STAND-UP COMEDIAN MAXINE JONES OFFERS AN ALTERNATIVE TO VALENTINE’S DAY
As Christmas cards make way for Valentine’s cards, the emphasis moves from having the ideal family to having an ideal partner.
This, more than ever, is the era of the individual. It is also an era where loneliness is endemic. Families are dispersed across the globe, separated by education, aspirations, perceptions. In the affluent West, the old village ties have long broken down. Neighbours are now mostly strangers.
The panacea to all this, the straw grasped at in the ocean of solitude? – a partner. A boyfriend or girlfriend who will make all the difference, who will recognise your worth - ‘We two shall be one.’
It’s a lot of pressure. All your emotional eggs in one basket. Culminating on February 14th in the purchase of a Valentine Card.
The restaurants are already considering their Valentine Specials, the rom-coms are ready for release.
But Valentine’s Day, like Christmas Day, perpetuates a fantasy, with as much validity as an emoticon. But we do it. And feel shame at being alone at Christmas or having no one to address a Valentine card to.
Branching out from our pockets of isolation, are the tentacles of the worldwide web, through which an increasing number of people are meeting their Valentines.
I’m of a generation that shudders at this thought, seeing it as reeking of desperation. Being so blatant about your expectations at the very point of contact seems to kill any of the thrill of the chase - those tentative first interactions tinged with tantalizing possibility.
My sons’ generation sees no such stigma and regularly uses Tinder. I’ve noticed in the comedy clubs where I ply my stand-up trade that when the MC asks couples in the audience how they met the answer is often ‘online’, with no attempt to evade this answer.
There is much more stigma attached to being on your own. When I attended comedy clubs more as an audience member than a performer I was picked on a couple of times by the MC for being on my own – mortifying.
The ‘natural’ way of meeting people, once you have left school and college behind, is the workplace. But shared workplaces are increasingly a thing of the past, with everyone doing their own thing in front of their own screen.
Social media cannot replicate the water cooler. Facebook and Twitter instead put us in a weird world where we share intimate thoughts and pictures with people we don’t know and where we are bombarded with enticements to buy into things – even if it’s just someone else’s ego.
And here comes my enticement to buy – even this blog entry cannot buck the trend.
On this Valentine’s Day, I shall be performing my stand-up show ‘Invisible Woman’ at Draiocht in Blanchardstown. And I won’t be asking who you came with and how you met!
Invisible Woman, Draiocht Blanchardstown, Sat 14 Feb, 8.15pm, Tickets: €12/€10