SOCIETY TALK

The dos and don’ts of Valentine’s

Hype has turned it into a day we fear above all others

In Summary

• Couples should celebrate the day of love with a little more pleasure than pressure

The modern Nairobians Kenchic-free Valentine's Day
The modern Nairobians Kenchic-free Valentine's Day
Image: COURTESY

Valentine’s Day, a day that arouses both love and fear in people. It is a day to celebrate love. However, because of overhype and commercialisation, it has become a day we fear above all others.

We fear being alone more on this day than any other day of the year. We dread not being treated the way we hope to be on this day. There is a belief that Valentine’s Day was a day made to woo women. Women want to be treated like queens by being wined and dined. They want to be romanced the fairytale way: the candlelit dinners, roses, gifts, chocolates, and rounding off the night with sensual lovemaking (not sex, there is a difference).

On the opposite side of the spectrum, men’s view of Valentine’s Day is completely different. They feel an immense pressure to do things right. The day becomes more of an obligation to them than a celebration of love. They fear the repercussions of not doing it right, of disappointing women, of landing in the doghouse.

With Love Day upon us, the pressure to get things right has descended over us. Here are a few simple Dos and Don’ts to help couples celebrate the day of love with a little more pleasure than pressure.

DOs

1. Plan in advance

Plan your romantic day in advance so you can make all the necessary preparations ahead of time. Are you are dining out or staying in? Are you going to the movies or a concert? Make your reservations ahead of time to ensure the rest of the day’s events and surprises flow smoothly.

2. Find creative ways to celebrate

Whilst Valentine’s Day comes with societal expectations on how to celebrate — dinners, roses, chocolates, and so on — there are more ways creative ways to celebrate this day. For instance, some people just do not like the fuss of going out when every other couple in town is out. There is a lot of room for creativity in planning an enjoyable day suited to the couple’s likes.

3. Play your part

Although we acknowledge that the hidden purpose of Valentine’s Day is to get the man to express his romantic side, it is important that both parties contribute towards making the other person feel special. Women should not sit on their hands and expect to be swept off their feet, without making some kind of gesture that makes the other person feel loved as well.

 

DON’Ts

1. Stay away from cliché gifts

Ladies please refrain from buying ties, socks and cuff links. Every time there is a discussion on women buying gifts for men; men lament on their disappointment of receiving socks as gifts every year. Men stay away from the cliché chocolates, teddies, and especially lingerie. It is beyond tacky to give women a gift that is sexually suggestive on a day meant to celebrate love.

2. Don’t expect too much

Expectations are the death of reality. When we expect to receive more and we receive anything less, it becomes soul-crushing disappointment. Our disappointment of receiving less than we hoped overshadows the effort the other person has put in to making you feel special.

3. Don’t obsess over the date

As they say, for people in love, Valentine’s Day is every day. There is no need to fret over not doing so much on this day. Sometimes February 14 falls on a day that is just not right to celebrate; then there is no need to force it. It is okay to celebrate on another day. In fact, any other day that is not Valentine's Day is an economically friendly way to celebrate.

4. Avoid public displays

Avoid sending overly publicised gifts to your loved one’s office. Avoid walking around town with bouquets and gifts in hand. Avoid public proposals on Valentine’s Day. We love to see two people in love, but we what we do not enjoy is the displays of your love towards each other being shoved in our faces.