Living the Valentine’s dream

By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]

It’s all Barbie’s fault. Well, I am pinning the blame on Barbie but really some blame can be laid at the door of all those Rom-Com films, Wet Wet Wet songs and Hallmark cards that have all my life literally given me a rose-tinted view of Valentine’s Day.

As a little girl with my Barbie princess and Ken doll, I would diligently prepare them both for their big wedding day to be held on the ultimate romantic day, Valentine’s.

My sister and I would decorate their home, which was usually located under a blanket suspended between the sofa and a chair, ready for their big day when all their dreams would come true.

Disney helped to fuel our romantic visions of happily-ever-after endings, with Prince Charmings rescuing and marrying the mermaid/enslaved beauty/cursed step-daughter; and with each film our belief in true romance grew.

As I grew up, my attentions soon turned from Barbies to boys and by the age of ten, I had convinced myself that my one true love would come to me via post on the morning of Valentine’s.

This myth was not crushed for many years as my mother (I suspect) would make sure I had a secret admirer every year.

Visits to the newsagents to pick out the cutest, fluffiest and pinkest cards would follow in years to come as Valentine’s dreams would be stuffed into rucksacks in the school cloakroom.

When I did manage to find myself a real life boyfriend, then all those years of expectations and promises from Just Seventeen magazine finally came to a head.

We may have only been 13 and our pocket money funds were low but I was fully expecting a bouquet of a dozen red roses, a box of delicious chocolates and a cuddly teddy bear clutching a heart with a declaration of love, but there was nothing.

No note, no card, no toy, nothing.  When I asked why, I was simply told that “Valentine’s Day is just for girls”.

Now old and weary, living in a time when choosing something for dinner and finding a clean pair of socks rates higher on the priority list than wining and dining, I am once again approaching a Valentine’s Day.

I am a realist and my doting other half is also of the same mind as my boyfriend when I was 13 (although not the same man as the old boyfriend was quickly dispatched with after the disappointment) in believing that Valentine’s Day is a girly notion that only girls really care about, so I hold out no hope of a romantic surprise.

So instead, I am going to take matters into my own hands and while those few couples that epitomise young love and the whole Valentine’s dream will be filling restaurants on tables made for two, I will be celebrating at home my own way.

Valentine’s needn’t be hearts and flowers and Barbie doll dreams, because for me love is having a partner who knows that a real treat is letting you have the remote control for the entire evening and then making them endure a double all singing all dancing episode of Glee instead of the football – who said romance was dead, roll on Valentine’s Day.