Every year when this holiday rolls around I cringe. The shops become full of Valentines items and everybody’s talk turns to what ‘romantic’ things they will be doing with their boy/girlfriend.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for romantic things. I may sound like an old spinster living with cats; but trust me I’m not. I just dislike the way this day puts so much pressure on having to have an extremely ‘romantic’ day – which is a recipe for a let-down – even though there are 364 other days in the year to do this!
This year, instead of hiding out and pretending the day didn’t exist (Bridget Jones style), I decided that I was going to do something with my friends and face it head on. I know that my friends will always be there for me no matter what, and there would be no pressure to have a ‘romantic’ day.
The question of what to do was a difficult one – we obviously don’t want to do anything too Valentine’s Day-ish… Waking up to a bright, sunny day, we agreed it was the perfect opportunity to explore the surrounding Southampton area. A friend had mentioned how beautiful Bournemouth Beach was, so we decided to head there for this special day (hoping there weren’t too many couples on ‘romantic’ walks!). It was a short 40 minute train ride away from Southampton and cost a mere £7.45 return (so manageable on the student budget).
After disembarking at Bournemouth, it was a quick walk towards the sea. The excitement was mounting, as the sea started to come into view. We are all beach lovers and have many happy memories of being at the beach as children with love ones; so it was the perfect choice for this day! Soon we were at the cliff top, in awe of the spectacular views along the coast line, but we really wanted to get down to the sand. Winding our way down the cliff path, we soon arrived at the beach and walked along it towards the pier.
Soon, our tummies were starting to rumble; so we dodged into the famous Harry Ramsden’s. With fish and chips in hand, we perched on the beach laughing and chatting together. Then we continued walking along, jumping over groynes, investigating the treasures to be found and dodging all the love hearts with couples’ names inside. Further along the beach, someone had written ‘freedom’ in large letters. I particularly liked this, as for me it symbolised the spontaneity and naturalness that comes with a relationship, and not the pressure associated with Valentine’s Day.
As the sun started to set my friends and I stood on the pier, watching it disappear over the horizon. It was the perfect end, to a perfect day, without the social pressure for it to be a forced ‘romantic’ day with someone. There are 364 other days in the year to enjoy a romantic sunset!