To my beautiful wife, It comes around once every February 14th and yet the day sneaks up on me like a violent heart attack, often with similar results. It begins when you start asking questions out of the blue, just little things here and there that tease my curiosity. Enquiring about certain favourites of mine whilst trying to hide your calculating face. Before long you drop the bombshell with a question about movies that completely grabs my attention.

Movie talk is a topic that completely flies over your head and is often met with a look that tells me “We’re not having sex tonight,” Much like the times I mention Pokémon or my dad dancing turns into some awkward twerking, one wrecking ball away from an identity crisis. When you approach the subject of movies it can only mean one thing, you are looking for gift ideas, which is as subtle as Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes. With my birthday a couple of months away yet, I am left with the daunting reality that Valentine’s day is fast approaching.

Born in the land of consumerism you embrace every holiday like a loved member of the family, with hugs and kissed and joyous laughter. While I greet them like a member of mine, by pretending they don’t exist. Come mid January you are in full planning mode, you’ve asked me to book the day off from work and you’ve set things in motion. When I arrive unexpectedly home from work one day you greet me suspiciously, as if I almost caught you in the act of something terrible. I’d suspect you of concealing another man, yet one look over your shoulder at the arts and crafts strewn about the room puts my mind at ease. Unless the guy ejaculates glitter, I have nothing to worry about. This does however, throw more concern my way. You are, by your own admission, less artistic than our two year old, so to see you throwing such caution to the wind shows me just how much effort is being put into this Valentine’s day. As the years have gone by, I have always been one for the personal touch for anniversaries and the like, which take me a year of planning and other to put into production. It seems though, that you are going to play me at my own game. I don’t stand a chance.

Come the first of February my fears are confirmed. You have designed a “14 days of Valentine’s” A sentimental gift for each day leading up to the celebration itself. I’m taken by surprise and realise I’m in way over my head, how do I compete when I still don’t know what is to come. Frantically searching my mind palace for any ideas I can put into motion in time, I am left almost empty handed. It is then as I begin to write about my predicament that the cogs begin to turn. Having little time on my hands of which to prepare a personal gift, I decide what better personal gift to receive that one etched in stone, or in this case the internet.

I should have known from our first Valentine’s day together, just what I was getting myself into. You had presented me with a box filled with what can only be described as a diabetics worst nightmare, never before had I seen so much pink in one little brown package. In fact I could blame you for my stereotypical British teeth. You had inundated me with all manner of sugary goodness and little mementos from our past visit together. It was a box filled with love and affection, sealed with a kiss.

I got you a card..

It was a nice card though, in the sense of “nice” being a word reserved for something that stirs absolutely no emotion. And so I believe every Valentine’s day has gone a similar way since.

The idea of having a set day where everybody publicly declares their undying love for one another, I won’t lie, does make me feel ever so violently sick. And as you have queried my lack of interest over the years, I have slowly seen you die a little inside, yet you never give up hope and continue to put in the effort. I’ve always been one to show you I care at a moment of my own choosing, however, perhaps I can give this year a go, fifth time is the charm and all.

You often say it’s hard to love me sometimes. Usually these times involve me not listening when you talk, as one word can set me off into loudly singing a song from Grease at the top of my lungs. Just the simplest word can be my trigger, and just like the average US high school student, I’m firing away. We’ll be having a normal conversation before I begin asking you if you like Pina Colada’s and getting caught in the rain, and sometimes, just sometimes, I will give you a detailed account of exactly what the fox says. I’m all about that bass.

Not listening to you fills you with contempt. Contempt that subjects me to silent treatments of varying duration, while our daughter, Ava, tells me to go to my room. Yet you still put up with me, showing larger displays of affection at that. You’d think I would learn my lesson by now, instead I’ve just learned a few tricks, cheap tricks at that. I shimmy closer and closer, avoiding or absorbing any violent outbursts, until I can wrap my arms around you and tickle you into some kind of submission. Laughter has always been a weak spot that I’ve exploited to its full potential.

Laughter has always connected us and brought us together, whether we’re goofing around or making fun at each other’s expense. “But you know what, but the same token,” We love nothing more than enjoying our own personal in-jokes and laughing about others too. Just as laughter and affection are the ways to your heart, humour and cake are the ways to mine, luckily for me, you have those two in abundance. After all, Nicki Minaj knows what’s up “My Anaconda don’t want none unless you’ve got iced buns,” As I believe the lyrics go.

So here it falls to me to show the affection that won your heart, it is what a Valentine calls for after all. You may find this hard to believe, given the stud you wake up to every morning, (your words not mine… okay, my words) but I had never received a Valentine’s card before I met you. It came as a shock then, when you had inundated me with all that you could. You have always strived to make a special day exactly that. You’re always so full of love and come these occasions you’re just bursting to show it, like someone who hasn’t mentioned they’re vegan for a whole ten minutes. All this, despite me driving you up the wall at every turn.

Your big heart has always fascinated me. As much as I fail to listen to you, I always hear you in my mind. In the days where we used to write to one another as our main form of contact, I would read everything in your voice,  imagining your facial expressions as you said every little word, the way your smile has subtle changes with every story you tell. To this day we both have all the letters we ever wrote to one another, nestled cosily in our cluttered chest full of memories.

If I regard Valentine’s day as a competition, logic would dictate that I’d be going above and beyond to make the biggest display of affection. Being as competitive as I am, whenever we play a game with one another, I am never happy until I’ve pummelled you into the ground with no  remorse. Which is what love is all about, right? Winning Is my addiction, like burgers were to Elvis or children were to Michael Jackson. Forgive the cliche, but if love is a competition, I’ve already won! However, in this case I believe it truly is all about how you play the game.

So, Shannon. I want you to know that you are the Amy to my Sheldon, I may consider myself a gift to the universe, but you were the universe’s gift to me.

You are the Heroin to my MaCaulay Culkin, I’d give up absolutely everything for you. Fame, fortune, self respect, you name it.

You are The Oscar to my Leonardo DiCaprio, even if you ignored me for twenty years, I’d still get mauled by a bear for you, if only for a moment’s recognition.

Above all else, you are the Kim Kardashian to my Kanye West. I may talk complete waffle about anything and everything and I may not be worth spit in a lot of people’s eyes. I dress funny, I look funny and most of the time I think funny, yet somehow you love me for who I am, despite it all. What I’m trying to say is, not only do you have a nice butt, I love you for everything you are too.

It’s on this Valentine’s day that I hope you feel as loved as I do, whatever the day should hold for us. Should we merely enjoy the company of one another, or should I take my girls for a Valentine’s lunch, where just by mere coincidence, the Arsenal game may be shown. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Happy Valentine’s day