Day One-Hundred-and-Seven: I’ve made my peace with Valentines Day

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Nothing says romance like a teddy riding a Hummer

My drive to the spice shop today (because you know, nothing says ‘I love you’ like chilli) took me past a florist. It was the usual thing. Nobody really notices there’s a florist there until it’s Valentines Day. Then you can’t get at that place for love or money (or love and money, as it were). And these guys were theming it hard. Apart from the fantastic signage pictured above, they had red streamers hanging from the awnings, teddy bears in the window, balloons-a-plenty, and a big sign reminding everyone who hadn’t yet realised that it is ‘Valentines Day! Roses $40208325805 a dozen!’

Ok, so maybe the roses weren’t that expensive, but when you can use hyperbole if not on V-Day? I love you so much I wanna punch a kitten in the face!

It’s one of those occasions where ordinarily-carefree men scramble in desperation to find a gift that says, “I love you. Like, more than usual. But this ain’t no birthday/anniversary”, and ordinarily-tough women turn to mush over a pink stuffed animal.

Yeah, I’ve always had a problem with Valentines Day.

When I was sixteen, I formed a club with one of my best friends. We called it ‘Fuck Love’. Pretty succinct. It had its own Myspace and everything. I don’t think either of us had really given up on the idea of love, but we were the two singletons in our group of four, and it made days like V-Day a bit more bearable. We’d listen to our friends describe their (what I realise now were totally juvenile, high-school) relationships and roll our eyes at each other over the table. “Fuck love,” we’d chant when the stories got too much.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the idea of celebrating love. I love love. It’s the best. Now that I’m in it, I can’t imagine life without it (lame lame lame). It’s just the expectations and pressure that this one day seems to put on people.

It’s a make-or-break day for relationships new and old. First V-Day together? Be afraid. You wanna get this right. But not go so far that your partner expects similar or grander things every year. Don’t use the diamond ring card, for example, unless you have a shit-ton of money and your girl/guy doesn’t feel that bending her/his fingers is particularly necessary (if you’re really that rich, it probably isn’t).

Those in longer-term partnerships might be starting to get into the comfortable stage (which I don’t subscribe to really – yes, I’m comfortable, but I also still want to jump your bones), and will see V-Day as some kind of chance to reinvigorate their passion. Or something. Either you both forget (we did until yesterday), one of you goes to more effort than the other, or the pressure to be romantic is so great you give yourself stomach ulcers.

There’s another option, of course: Use the day as a reminder to do romantic things, catch up with friends/family, and just appreciate your relationships a little more. Don’t put your partner in the doghouse if they don’t tell you they love you on Valentines Day; put them there if they don’t tell you every day. If you want to take your partner out to dinner, and send roses to them at work, that’s also fine. But do it because you want to, not because you have to. Put some thought into what little thing will say, “Hey, you there! I love you.”

For me, the little thing will be having a special meal ready for my boyfriend when he gets home from work (hence the trip to the spice shop). It’s picking up some things we need and grabbing a treat to share with him later. It’s spending time chatting and giggling and kissing. (Not to gross you out, but we’re that kissing couple. One of my friends timed us once, and said in a social situation it was roughly every thirty seconds that our faces drifted towards one another.)

So, to the guy I saw walking out of the florist carrying a bunch of roses and a look of sheer panic, chill out dude. Give her the roses, tell her you love her, and then bust out that copy of season four of Game of Thrones that you somehow managed to illegally obtain and had to kill, like, six armed guards to get (hint hint).

 

All my love,

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TB

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Day Seventeen: Say no to TV snobbery

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You do not watch our programme?! Prepare to die!

 

I knew my weekend was far too laid-back…

So, Saturday’s blog is a cheat. This is a piece I wrote for mX (published on Tuesday 24/09/13):

 

What I’m about to say will either make you shrug nonchalantly or spit your soy latte all over this page: I don’t watch Game of Thrones. If you are in the latter camp, I usually feel like I have to apologise, or, at the very least, shrug and shuffle my feet like a child caught in a lie. I find myself constantly the victim of TV Snobbery. It’s a state of mind adopted by those who believe they have stumbled upon (after they’ve no doubt been told about it by friends/Facebook/Oprah) the greatest television series in human history.  It started in high school, when everyone, like, ever was watching The OC. Entire conversations were shut down because I couldn’t say who was prettier out of Marissa and Summer, or whether I preferred Seth’s witty charm to Ryan’s smouldering bad boy-ness. (For the record, I’m a Seth girl.)

“You DON’T watch The OC?” friends gasped in mock (actually, quite possibly real) horror. “What do you even do with your life?”
Clearly, nothing worth discussing. At that age, I tended to eat dinner, do some homework (you know, that thing we’re supposed to do?), and, most shockingly, engage in face-to-face conversations with members of my family. Or watch obscure British dramas on the ABC. Eventually I caved, vetoed my totally embarrassing 9pm bedtime, and endured three seasons before screaming for mercy (thank god the fourth season was a stinker).

Again and again, the TV Snobs have caught me out. I never saw True Blood, didn’t catch Breaking Bad, and I can’t tell you what happens in The Walking Dead beyond the first episode (something about zombies). The fact that well-meaning friends feel alternately sorry for and angry at me is really their problem. I’m more than open to checking out an episode or two in the fourteen seconds of free time I have each day if they want to lend me the season, but not if it’s offered in a way akin to “let me get you some shoes, you poor thing”. I’m sure the show is fantastic, but I am not a third-world TV orphan, begging for DVDs on street corners.
“But you HAVE to watch it; it’s the best thing since sliced bread/the light bulb/multiple orgasms.”

All I can say is that this too shall pass. The all-important series finale will air, I’ll avoid Facebook for roughly three days until the furore dies down and the cries of “Spoiler Alert!” begin to fade. Those of us with uncool TV habits will be left to our own (deeply lame) devices. Hell, maybe we can even have conversations about, like, world news or something! Or catch up on Neighbours. What? You don’t watch Neighbours? What do you even do with your life?

My biggest problem remains that my TV viewing is based largely around what my mother is watching at the time. If Midsomer Murders or every season of Law and Order ever become cult classics, I will laugh it up Joffrey-style (am I saying that right?) from my Snob throne.

I’ve decided that the best defence against TV Snobs is to praise them for supporting the arts, and ask where they bought the box-set. If they do the old shrug and shuffle, they very likely downloaded all four seasons via torrent. Check and mate.

 

 

(Also, yes, I am aware that since I’m now reading Game of Thrones, it will logically lead to my watching the series… but I’m OK with it because by then it will be so old it’ll be uncool, right?)

 

TB