Here in Australia when I was a kid, not so much was made of Valentine's Day as seems to be in the modern era or other parts of the global village.
We had no commercial radio, and the local ABC specialised in local sports, local weather and playing their one album they bought each year on the budget. One year it was Toto. That was a good year.
Our television viewing was snowy ABC or even more snowy local commercial television - we didn't watch a great deal of the local station coverage, so I am not sure how much VD was pumped.
I remember ONE time there was a big thing made of VD at school. We were learning about the mail system (heck, the local town ONLY HAD a post office) and the teacher thought it a good idea for us all to make Valentines and secretly send them to each other. Everyone dutifully made one Valentine, one girl got 27 and the rest of the school got nothing. It was an experiment that was discontinued due to mass depression and the fact that the most popular girl must have sent herself one rather than break anyone else's duck.
Being at a girls boarding school did not make Valentine's Day a happy experience for most. Too early in the year to form hookups with boys boarding schools, too many holiday breakups from last years hookups and the fact we were locked away - well away - from those few Valentinos who made the effort.
University - well, let me say the University years were marred somewhat by my despising about half of the human population because of the sins of one and militant feminism does not go hand in hand with the whole hoopla surrounding VD.
When I lived in Sydney and the fast-paced world of advertising, I was slightly diverted from my course of hating all men to let a few inside the barricades. Of course, I did chose them from a pool of those who were even less VD-savvy than I given their cultural background. That, and I made a point of holding relationship break-ups in the dying days of January to save anticipation and disappointment. (Okay, that wasn't the only reason, no doubt, but it makes a good story).
I did receive one present when I failed to break up in time from one of my paramours during those days.
Jerome (as usual, not his real name) was from one of the tiniest countries on the African continent, whittled by European deals at the end of various wars. Well, actually he was a refugee from one of the tiniest countries on the African continent, due to his father being an enemy of the tinpot dictator. He had been brought up by a travelling Catholic priest who apparently collected rich dissidents kids throughout Africa. He had lived all over the world holding a variety of names and jobs. He had an exciting story - but personally he was... I am trying to think of the right words. He wasn't flashy, he wasn't extroverted, he was a trained accountant who worked in a furniture factory because his qualifications weren't recognised. He was sweet.
Valentine's Day dawned on a Friday that year, and I awoke knowing we were going to see a great band together that night.
I knew I was highly unlikely to receive a card because - well, quite frankly the knowledge he had of the Saints was extreme but the whole love token thing? Also, I had shed my angry girl skin a bit, but buying in to the whole capitalist enterprise (despite me working in advertising) was not the burning desire of my existence.
So the day started at work with me not wanting anything, not anticipating anything and a good night with my boyfriend planned.
Throughout the day, girls at work received more and more elaborate offerings with the office going "ooh" and "ahh" and I - I hate to admit this - I cracked a little.
I started thinking "well, I don't want the whole shebang, but an acknowledgement would be fine".
I knew that he worked criminally long hours to get his pittance and so his access to shops and phones and such were rather limited, but I had worked myself up by the end of the day into a "he had better have done something" rage. (I may have had a hormonal coincidence going on.)
So by the time he was meant to be at my house, I was primed. By an hour later and he hadn't shown, I was pissed (in both the Aussie and American sense) and in full VD combat mode.
Then he showed up - with the cutest little teddy bear holding a little balloon that said "I wuv u" - awwww.
Yeah? Well, awww doesn't cut it with me when my head is full of steam.
I have to admit it now, but when I have a head of steam up and a boyfriend in the cross-hairs, I think it must be a pretty scary sight - it certain put the fear in a few. (V never gets me upset, of course)
He was late because he had to find this little thing for me, and that just made me madder still.
Now, believe me when I say I am very good at having an argument when I have had a bit of time to build some pressure, so poor Jerome was stunned by my assault. Poor beggar, he had only tried to do the right thing. He had no idea that there was NO RIGHT THING he could have done.
Going out to see a band. I cancelled that. Stay at home and have an argument, a much better use of time.
Then of course I started dinner, had a reconciliation with him, fell asleep and nearly burned the house down when the rice caught on fire.
So really, VD is not high on my radar to build anticipation.
Since that day, only 2 boyfriends have lived through the curse of VD with me.
P. - 'Salina's father - survived two. The first I expected nothing and he gave me that. The second I was expecting him to give me a break from looking after our beautiful baby - and I got the same present as the year before. There was no third.
Just as well, really.
And then there is V. V is very wise.
Today is the 15th. Our anniversary. A much better day to celebrate.