Me and Valentines Day? It’s complicated….


Valentine’s Day can trigger emotions in all of us. Whether it’s passion at its turgid height, expectations that could never be met, loneliness, or unbridled anger, February 14th is never a neutral day.

My relationship with Valentine’s Day is, well, “it’s complicated”. Actually it’s not that complicated – I hate it, unless I get something, then I’m right back on board.

To the many Gladstone News readers who sent in their messages of love because they are planning the perfect Valentine’s Day with the person of her dreams- Congratulations.

But if you’re single, have just endured a recent break-up with your honey, or your significant other just doesn’t really care about Valentine’s Day, you may have to come to terms with some disappointment or the commercialisation of romance on this day, with the only real upside being half price chocolate on February 15.

Even for the lucky in love, it’s hard to deal with all those expectations: wait-staff have told me that Valentine’s Day is the worst day of the year to work in a restaurant. Everything has to be perfect, the pressure is on, and the restaurant is full of intense, hold-handing lovers, not jolly groups with set-menus.

How can you deal with all the baggage that comes with this one date? You could always make up your own holiday such as “Galentine’s Day” which was created by Parks and Rec‘s Lesley Knope as a way to have quality ladies time on February 13th or you could make it into a “Treat Yo’Self” Day where you buy yourself something nice. Like a rib-fillet.

Even better would be something like “I love the world” day where you share the love with your greater community – you could pick up some rubbish, buy a coffee for someone who needs it or give a stranger a compliment just because you feel like making them smile.

Marking the occasion is not compulsory – my own sister’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day, so it’s dinner, flowers, presents and multiple cards every year for her. I usually buy her a cheesy Valentine instead of a birthday card. It’s also the anniversary of the introduction of decimal currency in Australia on V-Day so you could always celebrate that.

Or throw a party in defiance of the traditional Valentine’s activities. You don’t have to have a romantic dinner for two to have fun on February 14th. You could also have a fondue party with the girls from book-group. Or you can ignore it altogether – retreat into the womb-like embrace of your recliner and watch a bit of Criminal Minds and think about when first-dates go wrong….

If you are fortunate enough to be staring into your beloved’s eyes on February 14 over a delicious prawn cocktail and a glass of Sauv blanc then you’ve probably aced the gift-buying minefield. I used to be a big fan of making mixtapes, then mix CDs and I would like to offer a bit of wisdom for the younger players here: if someone makes you a mixtape (I suppose it’s a playlist these days) THEY HAVE A MASSIVE CRUSH ON YOU.

Remember every sweetie is different and it really is the thought that counts. In my time, I have received two truly memorable Valentine’s Day gifts – the first was a gourmet hamper. That’s not memorable, I hear you say, but what made it memorable was that it had been custom made for me: it contained four tins of sardines, 2 kilos of Lavazza coffee beans, large quantities of Burger Rings, a plush octopus, the film “Rubber” (about a killer tyre) on DVD and two weeks rent in an envelope.

The other memorable gift was a bicycle. “Because you can’t ride a dozen roses to work every morning.”

The gentleman in question is long gone, but the bike is still going strong. Happy Valentines Day everyone – here at Gladstone News, we love youse all.