Every year I try to write something about how Valentine’s Day is mostly a bundle of gendered expectation and obligation wrapped in a parcel of guilt. That doesn’t stop it being fun for some people (and nor should it), but hopefully it does help people who feel shit about the whole thing to feel a little less shit and a little more like it doesn’t really matter. But I’m a sex blogger, so if I don’t write anything about Valentine’s Day I’ll get letters. So, as a compromise I’ve written a guide to things you can buy as Valentine’s Day gifts for yourself. Hoard them, enjoy them, publicly propose to them if you want to, just don’t give them to anyone else: there are other gift guides for that.
Amidst all this hate it can be tricky to remember that we’re supposed to be approaching the most loving day of the year. Valentine’s Day: when everyone who has someone is urged to go and blow a load of money to prove how deep their love is. Or just to show that they’re able to remember an arbitrary date. Or because there was a 2-for-1 offer on heart-shaped chocolates and they simply couldn’t resist. In my line of work, I’m generally expected to write something Valentines-y, ideally with a selection of unique Valentine’s Day gifts with which to surprise your loved ones.
I’m not going to say the word. The V word. The one that’ll have half of you clicking away and the other half vomiting copiously onto the carpet.
But what I am going to do is write about non-sexual love. The love that I usually ignore here in favour of hot sex or wanking or – very occasionally – posts about men who give me that warm feeling in my chest.
Other kinds of love are often neglected – it’s the topic of one of my favourite posts over at BishUK: more than one love. He talks about everything and everyone we love but we never send cards to or buy roses for. Friends, family, community – the people who support and inspire and care for us.
As a sex blogger, I am legally obliged to provide some sort of fodder that hits the keyword “Valentine’s Day”, or Google will have me shot. But if you want a syrupy-sweet and romantic entry or a rant about twee, tedious predictability of the day itself, you’re better off looking at previous years’ entries. Because today I’m going to talk about House of Cards.
House of Cards on Valentine’s Day
No, this isn’t just an excuse to remind other fans that Season 2 of House of Cards will be released on February 14th, it’s simply because House of Cards presses so many of my ‘holy shit that’s so hot’ buttons that it is almost impossible to list them all.
I’ll give you my top ones, though.
1. Powerful, evil men
From Andrew Scott’s playfully terrifying Moriarty to the drawling, bass sarcasm of Professor Snape, there’s an entire book to be written about how deliciously sexy evil can be. I’m definitely not the only one who thinks this. Plenty of submissive-leaning people on Twitter replied to my achingly hot story about number 14 by telling me, in no uncertain terms, that they were off to rub themselves raw, and I’ve been in certain circles where one cannot mention Kevin Spacey’s name without causing at least three people to collapse in a puddle of their own lust.
Why is Kevin Spacey so sexy? I think it’s because in House of Cards he is a ruthless, vicious, scheming man. A bastard’s bastard. The créme de la créme of cunts. And with every new machination, each twisted smile or liberty taken, I want to hug myself with merciless joy and have him devour me like the wolfish Beelzebub he is.
2. Hate fucking
Not all the sex in House of Cards is hateful, but there’s certainly a hell of a lot more of it that is powered by rage, revenge, and politics than you’d get in your average drama series. Sometimes it’s nice to see the perfect couple getting together on screen. But at other times it’s fantastic to be reminded that sex can be had for many reasons: not all of them good.
An on-screen fuck is so much hotter when you know one or other of the characters has an ulterior motive.
3. Zoe Barnes (played by Kate Mara)
I very rarely fancy women, but I am happy to make an exception for Zoe Barnes. She’s indescribably stunning, as well as being sneaky and devious and cunning and all that good stuff too. She also has a quality that I am exceptionally jealous of – in anything she wears her tits look spectacular. I want to hug her so that our chests smoosh together, then pick her up and fuck her against a wall.
The perfect House of Cards relationship
Hauling this entry back from drooling celebrity lust and onto the crucial topic of Valentine’s Day (see, Google? I am playing your wicked game), the most insanely hot thing about House of Cards is the relationship between Frank Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey) and his wife Claire (played by Robin Wright). They’re both incredibly powerful people, but together they seem to be striving for a kind of give/take equality that I’ve rarely seen before.
Neither of them seems as concerned about fidelity as you’d expect from a high-profile married couple. They both make mistakes, sexually and personally, but what’s utterly fascinating is that they have this ongoing deal: I support you, then you support me. They know that it’s not always possible to excel simultaneously, so they take it in turns. Frank takes the limelight while Claire supports him from the wings, then they swap, and he dedicates his time to making sure that she gets the best exposure.
