Did St Valentine deliver a card for you? If not, don’t despair. The day is used as a focus for many organisations to boost their campaigns and media coverage. Here is a selection of the more off-beat
Romantics like me always believed St Valentine’s day was about wining and dining. But those folk at the Family Planning Association know the truth – it’s all about coitus and not interuptus.
This year, to mark contraceptive awareness week, the FPA surveyed men’s attitudes with encouraging results: a startling 94 per cent of men believed contraception was the responsibility of both partners while more than a fifth of “new” men would wear a condom if the woman didn’t want to get pregnant.
FPA’s chief executive Julie Bentley gushes: “We can now say with confidence that men in the ‘noughties’ have very positive attitude towards contraception.” Noughty and nice. They also have a contraception quiz for new men including the fact that the ancient Egyptians used protectors – made of crocodile excrement.
But for those “old” lads out there, revenge may be swift. Marie Stopes International (MSI) is offering “Valentine Vasectomy as the ultimate romantic gesture”. MSI has produced a valentine’s card with the loving “I promise to book myself a Valentine Vasectomy” message plus a £50 voucher towards the operation if redeemed before 1 June.
“Offering to have a vasectomy is the ultimate way to demonstrate a man’s commitment to the partnership,” says the press release. Well that’s one way of getting the commitment to fade. And MSI is even throwing in the chance to win a romantic dinner for two worth £100 if the operation is booked before 1 May. At those prices, the offer is a snip (groan).
Remember those individuals who would send Valentine’s cards to the same person year after year in a forlorn pursuit of romance – only to be scorned. Well, Unison is learning all about unrequited love.
Last year, it sent a big red heart-shaped card to the government calling for it to remember low paid council employees. But its advances were ignored.
This year the union’s local government representatives delivered a great card to the House of Commons saying: “Roses are red, Violets are blue, but 2% just won’t do”. Sadly it looks like the union’s blandishments about improving public sector pay will be ignored, Gordon Brown is already in love – with the very rich.
Teenagers in love?
Spare a thought for lovelorn teenagers for St Valentine’s day brings only misery and low self-esteem. The charity 4Children found that 40 per cent of teens received no cards last year, and 60 per cent said they felt unloved and unattractive at this time of year (that includes those who did receive cards, no pleasing some).
Meanwhile 45 per cent of all young people surveyed said they were concerned about love and relationships, the biggest topic for worry. Suddenly, young people seem to have an awful lot in common with social workers and Community Care journalists.
Lads get the sharp end again with For My Girlfriend. The young driver safety campaign has launched its tasteful Valentine’s Day initiative with two messages: “The worst way for a relationship to end?”, which is not about a botched vasectomy but “shows a photo of a girl in a body bag”. While, what appears to be a warning to the jealous “If you don’t want to see this many blokes around your girl”, has a picture of a girl in a crashed car attempting to be freed by firefighters and paramedics with the added instruction “take responsibility when driving”.
All good advice but hardly the topic of conversation over a candle lit dinner for two.