True romance

Christine Kempell is feeling the love. Well, kind of…


I know some of you romantic people out there think that Valentine’s Day is commercial claptrap, and love and commitment must be demonstrated on a daily basis, every day of the year. I think that’s fine if it works for you but I prefer to keep those mushy things confined to the day they were meant for. February 14 is the day that allows us all to declare our undying love for the people we care about, without restraint, while the rest of the year we just get on with the day-to-day business of living, loving and fighting.

One of the most annoying things about insufferable romantics is the way they brag about their loving relationships to all who have the misfortune to be within earshot. I really do not need to hear how Mr and Mrs Perfect love each other more now than when they first met, just after I’ve had an almighty row with my one and only about whose turn it is to clean out the cat litter tray.

I think these people are in denial anyway, as most of the time it’s the ones who seem to have the perfect relationship and boast about it, that surprise us all by acrimoniously splitting up soon after. ‘Methinks they doth protest (their love) too much.’ The one day we are able to shout from the rooftops without guilt or jealousy is the day Saint Valentinus set aside for lovers. The rest of the time, we really should keep quiet about it, as nobody likes a bragger.

I have known friends whose husbands regularly bring them flowers, run them baths and surprise them with gifts but that kind of blatant disregard for romantic tradition does not sit well with me.

I wouldn’t want to feel that sneaking suspicion that the bringer of such fancies has done something they shouldn’t and it’s a gift wrought with guilt. What have I done to deserve this? Answer = nothing (ask the cat). What has he done to deserve giving this? Answer = something fishy. There’s a time and a place for all that so get yourselves ready as it’s coming soon.

The great thing about living in the UAE is the law on PDAs (that’s Public Displays of Affection BTW), which means we are not forced to watch others demonstrate their sanctimonious love in outward displays of touchy feely, back-rubbing, hand holding, eye gazing, spit swapping nastiness. Nobody wants to see that nonsense, except on one day, when it is entirely socially acceptable to be affectionate to your partner, albeit in private.

There’s nothing like a good old rant and rave, moan and complain the rest of the time, as we confirm to each other that life, love, relationships, kids and marriage are hard work but we are all in the same boat. The sea is choppy and we don’t need to hear about the ones that manage everything by plain sailing as it makes the rest of us feel sick. But beware as plain sailing has its dangers too. There may be rip tides and turbulence unseen beneath the water that are far more damaging than a good old fight on the surface. After all, once the tide turns, making up can be fun.

At least when we are in a relationship we know who’s sending us cards, as we demand them, plus the flowers and chocolates too. Woe betides the brave person who bucks this convention with a hearty cry of ‘I don’t go in for all this money making rubbish!’ (they won’t be feeling the love from their other half, trust me). There’s no mystery, but that’s no reason for there to be no romance either. I was never a fan of the question marks signature anyway. Why go to the bother of sending a would-be Valentine a card without letting them know it was you who sent it? That way lies the path of confusion and many a relationship has got off on the wrong foot with the wrong people because of that questionable sign. Maybe kids these days are more blatant in their card giving and don’t go in for all this mystery. I will wait to see what my teens bring home in the next couple of weeks, although I will try not to be too disappointed if they come home empty handed or overly proud if they receive cards but remain confused. I think at this time of year cards, flowers and chocolate giving should be made compulsory by law – everyone deserves to feel some love, even if it’s just on Valentines Day.

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