The Standard Group Plc is a multi-media organization with investments in media platforms spanning newspaper print operations, television, radio broadcasting, digital and online services. The Standard Group is recognized as a leading multi-media house in Kenya with a key influence in matters of national and international interest.
  • Standard Group Plc HQ Office,
  • The Standard Group Center,Mombasa Road.
  • P.O Box 30080-00100,Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Telephone number: 0203222111, 0719012111
  • Email: [email protected]

Valentine's with a twist

 A man holding a red rose and a gift for his girlfriend. [iStockphoto]

For some strange reasons, this day has 'forced' men over generations to, every year, break their banks, all in the name of expressing love to their women. The culprit’s name is Valentine’s - the title ‘Saint’ has long been ignored by many of its adherents. 

According to research findings from US personal finance resource, Bankrate, millennials are more likely to overspend on Valentine’s Day than those who are from older generations.

Today, Valentine's Day stands at a crossroads. Is it a relic of forced romance, a marketing ploy disguised as affection? Or can it be reshaped, or reclaimed? Perhaps it can be a canvas, painted with the vibrant hues of love in all its forms – romantic, platonic, self-love. A day to celebrate not just couples, but the constellations of connections that light up our lives.

But love, like a rebellious vine, refuses to be contained.  Other activities and events have been curated alongside the same virtue probably because many youngins no longer buy into this narrative. Galentine's Day, for example, whispers with laughter, brunch tables laden with friendship and support, a celebration of bonds that defy definition. 

And these are some reasons men don’t like this particular day; why many would prefer to attend the ‘Men’s conference’ and return home when all this hullabaloo is all over.

Money matters

This night has been seen by many as a romantic amateur night in that you can’t replace true love with a one overpriced dinner and forced romance.

“I hate Valentine’s due to how restaurants cash in. They either make the meals ridiculously more expensive than on an average night, or they serve less food and quality for the same amount of money. Plus, who wants to look crazy running around to find flowers at different shops? You end up spending time going from one store to the next looking for anything that isn’t already half-dead and affordable. Nairobi life does not guarantee such luxuries right now,” notes Thomas Kimto, 32-year-old city optometrist, sentiments which are echoed by Maloba, also a Nairobian. “I am a true Luhya, I would rather buy my children chicken rather than waste money buying flowers for one person,” he says. 

PDAs and Show-off affairs

“I have mixed feelings about anything or anyone forcing me to purchase or exert my energy for anyone or anything simply for the sake of ‘everyone is doing it’. It is too much pressure for one person to try and create a perfect day. I am more of the spontaneous type who does things weekly, it feels more like I mean it rather than robotic. Plus, the biting economy doesn’t make it any better,” says Duncan Murithi, a 29-year-old teacher.

“I do not believe in such special days when we are supposed to do special things. I can see young people liking it, or if you happen to have a new girlfriend. But do you want to go with your spouse of 25 years on a Valentine’s retreat, eating alongside a dozen other couples that fancy a 6-course dinner? Or would you not rather do it on any weekend you feel like it, have the attention of the whole staff and probably have a way better experience?” questions Dieter Neth. 

Unilateral Concern

Truth be told Valentine’s Day seems to favour the girl child and a majority of men don’t feel that this is fair. The question that lingers among most men is, what is in for me? Why should I be the one doing everything?

“Why is it that I get no credit when I cook you dinner, rub your feet, buy you flowers, or take you on weekend trips throughout the year but all that turns trash once Valentine’s Day comes around,” asks Duncan Muriithi. 

Relationships uncertainty

Most males don’t have the urge to measure up to other couples. You might have bagged yourself a new girlfriend, but you are not even sure who the two of you are in the first place before plunging into a spending spree.  She might be seeing someone on the low and she might use uncelebrated Valentine’s Day as a sign of dumping you. 

Commitment issues

Sometimes men have some unknown fears from their past relationships with lovers and friends. The experiences in these past relationships often affect future relationships, especially in the area of commitment. Such scenarios can make a man hate Valentine’s Day since he is not sure whether that is the right person or the right thing to do.

Nevertheless, despite all these reasons ladies are gearing up with utmost readiness for tonight. This has seen many events and offers being thrown around and the ladies either aren’t taking it slow.

“Sometimes men make a huge deal out of nothing to the extent of coming up with imaginary conferences. This day cannot be avoided and any woman who says she’s not interested will still have a sense of missing out if not celebrated. If you’d like to get her a gift, don’t start in the ‘valentines’ section. Start with what you know about the person. Maybe she’s an active backpacker who would like a new sleeping bag," says Atieno Oriwo, a 24-year-old medical student.

Related Topics


Popular this week


Latest Articles