Valentine’s Day Blues

It is far easier to write an article on Valentine’s Day retrospectively. The pangs of loneliness are now starting to fade and the melodramatic amount of alcohol I drank has passed through my system.

Blues Features Valentines Day


It is far easier to write an article on Valentine’s Day retrospectively. The pangs of loneliness are now starting to fade and the melodramatic amount of alcohol I drank has passed through my system.

Couples will have broken up, lonely hearts will have found companions on crowded dance floors and the world is much the same. The hype of Valentine’s Day is as nauseating as it is contagious, but it has vanished for yet another year.

As perceptive readers of The UCL Buzz, you will probably have realised by now that you are not about to read some mushy, optimistic and bohemian account of this romantic holiday. You’re at UCL not SOAS for God’s sake.

Love is no longer the naïve, magical affair of a Brontë novel; it’s (unfortunately) about being relentlessly enthusiastic and resilient in the face of rejection.

I feel a certain quote by the satirist Dorothy Parker may sum up the direction in which this article is going: “if love is blind why is lingerie so popular?”

I suppose you could say there is more than one kind of love that you can celebrate on Valentine’s Day; it doesn’t have to be about romance. My own Valentine’s Day antics, I can assure you, were completely without romantic agenda (mainly because I knew none of the girls I gave roses to would sleep with me). On this day Plato and Freud lock horns; Platonic and familial love does battle against the penis.

It is easy to see which of these you hold in higher regard. Compare the sensation of receiving a card from your mother to one from the attractive Brazilian girl on your course. You love your mother very much, yet in this circumstance a card from her only plunges the long sword of loneliness further into your empty heart.

The 14th of February can be a disastrous day for many. One sick person in my halls came up with the idea of an anonymous love notes box; the potential for both kindness and anarchy is limitless.

On the one hand you can tell a secret crush your burning desires. On the other, the potential for cruelty and deceit here is obvious. It reminds me of such cursed things as Little Gossip, the anonymous bullying website, and that stupid Honesty Box that used to be on your Facebook profile. The phrase “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” seems to elude people.

For those of us inhabiting that Bermuda Triangle known as singlehood, Valentine’s Day can be somewhat depressing. This year it was on a Tuesday which unfortunately meant that many a lonely heart spent the night in the dank pit that is the Roxy.

I can think of few more depressing places to be on such a day of romance and I doubt the dulcet tones of Flo Rida and Rihanna will have done much to change that.

That said, as a friend of mine pointed out to me, girls get weird when they are reminded they don’t have a boyfriend. Loneliness, alcohol and monotonous club beats could be exactly what is needed to find that girl of your dreams.

For the couples everything is a lot more tense. Valentine’s Day can be potentially the highlight of the romantic year, but also the deal breaker. You get to walk down the street holding hands, enjoying the jealous glares of single onlookers. You get to spend lots of money and not feel guilty about it because, to quote Bono, it’s “in the name of love.”

At the same time you’re not allowed to mess it up. I will never forget enjoying a drink in Venice the evening of Valentine’s Day and seeing a boisterous Italian couple erupt into a screaming match in the middle of the square.

A lot of hand gestures later, the woman was storming off towards the archway. Her partner, a rather overweight middle-aged man then proceeded to run after her and pour a bag of god knows what over her head. We soon worked out this was birdseed as thousands of pigeons descended on her almost immediately.

In short it seems like a stressful day. Couples have to worry about whether they will measure up to their other half’s standards. I (a renowned Casanova) was consulted for advice the other day on some earrings that seemed “too heavy for his girlfriend”.

This is the extent to which people in relationships fret. But it must be worth it because it is truly a case of “out of the frying pan and into the fire” if you decided your relationship is not worth the pressure. Singles are reminded of their own tragic loneliness all day and use unconventional means to resolve this.

Some will go to the Roxy and stick their tongue down a girl’s throat. Others, like myself, prefer more clichéd approaches. My technique is to buy a big bottle of Gordon’s Gin and listen to James Blunt on loop. Feel free to steal that one for next year.