Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Happy Valentine's.... Or Galentine's ... Or Palentine's Day!

So it's Valentine's Day today... A time when all romance writers attempt to pimp their books a little bit more, because come on, what's more romantic novelist friendly than a day devoted to romance?

But the thing about Valentine's Day is, it can be a bit of a turn off for some people... And here are some of the reasons why:

Strawberries of Love from Lidl
1) It can be a little tiny bit over-commercialised (book-pimping notwithstanding) - a way to guilt people into spending money to prove they care about their other half when the truth is, if you love someone you show it every day in ways that are much more important than a card, or flowers or a heart-shaped box of choccies (or strawberries!). In my house this would include giving one of my sons a lift to his job when he's overslept, or agreeing to sample yet another Scandi crime drama with my DH because he loves them ... ie: it's the little things that count.

2) Depending on how you interpret it, V-Day can be alienating...  A smug fest for the happily joined up which makes single people feel as if they're missing out, when the fact is there's nothing wrong with being single. I was single for  years after university and it's a time in my life I look back on with quite a bit of envy occasionally. And being single is certainly better than being in a crap relationship – and I'm sure we've all had a few of those!

3) It can romanticize relationships when the reality is most relationships, certainly if they are going to last, can be bloody hard work (something any romance novel with tell you by the way, contrary to popular misconceptions about the genre....)

That said, me and my DH are still using tonight as a great excuse to have a slap-up meal at a local restaurant to smugly celebrate our love (and probably natter non-stop about the latest Scandi crime dramas!) But if you're feeling excluded from Valentine's Day... For whatever reason.... There are lots of other ways to celebrate...

Why not celebrate a belated Galentine's Day for example - the day for Gal Pals to celebrate their platonic lady-friendships enshrined by Amy Poehler's fabulous Leslie Knope (if you're not hooked on Parks and Recreation, btw, you should be).

As I'm a glutton for social interaction and any excuse to hang out with my Gal Pals is always welcome, I celebrated Galentine's Day a little early, this weekend, with my best writing pal Abby Green. This involved spending an afternoon watching Ireland slaughter Italy in the Rugby Six Nations, then a wonderful meal at a gastro pub in Islington then sharing a sofa (and a bottle of vino) at the Screen on the Green (my local deluxe cinema) for a screening of Fifty Shades Darker - the ultimate guilty pleasure for gal pals the world over IMHO.

50 Shades of Friendship!
Of course, if you have gender-neutral friendships (because sorry Harry, but girls and guys can be friends without sex getting in the way, sometimes!) I'm sure Leslie wouldn't mind if you celebrated those friendships with Palentine's Day... My new variation on Galentine's Day...

Ah, the possibilities are endless... Because the truth is that celebrating love - in all its many forms - should be inclusive and diverse and should never go out of fashion. And actually, you don't need to have a day for it, or even a name for it... Just go for it. Every day.

PS: And if you want to buy my newly revamped Valentine's novella - Sleepless in London - while you're at it, I wouldn't mind a bit!

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