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What’s all the fuss with Valentine’s Day?

By Sophie Parrott Feb 14, 2018
Is Valentine's Day a sign of real love? Photo: REX

Do you feel personally victimised by Cupid for not having a date this Valentine’s Day? I can’t speak for everyone but I know I don’t.

I have always felt that this “special day” is a little too commercially driven and overrated.

So many people are clouded by unrealistic expectations of Eiffel Tower proposals, romantic Instagram-worthy getaways and lavish dinners, sealed with the sacred words: “P.S I love you”.

Me personally, I’m quite happy with a bottle of wine (courtesy of Aldi), a Just Eat Chinese takeaway and having my pals over for a chinwag on the sofa.

Some people that go on as if Valentine’s Day is their only chance to declare their feelings for someone. Whether it be a public declaration of unrequited love or something as simple as plucking up the courage to ask your high-school crush for their number.

I just don’t understand why this can’t be done on any other day in the year. There’s a grave chance that you may be pied off anyway so why spend Valentine’s Day pining over the crush who has rejected you?

Being turned down on Valentine’s Day is pretty savage so why would you put yourself through it, particularly on the most romantic day of the year? Confess your love for someone on any other day of the year to lessen the blow of rejection.

As much as I hate to admit it, Tinder is here to seal the love gap for the other 364 days of the year. A lot of people seem to be much more concerned with swiping right on Tinder for anything with a pulse anyway.

The dating game involves securing a crescendo of dinner dates just “for a bit of fun” and to busy their schedule for the week. So, if serial dating is just a stop-gap hobby “for a bit of fun”, then what’s the need to do it on the most romantic day of the year?

Valentine’s Day in Britain is a billion-pound industry, with the average adult spending £42 on their lover, according to a 2016 study by the website

There is the expectation of fancy restaurants and five-star service which seems to be the making or breaking of Valentine’s Day. “So where did he take you?” your friends pry.

God forbid that you admit that to your pals how content you were with your pitcher of sex on the beach and bangers and mash from Spoons. Valentine’s Day is about how much your lover has spent to symbolise their love for you – didn’t you know?

So, if you’ve been treated to a Valentine’s Day at ‘Spoons, then you better start looking for a new partner because your relationship is going down the shitter. How on earth can a student-friendly, affordable pub-lunch speak the language of love?

This is a concept that I find utterly shameful: the shallow-minded attitude of some people is a real bug-bearer for me. If you are lucky enough to be spending this “special day” with someone that you genuinely love, then it shouldn’t be determined by how much money you can spend, nor should it be governed by the lavish, publicity-stunt type gestures that have been framed purely for the purpose of loyal Instagram followers.

Although I have heard some successful Valentine’s Day stories from friends who have been wined and dined, that’s not to say that this day bodes well for everyone. In my days as a waitress at a high-end gastro pub, I once witnessed a divorce over a Valentine’s Day meal.

To everyone’s surprise, the couple seemed to be enjoying a fine bottle of champagne and devoured their romantic meal-for-two.

Nobody was fooled by their forced smiles and hushed argumentative hisses. Positioned next door to the doomed couple was a freshly engaged couple who chinked their flutes and toasted to love at every opportunity.

It was very awkward. This just goes to show that Valentine’s Day is just another divorce-filled, typical day in the year where anything can happen.

Valentine’s Day window displays are out in full force in Kingston at the moment. Ann Summers are summoning people to “bring your A game” this Valentine’s Day, with their selection of raunchy-red underwear and sexy suspenders, available for the same price as your weekly food shop.

It seems pointless to go to all of this effort and expense just for the sake of one day.

I’m all for treating yourself to some pretty underwear once in a while but does it really need to be in aid of celebrating Valentine’s Day?

What happened to the days where you could just treat yourself to some new underwear without it being bought as a tool to lure your lover into bed?

And for those of you that will not be buying seductive and sexy underwear sets for Valentine’s Day, you are doomed by a day of loneliness and deprived of love and lust.

So, if you want to join the “A team” this Valentine’s Day, then be prepared to splash out on a few sexy sets and, perhaps, a couple of playful sex toys…whatever tickles your pickle.

If you don’t conform to a traditional Ann Summers-style Valentine’s Day, then you are trailing behind on the “B team” bandwagon. You might as well wave goodbye to a romance-filled Valentine’s Day because Cupid is not coming this year.

You can bring your A-game in a crap outfit if you are doing right by your partner, but the last thing you need is a shop telling you what is and is not right for them.

If you want to be in on Valentine’s Day – that is fine. If you don’t- that is fine too. But there is no reason to beat yourself up about it either way, as there is nothing wrong with being alone or being with someone on Valentine’s day. B-game is not necessarily a bad game and it will be over before you even know it.

If you have spotted your valentine in the corridor at Kingston University, send us a brief description of you and your crush to for the chance to be featured in the next issue of The River – you may be lucky enough to find your soulmate.


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