Friday, 14 February 2014


St Valentine's Day is made up. Chaucer made it up. He laid down a lesson for Shakespeare in how to appropriate shizzle and roll it into a nice big ball of something new(ish). Check out the Prof's excellent blog post on St Valentine's Day Is Not All She ain't wrong.

Personally, I loathe all the hoopla and expectation of St Valentine's. It's so false and utterly in opposition to what love is. Presents and flowers and showing off to your mates about them seems ugly. "How many Valentine's cards did you get?" is usually a question someone who got a load asks someone who they know didn't get any. That's a proper loving and not at all accumulative or spiteful way to approach it. ("Fuck off" is the appropriate reply to that question, btw) I have lots of single friends, almost none of whom seem unhappy with their lot. I have quite a few married and long-term committed friends, some of whom certainly seem like they'd at least like to have a look at that grass over there, some of whom I have no idea at all why they stay together. The pretence of Valentine's day merely papers over their cracks.

Romantic love is not an illusion. It exists. It isn't, however, something that flourishes under acquisitive temperaments. I don't think I've ever thought I'm better than someone else because of my relationship with Mr Y, I've only ever felt fucking lucky for what we have. That's enough. It doesn't need bombast and swagger. And it's not even all there is out there. There's so many different kinds of love, and each one should be valued.

So take it easy with the puffed chests and, conversely, the misery. After all, love is not all -

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.

Edna St. Vincent Millay


  1. Word -- and preach it, Edna! And thanks for the linkage.

    1. Pleasure - you posted that just when I was researching about where St Valentine's came from. Saved me a lot of work ;) x