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Is love in the air or is it the flu virus?

It is strange indeed that feelings over Valentine’s Day seem to vacillate between such extremes

Gulf News

A young woman in a red tank-top was reading a Valentine’s card and seemed lost in thought as I walked past her at the stationary aisle in the grocery store.

After a while, I went back and picked up a card from that rack and it had this message on it printed in a cursive script: “Even when we are far apart/ Distance can never change ...”, and the rest of the lines were all mushy, lovey-dovey and sighing about the pangs of separation.

Only when I read it did I realise that a month had already passed in the New Year and we were in February, which is a month of love and February 14 is Valentine’s Day — the Day which is said to be the second-most celebrated occasion around the world.

Though it is a very popular holiday after the New Year’s Day, unfortunately, Valentine’s Day is a working day across the globe and if you are planning to spend time with that precious someone in your life, it will have to be after working hours, as the corporate world does not believe in love and fresh air.

It is said that about a billion cards are sold around the world on Valentine’s Day. And according to the greeting cards industry, women purchase about 85 per cent of Valentine’s cards.

As I stopped at a traffic light on my way home with the groceries, I saw that a confectionary company was already trying to get people affectionate with its doughnuts shaped like hearts.

A poster on an electricity pole was enticing people that if you were buying for the guy, the sticky-sweet doughnuts were wrapped in red-coloured strips of sugar glazing, and for the gal, it is in glazed threads of pink and that there were a dozen ways to say that you liked him or her.

Since I never buy a dozen doughnuts at one time, I looked away from the advert and a voice on my car radio asked: “So, where are you taking her for dinner on Valentine’s”?

There is no way one can really avoid all this lovey-dovey business this month and when I was waiting for my doctor to be free at his clinic the next day, I picked up a magazine and saw that it was running a series about how people met in Dubai, fell in love and got hitched.

“We met at a party,” said one woman about the man who had an arm around her shoulders and was grinning sheepishly. “He seemed nice ...” blah, blah, but none of the love stories had that ‘wow’ factor that you see in movies.

That same magazine had a list of Hollywood movies which it said were the top-20 romantic movies of all times. There were some movies that I had liked, such as Officer and a Gentleman, Ghost, Dirty Dancing, but the Bridges of Madison County was missing — the movie where I cried my eyes out.

Once when I had listed movies which had moved me to tears, a colleague confided in me that her boyfriend had moist eyes when they were watching Finding Neverland. “Don’t tell him that I told you so,” she warned me.

For some reason, certain groups of people around the globe get all red in the face whenever Valentine’s Day comes around and go around smashing up gifts, with cute little hearts on them, tearing up cards and threatening lovers everywhere. The extreme reaction must be because of the incessant, maddening adverts.

Anne Landers, a columnist who advised women about love, summed it up in these words: “The poor wish to be rich, the rich wish to be happy, the single wish to be married and the married wish to be dead.”