I’m the kind of person that isn’t really sure about romance. I don’t quite buy into the soppy declarations of love, the nauseating social media posts or the heavy-handed commercialised message that gets thrust down our throats as the 14th of February comes hurtling round again.
I saw a heart-shaped punnet of strawberries in a supermarket yesterday, almost double the price of its modest, cuboid counterpart. And for what? The inconvenience of having to ram it into your fridge, beside the discount rump steaks (complete with pink peppercorn butter lovingly moulded into another heart shape, of course) and atop the overpriced dessert pots you wouldn’t have looked at twice had all the lurid pink and red signs surrounding you not gotten into your head.
But overt cynicism aside, I think we all know that Valentine’s day is a bit of a rubbish holiday. The thing is, I don’t think we mind. We recognise that we’re being sold naff novelty trash in the name of romance, and we just kind of accept it.
But for me, romance isn’t a tacky card or a Pandora charm bracelet (mainly because I’m not a spoilt 14 year old girl); it’s the small things you do that make someone else feel better, just because. I think true romance exists in the spaces between our actions, the moments where we unconsciously make a decision to make one another feel happy, loved, or just a bit more comfortable. It’s taking the bins out when it’s not your turn, making a cup of tea that wasn’t requested, remembering to buy the soap that they like.
Sure, flowers and presents are great, and I do understand the appeal of having designated days that remind you to make your loved one feel… loved, but I just think that I’d rather my boyfriend did the washing up for me instead.
However, as with everything in my life, Valentine’s Day kind of revolves around food. Whether it’s an excuse to try a cute set menu at a restaurant or a reason to make an indulgent meal at home, mid-February becomes a time for loosening the belt a little as I dance on the grave of my long-forgotten new year’s fitness plans.
Some people think that steak is the way to go for a properly romantic dinner, some swear by the aphrodisiac properties of oysters, the sparkle of champagne or the decadence of chocolate covered strawberries, but not me.
Nothing sounds more perfect to me than a plateful of rich, tender duck with a glorious layer of fat, seasoned and pan-seared to perfection in a sticky, spiced glaze. So tomorrow I’m planning to sit across the table from bae, eat some great food and then make him do the washing up.
That’s what Valentine’s Day is all about, right?