Monday, 18 February 2013

St Valentine met a sticky ending...

...and when you look at what his commemorative festival has become, you can see why.

But actually Valentine's day this year had some sweet moments for me, despite the fact that lots of people here go in for cutesy and saccharine in a big way. I'm not just talking about teenage girls, who can be forgiven for it. From the middle of January, paper hearts and flowers start creeping over restaurant windows like a fungal infestation and an army of giant red teddy bears emerge from hibernation to hold court at card shops all over the city. One has even been stationed at a local flower shop, permanently straddling a motorbike in a slightly threatening way. You gotta problem punk?

Still, this coat of sickly sweet gloss masks an inclusive outpouring of goodwill. I walk into work and Om Abdullah, beaming, proudly wishes me a happy Valentine's Day, in English. On my desk is a red rose, the attached note simply addressed to "love"; Hanaa's small act of subterfuge to push me into the arms of a Prince Charming - a huge act of love itself.

Even the most hardened cynic would be worn down by message after message on Facebook wishing a happy day not only to the couples enjoying expensive restaurants and new underwear, but to friends and family - incorporating all the different kinds of love into this day which to many is so exclusive and alienating.

Until Prince Charming comes out of hibernation with the giant red bears, what else can you do?