When Junket suggested we do a joint piece for Valentine’s Day I was immediately enthusiastic. When we started this blog we had in mind that we’d do lots of comparative, joint pieces. But since our handbag piece, we haven’t found the time or the topic. Until now. Well, so I thought. It was only later after I had signed up for this (again over a glass of champagne), that I realised I actually wouldn’t have a whole lot to say about a day that I tongue in cheek refer to as the ‘dreaded VD’. Yep, I pretty much think about Valentine’s Day the same way I do about ‘clap’. I’d rather not experience either. The latter for obvious reasons, but as for VD itself, well this is where it gets tricky – because heaven forbid I come across as a cynical, single, middle-aged woman. Oops! Too late.
Conversations about VD belong on my list of ‘things singles hate hearing‘. In the lead up to VD I feel as though I devolve in the eyes of some people and go from being a successful and confident single, working woman to being Bridget Jones. I’m still asked what my plans are but these questions are now dripping with sympathy, in expectation of a resounding ‘no’. Looking into my some people’s eyes I can literally see the film reel playing out – me with red wine in hand, sitting forlornly in my lounge room, a drunken mess, singing “all by myself,” off-key. A couple things – I never sing off-key and it would always be champagne.
The truth is though, I’ve never even received so much as a VD card… let alone a posy or a box of chocolates. (Am I truly alone in this and is this the real measure of success in the romance stakes?) In fact, I once dated a guy who would break up with me every year a few days before VD just to avoid having to recognise the day in any way. The only time I did receive something for VD was when I was a teenager and my mum put a block of chocolate at my door (think ‘Santa minus the stocking’), and then pretended not to know anything about it. As though some mysterious guy had broken into the house overnight and left it there. Hello, call the police already! But seriously, for all you mums out there thinking this sounds adorable – NEVER do this to your teenage daughter! While done with love, ultimately it was an utterly demoralising experience. In my teen angst it said “this is as good as it gets.” And then I ate the chocolate and it was ok again 😉
Once I got past my teens and my early twenties though… ok and then through that rough patch in my thirties where 40 was looming and I realised it was possible I was going to be single for the rest of my natural life, I was pretty much ok with letting VD slip by without participating. OK… and excluding those awkward moments when I forgot it was VD and found myself in a restaurant asking for a non-romantic candle lit table for one. (PS – in case this happens – Step one, snuff out the candle. Step two, order a bottle of champagne. Step three, drink.)
If I’m really honest though, what I dislike most about VD is that it’s a holiday built entirely on a myth – in which we pit the Romans against a Christian martyr or two, and then use the hook of our romantic inclinations and natural desire to love and be loved to sell products. Cynical? Well, you can’t say I didn’t forewarn you.
VD is also when people start to post really ‘helpful’ advice on how to ’embrace’ being single on Valentine’s Day. With spa treatments and buying yourself chocolate at the top of the list. Like that makes it different from any other day…
So here’s my VD survival kit:
- Put on a frock, some lippy and style your hair. You’re going out by staying in.
- Open a bottle of champagne. No, sparkling will not suffice. This isn’t an episode of ‘boganville’ – you need the real deal. Mumm, Veuve, Moet…
- Make some salty popcorn. Back away from the microwave – make it from scratch, because you deserve the best. (The Virgo in me thinks you might want to wear an apron to protect that frock.)
- Light the candles. Because who ever told you candles were for black-outs and romance only, don’t know nothin’ ’bout chillin’.
- Turn off your phone – there is nothing worse than friends texting to ask if you are ok. ‘Well I was until you asked me about it on VD and thereby inferred I wasn’t.’
- Get your tipsy on. That’s right – drink. That champagne ain’t gonna drink itself, girl.
- Put on a DVD – not a romance – think more Patrick Jane and his mischievous ways in the Mentalist. Nom nom nom…
- Then get online and order your cat lady starter kit. Sure you’re doing it tongue in cheek, but also it’s the only way to order kittens in bulk and, seriously, tomorrow when it arrives you will have forgotten all about it and be pleasantly surprised when you find a box of the cutest kittens ever waiting on your doorstep. You might also consider ordering some shoes, a handbag, some more champagne, some chocolate and an antique you never knew you needed. But regardless, definitely get the kittens. Because no matter what anyone tells you, owning a cat does not predetermine your fate. Just like being single on Valentine’s Day.