PEARL THUSI covers Sowetan Mag

Valentine’s Day… should you do it?

I remember it so well, High School Valentine’s day drama…

Absolute pandemonium all over an all girls school.  Hormones raging for a single rose, Oh my…

“Do you think you’re going to get a rose?”, “Me?” I asked, confused, “Am I going to get a rose? I don’t know… I don’t even care…” I lied. Then I thought, shocked that I’d just lied, “Wait, I want a rose?! Oh yes, I’d love a rose. From who…? From a boy, any boy- I don’t care. I WANT A ROSE! Why can’t a boy out there just get me a rose? Am I not pretty enough? Is my smile not beautiful enough? Can’t the boys see the legs underneath this skirt? Maybe that boy who smiled at me at the public library will get me a rose… Does he know my name? Maybe he asked one of the other boys for my name… but I don’t think he’s very cute though… Doesn’t mean he didn’t get me rose. Should I go to the school hall?  What if someone did send me a rose and I’m not there to accept it? What if I don’t and I’ve wasted precious time, time I could have used catching up school work?” Ugh!

Then there were girls who had boyfriends and already had roses or expected a “surprise” from their ‘boo’ in the neighbouring school.  And there were the girls who couldn’t have been less bothered about Valentine’s day drama- they knew they weren’t getting one, why waste all that time? Some felt unworthy and others just weren’t interested.

Fast forward over 10 years later… And I still wonder… will he get me a rose?

I’ve since decided I don’t even like roses. No one should be giving me dead bodies as a gift, no matter how pretty they look. Give me a plant with roots and soil and stuff. I won’t say no to roses or any other flower, they’re beautiful, but please don’t assume I should be extremely excited. I just think, “Congratulations, you just played yourself. You wasted money!”

The thought still counts though. I’m not a complete ass guys- gimme some credit.

I realize today that this was when the act of showing someone you love them had to be a big public display of affection for everyone to see. When expectations got out of hand. And the little things became that much smaller…

The rose has become a symbol and can be anything at this point. Diamonds? A romantic dinner? That thing I hinted at 3 months ago?

Look, I’m a brat, I wonder if I’ll like it or not. LOL. No, I’m kidding, a little… *eyes emoji*

Until just a few years ago, Valentine’s day was still stressful. regardless of whether or not I was in a relationship. I’m either rebelling and asking, “Who the f*** is Valentine anyway?” or I say to boyfriend, “I don’t really care about Valentine’s Day. It’s just a gimmick anyway…” which morphed into, “Everyday should be like Valentine’s Day for us. Everyday should be special.” Was this a dope thing to say? Of-course. Was I lying? Duh.

Thank God the people I was telling these alternative truths to knew I was lying. What I was trying to say is, “You should be getting me gifts every damn day n*gga!”.

I’m calmer about it now. Seriously. It’s so stupid, I’ve read up on St Valentine and how this day came about and I really couldn’t be less bothered. Am I lying? Are you kidding? I’m lying through the clicks of my keyboard. But look, can’t hate a girl for trying because I really am.  And I’m not lying this time.

All those years of brain washing, luring me into trying to perfect attracting male attention and adoration cannot be switched off that easily. The thousands of movies and soapies, the advertising, music, magazine covers etc. Every girl still wants to be ‘The fairest of them all’. I’ll keep it real- I hate that I still want it- but I do. I really wish I didn’t and I hope my daughter doesn’t have these problems.

Come to think of it, it must have been tough for the boys too, wasting their precious tuck money on a dead flower as a show of affection to a girl he thinks is pretty. And openly giving someone the opportunity to reject them. For all the drama we give men we should applaud them for taking it so well when our egos are boosted by rejecting them and they still keep trying. Shout out to the boys who do it and care. The ones who have something to lose. The ones who just chase skirts hoping to score… I’m not talking to you. Go away.

Let me try and get to the point…

I find it interesting that in the wild, its the men who do all the hard work- peacocks, lions and even frogs. They have to fight and compete to prove they are worthy. From building bad ass nests to locking horns and roaring- a spring-time Armageddon of brawn in the quest for reproductive victory, males going to extremes to gain attention. But I guess, with the exception of penguins & a few other animals, monogamy isn’t natural. But even there, there is some sort of ask from, usually the male, of why the female should choose him.  A young man showing you you why you should choose him… is that the beginning of that journey for boys?

The point is, people want to feel special. Men and women. No one is wrong or right. We should all be allowing each other to flourish. We are animals and regardless of whether or not there is monogamy in a relationship, show me you care, it’s welcomed on any day. We get so caught up in surviving, work and raising kids and all that jazz that we forget. We forget to do the obvious. The grand act of getting me a ridiculously large bunch of flowers and teddy bear with a card carrying a message that is genuinely yours, but with meaning you could never have put into words. Even losers trying to get in a girl’s pants should be roaring and dancing on Valentine’s Day- I just hope girls are discerning enough to know the difference and just take the diamonds and run.

Ladies, do something insane for him too. Get him that latest play-station, listen to the frivolous needs of your man as well.  When I say be ‘grand’, I mean be spectacular- but even and more particularly with the little things. Iron his shirt that morning even if you’re not that kinda girl (note- but don’t burn it honey). Just go out of your way.  The truth is- while chivalry will always be welcomed, if we hope gender equality will be achieved, we must also level the playing field on these days.

If you’re not a believer in gimmicks and consumerism- it can never kill anyone to be extra kind on that day and make a big deal over someone you care deeply for. You can come up with something. If you know your partner well- it shouldn’t be hard to make their day.

Better yet, if you want to stop worrying on Valentine’s day, focus on doing something for someone else, rather than wondering what you’re going to get. Hell, even if you give to your yourself, its better than worrying what will be done for you. Giving has never been out done by receiving.

I see you questioning if I truly believe what I’m saying this time… I also wondered if I was lying- I’m quite proud to say that I truly believe this. I actually thought of what has truly made me happy- and a specific moment came up, I was the one giving. No, not when I was giving birth.