Monday, April 28, 2008

St Valentine Don Die!

I am not growing any younger... Yes! and nothing drives it home like 14th of February - Vals day। Its so amusing to watch the younger ones (and most of the ladies) run around fulfilling all righteousness। My wake up call this morning as a warning from the wife, reminding me not to work late today! "Make sure you are home on time for dinner"

My First Vals Date!
To tell you about Vals day, I will start from when early days when when in Primary School, I made my first Vals card with White Card Board and HB pencil। The lucky val was that Oyinbo Girl in my class। She was happy to get it and gave me a big smile to show her appreciation, my joy was short lived as I subsequently got a slap when I tried to kiss her to show my appreciation। That was my 1st Vals date - Explosive wouldn't you say!

The Big Red Box!
Val in University of Nigeria, Nsukka was pay time। I had learnt my lesson, Let them come to you. Vals period was brisk business period for creative minds like me. One could easily make 4 times your pocket money in one night. I remember how in school I used to make mega bucks - designing customised Vals cards for my fellow student. Mine was special, it had a big chocolate hart made of 20 Éclairs melted down to form a heart shape, Another special gift I designed as presents was a glass frame with 2 condoms inside and a note that read "In Case of Emergency, Break Glass". I was too naive to know that I was setting a trend, in fact, I should have filed for a patent for that frame cos it still sells even today. There 3 types of people on Vals day - A Roaster, Desperado and of course the Players. Vals day normally began with All 3 categories paying up and collecting their Red Boxes (A name I coined for my specially designed Vals Card) or the fire quenching frame. In those days your date always came to you - I guess they could stand the risk of losing their Val to another desperate House wife, school girl. To make matters worse, if a girl hung around her room past 7pm, she was considered a "Roaster" - someone who can not find a val on vals day was a goner, and the subject of mass scrutiny by her room mates the next day. There were also Male "Roasters" - I will come to them later. but let me mention finally "Desperadoes" - those who planed a date ahead of time only to find out she had eloped with another man.

The bulk of the money was paid by desperados - who normally came back around 7pm to change the name on the cards... For instance, If Emeka designed a card for Ngozi, only to find that Ngozi has run off to another bloke. Emeka will then scan through his options to look for eligible Roasters, then rush back to alter the names on their customized cards. Desperadoes might change the name on their cards 3 or 4 times - the mad rush was necessary as all unsuccessful "Desperadoes" were officially declared "Roasters" by 8pm. Just like the under taker, we prayed for more Desperadoes each year. the spoils of which, ended up in our pockets. After the desperadoes stopped coming, it was time to start my own Valentine

Roasters Bash!
many a valentine nights were spent in dark with loud music... but they usually began with a dinner date, maybe with a candle, and roses. Though most girls bought socks, and ties (Typical El Cheapos) as Val presents for the guys, most guys were required to buy presents, underwear, sex toys, G-Strings, Perfume, anything that caught your fancy. After the dinner, most people retire to their rooms to "Sleep it off". About this time, Male Roasters and unfortunate desperadoes would start the migration back to their hostels, Eni Njoku, Alvan, and the Onu Iyi dwellings... They'd all meet up at the local watering hole in Ziks Flats to narrate and reappraise their love life. Satiric displays, enacted to ridicule the Roasters and de-list cheaters. This was typically where the Big Chicks on campus were named, and triumphant Desperadoes identified. This would last for hours running late into the wee hours of the night with music and drinks. Before long, by 1989 this had grown into a culture of some sort, even successful couples would join the Bash before retiring to the rooms. Major Valentine Shows and acts were included to make it a must see - by and large, it masked the sorrows of Roasters, as the mingled with their Desperadoes... I culture that endures till today, the Ziks Flats Roasters Bash, remains one of UNNs highpoints every year. And I am happy to be one of the proponents

At The Peak of My Sexual Career!
You maybe wondering, did he make a career out of it? well in those days all most young men of my age lived for was "to score". It was a benchmark of some sort, and generally calibrated the perking order. At least in my troop, that's how it was. 14th February was the day I dreaded most as I would have to come up with plausible excuses for all the dames I was going to stand up. Even when you succeed at that, you had to avoid all your regular hang outs - as the last thing you wanted to do was to let Miss X see you with Miss Y. Many a black eyes and sore hearts have been broken when missy appears uninvited to a vals date - like they say 2 is company

You ask why do we have to run? ॥ Why cheat on many girls at the same time? My answer is, you probably don't know anything about Statistics and obviously flunked your maths classes. The ratio of women to men in Nigeria is well over 5:1 so you do the maths... Why I know go run

To effectively avoid all collisions and wake up on 15th with the family jewels intact, one had to be creative. The first step was to leave home or even relocate until 16th February. That way, all desperate girl will meet with no luck, trying to seek you out. The second trick was to have a air tight (water tight will also do) alabi for your whereabouts. Not to worry all the bachelors are running so you can bank on one of your friends to give you a hand. With the advent of mobile phones, this game could be very complicated. but at the end, only that special girl got the rare opportunity to spend vals day with me

I Do!
Most often than not, the bride at every alter, is a product of the last successful vals date... the only thing that comes between the man and wife is usually enough funds to consummate the wedding, so every wedding is a result of cupids arrant shooting spree. Any couple that was caught unmarried at the turn of the year when cupid was to strike again, where only marking time. It is quite easy to forget this unique ritual when you have found the right one the previous year. As a friend on mine told me today, "My husband says it is un Islamic!" I wish I had a Christian equivalent excuse to avoid it myself. Avoiding unwanted val dates took a new turn after a proposed. We very readily say "Vals day has been postponed until next year" or the one that really works is to say that St Valentine don die! Infact I have a photo of his funeral rites (see the cartoon for details). The devil was never far away - you know how dey say, "Wanty wanty, never gets it - and Getty getty never wants it!" When you say you don't want, that's when they fall over themselves to get you. Vals day from 1999 - 2002 were horrible for me, I got gifts I couldn't take home, I hid cakes in the company fridges, I hide pictures and cards at work, all from girls who knew very well this was not going to get them anywhere. It all came to an end in 2002. I had fought a good fight, and bowed out honourable having played my part in this game

Abuja 2008
here at my desk at the intelligent building, I cant help but smile at the endless "Happy Vals" I hear around me, The chips of mobile phones notifying their owners of new text messages, I recognize that smirk masked as a smile from a guy who know his going to score tonight. I noticed the little girlie hints by girls annoucing their availability to would-be prospective dates. I noticed the mad rush to buy CARDS by colleagues all in preparation for the onslaught. I don't notice the barrage of cakes raining in on my as before, I have not received any customised cards, Not even a text message. (Oh my Director HRD did send one on banknet for all Roasters - and I receive it in Jesus Name!). No corper has made any desperate move on me. Even madam has not called me her usual 6 times to surveill my movements. Yeah, its all coming back to me now... I am really growing old. I just realised that as you grow, the meaning of St. Valentines Day seems to change. At one point in time, it was a time to make make money to me. Then it turned to a time to get laid, then a time to show how serious I was with my girl. Now as grey hairs begin to appear on my moustache, and the picture of my 2 kids stare at me in the background, Vals day can only mean one thing to for me - a time to further reassure love in my family. I cant be late for that dinner tonight, and Yes shes going to get the bashing of her life. Happy Vals Day to you all.