Valentine’s Day- nobody cares, despite what Hollywood would tell you
This morning I went to see the movie billed as this year’s Love Actually, called – extremely imaginatively – Valentine’s Day. The first thought I had was this: when did Christmas and Valentine’s Day become virtually identical in purpose? Ie, to enable forlorn loveless moderns to jump in bed together or perhaps, fall in love?
My second thought was: people still do care about Christmas. It’s still a big song and dance culturally (the party season preceding it) and on the calendar (lots of days off). Some people even care about its religious significance. But Valentine’s Day – I have finally realised, nobody really cares. Year after year I’ve spent proclaiming that I DO care, priding myself on my honesty. “You all care really!” I say. And on the day, I scour my office, doorstep, postbox, inbox(es), Facebook account, telephone (this doesn’t really involve scouring, though being an Iphone you have plenty of options if you fancy a good scour). And usually come up empty handed. The last two years there have been men on the scene- the first one openly dismissed VDay and simply ignored me throughout (we didn’t last long after that), leaving me feeling like a used sock and really quite crap. Last year I had a real, lovely, proper boyfriend and had to practically force his hand to perform some romantic gesture on the 14th. He had a kind of “but I express my love every day” attitude, which I couldn’t argue with, except to stamp my feet and cry and tell him he was talking rubbish.
This year, I’ve given up. Nobody seems to enjoy or take any notice of Valentine’s Day, apart from mythical beings you hear about from friends of friends. I have never met a man that embraces it. It’s a slog to get them to do anything, expectations are always dampened, and – wait! NOBODY CARES. Now, when I straw poll my friends and colleagues and everyone says they hate it/don’t care, I believe them. Too tired not to.
Which brings me back to this ludicrous film. It is entirely predicated on the idea that people do care, from a sickeningly sexualised 10-year old boy to an elderly couple. Yes, they’re Californians. But sitting there in a cinema in London watching “A Valentine’s Day in the Life of A Gaggle of LA locals so Beautiful It’ Preposterous To Think They’d Ever Have any Problems Finding Hot Sex and Love At All” was simply ridiculous. These characters threw parties featuring I Hate Valentine’s pinadas for taking out their anger on. One, the drop dead perfect looking Cara (Jessica Biel), was reduced to crying and scarfing chocolate uncontrollably all day, until she fell into the arms of a Valentine’s-phobe TV presenter.
If I – or anyone I knew- went to the lengths some of these people do, such as flying 14 hours for a single night (Julia Roberts), flying to San Francisco for a surprise dinner, and proposing, it just be odd. Maybe in America things are (still) different. But I think it’s mainly that Hollywood’s just got it wrong again – the far less sugary truth (nobody cares MUCH about Valentine’s Day, beyond maybe a card) wouldn’t really merit a whole 2 hour film starring Julia Roberts, Jessica Alba, Ashton Kutchter, Jennifer Garner…yawn…and Anne Hathaway. Would it?