Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her; If you can bounce high, bounce for her too, Till she cry “Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover, I must have you!” 


Exit: Agape, Enter: Cupid

The fourteenth day of February marks Valentines Day celebration. A day originally meant to honour Christian martyr, Saint Valentine. He was recognised for caring for the poor and giving out gifts and relief materials to less privileged persons. Valentines Day was later established by Pope Gelasius in 500 AD and became associated with romantic love by Geoffrey Chaucer in the high Middle Ages. It is now synonymous with red roses, romantic dinners, and wild parties. 

The evolution from Saint Valentine’s sacrificial love to a lustful variant endorsed by Aphrodite and her male counterpart Eros, has denigrated the true meaning of this solemn feast. These gods who had romance in mind had no clue about Nigerian women. Screw red roses and Opera houses. What do Nigerian girls care about the beauty of the cosmos and the array of stars in the Milky Way? Naija girls aren’t interested in the sentimentality of poetry and romantic intellectualism. To them it comes down to the classic jibe: “Money for hand, back for ground.” And what makes it interesting is that there is a day allotted to them to enforce their rights. No excuses! It’s Vals Day. Naija girls all seem to chorus aloud a line used popularly by the mafia: “Shut up, f**k you, pay me”. 

The ladies simply love Valentines Day. It’s their day in the spotlight. They want to brag about their man. His competences (off and on the pitch) are on the line. The more he spends, the bigger the bragging rights. The men know this, and recognise the opportunity availed to them to be on top of the other boyfriends. They are swayed. Everybody is in on the scam. Married couples are the lucky ones. The moment he said “I do”, the pressure was lifted. The husband gets “lucky” just for being a husband. The mistresses are locked out.  Madam has full rights tonight. It’s Valentine, and like her wedding day, she deserves happiness. The men ask themselves, If one day will make her happy, why not just do it. After all there are 364 days to be frugal.

Guys have to put up with stuff like, “what are we doing for Vals this year, how will you show me you love me?” In their conclave, you hear stuff like, “I hope I wont “roast” this year, that guy better not dull me”. Ladies tend to chant these same incantations yearly. It’s all out war. Val me or you won’t get with me. And surprisingly it works each time. Who wants to be considered a cheap skate over a lousy dinner? Who wants to be the guy who feigns sickness to escape the inevitable?  Not me anyway. Besides, complying with her demands comes with perks. The boys get “it” free and easy, no hassles, no arguments. Just like hot knife through butter. So in a sick twisted way, its 50:50!  

As far as am concerned the monies spent on Val’s day will do much good in the Dafur region. What interests me however are the intrigues vis-à-vis the personalities that make up a successful or failed relationship.  And this is what has inspired this article.

What makes us (men and women) venture into relationships in the first place? The love for companionship or the hatred for loneliness. Why is it so hard to remain single? Why won’t you prefer a world where you won’t be bothered by picking your girlfriend up after work or having to buy ice creams at Chocolate Royale when you stay on the Mainland? Why would anybody want his sleep interrupted by 12:30am because of midnight calls? Isn’t life simpler when you are single?
Could it be that because marriage (or companionship) is a prerequisite to be accepted in our society that women become desperate in their late thirties? A woman is often esteemed more if she were married. People often tend to accord her with more respect and affix the suffix, “Ma” or “Madam”, when referring to her. The ring on her fourth finger is entrée into stardom. A husband is no longer just a partner, he is now a saviour.
Isn’t it also because we all fear the word -ALONE-that we will do anything to have a boyfriend or spouse. An unmarried woman feels the societal ostracism and craves for a man. She wants her man, a man, any man that will protect her from judgemental eyes of the public. So in this case (which happens to be a lot) a relationship is desired primarily not for companionship but for self preservation.
The same reverence is conferred on a girl who has a boyfriend. Nobody comes out openly and says it but we all look surprised when a beautiful girl says she has no boyfriend. The logical response is why? It’s almost a curse to be single.  To be “alone” has become a taboo. So we all find ourselves in regrettable relationships just to keep sane. The general perception is that everybody should have someone. 
Even in the virtual world of social networking (Facebook, Twitter and Myspace), the paranoia continues. There seems to be really no single girl on facebook. Everybody has a “In a relationship” status but quizzically, the same people are “Interested in Men”. When I ask the reason for this falsehood in status, I always get the same response. A friend Tomi (not real name) will say, “Abeg I don’t want any useless boy disturbing me”.  Single-hood now wears a heavy toga of apprehension. Please tell me which single girl doesn’t desire “disturbance?”
Truth be told, everybody wants someone. The fat ugly lady who doesn’t get noticed by the high school jock longs for him to say hello not because she even likes him but so that someone who is known knows her. So the only reasonable conclusion I could derive is that we all want relationships to belong. We want to be noticed, not necessarily by others, but even by ourselves. We want to know we matter, even if we matter to only one person.


