Emily Winsor: 'Why I love Valentine's Day'
EVER since primary school I've loved the anticipation of getting a card in a pink envelope or a box of heart-shaped chocolates on Valentine's Day.
The mystery admirer is the definition of romance to me.
In reality, the anonymous card signed with a question mark is perhaps not as exciting, or common, as I like to think – but nonetheless I love the concept of a day dedicated to the person you fancy, anonymous or not.
My first memories of Valentine's Day are seeing my dad give my mum a big bouquet of flowers every year. So in my child's mind, the day had to be something special. And, luckily for me, it usually was.
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Throughout primary school I remember receiving cards signed with question marks (not every year, I hasten to add, I wasn't a serial heartbreaker or anything) and all the girlish giggling that accompanied the quest to find out who penned the note.
There was a period of no cards at my all-girls' secondary school, a time which I will gloss over because it doesn't fit with my theme.
From year ten onwards, I had my first "proper" boyfriend. At first we celebrated with a meal (home-cooked at this stage, usually by his mum or mine...) and gifts would be exchanged, cards written and declarations of love made.
This happy alliance lasted until university when, unfortunately, it was time to admit he wasn't the Romeo to my Juliet and we parted ways.
Throughout two years of singledom at university I still made an effort to enjoy February 14, be it with a girls' night out or by treating myself to a shopping spree. I even tried to make the most out of a disastrous first date which occurred on the day of love itself (surprisingly this was not my idea – they just overlapped).
The boy was boring, the conversation was dry and the food was mediocre.
But I didn't resign myself to a string of nightmare Valentine's Days and instead watched Bridget Jones' Diary a few times.
This will be my second Valentine's Day with my boyfriend and, while probably not as excited as I was when anticipating a mystery admirer at primary school, I am still looking forward to the day.
I really don't see why people are so against it. What isn't there to like about flowers and chocolates and being wined and dined? Of course, I understand that not everyone is a hopeless romantic like me and if you are without a special someone this year, then V Day probably isn't going to be your cup of tea.
But for those of you who are happily partnered-up, why not stop moaning about Valentine's day being a "commercial" waste-of-time or a pointless money-making exercise? After all, a nice big bouquet of flowers is only going to earn you brownie points for the future.