What Valentine’s Day Does to Men’s Pockets and Egos


By Barasa Ongeti

Cupid (Credits: myparkingsign.com)

The mascot associated with love and Valentine’s Day is Cupid. That short chubby fellow who flies around with a bow and an arrow. Have you ever posed and thought about that for a moment? A short chubby fellow holding a WEAPON. Not a rose flower, not a bottle of wine. A weapon. This tells you just how much pain is associated with the day.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the whole idea of love, I do! If someone points out a matatu that plies the Get-Out-of-Friend-Zone route, I will gladly board it and exit the several friend zones I am currently in. It is just that I feel, for those men who are in the love train, Valentine’s Day does not make much sense.

Why do I say Valentine’s Day (hereunder referred to as The Day) does not make sense?

On The Day, men will have to drop their ego and macho act they have worked so hard at building. I try picturing a full grown man like myself, with beards from here to Konza City, carrying red flowers across town going to surprise my girlfriend at her place of work. That picture is not so entertaining. I am “surprising” her but in truth, she had, very loudly, hinted for the past two weeks that it was soon going to be The Day and there would be dire consequences for not bringing flowers, black forest cake and a basket of more flowers. To her work place. Hand delivered. Of course she does not like flowers, she just wants them so that friends can see and say “aki your jamaa is sooo sweet”. On The Day, gentlemen, you hand in your Man Card and will have to reapply for it later.

On The Day, regardless of your financial status you will be left with a dent in your pocket. Whether you drive a Feetsubishi or the flashier Legsus, she has loudly been hinting for the past week that romance is a synonym for finance. She will expect to eat out at night. She will expect to be picked from – and dropped back – home. So you have to start making plans to borrow your friend’s car or call up your taxi-guy and tell him not to go to bed early on The Day.

Now the irony is that your girlfriend is hitherto well-acquainted to a Kibanda diet. You know, the places where menus have names like “number mbili bandika” and so on. Her kind of restaurants are those that have the mandatory “usiteme hapa” sticker on the mirror above the washbasin. But on The Day, gentlemen, it is imperative that you take her to a restaurant that serves shrimp, lasagna and other foreign languages. Perhaps the only consolation is that the photos of the foreign languages you will have for dinner will end up on Instagram. Hashtag: Dinner with my boo. Turn to your neighbour and say “awww”.

For these two reasons, I am against Valentine’s Day. So ladies, it is my humble submission that you join in the push for abiding by the cliché that there should be no single, particular day for the expression of love. In this way, you get your romance and we men can comfortably spread the dents on our pockets and loss of our man points across the 365 days of the year.

Barasa Ongeti is a man of many skills. For relevance purposes, I will mention two. He is a brilliant writer. If you missed this particular piece back in the day, you need to re-evaluate your allegiance to Kenya and the Internet. Also, the drawing at the top of this blog is the work of his hands though it is cropped as is. Need I say more?

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