Valentine’s is Dead: ‘Not in the name of love’

Valentines Day - Not in the name of love

Valentines Day – Not in the name of love

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By Robin Chaibva – Leisure Reporter

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THE month of January terrifies many men out there because of the dreaded “January disease”, which is caused by school fees payments that are preceded by mega festive season spending.

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However, more frightening is February – particularly St Valentine’s Day – which falls on February 14, a day dedicated to love or so we are made to believe.

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Instead of feeling butterflies in the tummy brought on by the excitement of love, St Valentine’s Day causes anxiety, depression, discontentment and competitiveness.

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This is the feeling that many marketers thrive on to sell “love” and make lots of money from it.

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What makes it one of the most successful money-bleeding days of the year is that regardless of your relationship status, the day will make everyone spend money or show off.

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Many men feel under pressure to show their partners how much they love them by how much they spend on gifts or other romantic gestures. Single people are reminded that indeed they have no relationship and should still splurge to spoil themselves.

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As for those that are indifferent in matters of love, they might find their social circles, that is, church, society clubs, office or pubs hosting events in the name of Valentine’s.

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There is no running away from the fact that Valentine’s Day has very little to do with love, unless it is the love of money, which again as the Bible says, is the root of all evil.

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In Zimbabwe the day is characterised by romantic dinners, gifts, parties and mostly by “believers” wearing red.

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Street vendors change their stock to synthetic red roses while flower stalls are flooded with fresh roses which simply fly off the shelves. Women are forced to look more attractive lest there is a sexier competitor “out there” – by buying new lingerie, new hairstyles and make-up while men are challenged to be more romantic – using the pocket.

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The rest of the masses without relationships are persuaded to attend various parties in clubs, charity dinners and balls. In the name of love? No. In the name of money? Yes.

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I asked a few African 30-something men their opinion on the matter, and a few responses struck a nerve.

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Loti Kingori, a Tanzanian, said: “For me it is imperialism! We never had Valentine’s Day. So I don’t celebrate it. I will stick to religious holidays, thank you very much.”

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Zimbabwean social commentator Larry Kwirirayi’s view is that “it is an obligation based on an imported construct that says that is just how things are done”.

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“Zimbabwean relationships have an unconventional and otherwise sophisticated style of romance where the demonstration of love is predicated on the practical, for instance, being the provider et al so having to put a special effort to show love feels awkward and alien.”

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Another social commentator and The Sunday Mail columnist, Amai Rebecca Chisamba, dismissed the notion of Valentine’s, saying it was the cause of so much mischief, had no relevance and did not add any value.

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“Every day is Valentine’s. Getting a present or being taken out for dinner on a certain day does not mean anything since that should be done on a daily basis. Others now consider Valentine’s a day to get a small house or Ben10 and do all sorts of mischief. Love should just be celebrated daily,” she said.

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Therefore, it is clear that the ultimate goal is for people to spend money, after spending money they then show off or engage in “mischief”. Thanks to social media, nowadays people are able to immediately post pictures of their romantic lives instantly via platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, to name just a few – a clear sign that it is just showboating.

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We seek validation from other people through “likes” on our pictures and kind comments that praise our lives through the multiple platforms to show off our relationships and how much fun or romance we had on Valentine’s.

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The money-making engine also runs on constant marketing by advertising agencies.

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The reality is that one cannot measure affection from gestures, posts on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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If Valentine’s Day celebrations were relevant in determining success of a relationship, would divorce lawyers not use the receipts from the gifts to stop a divorce? Many guys can buy their women a pair of designer jewellery, shoes or sponsor a lavish holiday, yet are hesitant to commit their lives to a woman by marrying them. Love is a spiritual feeling, an emotion that cannot be quantified in a physical form. So let’s burst the bubble of Valentine’s and work on genuine emotions instead and stop showing off. After all has been said and done, history gives no guaranteed facts on the origins of the celebration of the day.

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The Saint Valentine, who this day is dedicated to, is difficult to pinpoint.

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Despite its foreign, uncertain origin, African men are still under pressure to demonstrate their romantic element with this custom.

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Ah no – let us stop it.

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READ ALSO: Roses are red but Valentine’s is DEAD