Valentine’s Day.

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A confession: I quite like Valentine’s Day.

Not the commercialism. Not the pressure to make it a perfect indulgent trembly sexfest. But I do like the sense of obligation. The expectation you should spend time with your loved one.

Or loved ones.

Or anybody special in your life.

It’s nice to set aside a day to recognise their impact on your life/emotions/libido.

It’s not just for couples, or a day to take stock and mourn your singleness. Don’t focus on what you think you lack. Just enjoy togetherness! Call your best friend for a long chat, make your housemate a cup of tea and tell them they’re awesome or even take your parents out for dinner. When I was a teenager, I used to buy my mother flowers on my way home from school on Valentine’s Day. My father worked away for most of my adolescence and couldn’t afford to do the big mail order bouquet thing. So I’d give my mother a humble bunch of something pink or white on the day, to remind her she was loved by all of us and to tide her over until my father came home days later with something slightly more elaborate. She didn’t need either of our bouquets, but we liked to give them.

I’m a big fan of celebrating love – any sort of love. It’s great. All kinds. Platonic, familial, romantic, erotic, kinky, gay, straight and everything else that ties us to other humans

If you don’t habitually let someone know how important they are to you, 14th February is pretty handy. I consider it a little check-in for relationships. Not ideal, but useful. Of course it’s nice to do it more than once a year, but gestures/expressions of love don’t necessarily come easily to everyone. Especially if you’re more reserved in your affection. Or particularly busy.

I’m not reserved in my anything. But I am certainly busy. I am overworked and underpaid. A frazzled nightmare of a workaholic. I, for one, appreciate the obligation of Valentine’s Day. I’m taking 14th February as a cue to text my best friends and my parents and tell them I love them. And to uncharacteristically turn off my computer and take my girlfriend out on a date.

I’m lucky enough to be in love with a tremendous woman. But I’m not around as much as I’d like to be. I’m not as present as I could be when we do get together. I don’t think holding hands while I organise rehearsal schedules counts as a proper date. I’m perpetually distracted or exhausted. And she’s so understanding. She’s patient and proud and constantly there for me when I’m mindless with fatigue.

So yes, it’s only Valentine’s Day. Yes, it’s tacky and clichéd and the lowest of holidays. But tomorrow I spend the day with my girlfriend. Whom I love. Society expects it. And for once I shall bow to society’s arbitrary requirements, if it makes me stop working myself into the ground, appreciate the fucking amazing people in my life and take my girlfriend out for flirting and a movie.

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