Posted on 2005/02/15 09:46:20 (February 2005).
[Monday 14th February]
To be honest I generally despise Valentine's Day. For a start, as if often pointed out, it's meaning has been twisted from the business of anonymous cards and secret admirers to a day when you have to follow a predetermined pattern of being forcibly romantic with your other half. Then of course there's the commercial side - yet another excuse for card sellers and the like to make money The other thing that really irritates me is the competition element of it. I'm convinced the actual main event is the day after, when women get together and gossip about what their man did or didn't do for them... and then secret league tables are drawn up, and you get dirty looks in the street from unknown women ever after if you didn't put in the prequisite amount of effort to get a pass grade. This competition factor is particularly accute if you go out for a meal on Valentine's Day - what you basically have is a collection of couples spending the whole night discretely observing each other in a restaurant, trying to reassure themselves that their relationship is less disfunctional than the others. Restaurants really ought to hire a pair of actors to sit in slience at a table in the middle, and occasionally stare frostily at each other, to put everyone else at their ease.
Anyway, all of that said, it is of course impossible to declare to your girlfriend/fiance/wife/whatever that you're just not going to do Valentine's Day this year. Luckily Chie is pretty against eating out on Valentine's Day too, more for financial reasons - she gets really annoyed that a lot of places basically serve the same old shit but for more money than usual (because men don't want to look mean in front of their dining partner, and so would pay the bill regardless of how much they hiked the prices up). Besides, without wanting to sound arrogant (but I'm going to) it is rare these days that we eat out and I think I couldn't do it better myself.
So, I decided I would cook for Chie, and luckily as she went to the gym after work I had plenty of time to cook, tidy up and even decorate the flat a bit. I made the front room look like a sort of bistro, by re-arranging and removing bits of furniture, doing a UKTV Style-esque job with creative lighting and I even put up a few balloons. I put quite a bit of effort into the meal, and have to say I was rather pleased with it. We started with french onion soup with a big cheese topped crouton, lasagne for the main course, and then a chocolate cheesecake for dessert. This was accompanied by a bottle of rose champagne which was rather nice. All in all a very nice evening, whilst skillfully managing to avoid all the usual hatefulness of Valentine's Day.
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