The Unstarched Collar, By Chijioke Massai Okafor
The days leading up to Valentine are very noisy. The hype never dies. But somehow, I cannot help feeling that there is some false note in all the excitement. Beyond young innocents just being despoiled by the giddy jitters of first love; Valentine seems more like a nervous, knee-jerk reaction by guilt-ridden couples scared of admitting that they have either fallen out of love, or completely failed in their reciprocal duties. It gets even worse for the Married; the women especially.
Thus, whenever I see married women (or extended mono-dating single ones) put up Valentine smileys on the Social Media, I wonder where their excitements lie. Surely, the prospect of merely retiring to a lengthy warm bath and heavy dinner, alone, is not that earth-shaking. At best, their significant dudes are happily away to some remote joint, drinking beer with the boys. However, it usually gets worse. It is trite fact (like some verbose lawyers would say) that a slightly inebriated man hardly keeps his eyes from roving across supple displays of juvenescent feminity. Enough said.
Slowly, I have come to decipher these Smileys as what they really are in the woman’s eyes: a desperate message of hope that someday, the dudes will finally realize that the thrills of the day are best shared in the home. Unfortunately, they wish in vain: Boys will always be boys. And many more tender hearts are broken, on February 14.
Women will certainly agree that it has become necessary to introduce a stricter position to this scenario, by imposing the Law on these errant males. Given the platform, their draft-argument will run a bit like this:
Women are the most critical unit of a society. They proliferate humanity by their exclusive gift of labour. Often, this Labour is activated by love-driven exchanges; and thus literally becomes a labour of love. In this sense, Valentine period should be dedicated to the happiness and pleasures of committed females (as opposed to flighty, psychedelic hangers on).
For the purposes of this discussion, we shall view every household, whether enabled by mere consent, traditional law or divine approval as a self-sufficient, sovereign unit. In this regard, it shall be empowered to run its internal administration under a strict body of regulated rules. First, since the progress of every household is determined by how well it applies its budget to the necessary ingredients of Love (Please Note that these ingredients extend to jewelry, Brazilian hair and such other accessories as may be in vogue); it shall be criminal for the leadership of the household to misappropriate same in nurturing trivial habits or conferring same on another female who is not his wife (or its mono-dating equivalent as mentioned above).
Thus, there should be a Valentine Enforcement Team (VET) empowered to ensure strict compliance of husbands and long boyfriends to the pleasures of the wife. It shall be an offence, a misdemeanor, for a husband to fail to provide an assorted array of practical gifts for his partner on this day. Therefore, such meaningless purchases as Rose Flowers, hand-written love-letters, and cheap wine or chocolate shall not avail as a defence. These are not adequate investments. Our investment in the peace of society must start at the home, at the feet of the woman, precisely, and must be administered in such heavy doses as to secure collateral harmony across households and the society as a whole. Every married woman shall be entitled to write a Valentines Wish-List and hide same under the pillow of her partner. Children have Christmas for their wish-lists, Men have every midnight for theirs; thus delineating a single day for the woman is not asking too much. These Wish-lists are not to be deemed idle scribbles of mythical origins. The VET shall insist on a minimum of seventy percent compliance with the details enumerated therein. It shall also not avail in defence that the man does not have the requisite funds to meet the items indicated in the list. Banks and Financial institutions shall be encouraged as a matter of policy, to provide loans at significantly reduced interest-rates during the days leading up to Valentine.
Now, while it is a misdemeanor to fail in the above; it becomes a more heinous offence; a felony, for a husband to respond to any alternate Wish-lists outside the marriage. This shall be a strict liability offence, and the sketchiest suspicions of the wife shall sufficiently trigger an investigation and possible arrests. Of course, it goes without saying that the penalties for conviction are largely pecuniary. The desired objective is to make the relationship turn out fine.
This is a necessary protection as our society deems it unseemly for a woman to go out at night unaccompanied by her spouse or partner, the absence of their men on such occasions constitutes a violation to their Rights to Free Movement. They are forced to stay indoors and watch the night exhaust its excitements, while they suffer the tortures of Channel 117. That is when they are lucky! Because in most cases; the generator-fuel allowance is compromised to feed the man’s evil habits.
It shall also not be an excuse that the woman nags. The woman’s role as a home-maker depends solely on her right to Free Speech. Thus, in whatever manner she prefers to act, by nagging or fretting, she should be given a platform to exercise this, and be fairly heard too (at least within a few miles of the neighborhood).
The VET shall wield wide powers to, well, vet random couples on a Valentine date. Therefore, at their discretion, they may require instant evidence of marriage or at least committed relationship of the couple. If the man fails to satisfy that he is either a widower or a divorcee (with updated alimony records); he shall go in for it. It shall also be inexcusable for a graying man to be amorously engaged with a much younger female who is not his daughter or niece. In situations as this, the VET can effect arrest without warrant.
Our current permissive Valentine environment impedes the healthy development of family life and consequently corrupts our collective morals as a society. Defaulting men shall be ordered to pay for an exclusive 2-week holiday (inclusive of comprehensive vouchers covering shopping and Spa) for the aggrieved spouse to facilitate her recuperation from the emotional trauma.
In severe cases of default, the aggrieved woman may apply and obtain a younger male company to temporarily carry out the usual activities of her partner for up to six months, at the end of which period she may elect to make the transfer absolute. And if she so elects; a larger percentage of the man’s estate shall be assigned to her on the grounds that his destructive addiction to outsiders has rendered him incapable of administering the said estate.
Happy Valentine, Ladies!