I’m a bit meh about Valentine’s Day. It’s all very nice and that but – maybe a bit like I find the ‘in your face’ sexiness of Fifty Shades oh-so-unsexy, I’m less than excited about the slightly embarrassing obviousness of it.
That said I have had some truly memorable Valentine’s encounters. There were, of course, many years of telling childish fibs about stacks of cards that had never actually arrived. In my late teens I had the Dawson’s Creek style overly-elaborate, rose-filled Valentine’s that only a (well-intentioned) teenage boyfriend could have thought was a great idea. In my twenties I traveled with a female colleague on Valentine’s night, arriving ahead of an early morning meeting, to find ourselves ensconced in a hotel in small-town Donegal. We sat at a table for two in the hotel restaurant amidst a room full of rose-mantic couples, our names inscribed in a day-glo pink love heart, making small talk, drinking lots of wine and getting lots of half-smiles of curiosity. We may have been the talk of the town.
After fifteen years, and fifteen Valentine’s, with my husband, we’ve happily past the phase where we think we have to do Valentine’s extravaganzas. The rules are simple: a little pressie, a handmade card and no forced gestures. On any day you are highly unlikely to read an overly elaborate post here about the absolute deliciousness of the man, and today will be no different. It would be pointless – he’s a social media pariah – and let’s be honest most of those posts are written for the nauseous benefit of telling everyone else something the man himself should hear. I tell him every day as exhausted heads hit welcoming pillows; as one of us stops the other from losing their shit; as life throws curve balls our way. We’re good on that score.
So tonight, after a pleasant if unremarkable day, when the lunches are made, the kitchen is tidied and the dryer is emptied, we’ll collapse onto the couch, wine and Toblerone in hand. The teeny tiny Netflix remote will be fished out of the back of the couch and – in lieu of a dinner out or a pint enjoyed amidst a pub filled with lovers, telly will be watched. Schmoltzy romantic drama won’t be on the menu. It might be a new favourite we’ve seen a few times and loved – like About Time – one of those gems of a British movie, with a soundtrack to match, which is the new Love Actually. I’m partial to action and drama with an extra layer of crush provided by a beautiful boy and a beautifully written love-story (as perfectly captured in Season 1 of Peaky Blinders) so I’m towards starting Parade’s End (which I am only assuming has romantic undertones due to the presence of the delicious Benedict Cumberbatch); having last month let himself dictate the choice of the very compelling Making a Murderer. If I was on my own and handing the controls over to my inner teenager, it would be anything starring Cary Grant, an old school gem like Pretty in Pink, Romeo and Juliet or a crush-inducing classic like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but my inner teen will have to wait for another opportunity.
Then comes the magic – the bit I’ve been really looking forward to. Bedtime. Not to let this most romantic of days slip by without a bit of passion, I’ve introduced some heat into our marriage and our draughty house. Please meet my Valentine’s pressie. I am truly excited.
As a member of the Netflix Stream Team I have been given, free of charge, an Apple TV and year-long subscription to the Netflix streaming service, for the purposes of monthly Netflix updates. At all times the opinions given will be independent and my own.