Love is…

...more guinea-pig hunt­ing than Scar­let & Vi­o­let bou­quets in the Green house­hold

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It’s not all hearts and flow­ers in the Green house­hold this month


To T, Happy Valen­tine’s Day. Cheers, Nes. Which is up there with Al­pha Male’s wed­ding speech in which the sum to­tal of his ro­man­tic chat was, “Green knows I love her.”

Ob­vi­ously, I was look­ing for some choked-up talk of true de­vo­tion, maybe even a bit of I’m-the-luck­i­est-manin-the-world chat. I would have wel­comed a few silent (but strong) Obama-style tears trick­ling down his cheeks.

But no, Al­pha Male just moved on to thank his dad for com­ing... 29 years ago. Hmm.

At this time of year, the teenage ro­man­tic in me can’t help but have her ex­pec­ta­tions raised sky-high by all the scar­let hearts that dance around the shops and our screens.

It’s just when those ex­pec­ta­tions meet re­al­ity (let’s say a card from One Stop which has goo­gly eyes on it), that BAM, it’s re­la­tion­ship na­palm.

Oh, AM was ro­man­tic in the be­gin­ning. On our first Valen­tine’s Day he scaled the walls of my stu­dent house like a Milk Tray Man (Google it, mil­len­ni­als). I was hap­pily typ­ing up my dis­ser­ta­tion when sud­denly 16st of breath­less, di­shev­elled and, I sus­pect, slightly ine­bri­ated stu­dent tum­bled in through the win­dow. He be­came com­i­cally en­tan­gled in my Laura Ash­ley cur­tains à la Padding­ton Bear. Once un­rav­elled, it be­came clear his leg was bleed­ing from an in­jury sus­tained on the as­cent (leav­ing smears of blood on the wall that led to our even­tual loss of de­posit) and that the cho­co­lates were, well, squished. Still, ro­man­tic. Then there were the needy years, where I deemed a con­spic­u­ous dis­play of de­vo­tion val­i­da­tion of AM’S love. Once, Valen­tine’s Day fell on a Wed­nes­day, the same day as rugby train­ing. He booked a fancy res­tau­rant (score), so I as­sumed he’d for­gone prac­tice. Nope. We were the early-bird sit­ting. AM had ob­vi­ously briefed the wait­ers to race us through all the cour­ses at break­neck speed. We were on pud­ding by 6.59pm.


My friend Sophia was ex­cited when her boyfriend said he’d got her some­thing spe­cial (she was hop­ing for a di­a­mond soli­taire). Af­ter lead­ing her blind­folded to the bed­room, an­tic­i­pa­tion build­ing, she was proudly pre­sented with some Hal­fords hub­caps. And my friend P, who isn’t into the whole Valen­tine’s thing, nev­er­the­less de­cided to send her boyfriend some cakes to show will­ing. She didn’t re­ally read the de­tails and they ar­rived a this testos­terone­drenched work­place, in a Lit­tle Bo Pee p-type bas­ket with a big blue bow and her in­no­cent mes­sage: ‘Happy muf­fin munch­ing’. He had to slink back to his desk to hoots of barely con­cealed mirth from col­leagues. Now, I’m long enough in the in­cisors to re­alise Valen­tine’s Day has be­come less about true love and more about ways to make you buy stuff. I to­tally get that the dozen red roses you buy on the 13th and the 15th are twice the price on the 14th. But if AM doesn’t get them then, he’s never go­ing to buy them. My friend who stopped her boyfriend buy­ing over­priced blooms, say­ing she’d have them on an ‘un­valen­tine’s day’, is still wait­ing, 12 years later.

I can see that the daily to­kens of af­fec­tion are more im­por­tant than artisan cho­co­lates, yel­low di­a­monds or heart-sprin­kled cash­mere (though they’d be nice). And that brav­ing the un­der­growth in the dark to re­cap­ture a lost guinea pig is more pre­cious.

So, in re­turn, AM, I want to send you a heart­felt mes­sage on this spe­cial day…

Happy Valen­tine’s

Day. Kind re­gards, Green.

“The teenage ro­man­tic in me has her ex­pec­ta­tions raised sky-high”


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