Lana del Rey)

- Last week my other half bought our summer holiday tickets...and he wouldn't allow me to contribute a penny. (Excited friend) 

- Once when I was away in uni, she surprised me with a visit, and it was a very passionate one… (Man, late twenties, winking. I winced again) 

- My fiancé designed a ring for me that has a crossover of both our initials. I've worn it every day since. (Woman, soon-to-be-married)

- He runs a bath for me whenever I want one, and he plays with the baby while I soak away. (Woman, married mum of one)

-  My husband fills my hot water bottle for me every night without fail and places it at the foot of my side of the bed. He knows how cold my feet get during the night. (Woman, married 13 years)

I shall leave you with the words of Paul, the Apostle – ‘…and now these three things remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love,’ and those of musician D'Banj - don't get it twisted, love is a beautiful thing.

So celebrate it all day every day; love and togetherness. Why limit yourself to just February 14?

Just one more thing before you go: What's the most romantic thing you or someone has ever done? Warm our hearts by telling us in the comments below. You know...because we're sappy like that.


Andie said...

Davida, I know you'll totally understand why this comment I've just read in the ES mag made me think of you: 'An anonymous declaration of love is only one step up from having a stalker.';)

Nini said...

How apt! Hi Andie! And you know what they say about stalkers, D...

Davida said...

Absolutely! Er...what?

Anonymous said...

Lol. I think it's something along the lines of: you know you've 'arrived' if you have a stalker...right Nini?

Bex said...

Guys guys where's the sappy stories eh!?

Davida said...

Hahahaha Andie, I've just read the article you're referring to! I wonder if I should write to Natalie Haynes..or would that be too 'stalker-ish' :D

Bex: there IS that thing about leading by example..:-)

Andie said...

Touché. :)

Okay, thought about it, and i think this is my favorite: for weeks I used to run into this guy at the BL until we started chatting one day. It's safe to say not much work got done after He swears by the BL; claims it's the most romantic place in London. I like to think I have something to do with that? *embarrassed smile*

Now you've ALL got to be forthcoming with the stories!!

Bex said... Lead by example eh? Hehehe

I find it so lovely when I see an elderly couple holding hands. It's like the picture I have in my head whenever I hear 'growing old together'.

@Anide: did he ask you out?

Bex said...

Oops meant Andie..sorry

Davida said...

Andie come back and finish the story! I have such a silly grin on right now - 'intellectual' flirting at the British Library!

Rebekah 'Bex' B - I see what you've done there...sidestepped it by providing a neat distraction of elderly couples holding hands! Oh I'm on to you woman...

Etoile Oye said...

Lol. Dava. Are you saying the letter was the most romantic thing done for you ever? Hmmm... That has just too much salt in it to go down :P

Davida said...

Nooo! That letter was my mysterious Valentine of years ago, NOT the most romantic thing someone ever did for me..;)

KB said...

'...and boy did I get a good exercise merely from jumping to conclusions..' - lol.

I've been missing from the blog for a while. Off to check out posts I've missed.

Andie said...


This is so fun actually! @Bex we sort of fell into this habit of leaving the library together..the rest is history! ;)
Davida, love the idea of 'intellectual' flirting!