Every now and then they share a cigarette. The cigarette is, like all smoking on TV these days, a metaphor for their relationship. One of them will start it, then halfway through pass it to the other one. Breathing in, then out, then handing it over.
Love me like Frank Underwood
Don’t get me wrong, these characters are both pretty horrible people, so I wouldn’t recommend any of you turn into Frank Underwood any time soon (unless you are joining me in ‘filthy evil men’ sex games), but their relationship looks a lot like the sort of thing I want. A partnership of the most interesting kind, where you’ll step aside for your partner when they need to succeed, fight for their goals as passionately as you fight for yours, knowing with total certainty that they’ll do exactly the same thing for you a little way down the road.
And, of course, lust painfully after each other as you get dressed for a night out – because along with the support and the love, there’s always a little promise of fiery rage around the corner.
Addendum: If this entry wasn’t Valentine’s-y enough for you, here are some previous V-day entries ranked in order of how much I like them.
For Valentine’s Day I want a blow job.
Yep, today I would like a nice, hard, deep-throating blow job. The sloppy kind – dribble and spit and choking – that ends with you coming violently all over my face until your spunk dribbles down my chin and I can use the excess to draw a heart shape on the bedsheets.
And I want to give you flowers. A beautiful, big, hay-fever-inducing bouquet of them. Roses, tulips, lilies, anything frothy and soft and romantic. All tied up with a big fat pink ribbon that you can put in your hair afterwards or keep in a special memories box to remind you of the day when girlonthenet displayed some vague semblance of emotion. An expensive bouquet, too, so your Mum knows I’m a good financial bet for your future.
I don’t usually give much of a shit about casual sexism in couples – if two people, within a loving committed relationship, choose to conform to old-fashioned gender roles then I’m not one to stop them.
My problem comes when every single goddamn article or advert decides that we should all be doing the same thing. Usually we question this sexist dickery – we raise a wry smile at the dude in the cleaning products advert who’s crap at wiping the kitchen surfaces, or the woman who uses the expensive beauty product because it’s imperative that women defy the laws of physics by refusing to visibly age. We question it. We laugh at them.
And yet on Valentine’s Day for some reason our questioning attitude is hurled out of the window. Sexist? Aw, it’s just romantic. It’s just how couples are.
He should be panicking the day before.
She should be getting excited.
He should be saving his pennies.
She should be dropping hints about roses, chocolates, her favourite restaurant.
The racier, cheekier brands will lace their adverts with hints of euphemism. Maybe, just maybe, if you buy your girlfriend something grotesquely pink and painfully expensive she might just suck your cock. You lucky bastard.
A quick note about gays
It’s worth noting that I am not immune from presumptive twattery myself – I frequently write as if I’m talking about boy/girl couplings. This is deliberate – it’s because apart from the odd squirm with a ladyfriend or two, that’s mostly what I know.
But that’s not to say that we should automatically exclude what happens to be a fairly sizeable portion of the population from enjoying these couple-centred celebrations. Whether you love it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day is for everyone. And insisting on prescribing Valentine’s Day behaviour like only heterosexual couples exist gives a skewed and laughably ancient view of the world.
Gender roles and Valentine’s Day
Where was I? Ah yes – we’re not all 1950s chocolate-box dream couples.
It shouldn’t need to be said, to be honest, but I’m going to say it anyway, because some narrow-minded cardboard-cut-out cunts still think I should be crossing my fingers in the hope that someone gives me chocolates. I like chocolates, I do. I have also gone a bit melty inside on the very few occasions when boys have bought me flowers. Likewise I enjoy champagne, Lego and being wanked off by a boy while I watch porn I’ve nicked from the internet.
But some people still think that the sign of a successful relationship is one where the guy does all the work. Where he feels compelled to spend money making his woman feel special, and that if he jumps through these specially-defined hoops then maybe she’ll repay him by giving him sexual favours that she wouldn’t have given otherwise because she’s that fucking feminine that she must keep her sexuality under wraps so as to avoid breaking a fingernail or displaying some semblance of human frailty or something.
Women don’t just want chocolate, and men don’t just want sex.
Perhaps she wants a fucking Scalectrix. Perhaps he wants a nice long bubble bath and a box of chocolates. Perhaps both of them just want to fuck in an alleyway then head to a late-night bondage bar.
Perhaps – just perhaps – all your roses and cards and adverts and irritating 1950’s Goodwife bullshit can fuck off back to the ad agency that spawned them, because neither of the members of our fictitious happy couple give a flying tossfuck about romance at all.