by John Davis
Writer, Comedian and Star of Come Date With Me
Thursday, 8th March 2012
Now I, like perhaps most of you, find Valentine’s day just a little crass. Not crass as in slightly cheesy seventies sideburns and moustache, budgie smugglers, medallion and hairy chested “I have come to clean your pool” sort of way. But more in that xmas decorations on sale, exploit your wallet by attacking the last shred of self respect you have by telling you how much less of a human being you are being alone on Valentine’s kind of way.
Just because some marketing wally called Tarquin decided it would be a good idea to utilise a festival celebrating the bloody death of martyrs, most of whom had their heads preserved, to sell chocolate hearts and plastic roses, doesn’t mean we have to believe them. Actually, to be historically accurate, the marketing wally wasn’t called Tarquin. His name was Chaucer who, let’s be honest, wasn’t exactly enamoured with the Christian church of the day and should be applauded for his heretical interpretations.
But from such revolutionary beginnings, contemporary Valentine’s day has warped into a hypercapitalist exploitation of our insecurities. “Buy a teddy bear or be celibate forever” is the message. And yet, I work in the ‘luurve’ industry. I can’t ignore it. And it’s one of our busiest times of the year. I could argue that, if you can’t beat them, join them. But it’s more that if we are to be confronted with such crass consumerism let’s at least use it to our own ends.
There’s nothing wrong with being single. Single’s events aren’t about trying desperately to find someone. If you do, it’s more a happy coincidence. But the singles events I host are more about just having fun, meeting new people and being what we really are at heart – social animals. These events help strip away the more primal and territorial elements of social interaction so we can expend more energy on getting on than actually competing to get off.
Having said this, some attempts at countering the crass consumerism of St Valentine’s day are doomed to fail. And I’d like to share a couple with you.
A good friend of mine once took a new beau, quite presumptiously some would say, away for a weekend to Prague. They got on well, the sex was apparently good and he decided to jump straight in. They’d only met a few times but surprisingly she agreed. All good so far. Valentine’s day came and he took her to the rather exclusive Celeste restaurant. Think beautiful river and city views, an award winning menu and a romantic atmosphere that would make Don Juan look like an extra in The Only Way is Essex.
Now, my friend is not poor by any stretch of the imagination. He is also known for his generosity particularly in matters of romance. And yet, he has a propensity to undergo what can only be described as secret seizures that those who know him jokingly pass off as ‘Andrewisms’.
A basket of freshly baked organic locally sourced bread arrived. His companion delicately reached for a roll, began to tear it suggestively between her exquisitely manicured fingers and gazed into my friends eyes in a way that suggested her actions could be interpreted in an as anatomically inappropriate way as his imagination would allow. My friend, leaned casually forward, his eyes meeting hers. He gently took hold of her wrist. Their breath mingled. She leant forward and closed her eyes, her lips parting slightly in anticipation as the following words issued loudly from his mouth “If you’re going to have some, make sure you eat all of it. They charge by the basket here.”
The flight home was icy.
The second Valentine’s hiccup is, I have to admit, all my own. I was desperate to find a way to showcase my ‘unique’ sense of humour while at the same time expressing my ideological opposition to the whole shebang, a sentiment my new girlfriend had expressed quite regularly.
I spent three hours selecting the perfect specimen: a sickeningly cute, adorably fluffy pale blue and white teddy bear. The ones where the eyes appear so filled with tears of love filled joy you either melt into the floor or stab it in the face. I had struck gold.
I returned home announcing “I know you hate this kind of thing but I really couldn’t let today pass without somehow expressing how much I love you. I’ve brought you a gift.” My girlfriend’s eyes softened, she hugged me tightly and said “Oh you shouldn’t have.” This was my moment of triumph. I got her to close her eyes as I placed my creatively altered gift in her outstretched hands. She giggled sweetly and opened her eyes to be greeted with a devastatingly cute blue and white teddy bear…
…nailed to a cross with the words ‘JESUS WUVS U’ carved into its chest.
There was no flight home.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, love it or loath it Cupid’s arrow has a way of really stuffing things up for us. Next year, don’t just mess up on St.Valentine’s day and become a pawn in the hands of our capitalist God’s.
Leap at the chance to embrace your inner romantic idiot at any time of the year. If only to keep me in copy.
Like a modern day Moses, John Davis (formerly Jay Sivad) was rescued from under a bushel by the Dating Trail team. Cleansed of his past as a serious journalist, John emerged, the proverbial butterfly, as the country's leading dating writer. He's got practical skills too and can attest to being nation's most experienced dating host having run over 250 speed dating events for Original Dating. A stand up comedian, radio host, philosopher (it's true! He has the paperwork) and budding media personality (Channel Four's Come Date With Me), Jay turns a wry eye on the travails of modern dating and its participants.
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