I must confess I’ve always felt somewhat half-hearted about celebrating St Valentine’s Day. Nothing against love or romance, you understand. It’s just that the whole thing seems a tad suspect. Like one of those fake anniversaries people keep inventing – Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and the more recent Secretary’s Day, for example – ostensibly in all sincerity, but actually for the purpose of stimulating us suckers into orgies of spending.
So this year I decided to settle the question for once and for all, beginning with a check on whether there was ever a saint named Valentine. An early Christian florist, perhaps, torn to pieces by a mob of women enraged by his refusal to divulge the names of guys who’d sent them bunches of flowers with anonymous love-notes attached.