I was never a fan of Valentine’s Day – but the M&S ‘Love Sausage’ has pushed me over the edge
Don’t get me wrong, I love romance, but not when it’s scheduled in the diary
When I heard that Marks and Spencer were selling a “Love Sausage” for Valentine’s Day, I was pleased that the delights of solo love were being embraced at this frontier of middle class comfort and respectability. Imagine my disappointment when I realised it was to be sold in the food section and not in a specially darkened section near the underwear, with the cash desk manned by a bloke called Butch with a pierced tongue wearing leather chaps.
The “Love Sausage” is a big, thick, heart-shaped tube of pig parts wrapped in bacon. They recommend you serve it with two fried eggs in the middle because nothing says “I love you” more than chewing on gristle with egg yolk on your chin. Dead pig breath is being sold as romance and who am I to argue, given that the whole Valentine’s Day fiasco is just a reason to buy tat for someone we love in our lives who may or may not be in it for the long haul.
Don’t get me wrong, I love love. I love romance, but not when it’s scheduled in the diary.
I was once scarred by Valentine’s Day and swore to turn my back on it. It was 1988, I was 15 years old and had arranged to meet a guy I was obsessed with at the Trocadero in Piccadilly Circus. He was a man, not a boy, in his late twenties and had been carefully feeding the crush I had on him rather than nipping it in the bud which is what most men who are not paedophiles would do. But hey ho, this was the Eighties, the decade where an underaged girl who snogged grown men was a “wild child” and paedophiles were seen as guys in raincoats hanging around park toilets and never guys who were fun and funny or, say, in world-famous rock bands.
I was flattered by his attention. I’d become besotted with him over the weeks he pursued me and when he asked me to meet him at the Trocadero at 7pm on 14 February I swooned with excitement and only spent 14 hours getting ready. I didn’t understand back then that what he really found attractive about me was my birth certificate. I needn’t have spent all those hours trowelling on the makeup and curling my hair into the patented Eighties crunchy perfection. I lied to my parents about where I was going and off I trotted to the Trocadero with my heart in my mouth and every atom in my teenage body set to hyper-excitement.
He didn’t turn up. He had a girlfriend who had obviously reminded him that it was Valentine’s Day and he’d had to postpone his perving for another time.
There were no phones or texts in those days so I was proper, old-school stood up. I waited for three hours. I cried for two and a half of those. I went home eventually and swore that Valentine’s Day could sod right off and I have stayed true to that oath. I do not like it, I do not take part in it and this has caused bother with boyfriends.
One was upset that he’d gone to the trouble of surprising me with a fancy restaurant and theatre tickets and I hadn’t even got him a card. (I told him, I warned him, yet still he didn’t get it.) Another boyfriend made me a beautiful playlist of love songs that made him think of me. (I can’t tell you what they were. The memory stick is still in a drawer, unlistened to, and the boyfriend is long gone.)
Nothing is more unromantic than enforced romance. Restaurants on 14 February are like Noah’s ark, with every sort of couple going in two by two. The ones on an awkward first or second date who didn’t realise what day it was when they arranged it, the ones who are on the brink of divorce going through the motions, the ones who would rather be with their illicit lover and the ones who no longer have a word to say to each other, who silently trough and then go home and wait for death to them part.
In case it’s not already clear, I do not care for Valentine’s Day. I am currently in love and still think I’d rather lick my dog’s chew toy than sit looking coy as my boyfriend is forced to buy a manky rose for a fiver off a hawker.
The sausage thing has sealed the deal for me. I adore my man so much that the heart I had frozen against Valentine’s Day was starting to thaw – but this was a gimmick too far. Sausages look like poo at the best of times and to fashion one into a heart shape in the name of romance has got to be the best reason to give the big load of nonsense a swerve and go and buy something from Butch which you will actually enjoy.