I’m not a woman who professes to hate Valentine’s Day. But, by the same token, nor am I one of those women who goes gooey over the occasion, seeing it as the perfect opportunity to tell a man I’m with how much I adore him. It’s just not a day that particularly resonates with me. I’m more a ‘bunch of tulips on a Wednesday, just because’, or a ‘here’s a little note left on the kitchen side, just because’ kinda gal.
Because, let’s be honest: if all the romance in your relationship comes on one day of the year, and one on which you can’t possibly fail to miss the whacking great big hearts stuck up in shop windows across the nation and pubs yelling about their extra-romantic bargain £10 dinners for two, then there’s probably not so much adoration to be celebrated.
And if anyone needs a reminder that Valentine’s Day actually isn’t the most romantic day in the year, they need merely to look in the direction of the PR industry to give them a short, sharp reminder.
For those of us with clients who can legitimately be said to have products suited to the occasion, Valentine’s Day isn’t just 24 hours in February: we’ve been thinking about and drafting and writing and issuing releases to the monthly titles with three-month lead times since about October. Trust me: it gets old, and quickly.
But apparently, some people are so keen to spend months thinking about the perfect gift for their loved one that they want in on the act.
Anyone following the Daily Telegraph’s consumer affairs editor, Harry Wallop, on Twitter over the past couple of weeks probably won’t have failed to notice the slew of disparaging tweets about terrible releases he was receiving from PRs trying to get their clients a little Valentine’s coverage. And, much as it irritates me to see journos being irrationally irascible about PRs, in this case, I think he had at least one point.
Apparently, according to our esteemed industry, perfect presents for the special someone in your life this year include:
Taps (no, really)
Equine insurance [“Huh. That’d be quite a good present,” Best Mate said, when I told her. “It’s pretty pricey these days.”]
And the most squirm-inducing, penazzles. (If you don’t know what it is, for the love of all that’s wholesome, don’t Google image it. Oh, and boys? Even as a joke? NO. They're not meant to be sparkly. Gods above.)
It probably says something that when @fwengebola jokingly told me there was a place in Kilburn where you could get heart-shaped kebabs, I wholeheartedly believed him. Shudder.
So, whether you’re bemoaning the lack of Special Someone in your life to spoil this Valentine’s Day or you’re irritated that they didn’t sweep you off your feet, it’s probably best to thank your lucky stars you didn’t receive a hot tap and a heart-shaped cucumber, and remember that it won’t be back again for another year. Unless you’re in PR. In which case, you’ve only got yourself to blame.
Updated: this is a particularly excellent example. Cyncial b’stards.