Reflections on Valentine’s Day

It is Valentine season again. As usual, many Eves will be placing demands, directly or indirectly, on Adams for flowers, dinners, presents and other treats; and trust me, most of these demands are likely to be expensive. Personally I don’t give a hoot about Valentine’s day, and coming to think of it, neither do most of my friends (as they say, judge a person by the company they keep). While my mind does grasp a lot of stuff, both meaningful and meaningless, what I usually don’t get is why people should choose one day to be the day of ‘celebrating’ or ‘affirming’ their love. Don’t get me wrong, I am not here to preach against Valentine Day; unlike the Kenyan politician, I believe in plurality of thought, cultures and beliefs, and my stand is that if you want to make Valentine’s Day sacred, you are entitled to it. What I want to question is why a sea of lovers should wake up one morning and they all feel that this is a special day in their love life. Why someone should choose to wear red, borrow money to buy flowers and take someone out on this day of all the days in a year. Why not do it the day before or after, or the month after etc.

My hypothesis in explaining this is our tendency to both conform and be manipulated by the forces of consumerism. We’ve allowed ‘love’ to be made a commodity to be ‘bought’, and something to be desired because someone else also has it. The same way we sulked when we were kids because the kids next door had been bought new Christmas attire and we hadn’t is the same way your Eve will be sulking on Tuesday the 14th February because you did not buy her flowers while all the girls in the office, or classroom, or wherever she spends her day, had flowers and talked about their impending evening dates. And these ‘little omissions’ have often led to relationship bust ups. At the risk of setting myself up for a luynch mob, I will (confidently) state that it is the Eves who mostly value this commodication of love and have been manipulated to believe that the only way to show love is to spend money.

Eves are generally more vulnerable to manipulation than Adams. Take a spot check on TV adverts and you will realize that most adverts target Eves. Majority of adverts are likely to be about beauty products, detergents and other household goods that generally would be purchased by Eves. Eves are more mindful about how they look (and how you look). Talking about looks, I was subtly, over time, transformed from a chap who went to work in t-shirts, jeans and open shoes to a more formally dressed chap because hers truly did not approve the image. Eves are likely to be more concerned about how others perceive their relationships than Adams. Eves will prioritize spending money (mostly Adams’ money) on beauty and love, and are more likely to go for cosmetic surgery. My take is that the beauty and love industry has successfully manipulated them over the years through millions of ads, romantic movies, soap operas, music etc. I am not saying Adams do not fall into this trap, some do and that is why the term metrosexual was invented.

So what should we as Adams do? I say let’s give it to them. If she wants flowers, buy her (and don’t get into a lecture about the dehumanizing and exploitative conditions under which flower farm workers – mostly women – work). If she wants to go to a movie, take her and don’t start yapping about cultural colonization. Take her out to a lavish dinner and buy her some expensive gifts, even though deep down you think it is all nonsense, and don’t relate this incident to your inability to pay some crucial bills the following day when being nagged! Why do I say this though I do not believe in Valentines? Because I think the element of self sacrifice is critical for a successful relationship. They say Jesus sacrificed his life for those He loved so what’s a couple of hundred shillings for flowers? To paraphrase something I once read:

 those who want to become happy should not enter into a love relationship. The important thing is to make the other one happy. Those who want to be understood should not enter into a relationship. The important thing is to understand one’s partner.

In any event, we owe our Eves a Valentine simply for the amount of stuff they have to put up with from us!

By Otieno Hongo – Guest Writer

The guest writer’s blog: Reflections and Deflections


41 thoughts on “Reflections on Valentine’s Day

  1. Wise words, Otieno Hongo. Dare I say that maybe it’s because many Eves are clutching at straws and know that if they don’t get these gifts, serenades or (insert Valentine’s Day indulgence of choice), they won’t get it for a whole year?

    I imagine that Eves who are loved by their partners through the year do not make as many demands on 14th of February, but I stand to be corrected.

  2. a word of advise to all the Adams who will read this post;

    Option 1

    Other Expenses-500/=

    Option 2

    Buy a 100/= apology card and 200/= worth of airtime

    Option 3

    Switch of your phone the entire day.

    Which one will you choose fellow Adams?

