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Colette Fitzpatrick: Bring on the scratchy Valentine undies, but please keep them to yourselves this year

Valentine's Day will come and go like an irritating rash this weekend.

Thankfully, it doesn't fall on a workday this year and we're spared the ordeal of seeing a colleague squeal with faux surprise when 12 over-priced roses are delivered to the office.

This is despite the fact that the couple lives together and he could easily have brought the flowers home with him.

Valentine's Day brings out the side of heretofore rational people, who believe romance is all about a massive public display of affection.

When did love and devotion become so communal?

When did romance stop being between two people and include your colleagues, pals and family?

Are you trying to compensate for something by spending €150 on floral propaganda and letting everyone know that you did?

Anti-Valentine's Day sentiments are customarily reserved for bitter singletons or the broken-hearted, but now the happily married or happily in relationships are jumping on board the heart-shaped bandwagon.

'Valentine's Day is too commercial,' triggers 2,780,000 references on Google and 'I hate Valentine's Day' gets around 22,500,000 hits.

February 14 is a romantic tightrope for men, though.

Get flowers, perfume or dinner and you're about as original as sin. Don't, and you look tight and risk a domestic rerun of the Valentine's Day massacre.

While 75pc of chocolate purchases are made by women all year long, during the days and minutes before Valentine's Day, 75pc of chocolate is bought by men.

But buying flowers, perfume and dinner is not romantic; it's grand larceny at this time of year. Interflora and Hallmark are the big winners. Turn the moment red; turn a profit.

If you want to lighten up proceedings, by all means buy some scratchy, uncomfortable underwear that requires a degree in engineering to get into.

You can both roll around laughing at how ridiculous red nylon and lace looks on a real body that hasn't been airbrushed.

So this Valentine's Day flowers, choccies, underwear that chafes and heart-shaped cards are out.

Privacy, being kind to one another and a little something just between the two of you is in. Have a fighting amnesty.

SWALK (Sealed With A Loving Kiss). XXXOOOXXX

Ahhh, winter tights -- the greatest gift to Irish thighs

The cold snap is back. Thank the Lord; opaque tights don't look out of kilter. As a fashion trend, these babies have been as liberating as the pill for women. Lassies across the country who had previously been loath to get out of their jeans are wearing minis, skirts, tutus, hotpants, playsuits and short shorts.

Just as long as they're teamed with denier as thick as elephant skin.

The tights are like an extra line of defence. Thick and dark enough to hide the pale, mottled complexion of most Irish thighs.

They conceal cellulite and three-day-old hair growth. They camou-flage cankles -- where your calf runs into your ankle with no obvious definition. They're slimming and, for a fashion slam dunk, they're warm. There was a time when you would never wear a pair of tights with an open-toed sandal. A big red line through that fashion rule though; a gusset on show is not a cardinal fashion sin these days. There is an exception. Sheer tights are a no-no with open-toed shoes. The gusset on show must look intentional; not like you thought you'd get away with it.

When something's bang on trend and comfortable, forget about 'this' season's hottest look, it'll last the pace for years. Just look at those flat pumps.

They've been around since the late 90s. Why? Because we can actually walk in them. Uggs too. Warm and comfy, so we'll keep on wearing them. Every man I know hates Uggs; another sign that women don't dress for men, but for each other.

The knee socks with dresses trend? Maybe in the privacy of your own home. Just don't bust a gusset over it...

Oh-so-vain Bradley just perfect example of the metrosexual gone bad

There's nothing quite as unattractive as man who looks in the mirror more often than I do. Men groomed to within an inch of their carefully designed stubble are a game-changer for me.

Bradley Cooper, of dick-flick The Hangover fame, is an example of how metrosexuals go bad. At the recent Valentine's Day premiere he rocked some man tan/foundation that wasn't quite blended into his three-day-old beard.

What must Bradley's current squeeze Renee Zellwegger be thinking?

That scene in The Hangover, no doubt. The one where Bradley walks down the hotel corridor ready for the night out, in that suit. RRRRaaaaarrrrrhhhhh. Gotcha Renee. Let's rewind and put it on slow mo ...


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