The horror of love

2012-02-11 00:00

VALENTINE’S Day is just around the corner and the drama has started … the merchandising, the plastic roses, the kitch teddy bears and the heart-shaped chocolates. My children have been hinting for money for Valentine’s raffles and my poor son has become a Valentine’s sucker.

Oh dear, I feel his pain. He is in the first flush of a new crush and he rashly decided to spend his pocket money on a trinket for a girl in another class, but now with the object in his bedside drawer he has no idea how he will have the nerve to deliver it to her. Oh the agony!

“Ask your friend to give it to her,” said I, ever practical. “No mother,” he said raising his eyebrows to the ceiling, “then she will think it is from him, even if he says it is not.” Hurumph!

Oh, the moral quandary.

Valentine’s Day is full of these moral conundrums. In my younger years I was a great enthusiast for all these opportunities to shower affection on the object of my affection. I was immune to rejection and positively thrived on unrequited love, believing that the greater one suffered, the reward would be worth it in the end. Years of experience have taught me that I should have saved my money and played hard to get like the popular girls who received bunches of flowers on Valentine’s Day and barely acknowledged them, feigning an allergy to pollen. My son seems to be following in my footsteps, poor boy. His last crush received countless chocolates, funded indirectly by me. My warnings went unheeded and she dumped him using modern technology —  a Dear John SMS — ouch! I hope she got fat and had an acne outbreak. My mother tried to protect me from yearly Valentine’s heartbreak and on one occasion I did receive a suspicious card in the postbox. I could not help being mortified when I realised it was her attempt to feign a secret admirer. Oh, the shame. I don’t know who was the worse actress — her or me — pretending we didn’t know who was faking.

The real issue on Valentine’s Day is that it allows you to find out if someone you have been admiring from afar likes you. Everyone knows the whole “secret admirer” thing is a scam. You want them to know it is from you and you leave clues. So are you are going to be brave enough to let someone know that you like them, and live with the consequences?

For me, the crush from afar is far more exciting —  once you get to know the real person it’s all ho-hum, yawn.

It could also be about ego. Once a friend and I decided to send each other a rose in defiance of the empty lapels on our blazers. But, sadly, it didn’t feel like a success, we just felt stupid. So I am not a great fan of the whole commercialisation of love. Valentine’s Day is a horrific reminder of love gone wrong. I suggest that those of us who are single should celebrate the fact that we are exempt from this sentimental blackmail and sigh with relief that we don’t feel obliged to participate in this mushy materialism. Singletons unite … happy V Day!

Excuse me a minute while I check the postbox ...

• trish.beaver@witness.co.za

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