  3. Well written and well said!
    I have to add though that you sound a little conflicted by the idea of celebrating Vals because at the end you say, “In any event, we owe our Eves a Valentine simply for the amount of stuff they have to put up with from us”
    Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

    • Bezingo, thanks for reading and the comments. The point I was trying to make is that while we might have our own valid reasons for not embracing Valentines, at times we can put all that aside and let our loved ones enjoy Valentines if that is what makes them happy, is our mission not to make each other happy?

  4. I like this piece. to me, love is about being consistent, not boring, just consistent. this doesn’t mean that eve should get roses everyday of the year but that actions and respect that show repeatedly the love one has for another are far more important…..a few surprises along the way jazz up everything.

  5. I guess this is the wrong forum to say this but the passing on of Whitney has rubbed off the shine of Valentines on my part.

    Some of her fabulous tunes used to be the theme songs during past valentine days.

    May the Good Lord rest Her soul in Eternal Peace.

    A fabulous Valentines to of you girls out there. I love you all.

    • When I was in my teens and Whitney was at her peak, I had a crush on her. Her music was actually the first music I ever spend money on, my school pocket money. Ironic that she should die a few days before Valentines.

  6. Kudos project 44 and more so to Otieno Hongo,Valentines day is mastered for the art of attracting negative attention,attention we should strive for is abundance of good things moment by moment,i hope we can learn to maneuver love lessons better.Thats my take,feel free to take liberty in what it means to you..

  7. To every Adam reading this post,this is what you need to take home

    “So what should we as Adams do? I say let’s give it to them. If she wants flowers, buy her……….. if she wants to go to a movie, take her…….Because I think the element of self sacrifice is critical for a successful relationship”…..( how true!)

    So,do not make the big mistake of pretending that you do not know Vals exists…..

  8. Great post Otieno Hongo.Used to dread valentines but its high time I deflate my ego and buy into the line famooz has just approved(what we Adams are supposed to do). Cheers project 44!

  9. Very wise post Charles. Just today I was telling someone why so much of a hype about Valentine. I think everyday day is a celebration of love. And today’s world is dictated by commercials duping both Eves and Adams. People spend so much on them.

  10. I think I can now contribute. It came, it passed and I am glad to see the back of it. With all due respect, Valentines Day has never been a hit with me but for those who found time to engage in the well meant frivolities of the day and enjoyed them, ahem! good for you. As for me under my other half, love motomoto kila siku.

  11. I think we like like your post because we are broke!!! you tell us what we want to hear! We would have lynched you had you said this last year when there were cheap loans….. Anyway nice read.

  12. Let’s just say that Valentines day is the day that the Adams get to pay for all that the eve’s have to put up with from them. Nothing like a day to get spoilt and masquarade the year long daily sacrifices of having to get up earlier to fix breakfast, get the household ready for the day and at the end of the day get up at around midnight to let him in. If for nothing else it is payback at it’s best. The gooey feelings we leave for the teens.

  13. I do agree with what you’ve written about the commercialization and corporate/business manipulation of Valentine’s Day for profit. Please allow me to speak a few words to the men out there.

    I also believe that if you men were to show your women each and every day that you love them, not with gifts but with words and actions (for love is a behavior not a feeling), then I’m quite sure there would be a lot less ear bending and money spending. If you find that you do show your Eve love with gifts and actions on a regular basis and she still demands you to spend money which you do not have, you are in the wrong relationship. Stop it now before you have a baby or get married. Men and women need to think smart and be real about their feelings and needs.

    Men you also need to be realistic. Don’t expect your Eve to look like Naomi Campbell and dump her when she has gained a few pounds or no longer has the time to look as ravishing as she once did because she is busy looking after you and the children and you’re not helping around the house or giving her self esteem a boost. Just remember all those women who are all tarted up and dressed up are spending somebody’s money (theirs or a man’s) to look that way. If you don’t want a superficial lady, don’t base your chase on the superficial.

  14. I love my significant other for showing me that love is celebrated everyday. Pardon the cliche but seriously he did. After I saw his consistency in loving me and extending good loving gestures to me EVERY SINGLE DAY, I crossed over to team “I don’t care so much for Valentine’s Day”. Adams should really try this at home 🙂

    Excellent piece Charles!

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