I DON’T know about you, but I tend to find Valentine’s Day a tricky subject. It’s one of those topics that seems light and frothy, yet the minute I start thinking too deeply about it, I inevitably find myself tumbling down a rabbit hole of introspection.

While we’re all familiar with its dark origin story (named in honour of a Roman priest and physician martyred around 270 AD) and how it has evolved into a celebration of romance (beginning circa the 14th century), Valentine’s Day in the modern era is a hellmash of expectation clashing with reality.

It’s partly the hype. No sooner has the deluge of “January payday deals” emails ceased, than begins the tsunami of “Valentine’s Day inspiration” missives to clutter up our inboxes.* Around this time last year, I received a memorable marketing message from a well-known high street chain suggesting some Valentine’s Day-themed gift ideas.

For women, these included “lace underwear”, “on-trend accessories” and “must-have make-up”, while for men it was, “luxury skincare and fragrances”, “cosy loungewear” and “stylish leather accessories” such as “a timeless wallet or bag”.

Sure, it is all a gimmick to get the tills ringing, but “a timeless wallet” and “must-have make-up”? Why not just offer a one-way ticket to the 1950s? And the stark juxtaposition of women having to endure scratchy “lace underwear”, while men enjoy “cosy loungewear” wasn’t lost on me either.

To be fair, not all Valentine’s Day marketing is trite. My favourite this year comes from Garmin, the tech manufacturer of GPS fitness smartwatches.

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It reads “we know what the heart wants”, which is rather clever as the gadgets actually track heart rate during workout activities.

Top marks also go to Aldi for including a section in its newsletter devoted to “a pawfect Valentines” because we all know that pets are the true soulmates, who we need little excuse to spoil rotten.

And a special mention to New York’s Bronx Zoo for its now legendary “Name a Roach” scheme. The programme, which began in 2011, allows folk to name a Madagascar hissing cockroach for the modest fee of $15 (£12).

While it has been tradition to choose the monikers of heinous exes, the zoo now offers an $85 (£68) “The Works” package where you can treat that special someone to a “very crawly Valentine’s Virtual Encounter” with the opportunity to meet their namesake insect.

Granted, it’s perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea but still arguably much better than the usual generic, paint-by-numbers tat.

Yep, I’m looking at you overpriced flowers, frilly knickers and the raft of heart-shaped, inanimate objects - from mugs and candles to cookie cutters and fridge magnets - that clutter shop shelves in the run-up to February 14.

Then there are the giant teddy bears that haunt my nightmares. I simply don’t understand their purpose. How does a gargantuan soft toy enhance your life?

It is not uncommon to spot said enormous teddy bears in the photographs on property listings or lurking in the background of social media posts.

They can be seen languishing forlornly in forgotten corners - or propped up on beds in spare rooms, the latter always putting me in mind of James Caan’s character in Misery waiting for Kathy Bates to return home.

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You may fear our future AI robot overlords extinguishing all human civilisation, but when the end of the world comes it is an army of behemoth teddy bears rising up to wreak revenge that I am most worried about. Mark my words.

*the last time I grumbled about this issue, a reader helpfully suggested I devote a bit of time to simply unsubscribing from unwanted mailing lists; needless to say, I have not heeded this advice