TODAY is Valentine’s Day - the annual celebration of romance and love where, if tradition is to be believed, people expect to be wooed and treated to chocolates, champagne and dinner for two...
But here at the Sheffield Telegraph we decided to find out for ourselves whether the usual myths were true - so asked a selection of willing volunteers what their most romantic gesture has been.
Karen Thompson, from Moss Valley Fine Meats, said Valentine’s Day is not a major event for her or her husband Stephen - but that this may be about to change.
“Before we got married, I used to receive huge, boxed cards with padded hearts and sentimental verses. Now it is 25 years later and he couldn’t give a stuff - cards, if I’m lucky, are now small and from the Tesco Value range. Flowers arrive a day late, bought from the petrol station, half price and half dead.
“But my husband has just whispered to me that he has a table booked for two at The Showroom Restaurant in Sheffield, so perhaps romance is not quite dead after all.”
Niki Baker, head of Eat Sheffield, said: “Romance doesn’t need to be all hearts and flowers and definitely not to be reserved for just one day of the year!
“It’s not about the grand gestures either but the everyday thoughtful ones. Simple gestures that bring an unexpected smile to your face in the middle of an otherwise normal day are ones that I treasure.”
Meanwhile Jamie Strachan, corporate fundraiser at the Sheffield Hospitals Charity, said: “When I first met my wife we didn’t have a lot of spare money. I wanted her to know that I appreciated her, but I simply couldn’t afford to spend lavish amounts of money on gifts.
“I needed to think of something that demonstrated to her how much she meant to me without any ridiculous expense. I cooked a nice meal for her and instead of dessert, presented her with an old-fashioned glass jar filled with her favourite sweets. I’d taken the time to wrap each sweet individually and I’d written down on each wrapper one thing I loved about her. It won me lots of brownie points!”
Sheffield councillor Ben Curran said his most romantic gesture was proposing to his wife Clare beside Niagara Falls.
“We found a nice patch of grass that Clare and I sat on whilst we enjoyed the view. It was incredibly romantic,” he said.
“We sat there for a little while before Clare suggested that we move on. ‘Ok, but I’ve got something to ask you first,’ I replied. And then I got on one knee and asked her to marry me. Looking back six years and two children later, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.”
Wedding planner Lisa Burton said: “My most romantic date was when my husband whisked me off on a surprise date one summer’s evening.
“We drove into Derbyshire and arrived at a field in the middle of nowhere. He handed over our tickets to a guide and we were shown to our parking spot, where there were also other cars parked up in rows. They were showing our favourite film, Moulin Rouge, on an outdoor screen. Just as the film started he presented me with a bottle of our favourite champagne. It was simply a perfect evening.”
Finally Sandra Pilarczyk, personal development director at youth organisation JCI, said: “For our first anniversary, we went island-hopping in Greece. On the night of the anniversary we went to a tiny restaurant, overlooking a harbour, watching the sunset.
“We went back to the campsite and my husband walked to a tent like ours and said ‘Can you believe this - somebody’s put a tent right opposite to ours!’
“Realising this wasn’t our tent, I started laughing out loud, and stumbled over a small wall with metal poles sticking out. I couldn’t stop laughing, and only when I saw the look of horror in my husband’s face did I realise my knee was badly bleeding. And in that moment I knew that I had a husband who would always take care of my wounds. Eleven years later, I still have the scar to prove it and a husband who’s always there for me.”