Regardless of what I may say, I DO want a card

13 February 2014

I'm going to blame the rise and rise of social media, but the celebration (or not) of Valentine's Day seems to...

...become a bigger story each and every year. It's become the Marmite of holidays, with people being firmly against it or completely obsessed with it. Like with any divisive subject these days, there seems to be no sane middle ground.

Valentine's Day was so exciting when I was young, mainly because the idea of sending an anonymous card to flirt with someone was such an adventurous idea. Of course, we're now massively spoilt by faceless flirting - we Whatsapp, FB, Tinder and DM the guys and gals we fancy every day of the week - so to send a card has much less novelty value.

I remember Valentine's cards being sent around the classrooms when I was in primary school and the whole thing being terribly exciting. As we all got older this became single red roses poked in lockers - half of which were probably sent as pranks to wind someone up - but still, endlessly entertaining. The canteen would serve something horrible in the shape of a heart (Cupid style mashed potato, anyone?) and somebody would, inevitably, have their first 'kiss with tongues' and it would be the BIGGEST NEWS EVER.

Once we all got to uni V-Day became less romantic and more an evening of guaranteed hook-ups at the Union, but it would always be amusing even if just for the sheer tragedy of it all.

I would always receive a card from 'someone' every year, 'someone' whose handwriting just happened to be the exact same as my Mother's. As I got older and entered into 'grown-up relationships' I stopped getting cards from a nicely rounded question mark and started getting cards from - wait for it - my cat. (Via my Mother yet again, if that's not obvious by the fact that cats can't hold pens).

But last year only my younger sister was 'wooed' by the cat. Clearly my Mother had decided that 25 was the appropriate cut off age for cards from parents (completely understandable) AND the fact that I was living with someone I was in love with meant that she probably felt she shouldn't still have to bother going to Paperchase when my real life boyfriend was perfectly capable.

So imagine my surprise in August last year when I received a mangled envelope through the post and opened it to find a Valentine's card. A Valentine's card from my cat. My cat who was now dead.

It turned out my 'clever cat' had gotten my address wrong and the card had been turning up at various doorsteps for six months before the Royal Mail finally found it's rightful destination. In that six months my cat had died rather tragically, so I was left with a slightly ripped card from beyond the grave. It was all a bit creepy and, being August, none of the shops had heart shaped chocolates on sale to comfort me. I think I had to make do with a Solero.

I'm intrigued to see if I receive a card from my mystery admirer (mum/replacement cat) tomorrow, but I'll definitely hope for something from my fiancé. I'm not saying I'm expecting 32 red roses or to be whisked away, but some sort of token of appreciation would be nice...a card, a massage, a Twix.

We're not going out for Valentine's and we're not doing 'presents', but I don't believe that any girl wouldn't be pleased to receive a card or a flower from someone they love. People who moan about 'wasting money' seem to forget that you can buy a card for £2. And you can bloody well make a card!

I don't need a dedicated 'day' to feel loved (the naysayers' main argument), but sending and receiving cards is harmless, cheap fun. I can totally understand why people get mardy about spending a lot of cash for no real reason, but something as simple as celebrating love shouldn't really cause so much angst. It doesn't have to be sexy love either, why not give a card to a best friend or a relative? You can love someone and appreciate them in your life without needing to shag them.

A small token of love will always be appreciated, just don't get sucked into the competitive 'flower deliveries to the office' hurricane of one-upmanship. That's a very expensive game.

Poppy Dinsey Late Night London

Poppy Dinsey