WELL did you feel the love last week? Sweetest thing I encountered on Valentine’s Day was the little old bloke, 70-ish, standing at the bus stop, arms laden with flowers and a love heart poking out the top, a lump-to-the-throat reminder that Cupid’s arrow is truly ageless.
A trip to my local Asda the night before was a revelation: a full car park and inside masses of anxious looking blokes carrying bunches of roses and flicking through racks of cards desperate to find one that wasn’t going to either offend or be too slushy, too “cuddly animal” cutesy or, indeed, not soppy enough.
Next day my Facebook was a stream of pictures of rose bouquets and I can’t deny there were a couple of unnecessarily loved-up status updates that made me want to vomit.
Of course it might help if for more than one day in the year most of us couples could manage to be nice to each other. But those of us not in the first flush of romance know married life can be a grind, requiring a mammoth effort of teamwork and managing not to rip each other’s head off: love hearts, chocolates and flowers, it usually is not.
To reinforce that, Valentine’s Day was hardly over when a new survey popped up which gives menfolk a right good bashing from their partners – and if the tables were turned with the blokes criticising the girls, it would provoke squeals of outrage. Costa Bingo’s survey claimed 54 per cent of women – without an ounce of irony – cite their menfolk’s “refusal to admit they’re wrong” as a major source of irritation.
Thirty four per cent despaired at their partner’s inability to multi-task, 42 per cent got irritated by them “hogging the remote control” and 38 per cent – perhaps understandably – would prefer it if their husband did not fart in public. Snoring, ignoring them when they’re talking, watching too much sport and staring at other women – these blokes sound so dire and Neanderthal it’s a wonder they actually have partners in the first place. But perhaps if asked what gets up their noses about their wives, the blokes may well suggest that she spends too long at the bingo, taking daft surveys, whinging about his snoring and bitching about how awful he is.
Valentine’s Day is over, the florists’ profits are up and card manufacturers are laughing their heads off at gullible folk who’ll spend over a fiver on a piece of paper with a heart stuck on the front.
And in homes across the land, normal service – arguing over the remote control, sniping about whose turn it is to do the bins – has been resumed.