Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Actually I don’t even like roses

I’m taking Posh Totty up on her challenge to share this banner at the top of my blog until Valentines Day. Yeah, yeah, I know, there’s less than 24hours to go, but I only saw it yesterday.

Anyway, hope you have a lovely Valentines tomorrow whatever you are doing. I’m not the biggest fan of February 14th it has to be said, and not because I’m a bitter, relatively recently dumped singleton. Nope, that’s not it at all. It doesn't particularly bother me - well, except for last year when I was still smarting from the unpleasantness of the break up with Gobshite. Shudder!!!! I actually quite like the sentiment behind it; everyone likes to be made to feel special, however it’s the rampant commercialism I detest and of course in USA they do the rampant commercialism bigger and better than anyone. Okay that’s a sweeping generalisation, I’ve only experienced Valentines in the 2 countries, the UK and the US, but it’s a generalisation I suspect is true. I’m sorry America, I love you, but you and I both know that you have a tendency to go a little over the top when it comes to “The Holidays.”

My memory may well be faulty but I don’t recall Valentines Day being such a huge deal in the UK. Brits, am I wrong? I suspect things may well have changed as diamond retailers, florists and restaurateurs realise what a money spinner it is, but as far as I recall Valentines was less about couples and more about anonymously sending a love note to someone you fancy from afar.

That’s a charming custom don’t you think, to make someone’s day by letting them know they have a secret admirer?

Unfortunately I feel these days that this charming, sweet and low key custom has been taken around the back of the bike sheds by the likes of Hallmark and been given a severe beating, at least in the US. To me there's nothing romantic about sitting side by side by side with other couples and selecting mediocre, over priced food from a pink hued menu, as Miles and I did last year at the Klee Brasserie. Its production line romance, doing what’s expected – going out for dinner and sending her roses - instead of acting on how you feel.

Have I become horribly cynical in my old age?

I’m going to stop moaning on like an ol’ curmudgeon and instead relate to you the story of the most fun Valentines Day I ever had. Don’t worry; this story is not heading in an icky, of the ‘too much information’, kind of direction. No, my best Valentines Day occurred when I was working at a small ad agency in London and the overlords decided to hold an impromptu wooing competition. The first prize being a weekend for two in Paris and a second prize of dinner at some fancy pants restaurant in London, I don’t recall which. Perhaps Titanic which I remember being very in at the time – they did a delicious chilled pea and mint soup – but pretty much went the way of the ship a few years later.

The way it worked was that we all picked names out of one of two hats, women had to pick a guy's name and men had to pick a female name. I remember Miles being quite disgruntled about this and chuntering on and on and on about it being an infringement of his rights as a gay man, not to be able to choose a guy to charm.


Honestly he does get all hot and bothered about this sort of stuff at times and I can understand there are times when it’s important to stand up for your rights, but in a wooing competition? It’s not as if it’s REAL, besides Miles and I both know he’d absolutely compromise his integrity for the sake of a trip to Paris - I jest Miles, I jest. Love you lots. Besides, it wasn't as if you had to take your woo-ee with you to Paris if you won the trip.

Lucky ol’ me got the office sexpot, so it wasn’t exactly a stretch. I spent the afternoon writing saucy poetry and surreptitiously inter-officing him chocolatey treats. (I wonder if you'd get into trouble with HR for that in the US? Probably, they have lots of rules on office fun here.) You had to be anonymous about it y'see, which was tricky as we worked in an open plan office with a big glass atrium running through the centre, so you could pretty much see what was going on. I don’t recall if it was one of the rules that you couldn't be found out, but I remember us going to great lengths to avoid discovery.

Ahh halcyon days, it was great fun, although as you can imagine we didn't get a lot of work done that afternoon, but it had a great impact on office moral.

Actually I do hold February 14th close to my heart for reasons other than Valentines Day, since it’s also the anniversary of the day I was offered a job in New York. Eight years ago I remember Miles getting a call from a former colleague who’d moved to New York the year before. It wasn’t a surprise that he called, they were friends outside of work, but it was a surprise when, after speaking to him for a few minutes, Miles turned to me and said ‘he wants to speak to you’, the rest as they say is history.

