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I did once.

I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and thought people would be impressed.

It didn’t actually do me any good and I didn’t feel any better. But it did reveal a few things.

Firstly, how young men don’t care how much they lie about the receipt of Valentine’s cards. Secondly, how meaningless they actually are unless you happen to be in a meaningful relationship, in which case it’s like forgetting a birthday: you’re in deep trouble if you do, but get hardly any recognition if you don’t (unless the accompanying present is bank-balance nullifying). Thirdly, what a rip off it is – card manufacturers have promoted quite a few other such days – father’s and mother’s to name but two.

Another thing that my unsurprising card receipt actually revealed was just how pointless it was. It confirmed to me that I thought I was missing something (which I, of course was) but also that this was just a transient thing. Tomorrow I might not be, or might even discover that I would prefer to be. My celibacy was a mere photograph of the moment, not a condensed feature film of the whole of my life. That I happened to be without a loved one at a moment in my life when many are without a loved one is not unusual. But you do of course need to be able to realise this – I can now, more than forty years later; it was more difficult then.

But that, of course, is the whole thing about sending yourself a Valentine’s card. Other people knowing about it. Possibly even showing them the proof. Unlike sending someone else a card – then it’s them knowing about it, and knowing (or more precisely not knowing) who the sender was.

And of course it doesn’t help if the card you sent yourself arrives a day late.

As mine did.

Guest Author – Chris MacAdie

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