The offspring reminded me it was Valentine’s Day. Like all couples, happily or unhappily married, we have long crossed the Rubicon where such days are registered with other than a desultory raising of the eyebrows and a getting back to the tasks at hand.

Back in our day, when romance and instant love was still a thing, given burgeoning hormones and other unmentionables, Valentine’s Day was a big thing. The build-up began weeks in advance in college with the girls tittering around and the guys working up the nerve to send across a Valentine to the object of their affection from afar. It was a pissing contest of a different sort. “How many did you get?” was the question that you would be judged by for the rest of the year, and hapless ones like me who never got any, were permanently relegated to the realm of the perpetually uncool.

Kiran Manral The Married Feminist SheThePeople

Cut to the last year of college. I’d just crossed paths rather dramatically with a handsome young boy. Sparks, as the cliché goes, had flown and eyes had locked, and Cupid had shot some arrows. The aforementioned young boy arrived on Valentine’s Day in college, sought me out, and handed me a Dairy Milk Chocolate. A big sized one, half melted from being carried around until he finally found me and handed it to me. Six years later we were married. There were other Valentine’s Day declarations of love since, watches, perfumes, diamonds, until we reached that stage of do gifts really matter which has been holding forth for over a decade now. But that wrapper is still there around, somewhere, 27 years later, carefully preserved. It was, after all, the first Valentine’s Day gift I received. Life, kid, and cynicism intervened since and Valentine’s Day was summarily relegated to a Hallmark festival best left for the young and enthusiastic.

But that wrapper is still there around, somewhere, 27 years later, carefully preserved. It was, after all, the first Valentine’s Day gift I received. Life, kid, and cynicism intervened since and Valentine’s Day was summarily relegated to a Hallmark festival best left for the young and enthusiastic.

Valentine’s Day came back into focus recently for me, when the moral brigade began their crusade to rid us of the corrupting influence of the immoral West by bravely beating up defenceless girls in a pub celebrating the day, and rebranded Valentine’s Day as Parents Worship day. As a parent now, and one who is often told in no uncertain terms that she is the meanest mom in the world, I must confess the idea of the offspring being compelled to worship me is a quick pump of helium into my already inflated cranium. But then, I think, a day of love, never mind that poor St Claudius, more popularly known as St Valentine, had to pay with his head being sliced off for encouraging young lovers to get married, is definitely in order given all we do is hate most days. And of course, the entire industry built around Valentine’s Day today is all encouraging of this need to love, especially given the up to 50 per cent discount and cash back on recharge offers swarming at us.

And of course, the entire industry built around Valentine’s Day today is all encouraging of this need to love, especially given the up to 50 per cent discount and cash back on recharge offers swarming at us.

So, does one celebrate Valentine’s Day anymore, now that we’ve been 28 years together, 22 of them married to each other, and survived without giving in to the urge to strangle each other with our bare hands at some point and then pleading temporary insanity? No, we don’t. A day isn’t important anymore. What is important is the everyday. The getting through of one day to the next and ensuring that it holds, the tenuous bond that is so fragile and elastic that the littlest thing threatens to snap it, and yet is stronger than Kevlar that one can stretch it, and push it and fight it, and end up exhausted, yet have it undefeated. Does it take a day to reiterate one’s love and commitment, is it a token gesture? Is it contrived, the pressure building up through popular culture and media much like a gun to one’s head with the safety catch off, saying through gritted teeth, “Celebrate, or else…”

And the most romantic thing the spouse does for me is probably holding my hair off my face when I’m throwing up. Now that’s true romance and doesn’t need a special day.

We won’t be doing anything special for Valentine’s Day. Research supports us, 54 per cent of married couples state that Valentine’s Day is just like any other day for them. And perhaps that says it all, that perhaps every day should be a day of love. And the most romantic thing the spouse does for me is probably holding my hair off my face when I’m throwing up. Now that’s true romance and doesn’t need a special day.

Kiran Manral is Ideas Editor at SheThePeople.TV

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