This Valentine’s Day, the girls in the Finally Famous Book Club give serious consideration to love in its various forms. Hooley Dooley.
What’s love got to do with it? Got to do with it? Let’s ponder that question. History, literature and especially telly (our favourite medium) are dripping with gossip and stories about long-lost, unrequited and lovey dovey love. When lovey dovey fades we need to face the harsh reality of life when it comes to the issue of romance. Let’s face it, it’s not always what it’s cracked up to be.
While our most romantic St Valentine’s Days may be behind us (Janet’s hoping they’re ahead of her), just thinking about 14 February has made us want to examine lovey dovey love and our favourite famous couples.
As Babs is away holidaying in the south of France with her (presumably) valentine – yes, we can’t believe it either, we’re green with envy – we invited a guest writer, Jack (Neen’s hubby of 21 years – “are you sure it’s 21 years, Neen?” he asked, a puzzled expression on his face) to join us. Jack wanted to know:
“What does St Valentine’s Day mean?”
Neen scrunched up her face and said, “I don’t get the question. Why don’t you know the answer to that?”
“Here it is,” he Googled triumphantly, “it’s a card sent, often anonymously, to someone you fancy.”
“Well, where’s my valentine?” Neen responded. (Can you feel her pain?)
Jack confidently replied, “I clearly remember sending a card last year.”
“I never got it, it must be lost in the post,” Neen remarked.
“Well, I never said I sent it to you!” Prick!
Sandra quickly puts up Romeo and Juliet, the greatest love story of all ending in the greatest tragedy. Well, Romeo was clearly a romantic and would have been right into St Valentine’s Day. A fat lot of good that did Juliet!
Uh oh! Janet’s channeling Colin Firth again as Mr Darcy, making the astute comment that in the case of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth, the rocky part of their story was at the beginning, which as we all know, so beautifully turned into love.
Many loved-up couples have complicated relationships and no matter how hard we try, the rest of us can’t work out what the attraction is. None more so than the Stephenses, Darren and Samantha, that weird couple from Bewitched. Weeeellllllll! “I’m with Endora,” piped in Neen. “Derwood was a dumbo! How dare he make her do the vacuuming when she could’ve just wiggled her nose to get a clean lounge room! I could write a whole article just on the frustrations of watching that chauvinist mortal insist that the gorgeous Sam (who could have had anyone, what did she see in him?) do all the housework and make his dinner the boring way. I would have poisoned him! As for Tabitha up in her room, call child protection!”
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What about when love goes wrong? Who comes to mind when you think of that? Charles and Di, Bonnie and Clyde, Jen and Brad, Brad and Ange (there’s a common denominator there), Barbie and Ken (we believe they split up), Heathcliff and Cathy were all victims of tragic love affairs. Well perhaps not Barbie and Ken, in their case it was a plastic love affair, nothing real about it at all.
Once again turning to television, we found ourselves asking what could have been if only some of our favourite series hadn’t been axed! Maybe Ginger and the Skipper would have shacked up in a new hut and spent their days eating coconut cream pie; the Professor and Maryanne would’ve made a nice couple, wouldn’t they?
But wait – Sandra is quite adamant that it would have been the Skipper and Maryanne, or perhaps Gilligan and Skipper (they were pretty chummy) and Ginger and the Professor (“I always fancied him,” Sandra sighed. “He was so resourceful, he could make a bamboo dishwasher; funny how he wasn’t able to build a boat”).
Paul and Linda, Bert and Patti, Hugh and Debra, John and Yoko, Claire and Jamie, King Edward and Mrs Simpson, Elton and David, Niles and Daphne are all examples of wonderful lasting lovey dovey relationships and possibly couples who would have been eager participants on St Valentine’s Day, boosting the economy while simultaneously spending precious moments with one another. (And yes, we know two of those couples are fictional, but we wanted to present hard evidence that we do actually read books, at least Diana Gabaldon’s.)
In years gone by we all loved looking up the Valentines wishes in the newspaper, pretending that any namesakes were us and dreaming of secret valentines and dreamy romance.
When we asked Jack his thoughts on his greatest love, he mumbled something ridiculous about golf. Hence his departure from our discussion. Jack, you’re out. And don’t forget the flowers on the 14th.
So who really benefits from St Valentine’s Day anyway? Interestingly, the abbreviation “VD” gives us more insight into some of the harsher realities. Yes, we know it’s called STIs now, but it’s hard to go past the much more colourful VD. The main beneficiaries of this day are of course florists, Cadbury’s, top restaurants and in our case probably the local RSL. And don’t forget Bunnings. Think of all those love locks being secured by love-struck couples causing structural damage to bridges around the world.
Do we benefit? Do we get anything out of it? Personally we think not! Get your acts together fellas. Or maybe we should take the lead. At least we’d get something nice. In years gone by we all loved looking up the Valentines wishes in the newspaper, pretending that any namesakes were us and dreaming of secret valentines and dreamy romance. We suppose it’s dwindled away a bit over the years but it’s certainly not lost.
So this year our advice is to make sure you take the opportunity to tell someone you love them, send someone a nice note or make a romantic gesture. It’s not about how much you spend, it’s the thought that counts; that’s what our mothers always told us and that’s what we tell our kids.
Even better, you could even get out a copy of Love Actually and moon over that. In a previous article, we did recommend that you avoid this film at all costs, but on St Valentine’s Day, anything schmaltzy is fine by us.