Whilst Valentine’s Day can send some men into a state of blind panic usually manifesting itself in some truly awful gift choices, I am a convicted diehard or at least try hard romantic. My notion of what romance is has changed somewhat through the years and I thought I would take you on a nostalgic trip down romance lane.
My first ‘love’ was a girl I met at playgroup, I was 4 but she had me at “do you want a ride on my space hopper”. I would ask Space Hopper Girl every single day if she loved me and every single day she said yes. One day out of nowhere she said “no”, my little world imploded, I absorbed the information slowly and then flew into a wild rage kicking her stupid space hopper with all my might.
My next dabble with matters of the heart was when I was nine. With Valentine’s Day on the horizon I saved like I had never saved before, marching into the newsagents I threw my money on the counter and demanded the biggest box of chocolates they had. The cashier although no doubt impressed by my cavalier approach informed me I was some way short of the biggest box but perhaps she might like this small to medium sized box? I slipped the chocolates into the girl’s satchel, scribbling something suitably obscure about roses and violets on a card and waited for cupid to do his thing. Unfortunately my message was so obscure that the girl thought my best friend James had written it and he wasn’t about to deny it. I never spoke to James again.
After a romantic encounter with a girl I went out with for 2 weeks but never actually spoke to, we stayed on opposing ends of the playground too scared to take that next step of actually speaking, I decided that my heart could take no more. Instead I put all my attention into balls; soccer balls, tennis balls, basketballs and occasionally ping pong balls. Whilst those around me were slow dancing at discos to Wet Wet Wet ballads, I preferred to skid around on the floor like a maniac; surely girls wouldn’t be able to resist my skidding prowess I thought. It’s fair to say I was romantically naive. One particularly bold girl once asked if I was a virgin, to which I replied no I am a Taurus, I wasn’t quick witted enough for it to have been a joke.
But you can’t keep a diehard romantic down for long and as I moved into my teenage years I raised my game to epic proportions. Love letters were sprayed with my dad’s cologne and sealed with a kiss, jewellery was handed over (always heart shaped and always gold, in colour at least), marriage proposals were meticulously planned, I may even allegedly have recorded myself singing something slushy and posted the tape to its intended target but that is purely speculation and I couldn’t possibly confirm that it happened. As I set about pushing the parameters of the word nice, I watched in horror as girls fell at the feet of the boys that treated them not very nicely.
By the time underage discos became appealing romance for me was best expressed by the length of the kiss. All of my kissing advice came from my Dad, I was terrified that I might accidentally suffocate someone if I did it wrong, luckily my Dad was on hand with some pearls of wisdom. I once kissed a girl for about 40 minutes without coming up for air; I must have really loved her, the next day it hurt to talk because my jaw had been locked open for so long. Thanks Dad.
My University Years were all about combining ‘romance’ with alcohol. One particularly ‘romantic’ encounter earned me the nickname “Bath Candles”, a nickname that sticks to this day in some quarters, after I attempted to woo a lass with a candle lit bath and nearly burnt the house down.
In my final year of university I met my wife. After our first date I said one of the most romantic (and cool) things I have ever said to anyone in my life, I looked into her eyes and said “I’m going to have to insist that we do that again” – and we did and we still do.
Romance now is about making Anna feel like the most important person in the world. It’s about tracking down that little something I have noticed her eyeing up in a shop. It’s about taking her to that restaurant she always thinks is out of our budget. It’s about saying the things she wants to hear and meaning them. After a shaky start I now consider myself romantically grown up.
This year my Valentine’s Day Flowers have been taken care of by the lovely folk at Roses Only. In exchange for delving into my romantic closet, and what a closet it is, they are sending me and Anna out for a beautiful meal; throwing in a baby sitter and an obscene amount of roses to boot. Remember chaps garage flowers don’t count!