It probably won’t surprise you, boys and girls, to learn that I, Portia MacIntosh, am not a romantic person. And I’m not sure if this will surprise you or not, but I’ve never actually been single on Valentine’s Day as an adult… until this year.
Now, I’m not sure what’s worse: opting-in to Valentine’s Day and trying my hardest not to cringe my way through the mushy stuff, or being forced to opt out by my current single status, and having to put up with everyone else’s mush cascading down around me like a malfunction at a sewage treatment plant.
I know what you’re thinking: hold the flip up, Portia, aren’t you a romance writer? Well, yes, technically… but romance doesn’t have to be so… romancey. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those anti-love, party girls with a string of lovers (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just often struggle finding one person who finds this endearing on a long-term basis). Above all things I believe in love. Love is like oxygen, love is a many splendored thing, love lifts us up where we belong! All you need is love!
Yes to love, no to mush. But thanks to my genre, fellas who I do not meet through the music business (they think romance is like sci-fi) learn what I do and then assume I’m a dyed-in-the-wool romantic. That I want them to turn up outside my house, throw stones at my window, with a rose stuck up their butt, playing a love song through their tinny iPhone speaker as they recite that one scene from Romeo + Juliet that everyone is sort-of aware of enough to google, thinking it’ll hit the spot with any chick.
Look, I’m not against flowers and chocolates and jewellery (oh my!) – I think presents are awesome, and I love giving them as much as I do receiving them. I’m not against going out as a couple, but I don’t want to be in a dark corner, feeding each other oysters (ew!) while some dude reluctantly plays the violin at us, the whole time hating our guts and wishing he were at home with his wife. I don’t mind holding hands, in fact I have a terrible habit of holding on to the person I am with, no matter who they are. I’m not anti-PDA as such, but I’d feel less awkward frantically kissing against a wall than I would exchanging little pecks while we tell each other how much we want to have each other’s babies. Should anyone ever be stupid enough to ask me to marry them, then – if they’re expecting a yes – they best know better than to take me somewhere romantic and public, like popping the question on a bridge in Venice, because you better believe I will push that motherf-er in the damn canal.
Our genre does make people think, not only that we are romantics, but that the mushy, OTT romcom stuff is what all girls want, and while many do, many don’t. And it’s OK either way, but it makes for very hit-and-miss gestures.
When I wrote Bad Bridesmaid, I wanted to poke fun at this idea of OTT romcom romance. Mia, my leading lady, is not romantic at all, and yet she writes romcoms for a living – and she’s damn good at it, too. People often assume she’s a romantic but this couldn’t be further from the truth, but then she meets a handsome best man at a wedding – the ultimate cliché – and suddenly Prince Charming is right there in her lap… but what will she do with him?
So, if you’re allergic to V-Day, then go into hiding… until Feb 15, when you realise it really was just another day. If you have someone to love (at arms-length if you’re not into the romance) then V-Day is great, but just let us singles be bitter about it this year, OK?
Click here to buy Bad Bridesmaid from Amazon for £1.