Friday, 12 February 2016

Seeing Red

It’s no longer safe to enter the high street. Crimson assaults our eyes at every turn. Shops are bursting at the seams with blood red offerings. Pale-faced men are stalking the aisles looking for the thing they need to get them through the night. No, the vampires haven’t taken over. These men aren’t looking to drain the lifeblood of innocent shop assistants. They want to grab a card, choose a teddy bear, pick some flowers, buy chocolates then get out. Yes folks, it’s Valentine’s weekend!

Don’t get me wrong, this sight doesn’t make we want to run and hide in the way that the cosy happy families Christmas displays did (see Christmas Is Coming!) but it is yet another slap-in-the-face reminder that I am no longer part of a couple.

While the world is out and about shopping for heart shaped cookies and sexy underwear to give their partners a thrill, or a cardiac arrest, there is some debate as to what us singletons are supposed to be doing.

I’ve done some research into this and as far as I can tell we should be doing one or more of the following:

1) Crying into a bucket of wine
2) Having a boyfriend bonfire for all previous sentimental gifts
3) Cutting up our ex-husband’s clothing
4) Plotting revenge using coloured pens and an A3 white board
5) Pretending we don’t care

None of these approaches are particularly constructive. Crying into a bucket of wine just dilutes it and turns it slightly salty. What a waste! And why burn gifts that actually belong to us? Especially teddy bears – that’s just wrong. It’s not that I like these nauseating items. It’s just that they’ll stare at you and judge you until their plastic eyes have melted into a gooey mess. I don’t want those nightmares for the next year thank you very much!

At least cutting up your ex-partner’s clothes is destroying their stuff not yours but if they’ve moved out and left those bits behind there’s not really much point. You’re probably just doing the charity shop out of a few decent items. Now that’s mean! Why would you do that?

Then there’s plotting revenge. Despite the detail here regarding the pens and white board I promise this is not something I’ve ever entertained. However, I like to think that should I ever be required to plan someone’s untimely demise they would be my weapons of choice. I can see the flowcharts, diagrams, colour coding and key to symbols clearly in my head now…

Anyway, revenge is an odd notion here. Your partner may have hurt you by going, but maybe them staying would have hurt you more in the long run. The whole blame thing is a messy topic for another time. Suffice it to say here, revenge won’t fix a broken heart and may end with a criminal record. Don’t waste your energy.

And finally, there’s pretending you don’t care. That’s like buying a lottery ticket, finding out you had all the right numbers but to the wrong week’s draw then professing not to be bothered as too much money just complicates life. Let’s be straight with each other here. We do care that we no longer have a plus one so let’s just accept it without it becoming all consuming.

But where does that leave us? What are we supposed to do this Valentine’s weekend? The answer is simple. We do whatever we want to do. It’s just another day. We don’t have to get caught up in all the hype. And come Monday morning the shops will be back to normal with a regular amount of red adorning their shelves.

Plus, don’t forget the positive side to being single on Valentine’s Day. Less expense, no feigning delight at the gaudy teddy bear you’re presented with, no pressure to fulfill marital expectations (and I don’t mean ironing his shirts), and no need to pretend you’re happy when you’re not…

Being single doesn’t give us the monopoly on being lonely. Far from it. I’m less lonely on my own today than I was on many occasions during my marriage. When things are going wrong, smiling and putting on a brave face takes its toll, even with a man standing next to you. That’s loneliness.

I see couples seemingly enjoying each others company and I like to think they’re happy. I hope they’re happy. But I no longer assume that’s the case. You never know what goes on in other people’s relationships, what mask they present to the outside world. Whether they’re truly content, or silently crying themselves to sleep at night.

Being single isn’t the worst position to be in on Valentine’s Day.

So, do whatever you feel like doing this year, because singledom means you get to choose, subject to the kids’ weekend activities obviously! I plan to pick up my Great British Bake Off book and make some scrummy edible treats for me and the kids. Although, rest assured, none will be heart shaped!

And if this blog happens to reach the eyes of a potential future Mr SPB here’s a little tip for you… never buy me a cutesy Valentine’s teddy bear, ever. Thank you.

Finally, to all my friends - single or otherwise - be happy.



  1. I would like to add that even if you are in a relationship it still doesn't mean there is an expectation for cute teddy bears. My partner and I made a decision in the first year we met that we wouldn't bother with Valentine's Day so aside from the hideous over produced red roses spilling out of Tesco's I don't really notice it!

    Better to just be with the people you love and indeed eat cake :)

    Be happy back to you SPB xx

    1. Lovely sentiment Clare. The coffee and walnut cake was lovely thank you… it looked awful but tasted great! Love SPB xxx