As I am sure you all know, yesterday was Valentine’s Day. A day marked out around the world to celebrate love and romance. It can involve simple gestures, from a kiss or back-rub, to spending a month’s salary on a weekend break to Paris. In fact it was the French who started the tradition of sending cards and they still see February 14th as the best day for a marriage proposal.
If you are in Italy, the strength of your love can be measured by the size of the box of chocolates you exchange with your loved one, but it is us Brits who favour the anonymity of the secret admirer when sending cards to the object of our affection.
Not everyone is a fan of course and if the mere mention of Valentine’s Day, or the commerciality it attracts, makes you feel anything but loved-up, then perhaps a move to Saudi Arabia, where Valentine’s Day is banned all together, could be on the cards? In fact, as the day after Christmas Day has its own special name, then perhaps the day after Valentine’s Day, for many of us, could be called ‘Air of Disappointment Day’?
If your Valentine’s Day this year was empty of any of the grand gestures we wrote about on Wednesday and was more about last-minute flowers from the all night garage, it might not be all bad. Even if your candle-lit dinner for two ended up as a fish-finger butty in front of Corrie, by the dim light of the low-energy bulb that takes a week to warm up, all may not be lost.
Okay, so we’re all about the romance here, being writers in that genre, but today we’re asking the really big question, which perhaps has a lot less to do with romance than you might imagine, – what is love, anyway?
I challenged my fellow Write Romantics to come up with their definitions of love for this most romantic of weeks. It inspired a badly-drawn cartoon on my part, as homage to both my lovely Write Romantic friends and the old Love Is cartoons from my youth. If you look at the WR’s responses at the end of this post, I think you’ll agree that love manifests itself in many forms and most of them have very little to do with setting aside the 14th day of February to write it high.
For me, love is about putting someone else’s needs at least as highly as, if not above, your own. Taking that definition, I could see a hundred acts of love going on yesterday, without even trying. Here are just three:
- People putting themselves out for total strangers during the floods – from helping with the rescue operations, to pumping out the flood waters and even offering a roof and a warm bed.
- A living organ donor, waiting in pre-op, to give a life changing new start to another stranger, matched only by tissue type, for entirely altruistic reasons
- The twin who gave up her place on the US Winter Olympics team, to let her sister compete in the 15k individual race on Valentine’s Day, as only one of them could.
Life may not be made up of romantic gestures, but whatever Valentine’s Day brought you, in the words of my favourite Rom-Com writer, Richard Curtis, I think you’ll find that love actually is all around.
There are a million ways to celebrate love and three hundred and sixty four days a year on which to do it. So, even if you don’t have a reason to celebrate romance this year, be it on February 14th or some other day that’s special to just the two of you, then take a leaf out of the Estonians’ book and rename it ‘Friends Day’ next time around.
Happy Air of Disappointment day everyone. Count your blessings and don’t book that plane ticket to Saudi Arabia just yet. At least not until you’ve checked out The Write Romantics definitions of love below!
Love is… cleaning my car inside and out, waxing and polishing it when I’m in the hospital because he can’t find the words to tell me how worried he is.
Love is… when he scratches your back then doesn’t expect his scratched in return
Love is… when he lets you put your cold feet on his warm legs in bed
Love is… when he doesn’t moan that you spend most evenings apart because he knows how important it is to you to spend your evenings writing
Love is… letting him read the kindle with your favourite book on it.
Love is… buying him a book you know he won’t be able to put down all weekend, because it was written by one of The Write Romantics
Love is… a husband who brings you coffee and the last creme egg from the box
Love is… never having to say you’re sorry!
Love is… him googling for the cutest cat pictures and leaving them on the screen for me to find.
Love is… like superglue – no matter what happens, what storms come your way, you always stick together.