West London Girl

WLG’s guide to Valentine’s


‘There’s gnome body quite like you’

There’s no escaping Valentine’s. Or ‘Anti-Valentine’s’ as it’s now more commonly known as. There’s the Meddlars of Honour at Paradise (no speed dating, speed hating or date card rating – just a room full of like-minded Valentine’s haters); the press release telling me that ‘romantics’ have saved more than 2.5 million by snapping up discounted goods (www.dealzippy.co.uk) and apparently 34,971 Brits have entered a competition run by Groupon to win a Mariachi band to serenade/humiliate their Valentine’s. Nice.

Our growing cynicism of a day that commercialises relationships perhaps isn’t surprising considering that it is a creation of the sentimental Victorian era and based on the flimsiest of traditions, rooted in an obscure reference by Chaucer to the saint’s day of an obscure early martyr who had no known interest in love or romance.

However, a Dutch friend admitted that although women pretend they don’t care about it, they are secretly disappointed if the day hasn’t been recognised by their loved one. Fortunately, Hot Danish is sensitive to Valentine’s Day. And thank goodness there’s the ‘20s party to look forward to with friends this Saturday…

If the language of an era reflects its mood, then the vernacular of the Roaring Twenties screamed flirtatious fun and elegant repartee – so this Valentine’s I suggest ditching the Hallmark card – and their Christmas cracker-style lines such as ‘I can’t stop chicken you out’, ‘We go together like egg and chips’ and ‘there’s gnome body quite like you’ (you can guess the pics) – and resurrecting these five phrases from the Jazz Age:

  1. The caterpiller’s kimono
    Rather like ‘the bee’s knees,’ ‘the ant’s pants’ and ‘the berries’, ‘the caterpiller’s kimono’ playfully refers to pleasing people and things.
  2. Old sport
    Charmingly resurrected by Leonardo diCaprio’s ol’ Gatz.
  3. Giggle water
    A synonym for any intoxicating beverage. (You can still get a cocktail recipe book of the same name, self-published in 1928, from Amazon!)
  4. Applesauce!
    An expletive to discredit the words of another. So much nicer than BS.
  5. Cash or check?
    Will you kiss me now or do we wait until later?