Oh and it's true about the roses, I much prefer tulips.


Dylan said...

I think you're, erm, romanticising the UK now...February 14th is just as commercial over there! Never been much of a fan of it either though...every year I used to think taht maybe a secret admirer (such as Drew Barrymore, picking a random example) would make herself known, but twas never to be. And this year The Special One's working and I'm babysitting...who said romance was dead?!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

No, I'm serious Dylan, I'm absolutely positive it wasn't as bad on Valentines when I lived in London. Admittedly this was over eight years ago.

You can't go out for Valentines this year - Lost is on ;-)

airheadgenius said...

I miss the English version of Valentine's Day - an anonymous card sent to a prospective or current lover. Much more exciting and romantic than this nonsense of having to echo "Happy Valentine's!" to each and every colleague one encounters.
Do you remember being 12 or so and quietly suspecting the card was from yer Mum? Or 16 and desperately worried that you wouldn't get any? As anxiety ridden as that was, I much prefer it to this over commercialised nonsense.

I suspect that my 4 year old son will come home complete with a card for me tomorrow which will be lovely. My 6 year olds school is much too PC to do the same though. I had a dinner invitation from a 6 footer, but decided that tomorrow night, I am going out to dine with a 4' and a 3' date.
It will be perfect.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Genius, I really do miss the low key English way of celebrating Valentines. It was so charming and heart warming, now it all just seems a bit tacky.

I love that you are spending the day with your boys and celebrating maternal love. I shall be celebrating my newfound love of the TV show 'Lost' ;-)

Amel's Realm said...

We have no plans for Valentine's day or weekend. I don't even think hubby remembers it. During the last couple of years, Valentine's Day has been VERY commercialized in Indonesia, as well (in big cities).

It's a CUTE story about the wooing competition HE HE HE HE...;-D

Well, I OPENLY admit that I'm your non-secret ADMIRER. I ADMIRE the way you write and your sense of humour! ;-D

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Thanks Amel, the admiration is reciprocated :-)

Sorry to hear that Valentines in Indonesia sounds as commercialised as it is here. Fish x

Karen ^..^ said...

Thats it!!! I am moving to the UK. Everything here is so stodgy and politically correct. No fun whatsoever.

No games in the office, no fun at all. I loved your post, by the way. Adorable, and matched my sentiments exactly...

Except, admittedly, I am a bit bitter...

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey Karen, thanks for stopping by, I am thrilled you liked the post.

I have to say that I did really enjoy working at that office in London, it was a lot of fun. Best, Fish

The_Mrs said...

Good on you! I for one, really have never had much use for Valentine's Day. For some I suppose it's romantic and all that. To me, it's just another day. A day where retailers make people feel as though they have to be romantic. It's almost a forced holiday. haha

Bringing attention to something worthwhile instead of the traditional roses and chocolates, is a good thing.

Two thumbs up to you my dear. :)

Take care.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey Mrs, thanks for stopping by. I really should thank PoshTotty for the sentiment. Have a lovely Valentines however you choose to celebrate it. Fish x

Sister Sassy said...

Yes, I NEVER celebrate VDay, ever. I am going to blog a love story tomorrow though...but not buying and presents or anything like that.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Sassy, looking forward to popping by your blog tomorrow to read your story :-)

patientanonymous said...

Good grief, what have you done with your commenting! I went OpenID, and it told me to sign in to WP (I'm on my blog) and then ate my comment! Okay, I'll go with Name/URL.

Anyway, you can't get more cynical than me! I hate it! I call it "VD" as I think that is a hilarious acronym for a day for "lovers." HA!

I don't think you need a special day to tell someone you love them, care for them, appreciate them...blah, blah, blah... However, I do appreciate it when someone gives me a pressie no matter what it is, whenever I receive it.

When I was a teenager you could buy roses for other kids in school. Of course all the ones that were dating did it. Some bought them for their friends. Well what about "loser" PA! And all of the other lonely ones! We never got any!

