So…it’s started. The loving Valentine’s Day posts countered by the afterthought, last minute frantic rush to the shops to buy overpriced chocolates and flowers. The stalwart anti Valentine’s Day brigade have started their counter love rant. Some are single. Some are not. But either way… I feel the day has suddenly become more complicated. And who needs that?
I haven’t traditionally had much luck on Valentine’s Day… despite being in relationships for most of them.
I have been the recipient of all the cliched gifts. The soft toys holding hearts saying ‘I love you’… purchased at a service station when a mate reminded my then boyfriend he should get me ‘something’. I’ve received chocolates containing nuts… when I have a nut allergy. I’ve had the night out to an overpriced dinner on the day itself… which meant the boyfriend then couldn’t pay his share of the rent for the fortnight. And I’ve received ‘genuine gold’ jewellery, which ended up giving me a green stain around my neck and a horrific rash.
Being in a relationship does not guarantee a good Valentine’s Day. Ever. And when I look back at some of my best Valentine’s Days, they were notably without men.
When we were at school one of my friends would make cards for all the girls within our group who were single. The cards were so lovely, with a dry wit and yet personalised, that all of us who were IN relationships requested them. More care and thought had gone into these cards than what we had/had not received from our boyfriends.
Then there was the Valentine’s Day when with three of my school friends we went to Phillip Island and stayed in an old caravan. It was hot, we had no air conditioning and only two bottles of ‘champagne’ between us. We had no idea how to cook so we walked to the pub, and all looked so awkward we were asked for id (one of us still had a month to go damn it…). The next morning we checked our names in the paper to see if anyone had dedicated a Valentine’s Day message to us… and my friends with slightly more popular names than mine could claim a laughing victory. I still have the photos of us running along on the pristine beach, one of us even doing cartwheels. We were young and free, about to start Uni and had our whole lives ahead of us.
Another Valentine’s Day was somewhat more sombre… but, I’m slightly sheepish to say, was still fun. One of my dear friends asked if she could come over with wine… and apologised that it was Valentine’s Day. Together we sat on my balcony drinking wine – at the very house where she was at my side when I bid at auction two years earlier. And on that balcony, which we termed ‘the Sav Blanc balcony’, she told me her marriage was coming to an end, that she no longer loved her husband and was going to leave. Trust me, the irony of the timing wasn’t lost on either of us. And we laughed about it. Cried about it. And I kept her secret until she was ready.
That’s what my good Valentine’s days were… times spent with my best friends. And they are all still my best friends.
So when my husband asked me what did I want, the answer was easy. Time with my best friend. Him.
Just the gift of Time… that most priceless of gifts… and some decent champagne and cheese of course. Time with the man I love, creating memories. Because for me love, in all its forms, should be that simple and pure, whether you spend it with your partner or with dear friends.
So Happy Valentine’s Day to my darling husband and to all my friends-both old and new.