The beautiful day of the year where we get 'the chance' to show our loved one how we truly feel is nearly upon us. Trust me, it will sneak up on you. I know we're not supposed to buy into all that commercialisation crap - red roses, love poems and candlelit dinners - but if there is a country who could do with a good old fashioned dose of forced romance, Britain is it. It is forged in the iron of our blood that we don't partake in fanciful hand-holding or too much hugging. Italians and the French even greet strangers with a few kisses on the cheek for God's sake. We prefer an arms length handshake, nice and firm and far from lingering. On Valentine's Day then, we get the chance to act for one day like Giuseppe or Jean-Pierre and cast off the shackles of being a stoic Brit.
During this delightful economic recession, where many, including my highly educated, motivated and experienced self, have no real jobs, how do we 'do' Valentine's day on a budget? A dozen red roses on Valentine's day can cost up to at least £40, chocolates increase in price if they are vaguely pink or heart shaped and the cost of dinner menus in nice restaurants double. I decided to do my research. Where better place to turn to than the wonders of the world wide web, for answers from impoverished and ever-insightful ask.com users?
Here is a tip from a certain destitute romantic. Try bathing together, as besides the fact that it is all highly romantic and bubbly (if you can afford bubble bath), you are also saving on water. Hooray! A lean, green Valentine's day, how terrific. Later we can reuse the teabags we are drying out on the washing line. Took the romance out of that one didn't I?
Advice from another blog owner called for us to surprise our lover at work by turning up, sweeping them off their feet and taking them on a surprise lunch date. If my boyfriend did that to me it would unfortunately be completely and utterly futile and probably get me fired. As a waitress, I get either no, or around a 20 minute lunch break - just enough to stuff a sandwich in my mouth fast enough to give me indigestion - and in no way am I actually allowed to leave the building. For an industry which prides itself on luxurious dinners and events, there is just no romance in catering. The same blogger goes on to remind her readers that they should not attempt this move if their partners are 'embarrassed' by them. I feel like this may be some kind of warning to her own partner, in which case, this does not sound like the healthiest of relationships and any advice given should be ignored.
One that makes me laugh the most is men's advice to each other to 'do some chores'. Apparently it costs nothing to sweep or hoover the floor, put some washing in and iron a few shirts....who would have thought it? What really gets me, is the fact that these men don't exactly find it romantic when their female counterparts do these things every day. Forgive me if I don't want to melt into your arms at the sight of you attempting to hoover the stairs. On the other hand, it might provide a few laughs and I'm not exactly going to stop you.
My advice for us out-of-pocket loved up grads, is to remember what you did when you were an out-of-pocket loved up student. Cook your own romantic meal together, buy some cheap but yummy plonk from the corner shop and watch a DVD cosied up in bed. We may be skint this year, but please, change the bath water, don't get your partner fired and most of all, remember, a hoover is not just for Valentine's Day.