For Michelle Davies, V-day has never quite matched up to her own romantic ambitions. Perhaps this year, she’ll get it right… ‘The horror of finding myself alone on the day designed to amplify the smugness of loved-up couples made me want to just shut the curtains and hide’ balanced on our knees in front of the TV, and washed down with a bottle of cheap vinegary wine. At the time it felt like the height of romance. Yes, back then, my standards were actually that low. My turn at last… Come mine and Rory’s first February 14, and I was a bit beside myself with excitement. My outfit had been chosen, my body de-fuzzed in expectation, and the fancy restaurant booked. I chose a place that I knew would be bedecked with heart-shaped adornments and frills. Oh, I was going full out for the perfect Valentine’s experience…

My bloody VALENTINE Photo Gallery

Then fate intervened… in the shape of some dodgy shellfish. Yep, on Valentine’s eve I came down with food poisoning. The projectile kind. Instead of making moon eyes at my beloved across a table for two, I spent the following evening head-in-bucket in the bedroom while he sat on the couch playing X-box turned up really loud to drown out all of my retching. And that has pretty much set the tone for every Valentine’s Day since. A decade down the line, we haven’t celebrated a single one on the actual day. As sure as the sun is hot, something will crop up at the eleventh hour to thwart our plans, be it a sudden work trip that Rory can’t get out of, or our daughter/babysitter/ the cat getting sick.

Ill-fated date It’s now actually become a standing joke that we’re destined never to celebrate Valentine’s Day properly. Rory reckons it’s because secretly I’m allergic to the occasion: all those years of watching smug couples celebrating from afar has subconsciously instilled a hatred of it. Maybe he’s right. Perhaps my head is shouting ‘let’s show the world how loved up we are with over-sized cards and over-priced roses!’, but my heart’s still whispering ‘shut those bloody curtains!’ I can at least console myself that I’m not the only woman who’s been abjectly let down on Valentine’s Day. My friend Hannah thought she was being taken out for dinner one year, until her boyfriend announced he wanted her to look at a flat he was thinking of renting and dragged her to see a scummy studio. She did get to eat afterwards, but at a pizza place of the calibre that doesn’t require a reservation.

Or plates for that matter! Another friend, Marie, was taken out as a surprise – but her boyfriend had left it so late to book a restaurant that they had to gatecrash the dinner of another couple they knew. ‘The couple then argued all through the meal and I was so hacked off that I dumped my boyfriend shortly afterwards,’ Marie confided. ‘It worked out well in the end, though – a few months later I started seeing the other guy at the meal!’ You also have to be very careful what you wish for on Valentine’s night. A colleague of mine, Lucy, was mortified when her boyfriend arranged for a quartet to serenade her. Impossibly romantic perhaps, but Lucy and her boyfriend were only 18 at the time. Rory and I haven’t bothered to tie the knot yet, so – with the antiquated tradition aside – if ever there was an occasion for me (or him!) to make an elaborate romantic gesture, February 14 is it. But knowing my track record, I’m probably best off stocking up on chicken Kievs instead.

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