Having been bombarded with advertising in recent weeks telling us we should buy something special for our loved one on Valentine's Day, the pressure to take the advice is immense. To do otherwise and forget the occasion by not buying flowers, chocolates, jewellery or any of the recommended myriad of other gifts would be to ignore the societal expectations of doing what is normal.
For those of us who have observed the prices of traditional gifts of love rise dramatically with the approach of Valentine's Day - bunches of roses from $30 to $500 or more and the like - the temptation is to buck the trend. Words are free, after all, and a simple 'I love you', would serve the same purpose, right?
Such an argument may sound plausible to those in a long-term relationship, where many Valentine's Days have come and gone. Perhaps the romance that once burned bright has been dulled by time, or maybe the jewellery box is overflowing or the waistline a little too prominent for chocolates.
The matter may already have been discussed and it has been agreed that the money would be best put towards the children's college fund or a much-wished-for holiday in the Caribbean. Love and devotion are full-time matters, after all, not just for remembrance on a single day of the year.
But there are also those who have recently fallen in love, have rediscovered it, are eager for a new one or are simply true romantics. If ever there was an occasion to reveal genuine feelings, it is the day of love, which happens to fall today.
Having been smitten with the love bug, showering the chosen person with subliminal, verbal and material gifts of desire is the right thing to do. If it leads to a lasting relationship, it is worth the time, money and effort. If it does not, there are always other fish in the sea and as luck would have it, Valentine's Day comes around every year on February 14.
There are points for and against both sides of the argument. Yes, Valentine's Day has become overly commercial, but there are enough among us who benefit to believe that there is nothing wrong with such a trend. Besides, in a world where political, ethnic, religious and social hatred has become so prevalent, taking a day off to love one and all is a gesture that should be encouraged. With resolve, maybe it will take root and last a little longer than 24 hours.
With this in mind, love or hate Valentine's Day, the idea behind it should be embraced by everyone. We do not have to buy expensive gifts if we do not want to, nor should we fall prey to peer pressure. A charity can be loved as much as a person and the word 'love' can just as easily be substituted for 'appreciation' or 'friendship'.
But love is also a hunger, and if the seed is sown, anything is possible. Today is the occasion to reveal all.
Three Colours: Red