Note: I was a loser. Ever since I was a young thing. I think I might be better now, but I'm not sure.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey PA, blame Blogger for the commenting thing. I saw it this morning and wondered what the hell it was too. Just ignore it, maybe it will go away :-)

I too love the fact that the acronym is VD hee hee.

I saw the HS roses thing in Mean Girls a few weeks ago, we didn't do organised things like that, just cards.

I never got cards until I was in college, but I prefer not to think of myself as a loser, but rather as a late bloomer. Have you ever bumped into the popular girl from school 20years on? The ones I've come across don't seem to have had a great shelf life, it's as if their best years were in High School, whereas my best years have been in my thirties. Although hopefully it's not all downhill from here on in ;-)

Flowers On A Friday said...

valentine's day is a big spoonful or commercialised sugar. too much for any normal person to cope with.

my girlfriend and i are planning on celebrating it in may. a day just for us. i hate the idea that you have to do something on a certain day just because the stores and billions of red balloons tell you to. ug!

p.s. the balloons don't talk to me.
p.p.s great banner.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

I love that idea Flowers, that's much more romantic. She's a lucky woman. Enjoy tomorrow regardless. Fish

sid said...

I loved this post. You had me giggling like a little school girl. I too also don't really like the commercialisation of the holiday but I do like the idea of writing a little love note to someone you fancy. I also don't like red roses. I'm an orchids kinda girl. They so exotic, delicate and unique.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Sid, glad you enjoyed the post. I think the commercialism of Valentines has kind of sucked all the romance out of it.

Orchids are beautiful, hope someone sends some to you today ;-)

Bangs and a Bun said...

'm a Brit living in Toronto now, but used to live in NY and I agree, North America does go OTT with the Valentines thing. Over here, January 2nd all the shops had their Valentines gear out. The other day I went into a shop and they had all their Easter stuff out. They don't even wait for one holiday to be over before cracking on with another one!

It makes my head hurt.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey Bangs and A Bun, welcome to my corner. I laughed when you said it makes your head hurt, you know what they are doing in the stores right this minute don't you....they are stacking the shelves with marshmallow peeps. Aaaaaaarrrrrrrrggggghhhhhhhhh!!! Thanks for stopping by. Fish

patientanonymous said...

Hey there.

We did little cards when I was small in school. I found that equally traumatic as the roses when a teenager. Some other child's little baggie, or box was always more full than yours! Then maybe there was someone you liked, and they didn't send you a silly, little Valentine with their tiny printing on it!

I have never bumped into the "popular girl" years on as I no longer wish to speak to anyone from my (also traumatized) years as a child, and youth. I sounds so horrible, but it was! I am not whining!

However, there were some very nice girls that I wouldn't actually mind seeing, but I wasn't part of their "clique." Ugh. They were still nice to me at least.

One was just great. In retrospect I had a crush on her, but was too stupid to actually know it at the time. I do know where she lives now, but it's about an hour and a half away from me. One of those super bright ones that knew exactly what she wanted from life, pursued it, and got it!

No wonder I had a crush on her *rolls eyes*

I've always thought my best years were/are in my 30s as well. But if I look back my 20s were pretty...interesting? I was completely (hypo)manic then, so it's easy to remember the "good" parts and forget the BAD!

Oh dear, PA got into some situations!

I actually got some chocolates today. I forgot the building management here gives them out to everyone! HA! A little wrapped up parcel of sweets on my desk when I came in this morning. Well thank you building management.

And don't worry about you! Downhill! I know I only read your blog, but...well...

*PA smirks*

I shall say nothing more other than you will be absolutely fine.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

You never know PA, you might see them again. Recently a friend from junior school got in touch with me through Facebook. I hadn't seen her since we were 9years old!!

Score on the chocs!! :-)

thewishfulwriter said...

I wanna have an office party like THAT one. how fun is that!

and your company was offering a trip to Paris? our office prizes are coupons to the CVS. not that im complaining, of course. i like CVS.

happy NYC anniversary!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey Heather, it was great fun. We didn't do anything all afternoon except woo each other. They gave a 3day weekend in Paris via Eurostar. It would have been worth close to £1,000. Cool right. It was fun working there, but I left to move to NYC. Happy Valentines Day!! Fish x