Metro column 2

Richard Herring: St Skeletor's Day is the perfect Valentine's Day antidote
Do we really need a day for lovers, asks Richard Herring. IsnÂ’t every day their day? How about a day for all the lost souls

LetÂ’s raise a glass to Saint Valentine, the patron saint of making sad, lonely people feel like crap. Because itÂ’s not like thatÂ’s how they feel all the time. There has to be a special day to rub it in their faces.

My guess is that most saints weren’t that good with the opposite sex (God was quite strict about the whole same-sex thing in those days – but don’t judge Him, everyone was a bit homophobic back then): Saint Francis spent a suspicious amount of time with animals, Saint Nicholas’s friends were all children or elves and there just weren’t that many female saints around to hook up with. Saint Joan was a bit of a hottie but then she got a bit too hot and left a queue of disappointed holy men sadly polishing their halos.
But Valentine was cool and smooth, handing out flowers and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, forever surrounded by giggling floozies, who he kissed and canoodled with in public, flaunting his love in front of the other saints.

If there was one crumb of comfort for them it was surely that such a vain and vapid saint would never become famous. But St ValentineÂ’s Day is second only to Christmas in popularity and card sales. Valentine is coining it in, though sensible enough to not be more successful than the bossÂ’s son.
Val’s smugness imbues the day that has taken his name, which is fine if you’re the one with the desk with enough novelty balloons attached to create an unwanted sequel to Up (a film I would review in four words: ‘Up 2: No good’). But if you’re someone for whom romance has remained elusive for the rest of the year, then you don’t need your sexual unpopularity to be hammered home quite so vigorously. ‘All right, I get it, nobody loves me.’ Maybe you’d like to put it in writing? Or sky-writing! ‘Terry from Accounts doesn’t have a girlfriend’ – as if that wasn’t obvious already!

Do we need a day for lovers? Isn’t every day their day? How about a day for all the lost souls who don’t have anyone to love? I’ve long been campaigning (without much success – there’s a Facebook page with only six members) for February 15 to be declared St Skeletor’s Day and be devoted to the destruction of love. If anyone is seen even holding hands on this unholy day, you’re allowed to push them both in a puddle. Anyone who’s had sex this calendar year gets put in solitary confinement. If there’s someone you really hate you can send them an elaborate, expensive and anonymous card going into details of why you think they’re such a meatus.
But the real selling point is, if youÂ’re in a relationship that youÂ’re not happy about, on St SkeletorÂ’s Day youÂ’re allowed to just walk away from it, with no explanations, no repercussions, no reparations. Where do we sign up?

It’s ironic that I hate Valentine’s Day because I wouldn’t be here without it. In 1951 my mum sent a card to my dad and they’ve been with each other ever since. It would be the greatest romance of all time if the rhyme inside the card hadn’t read: ‘Come on over, do your stuff, I likes guys what treat me rough.’

ThatÂ’s a bit full on for 13-year-olds, isnÂ’t it? My parents presumably united by their mutual love of sadomasochistic sex. Happy 61st anniversary Keith and Babs. Just donÂ’t cuddle in public tomorrow. I canÂ’t be responsible for what might happen to you.

Richard Herring is currently touring Britain with his show What Is Love, Anyway?

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