So the title lied a little. But lo, it is Valentine’s Day, the traditional day of the year when loved-up couples are put-upon by the Evil Powers of Advertising to shell out on soppy stuff they can neither afford nor, quite possibly, even want (because you wouldn’t want to be Outdone by the Joneses, would you?)
My ideal Valentines Day, for instance – assuming I absolutely had to spend it with other people – would be where I’m whisked off by some hot piece of fluff to run around in camo and mud doing Tank Paintball. Or at least something involving some combination of tanks and paintball. True, I would like there to be a fire and mulled wine after that, to get warm, and preferably some sort of meat roasted over the fire, and I’m getting old, alas, so sleeping contentedly in a tent in the woods in February is probably out of the question (unless I was, erm, tanked) – but the point is, I am reliably informed* that this is Not Romantic and instead I am honour-bound on this day to make said hot piece of fluff sit through terrible romantic movies which make him squirm.
The fact that it would make me squirm too is neither here nor there, apparently; Upon This Day, Wot Cometh Once A Year, My (imaginary) Bloke Is Honour-bound To Do Whatever I Desire.
And god help me, it transpires that there is a List of Things I Shall (and Shall Not) Desire, and ‘tank paintball’ is on the wrong list. As is, ‘I got us a weekend making swords in darkest Cornwall, darling’, oh cruel fate. And even, ‘gin and Dog Soldiers‘. Nope, both of us are stuck with Schmaltz. Which is a shame, because on the other 364 days of the year, I infer from this, I don’t get to do what I desire either. Bah humbug!
*(I don’t even mean by the Media – I mean by well-intentioned friends and loved ones who I can only assume have been Got At by said Media. Although I should point out that they are currently loved up and I am not; so who wins that argument again?)
Anyway. The bit with the tanks is all sheer fantasy on my part, as you can tell because it would probably be a lot less exciting and a lot more cramped and cold than I fondly imagine – but it is beside the point, because there is no hot piece of fluff to whisk me away (and there are no funds for me to do likewise for him. Hence, staying celibate and knuckling down to this damn course). Therefore, as someone who is Not part of a happy couple (or even a fairly miserable one), I think for my part, I’m supposed spend the day being crushed, then spend the evening getting tanked, alone, in front of some soppy movie with a big box of tissues to sniffle into and a supply of chocolate the size of my own body.
Which is unfortunate, because I prefer to spend the day grinning like a lunatic at the thought of lots of happy couples out there being couply, then going home to stick on a red frock and a DVD of Dog Soldiers and eating a big steak in front of it. And getting tanked, alone (which admittedly is part of the Singles! programme). On pink fizz (which is probably not part of the programme). And shouting, Hooray! a lot and dancing around the place, possibly in a feather boa (which is definitely not part of the programme). And because I am alone, there is nobody there to find fault with my behaviour, hurrah! Valentine’s Day is sodding awesome. I don’t quite feel I can get away with this behaviour without some other ‘special occasion’ excuse, for instance.
Unfortunately, the plan for this year’s Valentine’s Day had to be changed somewhat. Which was a bloody great pain in the arse, because frankly the last few Valentine’s Days have been deeply disappointing (due to the presence of Other People, I can’t help noticing). On the last one, the bloke I was dating did not respond, all weekend, to my text asking whether he would like to come round and drink pink fizz and eat steak. Which you would think, would mean more pink fizz and steak for me, Hurrah! Alas, my flatmate at the time had also not heard from her bloke over that weekend, and thus spent the entire period in her room being very upset about it. For which I cannot blame her, but it isn’t half hard to party on down with a clear conscience when someone’s next door sobbing. So I didn’t.
The year before that, I was (tragically) also in a relationship – Valentine’s Day consisted of having to sit in bed watching WWE from 1993. I was not consulted as to whether or not I would like to spend the day this way, and so the man in question is only still alive because I had not seen those particular episodes and they heavily featured the Undertaker, who is awesome. And the year before that, I was single (woo!), and had carefully ascertained that the three couples I shared a house with were all Going Out For Dinner (yippee!)
Unfortunately, one couple decided at the last minute that they didn’t like Valentine’s Day, so came to gatecrash my night instead (like, dammit, just because I have no boyfriend, I have no Plans? I want other people to come and find fault with my behaviour instead? Sheesh!) The pink fizz, it was gone in seconds. And not all down my throat, oh gnashing of teeth. And my mate’s boyfriend made it rather clear he didn’t like me all that much and I had to be polite to him anyway. (Funnily enough, on reading that last sentence back, it occurs to me that it has much in common with when I spend Valentine’s Day not being single).
And the year before that, I spent Valentine’s Day jackhammering a trench, in the rain, after an hour’s sleep and half a bottle of whisky the night before. And yes, there was a bloke involved, which I offer as proof that you should never be involved with someone at this time of year if you can possibly avoid it (if you’re married, you are out of luck here). But that is another story.
Today, the presence of Other People did indeed put the kibosh on my plans. Firstly, I have my first Potential New Flatmate coming over to see the place, woo! excitement! trauma! and before even that occurs, I have a mortgage meeting. Which makes two meetings where I attempt to make cash from the only asset I have apart from my labour! (or at least, try not to owe as much interest on the damn stone albatross). Which brings us to the ‘sale’ part of the title (go on, you thought it was a typo). Truly, the world of high finance is one I have finally entered, etc. Not.
Still, I managed to come across as debonair and hysterically funny (either that or your mortgage advisor is bound by law to laugh at your witticisms). Possibly, I should have saved those for the potential flatmate. But I was nervous. And he seemed so perfect! Works all weekend, studies all week, Has To Do The Dishes Before Studying (just like me!), Has A Girlfriend. Yas! No potential tensions! He said, he will Let Me Know on Wednesday.
I was so hyped up after he left that I had no appetite, and cruelly abandoned both the steak and the casserole I was making. So it was just the fizz. Tomorrow, I might regret that, but sod it. It is Valentine’s Day, and I have spent the day having Scary New People meetings, both of which might work out Very Well Indeed, or terribly badly.
And did I not do well, today? I brought in a bottle of wine for my Colleague of Cakes, because her sorrows are many and while she is bearing up amazingly, I don’t know what to do, and I planted a tree in Kenya, thanks to the power of the internet (at least, I am told I did) and numerous were the good deeds I strewed about like sunflower seeds at a vampire convention, in fact. Hurrah!
And now, for the dancing.