Valentine’s Day: Business as Usual


Read the quotes in the image below expressing ideas people have about Valentine's Day, using a dictionary to look up any new words.

Both positive and negative attitudes to Valentine's Day are expressed.

Decide whether you agree or disagree with each quote, and think of a possible counter-argument supporting the ones you disagree with. Debate the quotes with your partner.
E.g. “It's all a bit of harmless fun, that's all.”

I disagree with this statement, but will support it by saying:

“Romance is something we feel awkward about expressing in public, so it's great that once a year, we can be romantic in public and also see other couples showing their affection for each other openly.”

Reading: Cambridge CAE – Reading and Use of English Part 7

1. Look at the title of the article below and discuss the meaning of ‘Business as Usual’ in this context. Next, quickly ready the text to check your ideas.

Valentine's Day: Business as Usual

We'll never really know whether Saint Valentine became a martyr because he helped lovers by marrying them when it was forbidden by the emperor Claudius the Cruel to do so, or if in fact, this was a medieval fairytale invented over a thousand years after the Catholic priest was put to death.
As couples this Wednesday stare wildly into each other's eyes and declare to one another their undying love, retailers will be nervously keeping an eye on their tills to see the size of their share of the 13.2 billion dollars or thereabouts, made from related sales in the US alone each year. Those in support of buying chocolates, flowers, lingerie and so on might point out that the profits from sales are a mere reflection of how consumers and lovers are not two distinct species and that splashing out on a romantic gesture once a year is no more than a bit of tender, harmless fun.
Nevertheless, it's become such a big deal that it seems increasingly difficult for a single person to watch February 14th go by without feeling like a loser –
For many it's a day for being reminded they're single, and not in a positive way. People opposed to celebrations of this kind ask why lovers need a special day anyway. Shouldn't such love be celebrated every day by couples in a more private and personal way?
And many who are less hostile to the concept of having a special day for celebrating love point out that it should be about just that; love in general in all its different forms and ways of being expressed. If you have made plans to celebrate Valentine's Day this year, maybe you can still find a moment in the day to meet up with one of your single friends on a park bench to tell them you're celebrating that once upon a time there was a priest who died for lovers on February 14th and that you've also bought your other half some sexy underwear.
And if after ringing and texting them several times to meet up, you get no reply, don't worry; they're no doubt just ignoring all the sentimentality and pretending it's just another day. You know, business as usual.
2. In part 7 of Reading and Use of English, you have a text with six paragraphs removed and an extra paragraph which is not in the article. You should read the article quickly first, then match the paragraphs to each space indicated in the article. In this exercise, I have removed 5 sentences or paragraphs and included one which is not part of the article.

A) Many singles seem to think so, with a growing number of people in relationships also taking their frustration online as campaigns on Twitter and Facebook lash out at the commercialism surrounding the occasion or at the very idea of the day itself.

B) there’s so much commercial hype and pressure to celebrate the day that not doing so has almost become like abstaining from the family Xmas lunch or staying at home on your own on your birthday.

C) It’s all a bit of a mystery exactly how the celebration began, but In 469, emperor Gelasius declared February 14th a holy day in honor of Valentinus, instead of the pagan god Lupercus.

D) Those who criticize this, we would be lead to believe, are simply the grumpy, lonely, poor folk.

E) What’s certainly true is that the romantic associations with February 14th haven’t been forgotten and in part, this could be down to something as simple and unromantic as cash.

F) Oh, and that you love your friend too, not like that of course, just, um… you know, as mates.

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