The Blind Spot: Alternative Valentine’s Day presents

In love, as in life, it pays to bowl the odd googly now and again...

I received an email earlier this week from an old school friend. He wanted to know what to buy his fiancee for Valentine’s day. The usual cast of roses, Louboutins and De Beers vouchers had grown stale for this particular childhood pal, who always did have more money than sense (and certainly more supercars than your average nine year old — I believe his father was something of an arms dealer back when that type of thing was okay: wore a flak jacket and an earpiece on the Colts C boundary; donated a ballistic missile to the Science Department; that sort of thing)

Instead, my friend (whose name I withhold for fear of reprisals beyond the law) wanted to impress his new fiancee (the old one had very very sadly gone missing) with something ‘a little bit outside of the box’. An excellent brief, I hope you’ll agree, and one with implications far beyond just the robber baron class. Some suggestions below.

Instead of a box chocolates…

…why not sign her up for a charity boxing match? It’s an excellent way for her to keep in shape, and a perfect opportunity for you and your friends to place bets on which Downe House girl will get her teeth knocked out first. Suggested charities: Sweat for Sweatshops, a scheme that encourages people to do an hour of sponsored bikram yoga while thinking about kids operating heavy machinery; Polo 4 Polio, a new charity that takes terminally ill African children to Cowdray.

Instead of cooking her a candlelit meal…

…why not eat in the dark? There’s nothing quite as sensual as not seeing each other for several hours at a time, and all food tastes better when you’re picking it out of your Loro Piana cardigan. And with the right voice actor, you don’t even have to be there — just give them a few stock phrases (‘well you smell lovely’/ ‘your eyes are like pits of enveloping darkness’/ ‘it’s not about my mother, why do you always bring my mother into it?’) and off you go!

Instead of writing her a card…

…why not write her a poem? Something impenetrable, abstract and short often works well, and don’t bother with any punctuation or prepositions or capital letters — those are largely patriarchal constructs, anyway. With all that blank space on the page, she’ll be able to project onto the poem all the feelings her father never projected on to her, only with added Instagrammability. If you’re short of time, just borrow this one:

” we met like fire hydrants / in the / street.  / it was raining / but I was the one / ablaze”

Instead of giving her flowers…

…why not investigate her family tree? Nothing says ‘I love you’ quite like unearthing a couple of her father’s prettier love children, or tracing her lineage back to the German lowlands. For extra Brownie points: dispute her Grandmother’s last will and testament based on an ancient quirk of Austrian property law. By the end of the night, you might get a kiss and the St Anton pad.

Instead of buying her an Italian handbag…

...why not buy her an Italian passport? Super, super useful post-Brexit, and they’re going quite cheap at the moment, what with all that sovereign debt. Remember: citizenship is the new courtship, and you can’t spell ‘I Love You’ without E.U.

Now, why not find out how to get along with her father?

Further Reading