Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Romance by numbers.

Today is, of course, Valentine's Day.

Named after a Roman martyr of dubious authenticity who may or may not have performed illegal Christian marriages and was martyred by Claudius if he did exist. Romantic, huh? Regardless of the bloodthirsty origins of the saint his day is now, for the cynical, an exploitative day of tack. The price of roses quadruples, the shops are filled with heart-shaped tat and, hard as we try to avoid it, anyone in a relationship ends up spending £20 on something fizzy to drink, chocolates and a card. Meanwhile singletons may feel glad they don't have to participate but still feel an urge to wipe that smug look off Carol-in-finance's face as she sits smirking at her bouquet of roses.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't believe in romance, in showing that you love somebody.Of course I do! I'm a wannabe romance writer for goodness sake. I just don't see the romance in acting like a sheep because the marketing calender tells me too. Cups of coffee left on my bedside table, coming home to find the ironing done, an unexpected Monday night bottle of prosecco - these are the small, domestic yet romantic gestures I love, because they are about me, about us. They are real.

All the romantic traditions seem to try and mould couples into a predetermined, Disneyfied idea of what love should be. There is so little room for the quirky, the unique, the things that make you, you. Personally I dislike roses, I would rather have tulips, lilies, lily of the valley. I prefer amethysts to diamonds, noodles to fine dining and pyjamas to lingerie. Of course we're all different and figuring just what pushes my heroine's buttons is part of what makes writing fiction so much fun.

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