Cupid’s day is a total swindle

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and if you’ve read all the articles in today’s Sunday Times newspaper, you’re probably as sick of the entire spectacle as I am. The candle lit dinners, cards, roses, chocolates and forced romanticism are simply an unashamed ploy to get everyone to spend their hard earned monies in celebration of a day that was invented by slick marketeers.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and if you’ve read all the articles in today’s Sunday Times newspaper, you’re probably as sick of the entire spectacle as I am.

The candle lit dinners, cards, roses, chocolates and forced romanticism are simply an unashamed ploy to get everyone to spend their hard earned monies in celebration of a day that was invented by slick marketeers.

I will not pretend to be someone who hasn’t fallen for the ad campaigns. As a child I was bombarded with messages telling me that unless I bought THAT card the girl of my dreams would simply refuse to see me in a romantic light. So, as an eight year old I would bug my mom until she bought me a packet of Valentines cards which I would then give to all the pretty girls in class, and then hope that I’d get lucky.

I won’t lie, I didn’t get a girl by giving her a pink card with hearts on it, I got it by being nice to the lady I fancied.

As I grew older, ‘wiser’ and blessed with a few coins in my pocket the pressures to, not only buy a card, but go through the whole rigmarole, became unbearable. And the  worst part was the fact that I was ‘willing’ participant in the farce. I guess that’s the pressure that comes with living in today’s globalised world.

It takes a strong person to ignore all the messages that are bombarding us. And honestly I wasn’t that strong. Until disaster struck, making me change my worldview.
I remember a few years back, while still at university, a certain young lady caught my fancy.

Unluckily for me, she caught my eye a few days to Valentine’s Day. As is wont with a university chap, I was dead broke…but bourse was upon us. The 25,000 Rwandan franc scholarship money was supposed to be handed over a day before V-Day.

It seems that the people over at Ministry of Finance had a practical joker in their midst because the money didn’t appear until a day AFTER .

Valentine’s Day.

So, for that entire day, the male student body (except for a few lucky dogs who had some money stashed somewhere) ran around in a panic, looking for the 15,000 francs that would be the difference between a night to remember and an unmitigated disaster.

Well, I was running around as much as I could as well because I thought that this woman was the loveliest thing I’d seen all year and I’d obviously piqued her interest as well. Unfortunately, all I could rustle up was 5,000 francs.

Not enough for a dinner, but maybe enough to finance a night out at the local disco, Sombrero.  
She threw my entire budget out of kilter when she announced that she wanted to attend the concert being held at the auditorium.

I didn’t have a problem with the concert per se, I simply had a problem with entrance fee of 2,000 francs per person. I couldn’t straight up tell her that I was broke so I did what any smart man would have done.

Instead of losing face I told her that I would be there, and then went to hide in my friend’s dorm room. I guess I wasn’t the only one with girl troubles because the room was packed with harassed boyfriends hiding from their women, playing video games.

Suffice to say, the girl never forgave me for my ‘disappearing act’. So, on this day of ‘romance’ all that was felt was financial pressure. What is the point of celebrating love when all it is being equated to is a few expensive trinkets? When did we monetize this emotion? If you have any principles you’ll spend the evening at home holding your loved one or doing about your normal business.

Our forefathers did just that and procreation didn’t suddenly come to a halt.

sunnyntayombya@newtimes.co.rw

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