Monday, February 14, 2011

MODERN ROMANCE...

A page from my Paris scrapbook.
All weekend, I was treated to (or subjected to, depending on your perspective) snippets of other people's St. Valentine's Day celebrations. On Friday night, sitting at a bar waiting for a friend I became vaguely aware of the couple sitting next to me. She had a small pile of unwrapped gifts resting on the bar next to her - most of which seemed to involve fuchsia marabou feathers. She was saying, "Oh, you didn't have to, really, you shouldn't have..." Then he said, "We're going to have romance, we're going to have fine wine, good food... And we're going to shag a bit."
I'm so glad I won't be in Paris this week.

For some reason the tube is where I make many of the observations about London life that I end up sharing here. Apologies in advance if anyone I mention is actually reading this and recognises themselves. I mean no judgement, it's merely observation/mild stalking.

This past weekend I noticed so many couples on tube escalators, gazing adoringly at each other, one step below the other, the female clutching one of those single red roses in plastic people try to sell you in restaurants. On the tube a couple shared (red!) ipod headphones and held on to each other as if their lives depended on it, centimetres away from me. I could only see the girl, who was wearing a cute woolly hat with knitted cat ears, sparkly green eyeshadow and silver shoes. The Curzon cinema in Soho on Sunday afternoon was a hotbed of coupledom (and laptops) - and here was the only sign of non-heterosexual celebration of Valentine's Day I saw in public at all. Weird, no? The vast majority of loveurs displaying their allegiance to the whole Valentine's thing were young, heterosexual and visually identifying strongly with the mainstream. On Sunday night I saw a girl waiting for a train dressed to kill in see-through plexiglass platform heels, bare legs and a red swishy mini skirt. She must have been freezing.

I do honestly find it fascinating to see all the tables at every restaurant divided into tables for two, couples diligently taking their places and ordering the lamb special with raspberry jus. And generally looking pretty miserable while doing so. I also wholeheartedly support florists in their work and they need this day to survive.
It would be nice to have a day to celebrate love, just not perhaps this one/this way. I'd be interested to know if anyone has come up with a way of doing Valentine's Day that isn't well, you know, that's a bit more my kind of thing. I know I never have, though I do enjoy observing the participants in a somewhat detached anthropological manner. (And OK, taking the piss a bit.)

Happy Valentine's Day!

13 comments:

If Jane said...

oh clap
i shall riding the metro soon...i am sure i shall spy on some loveeee...
the cutest ones are of the ones not accustomed to buying flowers and on this "special day" they do...(awkward holding of single flower..a tell-tale sign!)

Anonymous said...

On our very first Valentine's day as a couple, my husband just sent me a text message that read: "Buon San Lavandino", instead of Valentino, where lavandino means "sink" (the one you find in bathrooms). One wonders why I married him.
xo
Mia

Ms. P and C said...

"I do honestly find it fascinating to see all the tables at every restaurant divided into tables for two, couples diligently taking their places and ordering the lamb special with raspberry jus."

You're simply brilliant.

xoxoxo
Ms. P&C

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

If Jane - Those cellophane wrapped roses are so contentious. I once had a bf who had a joke about saying to the seller, "no need thanks, we've already f**cked."

Mia - Of course you married him for his excellent sense of humour!

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Miss P&C - thank you, glad you think so!x

anabela / fieldguided said...

Last year Geoff and I went out to a terrible pizza place to eat a heart-shaped pizza, mostly for jokes. That's about as much as we've ever done.

If Jane said...

ha...oh so the same exists in london! ha! (cellophane wrapped roses)

Janelle Eastwood said...

I've been a longtime lurker (er, hi!), but felt compelled to tell you that my husband and I don't really celebrate Valentine's. We celebrate instead the Day of the Book (April 23), because it's just a simple exchange where the gal gives the guy she likes a book, and the guy gives her a rose. This past year, I made him a journal, and he commissioned a friend to steal a rose for me a la Beauty and the Beast. It's worked well enough for us to have a day with a little romance but not so well known and commercialized (at least in our part of the world).

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Janelle - hi! Day of the Book - I'd never heard of it but I like the sound of it much better. Thanks for de-lurking to tell me about it...

Mademoiselle Robot said...

We just made a nice dinner at home and then proceeded to have a perfectly normal evening. No cards were exchanged, no flowers or chocolates were given.

However, Mila came home from school with a heart shaped cookie she had made herself and a card she painted with red paint. In fairness the drawing looked more like blood splatters. But it was cute (even cuter because it looked like blood splatter). x

Bombay Beauty said...

i avoid valentine's day as much as that is possible (not really it turns out...) speaking of the tube and stalking:

http://bbnyb.blogspot.com/2011/02/moment.html

xo

bb

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

BB- I saw that! Now that is bold stalking. I might need you to come to London to be my tubestalk photographer. We can use Andrea's secret camera!

Little Nutbrown Hare said...

I don't care for Valentine's Day. But on the day, I was walking home from a walk on the Heath and noticed red tinsel hearts scattered on the ground. Intentionally or unintentionally, it was genius. Then I realised that I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it that much if it wasn't Valentine's Day, but I still wouldn't care to celebrate it.