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Lisa Byrne - why I’m a romantic at heart who loathes the commercialism of Valentine’s Day

PUBLISHED: 09:06 13 February 2017

Lisa Byrne

Lisa Byrne


Everyday should be Valentine’s Day in a loving relationship

Try not to choke on your Valentine’s chocolate selection box, but apparently chivalry is not dead - it is alive and thriving in our county. Yes, really! And many of our men show their love in old fashioned ways such as writing a letter or poem, with some even cheekily passing off a famous sentimental verse as their own. Compared to the national figure of 50 per cent, 68 per cent of men surveyed in the county admitted to penning love notes. Plus, the poll revealed Yorkshire and Humberside came top in the amorous stakes, while our poor Welsh cousins were voted the least romantic.

Well, this came as a bit of a shock to me as my own experiences of dating Yorkshiremen haven’t fared so well. I met my first boyfriend at York, Sixth Form College in the 1980s and developed a very typical, obsessive teenage crush on him. My first love’s idea of romance was inviting me back to his parent’s semi to listen to the excruciating music of The Fall in his tiny box room at full blast, while chain smoking cigarettes. It was a strain to breathe in the smoke-fuelled, suffocating atmosphere.

He was one of the cool boys at college and would sit with his gang in the dining area, delighting in publicly putting me down by calling me insecure and putting his hands over his ears when I dared to speak, as apparently my voice was too loud for his sensitive eardrums (or maybe they were damaged by the racket of The Fall). The only date he ever took me on was to watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and my father, ignorant of the theme of the film, nearly had a coronary when my boyfriend picked me up in suspenders and a black basque.

After dumping me for my then best friend, the rotter, I met my second and final Yorkshire boyfriend. This numpty’s idea of a perfect date was sharing a Big Mac and fries followed by getting absolutely blotto on the infamous Micklegate Run pub crawl. He was also the stingiest person I’ve ever met and would want to go halves on everything, even a block of cheese from the supermarket. The saying, ‘a Yorkshireman is a Scotsman with the generosity squeezed out of him’ was invented for this chap. Thankfully, he soon disappeared into the ether of the cut-price aisle in Morrisons.

But maybe I’ve just had a couple of bad experiences. Since I’ve moved back to Yorkshire I find the men generally charming and gallant, if a little tight in the wallet department. Also, they are so much more funnier and warmer than their London counterparts, and I have no issue with being called ‘pet’ or ‘love’, in fact, I adore these northern terms of endearment. This county should be very proud to produce a host of gorgeous Yorkies such as Sean Bean, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson and, er, Jeremy Clarkson.

Despite being a romantic at heart, I do loath Valentine’s Day. I know I sound like an old grump but if you’re in a loving relationship, everyday should be Valentine’s - not this crazy commercialism which sees office workers up and down the country compete over who receives the biggest bouquet of red roses. And there’s nothing worse than the hordes of couples heading out to dinner feeling under pressure to enjoy the most romantic night of their year. But knowing our amorous chaps I can imagine there will be a host of romantic poems penned, though there’s also bound to be numerous two-for-one dining vouchers being presented in restaurants across our county on February 14th.

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