Life

Lynette Fay: There's more to love than posting your Valentine's photos on social media

I was talking to someone during the week who told me that they haven't had the ‘wow' moment just yet, in terms of a relationship. My immediate reaction was to question this. Does such a thing exist and are we setting ourselves realistic targets trying to seek out the ‘wow' in anything?

Social media time lines were full of PDAs – public displays of affection – photos of flowers, gifts and declarations of love on Thursday and will be all weekend
Lynette Fay

Those three words are said too much, they're not enough.

Beautiful lyrics from the Snow Patrol hit Chasing Cars. These were the first words I heard on Valentine’s Day. (I heard the song on the radio)

Do we overuse the three words, “I love you? The single word ‘love’.

Love is the drug, love is blindness, crazy love, love me do – the music industry has revolved around the word for decades. We love, love, love everything on social media, and then there’s February 14. Are we depreciating the importance of love?

Valentine’s Day is the day of love. Or so we have been told. I do think that the concept is utter nonsense. It’s an excuse for shops to dress their windows in red, heart-shaped balloons and flowers and sell, sell, sell. Let’s set aside one day of the year to adorn a partner with flowers, chocolates and treats and dress this up as an act of love.

It’s as bad as Christmas Eve. Every shop floor is a flower graveyard. Men are running around in a tizzy to buy their other half a romantic gift because of nothing else only peer pressure.

I’m sorry, but six weeks into the new year, the last thing I want to receive as a gift is a box of calorific chocolates.

The one thing that Valentine’s Day most lacks in my opinion is romance! What’s romantic about following the crowd and acting like millions of others? It’s commercialised and tacky.

That’s my take on it. I may come across as bitter – I’m not. I am an old romantic at heart but I’m just allergic to Valentine’s Day. Whether in a relationship or not, I spend February 14 each year in a state of ‘bah, humbug’ – or should that be ‘bah lovebug’?

The notion of ‘love’ is a funny thing. I was talking to someone during the week who told me that they haven’t had the ‘wow’ moment just yet, in terms of a relationship. My immediate reaction was to question this. Does such a thing exist and are we setting ourselves realistic targets trying to seek out the ‘wow’ in anything, especially in our love lives?

I have been guilty of waiting for the big ‘wow’ moment to arrive. The hope that my Mr Darcy would come along and sweep me off my feet. That’s every woman’s dream, isn’t it?! To be clear, when I refer to Mr Darcy, I mean Colin Firth in both the TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice AND Bridget Jones. Romantic comedies are great but we can get sucked into wishing that such happy endings, complete with fireworks and all the trimmings, might just become our reality.

Serendipity and Definitely Maybe are two of my favourite rom-coms. However much I love the endings of both films, though, I have had the wit to reevaluate my expectations.

Social media time lines were full of PDAs, photos of flowers, gifts and declarations of love on Thursday and will be all weekend. I do wonder about such public displays of affection and would question the need to make such a public statement about loving one’s other half. I find it nauseating, but that’s just me. Pass the bucket.

In my world, random acts of kindness are the greatest acts of love. For me, it’s the small, silly things that family and friends do, often without thinking, because they care about you. These acts do not have to happen on one prescribed day of the year.

If we’re lucky, we experience love among family members and friends. In typical Irish style, we may not articulate our love for each other very well, but actions do speak louder than words.

Loving oneself has always been a tricky one. We’re not very good at that either. Taking space, taking time to do nice things for yourself can be perceived as acts of selfishness and I think that we have always had a struggle with that. I am hopeful that we’re getting better.

Through talking to friends, there seems to be an increasing awareness among people of the need to be good to themselves first, to look after themselves. In that way, they can be good to, and ultimately love others – not just on Valentine’s Day.

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