I have discovered over time that in every relationship, the basic need of companionship has to be met first. And like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, once the basic need is attained, our desires grow into the monster called want. Love is like an electric devise that only completes its circuit when reciprocated. Unreturned love is like sex without orgasm. She now wants more attention. The attention he gives her is no longer enough. What she gets now would have been okay two years ago when she was ALONE and pitiful. Now she wants a recompense for her love. She wants a full repayment. She has grown insatiable. The beast in her is now alive. And what she wants, she gets. She now begins to notice the inadequacies of her spouse. Other couples are suddenly having more fun. And she is left out. “Tinuke’s boyfriend took her to Wan-tan, we never go anywhere!” She begins to nag. Now she wants romance added to the love. Romance is great but cost a little more. It’s only a movie at Silver Bird Galleria we are talking about here, she screams. It’s just N1, 500. But the popcorn costs an arm (N800), and don’t forget we have to buy drinks, he responds. That’s more than five grand on romance in less than two hours. Yes, it’s just five thousand naira, she fires. “Chicken change” she says. For Who? He retorts. If we do this every weekend we would use twenty thousand naira a month on movies. “How much be my salary, he screams”. 
Romance, a quintessential element in relationships has to be funded. Not just movies. There is also recharge cards and Ghana weaving to consider. There is now dissatisfaction by both parties’. The fights begin. Omo boy starts to vex. He is angry; “we are supposed to meet each others needs”, he says.  And his needs are far less expensive but far more pleasurable. Opportunity cost and scales of preference favour him. She would have none of it. He doesn’t mind checking out on the relationship now. He is getting tired. The stress is getting too much, besides, there is someone waiting on line. He begins to complain about her. Her cooking, her weight, her lousy sex. Everything about her becomes repudiating. Our lovey-dovey relationship just cracked open. The cracks become holes and holes become larger holes. The house of cards begins to topple. Things have fallen apart.
On the reverse side; he can’t fund romance, she doesn’t like it but shuts up. She knows how long it took to find this guy. She decides to stay put until ideal man shows up.   She settles and takes his crap. He senses she would take anything, and he gives her more crap. She is unhappy but cannot leave.
Third scenario: Guy is rich, handsome and caring and willing to spend. You would think he can have all the booty and respect he deserves. Wrong! Dead wrong. Once she sniffs his faithfulness and devoutness, he is taken for granted. He becomes a mumu in the equation. Her body is hers. And you get it when she wants you to have it. Period.
My point is this. The only place you find a perfect relationship (where both parties are meant for each other) is in fairy tales.  Even in fiction, the perfect symbiotic romantic relationship always ends in disaster. You only have to watch the Titanic and read Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to come to that conclusion. Relationships are a place of adaptation. A place of learning and coping with bullshit (lots of bullshit). A place where self preservation is the poison rather than an antidote. Something always has to give.

The very thing that makes us human is relationships. The elasticity to accommodate another is  God’s  gift  to us to replenish the earth. Offences will come, the bible warns, but we are still admonished to live at peace with all men. Whoever you are, whether married, single (ALONE), or searching, there is enough love to go around.

It’s Valentines Day, have lunch in Taiwan and dinner in Honolulu if it pleases her. Wear a Knicks hat also if that pleases her too. Bounce High if she wants it, till she screams, Taiwan eating, Knick’s hat wearing, high bouncing lover, I must have you.
©2011 Ewoigbokhan Otaigbe Itua

Valentines Day would not be complete without you. You are everything to me. My confidant, my friend and my one and only true love. I love you! (YOS)


  1. Anonymous says:

    who is YOS…can we get d name in full?

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