Valentine’s day again…disclaimers apply!

I will start with the disclaimers. I have noticed of late that several online retailers that bombard me with e-mail ads have asked me if I want to opt out of Mothers Day marketing, as for some this is distressing for those bereaved, estranged or have other reasons not to want to be reminded of that ‘celebration’. I understand this and appreciate the efforts that are made here.

I think I may have seen similar for Valentine’s day..again for those who perhaps who may be troubled by the trumpeting of doey eyed love etc. Having said that, it is a day to celebrate all love..whether that is for family, friends or even just a slobbery but lovable dog called Alfie. Anyway, if mention of this day , which unlike Mothers Day is always recognised on the same date globally, will trouble you then now is the point to hit delete.

Still with me? Good, I will carry on. The new world order of (depending where you live in the world) having some degree of lockdown has presented new challenges for the romantics amongst us. As men, generally speaking, we are not as well organised as woman so actually having to plan, order on-line etc. for cards, let alone flowers, chocolates or other appropriate (…or inappropriate!) gifts will have been challenging and surprising for my fellow men. I have heard several accounts already today of confused looking men looking forloningly at closed florists shop doors that in previous years have welcomed their panic last minute buyers willing to pay serious money for not very wonderful red roses!

When I was a teenager (…and for the avoidance of doubt, this was quite some time ago) Valentine’s day was really all about ego, bravado, mystery and intrigue. It was also about kindliness as well. Disposable income for my peer group depended on how much pocket money you got and/or if you had other income such as a paper round or Saturday job. I worked in a pet shop…but that is indeed a tale (tail!) for another time.

Why kindliness?..I knew of several kindly siblings, friends and occasionally parents who would send a card to someone in their family or circle of friends to lift their spirits, add sparkle to their life etc. Maybe people still do that now? Done with the right intentions it probably on most occasions is a gesture that has value rather than damage…but I know there can be occasions where unwittingly it just adds torment to the recipient 😯

These gestures aside, I recall sending cards slightly anonymised but with sufficient clues to link me to being the sender, but ample opportunity for escape if the recipient indicated displeasure about being the recipient of a card from me. One of my favourite clues was leaving my initials written under the stamp…a sure sign if that level of forensics was involved they really were despite to find out the sender!

I also had a few mystery arrivals in my post back in those years and dutifully steamed off the stamps but the sender(s) did not seem to share my methods. Postmarks also didn’t really help – I lived in Glasgow a big city and the postmark often gave no clues other than the city name.

Those were fun times, but not so much a few years later when into my early twenties when a slightly devious girlfriend sent me two cards….one a pink and fluffy one (she was a pink and fluffy kind of girl..so she was the obvious sender of that) she sent a second one that was very anonymous…it seemed this was a test to see if I admitted getting it. I did, but that then was the beginning of the end and Miss Pink and Fluffy moved on to make someone’s else’s life pink and fluffy!

Happy Valentine’s day to you all…and remember …if in doubt admit to every card received!!

Happy Valentine’s day!

Valentine’s day I know triggers many emotions ranging from hope, disappointment, cynascism, indifference and probably a whole raft of others too.Many of us have probably experienced all or some of these depending on our range of life experience i.e. how old we are!In my early teens a Valentine’s card (or extremely rarely ….cards plural!) would arrive, anonymous of course and then detective work that Agatha Christie would have been proud of then commenced…handwriting analysis, postmarks, even steaming off stamps to look for clues underneath the stamps (none were ever found!) , questioning of likely suspects, interrogation of friends of the suspects and so on.Sometimes when the sender was identified it was a disappointment, at other times perhaps a kindly gesture sent by my sister…or a just an unanswered mystery, decades later.Later in life…….I remember at about age 19 I had a girlfriend who would send me two valentines cards…although both were anonymous, the first card was more her style and I was confidently able to determine it was from her and put it on display and thank her for it. The second was sent as a test…to see if I admitted to her I had received another card! I hasten to add she and I parted company fairly quickly after that….and she probably went on to have a successful career working for a ‘honey trap service’…Yes they do exist, I hadn’t realised until I saw a TV documentary about them a short while ago!Later in life when it’s husband to wife and wife to husband cards, although the mystery goes, it’s still an opportunity to recognise that person is the one you have chosen as life partner.Having said that, in the same way as the Animal Welfare TV advertising of the 1970’s used to remind us that ‘A dog is for life, not for Christmas’ , the same applies here too. Why have a specific day to tell someone you love them? Do it every day..maybe not in words but in gestures, actions or kindness.It’s a bit like my pet hate of New Year resolutions….if you decide you want to make a change or take a new direction, why wait for some fireworks……or a new calendar to arrive before you do it.In the words of Nike….just Do It.Anyway, I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s day and happen that it is all you want it to be.