Love, lust and Valentine

The story is told of a poor man who lived with his wife in a rustic town. One day, his wife, who had long hair, asked him to buy a comb for her so that her hair could be well groomed. The man felt sorry and said no, explaining that he did not have enough money to fix the scrap of his watch that he had just broken. She did not insist on her request.

The man left home for work and passed by a watch shop, sold his damaged watch at a low price and went to a store to buy a comb for his beloved wife. He came home in the evening with the comb in hand, ready to give his wife. He was surprised when he saw his wife with a low hair-cut. She had sold her hair and was holding a new watch band. Tears flowed simultaneously from their eyes, not for the futility of what they both bought but for the reciprocity of their love. This is love.

To love is nothing but common sense though commonsense itself is no longer common in our country where parochial interests are making corrupt-souled leaders to fan the embers of hate. What many people, especially the youth and adults, call love is lust, a form of “diseased hysteria” or a strong desire of a sexual nature that is based on physical attraction. Lust is one of the seven deadly sins (which are classified as pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth) the remedy to which is chastity. Many people who claim to love their targets only lust over appearances for illicit sexual adventures.

The type of love between the couple in the opening story is the essential love, deep, genuine, deep and profound. This is different from lust that is displayed this Valentine season by the impressionistic crowd who have been brainwashed about February 14. Valentine Day is just about the lust after flesh and the thoughtless distribution of HIV among illegal partners. It is vain and destructive.

Since millions of people in Nigeria and beyond, students and non-students alike, are being programmed to believe in the vanity of Valentine by popular culture, it is important to be educated that the concept of Valentine Day is rooted in ordinary myths and folklore. The most common tale of its origin is the one dating back to the 4th Century during the reign of Claudius, a ruthless Roman Emperor, when a priest, St. Valentine, risked death and prison by getting young soldiers married, despite the ban imposed by Claudius. The Emperor had assumed that marriage made soldiers weak and forbade it for the army but Valentine, despite the threat to life and freedom, secretly arranged marriages among young Roman soldiers. He was eventually caught and sent to death on February 14.

Another myth suggests that St. Valentine was caught violating a ban and was sent to prison where he fell in love with the daughter of a prison guard. From prison, Valentine exchanged notes with children and his sweetheart and his final letter was supposedly signed with the words, “From your Valentine.” So, to be someone’s Val today or any other day, the journey must first start from prison!

Love is a powerful feeling that should be acknowledged and commemorated everyday because a day without love is a wasted day. It is “an emotion of a strong affection and personal attachment, a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion and benevolent concern for the good of another.” It is not just about being hot or dressing red like tetracycline capsules and being made available to everyone who says, “I love you”, to get at you.

In our wayward world of today where everything is sexed up, from the lousy and loquacious movie artistes to the lewd and lascivious musicians that dominate airwaves and cyberspace with their banalities, love has become narrowed down to sex, with a fixation on lustful carnal pleasure. Such individuals and the little minds that follow them look forward to Valentine Day with bated breaths with a view to messing up their lives and mutually transmitting diseases in the name of sharing love and catching fun.

On many occasions, there is violence on the part of the desperate and drugged up participants in orgies that mark the malady and there is abuse. Therefore, there is no Valentine in the way it is construed for the decent, responsible and disciplined students and youth outside the marital context of the opening love story.