What Manner of Valentine for the Polyamorous in Nigeria

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Forget the roses, perfumes and lingerie. For some, nothing is as exhausting as Valentine’s Day, no not in the sexual sense of it. Mental fatigue, burning up road miles, dejection and the fear of getting caught is the brunt some lovers have to bear. Be it side chicks, stone-faced mistresses, gigolos or long-suffering wives, the trauma is real, writes Omolola Itayemi 

 Mrs. Funmi Ali (not real name) has spent every February 14th having lunch with her husband, Seyi. After lunch, she hangs around the office with him or follows him to Ikoyi Club for his game of golf. This ritual might sound strange to some but not to Funmi who will not have it any other way on Valentine’s Day after slugging it out with Mabel, one of her husband’s chicks on the side six years ago at a fancy restaurant in Lagos.

Seyi knows the drill but it serves as little or no deterrent because he spent time having breakfast on a boat cruise with Aaliyah, his latest mistress. With this arrangement, Mr. Ali believes everybody is happy but at whose expense?

Mrs. Ali knows her husband is guilty of various affairs and has caught him in flagrante delicto many times. She has cried her eyes out, begged, prayed and fasted for him to change, all to no avail, so she has taken the bull by the horn and become more assertive, demanding that what is due to her must be given to her. One of such is the Valentine’s Day shenanigan she gets up to.

Mr. Ali is part of the increasing number of married men with girlfriends or side chicks, as they are called, who have to juggle two or more women on Valentine’s Day as everyone demands time, affection and presents, even when they know that the day is more of a commercial venture than romantic one.

Mistress’ Day

The scenario might strike you as odd but that’s what is buzzing on the streets. For those ahead of the game, some husbands celebrate Valentine’s Day one night early and not with their wives.

It doesn’t appear on the traditional calendar, but the 13th of February has been branded ‘Mistress’ Day’ for unfaithful Nigerian men and their partners in crime, leaving Valentine’s Day free for a date with their long-suffering wives.

Take notice if your husband is missing for several hours on February 13th. Be wary if he invents excuses to come home late, or to run an errand later on Valentine’s night. These could be additional telltale signs but do the husbands ever learn.

The women are usually the ones who bear the brunt emotionally and sometimes physically when it results in brawls. Unhappy girlfriends, side chicks and mistresses who are unhappy when ignored and wives who find out about such liaisons,

Blanket Ban

If you think Mr. Ali’s Valentine’s Day ritual is strange, then Clemas Okeke, an entrepreneur, married with three children will freak you out. He avoids the office on that day. Only very serious appointments are attended to. He is at home all day and only serious telephone calls are entertained, no calls from girlfriends and mistresses and unknown numbers. Clemas, fondly called, ‘guy man’ by his friends would rather not rock the boat, as that day has been declared strictly for his wife, Ogechi.

“On Valentine’s Day, all sins are forgiven and the slate is wiped clean, so I will rather be with madam,” says Okeke.

The Multitasker 

Woody Allen once quipped, “Sex without love is a meaningless affair. But as far as meaningless affairs go, it’s pretty damn good.”  Meet Zikora, a 39-year-old sales manager with one of the telecoms companies for whom the abrupt end to a nine-year-old relationship meant that such meaningless affairs were damn good indeed. Well until, he got married two years ago, but those meaningless affairs didn’t stop.

Smarting from last year’s near fiasco on Valentine’s Day, Zikora has perfected other plans. On Valentine’s Day, he goes to work with his main babe, she’s lodged in a hotel near his office and will sneak in for some fun time during office hours. After work, he drives down to the hostel near the University of Lagos to spend time with his smallie  (undergraduate girlfriend), armed with gifts and take-away food for her.

He doesn’t eat much as madam has dinner waiting at home. An almost exhausted Zikora eventually gets home late with the excuse of late work and traffic snarls to enjoy the day with madam.

Equal Partners in the Game

Women are not slacking in the multitasking department either, and are getting bolder by the day. With the various office affairs going on in corporate Nigeria, Valentine’s Day will definitely be affected. Take Margaret, 35, banker, married with two boys, who has several extramarital affairs. Constantly complaining of a boring sexual life at home, Margaret is always on the look out for the next steamy sexual encounter and Valentine’s Day is no exception.

Margaret brings home the bacon and believes she deserves whatever fun she can get outside. She spends time with her boyfriend in the office during the day and retires to her boring husband at night.

 Kemi Ashefon, founder of Kemi Ashefon Love Haven Blogspot and a relationship expert is of the opinion that the illicit liaisons are not right and too much emotion and energy are wasted on a day that should offer so much love and intimacy.

That being said, she advises, “If you want to split your time between multiple partners, then you’re going to have to take the reins firmly when planning the day for both of them.”

“Start the day off with having brunch with your significant other and enjoying a cocktail with number two later that night. Make sure to leave yourself plenty of time between dates, though, so you can regenerate for your second one,” she warns.

Ashefon also recommends not squeezing in a third side kick, as you’d be so exhausted and stressed that you wouldn’t enjoy any of them.

And another one: don’t get them all the same thing. Seriously, just don’t! “While it may be easier to shop for one gift for all and resort to mass merchandising,” points out Ashefon, “the downside, however, is the off chance of them finding out and feeling like they just got a mass blast love letter is higher than if you got four special things for each person.”

It all sounds exhausting doesn’t it? Truth be told is for anyone to truly enjoy St. Valentine’s Day, fidelity to one partner is the surest way of showing love, appreciation and respect for one’s partner. Valentine’s Day is only one of 365 days in a year, so the best advise to those with significant others is to make the most of this special day by making it memorable.

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!