Valentine’s Day’s shifting wish-list

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It’s looming.

Valentine’s Day... A day meant to be all about love. A day which is all too often a let-down.

Unromantic Valentine’s dates I have known include dinner with a very handsome, very sweet bloke from the office everyone was amazed was still single.

I soon found out why. As we sat down he leaned forward to whisper in my ear. Sweet nothings? Nah; “Which knife and fork do I use and will you choose the wine?”

When the menu arrived he announced he didn’t like foreign food. But the real clincher came when he added: “I don’t do green, either.” Neither do I; lovely though he was, I couldn’t see myself wedding a big baby who blanched at the mere sight of broccoli.

I’ve also had some rubbish Valentine’s day presents. Like a pair of socks. In a brown paper bag. Bought from The Sock Shop in Kings Cross before that particular boyfriend boarded the train back north to me. Worse still, they were men’s.

Now, that would probably have been OK had we been married; I might have seen the thoughtful intent (then again, maybe not).

Only, we were courting, and in those early days, you yearn for an extravagant show of affection. A bouquet of flowers (delivered to the office so everyone can see what a romantic you’ve hooked); a posh restaurant dinner (with vegetables), luxury lingerie, maybe a bit of jewellery. The ultimate Valentine gift of the unwed? The mini break. A surprise weekend away he’s organised all by himself.

This wish-list is all about your own insecurities; the more lavish the gift, the more he’s proving his commitment to you. Once you’re an item, your needs and your values change.

What does he think he’s doing, spending all that money when the gas bill’s due? How can you possibly zip off to some swanky hotel when you’re saving up to take the kids glamping?

He’s not just spending HIS money; you’re co-funding that lavish present to yourself.

We coupled-ups still want to be romanced, mind. But in a far subtler (not to mention cheaper) way. That old saying about it being the thought that counts? Never truer.

We still love flowers, but a hand-tied bunch of snowdrops from the garden trounce costly calla lilies. Rather than booking a restaurant, we like having our favourite tea cooked. And when we say we want to go to bed afterwards, it’s in our flannelette pyjamas, not chaffing, chilly lacy stuff... Because it’s FEBRUARY.

Course, if he really wants to do thoughtful, he could put up those shelves in the spare bedroom that he said he’d do two months ago (hint). You might even shed the ’jama bottoms in return.

It goes without saying, though, that we need to put just as much care and thought into his Valentine’s Day.

So guess what I’ve got for Bloke? A date with a model. Honestly. He’ll be entertained for hours.

I can’t say any more for fear of spoiling his surprise. I’ll tweet you a photo on Thursday night!