This Valentine’s Day, like many others before it, I find myself unattached. But will you see me snotty nosed reaching for the ice cream, bottle-o-voddie and duvet a la Bridget Jones? Not a chance sunshine. Instead you’ll find me wearing my singleton status like a badge of honour and cracking on with my day as per. Yes L.O.V.E may very well be in the air but it’s also on my telebox, clogging up my electronic mail, plastered in store fronts and whizzing past me on the bloody sides of buses. ‘Sir if you care you’ll buy this limited edition diamond necklace’. ‘Madam if you love him then you simply must kit yourself out in this tacky overpriced lingerie’.
And that, my dear friends, is what REALLY grinds my gears about Valentine’s Day. Not because I am a tight-arse you understand, although being sans fella has funded my trip to Switzerland this weekend. Nor am I a bitter and twisted old spinster, I am very much aware that I have still got ‘it’ thank you (and by ‘it’ I do not mean the clap). It’s because most folk operate with the misapprehension that the amount of money spent equates to the amount that they are loved. Yet I am under no such illusion. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that it’s all a load of old tosh. Balderdash. Poppycock. Here are four people shaped reasons why…
Mummy and Daddy Mahon have been married for almost veintiseis years. That’s 26 for those who don’t speaka the Spanish. They met at age 18 and nearing the not so tender age of 50 Ma & Pa are just as sickeningly in love as ever. I don’t mean in the gazing adoringly into each others eyes and using vom-worthy terms of endearment such as snugglebum kind of way. None of that ta muchly. I mean in the ‘being best friends’ kind of way.The ‘it’s the little things that count’ kind of way. The proper ‘love job’ kind of way.
Like clockwork Dad will get up from the sofa and flick on le kettle. He’ll pop two teabags and two sugar lumps into a mug and allow it to stew before bringing the steaming cuppa over to Mum who is tirelessly filling out classroom reports. This is a ritual he will repeat several times each and every day. Not because she has asked him to, but simply because he loves her. I’ve lost count of the amount of nights I’ve fallen through the door in the wee hours to find my parental unit still awake, largers in hand, singing along to TOTP2 or pissing themselves laughing at Cheaters. Even after a quarter of a century my parents still enjoy spending time together. Not because there is a band of gold on the fourth finger of their left hands, but simply because they love each other. And so this Valentine’s Day like every other Valentine’s Day I know that Parge will tell Marge not to get him anything, that it’s a rip off, not to worry. And I also know that hidden somewhere within her wardrobe will be a comedy gift and a king-sized bar of Bournville. Not just because it’s Valentine’s Day, but simply because she loves him.
My parents aren’t the only ones to have formed my ideals and expectations when it comes to matters of the heart. My Grandparents were also incredible role models in all this funny luuuuuurve business. Nan was known by her friends as ‘The Lady’ (which basically meant she was right stuck up at times) and Grandad, well, he was what they call trouble. The first time my Grandaddy laid eyes on my Nan he declared “I’ll marry you one day” to which she replied “over my dead body”. Charming eh? Three years and two engagement rings later my Grandad finally made an honest woman of Chrissie Boyle and the unlikely pair went on to be together for a total of 52 years. FIFTY TWO RUDDY YEARS. Of course, like every other couple in the world they would bicker over random little things. The volume of the TV, the date that Elvis died and whether the curtains were wine, maroon or burgundy in colour. Nevertheless the minute my Nan would strop off out of the room my Grandad would always, without fail, turn to us and say “I’d be lost without her”.
Although they loved one another more than any two people I have ever known I cannot for the life of me remember my Grandparents celebrating Valentine’s Day. They didn’t believe need to. Instead of exchanging ridiculously pricey gifts once a year they chose to spend a lifetime sharing the things that money cannot buy. The all-knowing looks, the unlimited patience, the ‘in-jokes’, three children, a lifetime of cherished memories and the love of a good brew. After all aren’t those the greatest of romantic gestures?
Shortly before I lost my dear Nan (she passed away, I didn’t leave her in Primark or anything) we had a big old heart-to-heart. Whilst I sat painting her nails we chatted at great length about ‘life’. Nantold me all about her and Grandad’s courtship and even offered some words of wisdom regarding the state of my own love life. Or should I say the lack of one. “You know what your problem is Lauren?” she said, “you’re looking for a man as good as your Father, give up because you won’t fecking find one”. CheersNan.
So excuse me if I don’t spend today all down in the dumps because somebody hasn’t declared their undying love via an overpriced meal for two and a day trip to gay Paris. Fortunately I am safe in the knowledge that true love lasts a lifetime and not just once a year for 24 hours on the 14th of Feb. True love laughs in the face of your expensive jewellery, shoos away your bunches of flowers and flips the bird at those luxury chocs. Don’t get me wrong I do LOVE love. The butterflies. The electricity. The comfort. The content. And let’s face it being spoiled rotten by the boy in your life is always a wonderful treat. However, if I am lucky enough that a man even half as decent, half as kind, half as generous and half as loving as my Father finds me then I’m sure a DVD and snuggle on the sofa will more than suffice.
Until then peeps I’m going to love myself the only way I know how. By indulging in friends, footwear and food. *devours heart-shaped cookie*
BY LAUREN MAHON
EDITOR OF THE GIRL WHO STOLE LONDON
– A SMALL SOUL IN THE BIG SMOKE –