This weekend was my premature ‘Valentine’ weekend with Frank. I feel we must clarify that when beginning a relationship with a teacher at a private school that is 175 miles from home, you have to accept that there will be a lot of premature dates. However birthday’s and Christmas are exempt from this rule. Obviously.
Valentine’s Day has forever been something I scoffed at. I’ve moaned about over priced cards, boxes of chocolates and flowers for years. I have laughed at all the Valentine dinner offers and all those Valentine themed 8-course over price dinner menus - Cupid's Roll of Love served with a luxuriously creamy vanilla sauce.
Or - Jam roly poly with custard.
And actually if I put on my Freudian psychoanalytic top hat and delve into the inner workings of my psyche ( a messy trip ) I will admit that actually this has been a cover up for the fact that actually I was desperate for a card, let alone a BUNCH of flowers.
Always the girl without a rose-a-gram at school. Then one year I got one. 2003. It came from Harold. (Like Frank, his true identity is being concealed) He was my on-off 'boyfriend' in secondary school. You know the kind where you hold hands during morning break, and by third period science you've broken up because his best mate told you, “You’re dumped.” The emotional scars run deep.
Anyway on this occasion I received a rose. It wasn't even real. It was some sort of rolled up red fabric stuck on top of a green stick and shoved in a pretty plastic box. Nevertheless, the sentiment was there.
I was gloriously happy with my cheap excuse for a Valentine. Poor Harold probably saved his hard-earned pocket money for weeks. I bet all he really wanted to do was blow it all on sugary sweets and get the older kids to buy him those magazines from the top shelf.
Later I was told that Harold had actually intended to give it to the prettiest girl in my class, but she was off sick with the chickenpox. So I got it instead.
Needless to say I have always looked longingly at the red and pink themed cards in Paperchase, dreaming of the day I have one posted through my door. One that was actually meant for me. This all sounds a bit desperate really, but it is.
But here we are 2011 and I bought my Valentines card two weeks ago. Actually, I nearly bought three.
One funny one.
One with a nice black and white photograph.
And one of those ones that looks like a child with no hand control has drawn it.
But I couldn’t face the shameful and oh-so –knowing looks that I would receive from the ladies on the counter. It would look even more ridiculous when I tried to justify the excessive cards for ONE boyfriend with all my years of pent up frustration and desire to participate in this entirely pointless ‘holiday’. So I left the shop with one.
A Quentin Blake scribble with ‘BLANK’ written on the back. It was safe. There was no soppy love poem to be found in my card.
The next dilemma- what to give Frank.
I really don’t know where this – lets buy gifts for each other came from but it’s all a bit silly. (Unless of course Frank plans to buy me some Manolo Blahnik’s in which case I won’t mind!) Now that I had joined the V-Day club, I realised there was the small issue of funds and the apparent lack of. Growing up, I was always told that home-made gifts mean more.
So I decided to do something I had never done.
I made a small army of gingerbread men. And lovingly decorated them but not once having the sense to taste them. Fortunately, as it turned out they didn’t taste too bad. Had I really been creative , I could have dressed them in the full England rugby kit in honour of our glorious home team and their excellent track record in this year’s six nations tournament. ( Well done boys, although I do apologise for reading Vogue through the first half and falling asleep in the second!)
I have a beautiful bouquet of red roses and a funny little card with a lovely sentimental message.
And Frank has a tray of slightly misshapen, a little bit broken, funny looking, but alright tasting biscuits and a card with a stupid handwritten poem about getting old with hair in his ears.