We will not be celebrating Valentine's Day, or "Corporate Love Day" as we inner-outer city trendies like to call it. Valentine's Day is little more than a bogus occasion cooked up by florists and greeting card moguls and condom tycoons for the sole purpose of twisting erotic insecurity into big time profits which are then parlayed into still more unsavoury industries like intercontinental ballistic pornos, or fast food restaurants where they stuff roast pigs full of tacos and deep fry them in whale blubber.
The competitive element also rankles. "What are you doing for VD?" a friend asked me around this time last year. I said, "Sailors, I suppose." As my friend performed the International Face Language sign for "aghast", I realised my error. "In fact," I said, laughing, "that was a joke, the kind of straight-faced gag I am renowned for the world over. What I'm doing for Valentine's Day is something so original I can scarcely pronounce it in German and therefore I'll resort to English: breakfast in bed, flowers, lunch, movie, maybe get naked unless we're too tired or there's something on telly. Outstanding, right?"
"Right," said my friend, clearly unimpressed. "Well, I am treating my lady to a six hour full-body massage administered by a black belt in the Oriental art of bone folding, followed by a five course meal at a restaurant that has so many Michelin stars that they had to extend the restaurant just so there was enough frontage to apply the decal, followed by a helicopter ride over the city to the concert hall where my beloved will fulfill her lifelong dream of conducting a full symphony orchestra, followed by a romantic evening of wining, dining and many multiples of orgasms. So, nothing big. I mean, it's only Valentine's Day."
Honestly, is this kind of one-upmanship what love is all about? Doubtless my friend (so-called) and his wife enjoyed their bone-folding and orchestra-conducting and orgasm-having, but was it really about love or was it about seeming to love, a performance put on to convince themselves, and by extension their friends and families, of the depth and feeling of their attachment? Does love need a special day? Surely we ought to cherish our partners every day, not just on some random day on which social and capitalist forces prevail upon us to do so. That's why my beloved and I aren't celebrating Valentine's Day: we don't need to be told when to express our love, not by Hallmark, not by a magistrate, not by anybody. We are abstaining from this expensive and morally impoverished charade as a symbol of our shared wish to transcend the rigid structures of late-capitalist society, to free our love from societal expectations, to live as liberated and content an existence as we dare.
Also, and this is admittedly a significant factor, we've got about $20 between us until next pay day, so what are we going to do, buy each other Flake bars and novelty condoms?