I’ve always had a slight problem with Valentine’s Day.
Maybe ‘problem’ isn’t the right word.
I don’t want it abolished or anything like that, it’s just that I’ve never really felt the love, if you know what I mean?
I remember when the most popular and prettiest girl at my primary school used to coo every February 14 about the number of cards she had received.
Then she’d come back after lunchtime, clutching a new red envelope, chirping ‘‘I got another one’’.
I never received any Valentine cards at school, well apart from the ones from my dad and one from a young man who just “loved me as a friend”.
Things didn’t get much better in adult life either.
I can’t remember getting any that were signed anonymously or ones that left me guessing who my mystery admirer could be.
But, then again, I wouldn’t say that I’ve been deprived of romance during my life either.
When I was little, a boy called Paul penned me a wee love poem.
Sadly, due to his rather limited vocabulary, the only word he could think of that rhymed with ‘Kate’ was ‘mate’ which diluted the smitten sentiment somewhat.
As a teenager, a young man called Mark gave up his jacket for me as we walked home from the bowling in the bitter cold.
He must have been freezing, but you’d never had known.
At college, I often had my books carried and some guy even kissed me in mid-lesson.
In hindsight, he may just have been showing off, as he seemed far more interested in his friends’ reaction rather than mine.
As a wife and mother, I have been moved to tears by gestures made with the sole purpose of making me smile.
And, although none of these things happened to fall on Valentine’s Day, it hasn’t mattered.
I think a lot of women might agree, especially at the memory of unwelcome Valentine’s Day tokens.
During my days as a check-out girl in a shop, I remember when two little boys came in on Valentine’s Day morning.
We had a special offer on washing-up liquid - a buy-one-get-one-free type thing.
The boys showed up at the counter with two bottles of green Fairy Liquid.
“Do you think mum will be happy when she sees TWO bottles?” one asked the other.
“Yeah, it’ll be the best Valentine’s Day ever for her.”
That poor women, I thought,
I hoped then that she’d be happy, and not dissolve into tears like I have in the past when my young children thought household items and cleaning agents would brighten up my life.
It’s one thing to be utterly overjoyed by a fantastic Valentine’s Day gift.
But, to resist the urge to cry when you’re presented with a bottle of Domestos, now that’s love.