Valentines Day… love and manners…at all ages….

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day…a day of sentimental songs on the radio, ghastly rom-coms on the TV, overpriced red roses, overcrowded restaurants, declarations of love - many which will soon be retracted - and heartbroken singles. What does it all mean? These days, I think mostly commercialism. It’s not so relevant apparently in non Anglo countries – in fact, it’s a very American “thing” which has only been introduced into Australia, like Halloween, in the last 20 years or so.

But I did send a sort of Valentine’s Day card to my beloved… it was in fact a postcard from one of our trips away together…and in it I said how fortunate we were that we didn’t have to celebrate our love on just one day…that it is a daily occurrence for us. And we live in a long distance relationship; he in Switzerland and me here in Australia.  With us being in our 50’s, it’s unconventional but it’s ours; encompassing in it mutual empathy with our periods of loneliness during the separations and exhilaration when we meet.

Some of my friends are still in their original marriages. I am not, obviously, but I remain close to my children’s father and cherish our relationship. At my age, I see many partnerships dissolving after 20 or more years as people move on with their lives. Is this a good or a bad thing? Who knows, and who is anyone to judge but those involved: partners, children and family? And some of my friends have been widowed and are dipping their toes with trepidation into the pool of dating after so many years with a partner.

Love has many guises.

Last year on February 14 I was in Sydney visiting my daughter and her partner. The three of us went to a special lunch at one of Sydney’s loveliest, harbourside restaurants…yes, we did illicit a few glances on Valentine’s Day, the obvious lovers and the “other, older woman” – perhaps a mother, or mother in law! But when I looked around the restaurant, I realised that we were just one table of diverse diners. There were tables of gay and lesbian couples, older men with very much younger women, and older women with young men, obviously not their sons, and elderly 80ísh couples still gazing into each other’s eyes with known and familiar love.

I am giving a television interview later this month on the subject of courtship and marriage in this day and age. What a wide subject! The weekend papers have been filled with articles about internet dating, casual sexting as an alternative to the face to face kind of dating interaction, chat room love affairs and more.

But for me, call me old-fashioned, there is nothing more loving than a glance across a room at someone who knows and loves you...words just aren’t necessary.


  1. When I was younger, I used to enjoy Valentine and insisted on celebrating it. Today, just spending time with my friend whenever we have the occasion, feels like Valentine to me. I wonder if he will bring me flowers when he comes over tomorrow. Cheeky me!

  2. Yes, shared moments together with one's special someone are precious. I hope you did get some flowers Martine!


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