HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsA woman needs love just like you do . . .

A woman needs love just like you do . . .

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A Harare man is fuming.

He has discovered his wife’s lover after she brought home a bouquet of flowers, which on further scrutiny was actually the bouquet he had initially sent his girlfriend on St Valentine’s Day.

The story goes like this. John buys Mary, his girlfriend, a large and fancy bouquet of flowers for Valentine’s Day.

Mary then passes the same bouquet of flowers to her other boyfriend, Sam, who also gladly passes them on to Jane, his married lover. The married woman is supposedly John’s wife.

Jane brings the flowers home, purporting to have bought them for him.

“The man says he was very positive he had bought the flowers because he had put a hand on them during purchase. There was something distinct about them that made him remember them. The card too remained the same one, though it bore no names.

“He asked his wife where she had got the flowers from and she said she had bought them. But that response did not go down very well with him until he decided to tell the truth. He told his wife that he had bought the flowers for his girlfriend and wanted to know how they ended up at their home,” a colleague at my workplace said.

The matter became a topical subject in the home and also spread to the girlfriend and within days the love triangle had been exposed.

John and Sam are ironically members of a Pentecostal church in Avondale.

“The funny thing is that John is defending his actions because he believes men are capable or have the right to have many partners. Jane has since known no peace in their matrimonial home ever since. It is a hot issue right now and I don’t know if that marriage will survive.”

You see, while I do not condone what Jane and Mary did, we should all know that a woman needs love just like men do.

This real-life example of a love triangle simply tells us that some men do not place much value on their spouses, who end up doing exactly what they are doing to them.

“You see we all need love and attention. But imagine that this man is now angry that his wife received the bouquet of flowers from his girlfriend’s lover. What does this say about the HIV and Aids pandemic? John is a foolish man and he should have just kept quiet about this because he is also wrong,” said Rutendo Musarurwa of Dzivaresekwa Extension.

I walked to a popular florist in Harare city centre on Friday and the lady at the counter could not help but laugh when I told her this story.

She revealed that men and women alike were sending flowers to their lovers and added that this year’s Valentine’s Day was one of the busiest in years.

“I have seen men come here and buy more than five bouquets with cards bearing the same messages. Our fresh flower bouquets cost between $20 and $200 and these sold like hot cakes.

“We had to work all day on Sunday to meet the overwhelming Monday orders. Lots of women ordered flowers for themselves and this is actually a growing trend,” she said.

But why would women buy themselves flowers on this day?

This is apparently not a matter confined to Zimbabwe alone for I came across a story on the wires which described how American women went out of their way to spoil themselves on St Valentine’s Day.

“Why shouldn’t you spoil yourself on St Valentine’s Day? If you do not love yourself why should you expect a gift to come your way? You must love yourself first before others do,” a lawyer, Dorothy Chinwada Mapimhidze, said.

“Why not buy your spouse or partner lingerie or toiletries which will last? To me flowers are just a waste of money.”

But the Harare florist said flowers topped the list of favoured Valentine symbols and that orders continued flowing into the night.

She said: “When Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday, the response is overwhelming. The pressure on people who may not receive flowers is so great that they end up ordering themselves and have them delivered at the office for everyone to see.”

A colleague recently heard a woman say that men should not be surprised to find their wives carrying flowers they would have bought themselves.

“This simply shows that men are not displaying enough affection to their spouses and they will find ways of showing the world that they are loved, even when there is no spark of love being ignited in the matrimonial home.”

I then decided to ask some of my Facebook friends about the subject and the responses were quite interesting.

Flo Mzo of Harare said that there was too much pressure in the work environment and that could have resulted in women taking it upon themselves to go on a shopping spree, wrapping gifts and sending couriers to deliver them to their offices.

“It is embarrassing not to get anything when every girl in the office got some flowers. It is indeed a commercialised event which is pushing certain individuals to the limit.”

An accountant with a leading conglomerate in Harare however described St Valentine’s Day as a foreign culture which should not be taken seriously.

“Someone buying themselves flowers shows insecurity if they are buying them specifically for Valentine. This is being quite silly because if I am looking, I will create the impression that am taken when in actual fact I am looking forward to someone sending me flowers.

“If you have a partner and you send yourself flowers, it could be that you might want to see if they are jealous (they may not be showing that they love you). The other reason could be to show that your partner loves you when you know that they get around quite a bit. The other reason will be to show that my partner is quite sophisticated when they are just typically African.

“If you love flowers you do not need to buy flowers on a Valentine ticket. To me this is the height of hypocrisy. First of all St Valentine does not mean anything in our culture. Do I have to wait for a particular day for someone to let me know that they love me? Love is more is about everyday things, respect and companionship.

“In our culture the way a man treats you shows how much he loves you. This is shown by the way he respects his in-laws, if he has paid lobola and fends for his family. We should not allow ourselves to lose our tradition by being overshadowed by foreign ways.

St Valentine’s Day has been revealed to have pagan origins. From my reading it originated when the Roman Emperor Constantine legalised Christianity hence ending persecution in 313AD.

Converted pagans did not entirely abandon all of their customs and practices. One such practice was the celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration which in turn has led to Valentine’s.

In fact, St Valentine is said to have been a homosexual.

“We should be proud of who we are and not succumb to pressure from the outside. The majority of people celebrating Valentine’s Day are clueless of its origin and what it really means. My man should not wait for Valentine’s Day to show he loves me, it’s about the total package. Christian or not let’s be sure why we are doing something.

“There is nothing wrong with having no partner and being single . . . If you are married you do not need to send yourself flowers, because people can see whether or not you are happily married; they probably know what your husband is up to and at most people will think he is a hypocrite if he goes about sending you flowers.”

Ty Cynthia Chaku in England said: “What? Buying flowers for oneself. . . ? Hmm, I wouldn’t do that but maybe people think that they too have someone who has thought of them on St Valentine’s, when in reality they haven’t. This is just keeping up with the Jones next door really. Trying to ‘fit in’. . . not wanting to be left out.”

A journalist, Fortune Moyo from Bulawayo, also responded on the social network and said people want flowers to show off to their counterparts that they are appreciated.

Lemmy Chibanda of Mabelreign had this to say:

“Guys, let’s love and spoil our spouses. They do so much for our families. Let’s not blame the woman who buys herself flowers. The person who is supposed to do it may be spoiling someone else and forgetting his wedded wife. How many ‘small houses’ received flowers and yet John’s wife at home received nothing?”

This is the scenario between Jane and John that I mentioned earlier. The initial intention to display affection to a girlfriend eventually exposed hypocrisy between married couples.

“John has vowed never ever to celebrate this day again.”

Love is a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person and this is generally between two loving individuals.

When that affection is then shared with other partners, problems will no doubt arise.

Lyrics in George Benson’s song summed it all up when he sang:

A woman needs love just like you do/ Don’t kid yourself into thinking that she don’t/ She can fool around just like you do . . .

Feedback: rmapmhidze@newsday.co.zw

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