The celebration of St Valentine has long ago shed its links to the third century Roman Saint known for his promotion of “courtly love” – but while the modern age is all about equality though, there is still something of a divide on Valentine’s Day.
The giving and receiving of cards may be spread more evenly between men and women, but it seems that the idea of gifts, from a simple rose to something far more extravagant, is generally one reserved for the ladies.
But is it still the case that men are the less among equals when it comes to getting romantic gifts on Valentine’s Day, or are the times a-changing?
One lady who knows more than a few things about romance is novelist Samantha Young, who has caused a stir in the Capital with her Edinburgh-set erotic novel On Dublin Street.
And while her steamy scenes have continued the 50 Shades of Grey tradition of rewriting the rules of romance, Samantha admitted that when it comes to Valentine’s Day the oldest traditions still apply.
“I think it’s still very much a day for women rather than men,” she says.
“I’m not really a huge fan of Valentine’s day - I think truly romantic people make gestures at other times of year, when it’s perhaps a bit more unexpected.
“I did used to get cards from people, but I’ll confess I’ve never bought a gift for a boyfriend or partner and I don’t think I know anyone that has either.
“I’m not sure if most men would expect it either - it’s really more for the ladies.”
That’s a view shared by jeweller Craig Nisbet, the showroom manager at Laing’s jewellers, who admits they don’t stock gifts for men any more.
“There was a time when men’s jewellery was quite fashionable, but even then we didn’t sell much at valentine’s day, and now it’s very much not the fashion, so really what we have for men are things like cuff links,” he says.
“That said, this is a busy time of year for us, and it’s pretty much all men buying presents for wives or girlfriends, and it can vary between an inexpensive brooch up to a £2000 piece of jewellery.
“Engagement rings also get very popular - most men don’t want to propose on Valentine’s Day itself, as that’s maybe considered a little cheesy, but it gets them thinking.
“I’ve never had a Valetine’s Gift though - but it might be something that we see changing in the future. More men these days get engagement watches to go with engagement rings, so who’s to say we won’t be getting valentine’s Gifts as well in the future?”
Perhaps in the future, but it seems there’s very little changed over the last few years.
Research has shown that the average spend on Valentine’s day is now almost £100. And while it’s certainly not unheard of for women to turn the tables a little bit and buy their man a gift, the majority of the £2.4 billion spent on presents every year in the UK come from men.
The average man will spend around £97.12 on flowers - the British spend about £30 million on flowers - including around seven million red roses - 90 per cent of bouquets are bought by men.
Even cats and dogs have it better than the average house husband, with hundreds of people admitting to getting gifts for their pets.
Sharon Nugent, owner of Narcissus Flowers on ???? says that while most of their flowers are bought for the ladies, they do have a few clients who buy for the men in their lives.
“This is the single biggest day of the year for us, but it is very much the case that the huge majority of our customers will be men buying for women, whether it’s roses - still the most popular valentine’s flowers - or a mixed bouquet. I’m not sure quite why it is still that way, given how much has changed, but we do get some women buying flowers for men - mostly it tends to be something simple like a single rose that they will go for.
“I’ve bought presents for valentine’s before though - I’m not saying what, but there are women who do buy gifts.”
While “big ticket” items like jewellery may be out, local menfolk can generally comfort themselves in the thought that they will probably get a card.
Michael Apter, of Paper Tiger, will be seeing plenty of business from both men and women over the next few days, but admits there is still something of a divide when it comes to presents.
“We’ve got the biggest range of valentine’s cards in Edinburgh, so whoever someone is buying for we’ll have a card to suit, “ he says.
“It is a fairly equal in that regard - we’ve see more women buying cards over the last few days, and we’ll see more men coming in on February 13 or 14 looking desperately for a card - that’s how it is most years.
“I think for gifts, there’s no reason why women shouldn’t get gifts for men - we’re pretty easy to figure out, and we sell things like chocolates or a trinket of some kind. Most men are pretty happy with something simple.
“It’s fair to say that at the moment it is quite uneven though - I have to make my wife a valentine’s card, for example,,because I sell them so buying one of my own stock would be cheating. But I don’t get a gift. “I don’t know if it’s something that will change.”