Valentine’s Day a Shallow Man’s view

During my time as a hamster, running endlessly on the corporate wheel, one of the things that made me realise that I really needed to do something else with my life was the regular major reorgs that would take place, usually at least every 18 to 24 months. A new leader would be appointed and would with great eloquence and passion talk about how important we the team members were, and that our customers are the number one priority, and things were going to improve and his or her door was always open. Having heard variations of the same speech multiple times, the ability for excitement or enthusiasm with such pronouncements from on high, slipped away and I could no longer take such events seriously, which brings me to the subject of today’s post, valentine’s day.

Valentine’s day, a Shallow Man’s view

Firstly, let’s be clear, the Shallow Man is a romantic. In the past, I’ve sent flowers, have wined and dined fine Antelope in wonderful establishments, have bought small mementoes of my affection, I’ve done all of this because, I felt something other than the usual rumblings of lust and passion, or something beyond those two and have acted accordingly. I was able to do all this, without multi-million dollar advertising campaigns insisting that I do so due to the date being Feb 14th.

One of the things I found refreshing when I moved to the Netherlands, a long, long time ago, back in the days when dinosaurs still walked the earth, was the fact that cynically organised events arranged for the benefit of various retailers and the hospitality industry such as valentines day, were not a big deal here. Due to ever creeping globalisation, it’s sad to see that the Netherlands is becoming as bad as the UK now when it comes to Feb 14th.

I’m a romantic once a year

When I lived in London, it really was not done, if you were in a relationship, not to celebrate valentine’s day. There was an expectation, at least with the women I was in relationships with, that on Feb 14th, not only should a romantic meal be arranged, but on top of that, there should be some kind of present as well, in addition to flowers which were almost obligatory. I thought I’d escaped this cheesy event by moving to the land of kaas, but alas, I was wrong.

The message from the advertising seems to be, it’s ok if you’re a selfish slob all year round, but just make damn sure that on Feb 14th you do something romantic. Surely, women would appreciate romantic gestures throughout the year, not just because the date happens to be Feb 14th?

Valentine's day makes me want to....

Valentine’s day makes me want to….

Have you tried booking a restaurant in Amsterdam for the 14th?

I find it incredible, that just about every quality establishment, normally frequented by the Shallow Man is fully booked on the 14th. So there are lots of couples who will have a “romantic” meal on that day who will probably spend most of their time sat in silence or will be checking their smartphones and barely uttering a word the entire evening. This won’t matter at all because they have done something “romantic” on valentine’s day.

People are watching, let's be romantic

People are watching, let’s be romantic

Being an objectionable cynic, I rebel against being told how to act and more importantly when to act a certain way. For that reason, the current love interest in the Shallow Man’s life won’t be taken to eat at a fine place (they’re all booked anyway) in fact I have no intention of doing anything remotely romantic on the 14th as a matter of principle. Instead, I’ll be attending two expat valentine’s day parties and will write a review on this blog about at least one, so expats, beware, I’ll be observing.

My final words on this are, if you’re truly in love with someone, my advice is show and tell them this all year round, Valentine’s day is just a scam.

No advertising executives were hurt during the writing of this post.