By Helen Ovbiagele, Woman Editor
Most of the responses we got with regards to the above-titled write-up were from young people. The few older people who wrote in were concerned about the unwanted pregnancies that each Valentineâ€™s day is responsible for in the country.Â It seems that the more we embrace the celebration of this day, the more we have gullible young girls who believe that itâ€™s actually a day to celebrate intimacy with their boyfriends.
Apparently, there are boys out there who convince their girlfriends that itâ€™s the day that any girl who claims to love her boyfriend should allow him intimacy.Â If this is true in our society, then the home, the school, the religious bodies and even the government, have to seriously re-educate our young girls on the matter.
Who knows how many abortions would be procured because of this yearâ€™s Valentineâ€™s Day?Â Some may be safe; some may not be, as some girls may have their uterus damaged from unsafe abortion, or may die.Â Â Some may throw away their babies soon after delivery, while those who have supportive relatives will have the baby and become unmarried mothers.Â Itâ€™s no crime to choose to be a single mother, but when our young girls embrace it without any adequate preparation and support of the man responsible for the pregnancy, then, itâ€™s disastrous for the society because they wonâ€™t be able to raise well-adjusted citizens for the nation.
Raising kids is tough these days for most couples, not only in terms of resources for their welfare, but also in terms of having adequate time for guidance and supervision, and also providing them with a role model.
Some people may see my comment as that of a â€˜spoilsportâ€™, but the truth is that our young people need to be properly guided in the choices they make about their relationships with members of the opposite sex.
We thank all those who sent in their views.Â Below are a few that we could publish.
â€˜Madam, I do read your write-up in the Vanguard from time to time, but I must commend you for the one on St- Valentineâ€™s day.Â However, I think this article should have been published well before the due date, instead of publishing it on the day itself.Â Bringing it out earlier might have prevented some unwanted pregnancies this year, who knows?Â I watched with much dismay, little girls barely out of their babyhood, dressed in revealing outfits, hanging unto the arms of their boyfriends as they invaded entertainment joints this last Valentineâ€™s day.Â Letâ€™s hope that nothing indecent that will bring sorrow to the girlsÂ happened afterwards.Â Â -Â Â Mrs Blessing, Ikeja.â€™
â€˜Auntie Helen, please credit us young ladies with some decency in relationships.Â I read some of your novels and do agree with some of your views, but donâ€™t spoil Valentineâ€™s day for us, or rather, donâ€™t make us girls feel guilty when we accept gifts from our boyfriends.Â Arenâ€™t you on our side?Â Boys should, on Valentineâ€™s day, show that they appreciate the girls in their lives.Â This should be done by giving worthy gifts. Thanks, Nike, Ibadan.â€™
â€˜Ma, I agree with you that gifts, especially expensive ones, shouldnâ€™t be all what Valentineâ€™s day is about.Â But if a man really loves his girl, whatâ€™s a gift which sets him back some thousands of naira?Â He had the whole of twelve months to prepare for it if theyâ€™ve been dating that long. If they havenâ€™t then, he should give what he can afford that will not disgrace him.Â Just going to stroll on the beach, holding hands is romantic, but it wouldnâ€™t make my day.Â There should be something tangible to show at the end of the day.Â Thank you, ma.Â Â – Gertrude, Kano.â€™
Auntie Helen, thank you for telling us what Valentineâ€™s day is about and the right way for marking it.Â Honestly, our girls love money and expensive gifts too much.Â It isnâ€™t just for the Valentineâ€™s day, but for birthdays, Xmas, and even on a weekly or monthly basis.Â Some girls think that having a boyfriend is an occupation or a profession with which to live on.Â I personally donâ€™t mind giving gifts to my girl, but I wouldnâ€™t want to be dictated to on the matter.Â Our girls should be decent enough to accept whatever their boyfriends are able to give them as gifts.Â I donâ€™t buy the idea that itâ€™s while courting that a man should spend on his girl.Â The period of courtship is for getting to know and understand each other; and to find out if a future together is possible.Â If a man empties his purse during courtship, what will he spend on the wedding, and also maintain the wife with when he marries her?Â Â Â Uzoamaka, Enuguâ€™
â€˜Ma, Iâ€™m on a sabbatical from having girlfriends right now because of the mercenary attitude of the girls that Iâ€™ve dated so far.Â Â Maybe itâ€™s my luck, but every one of the five Iâ€™ve dated have been very demanding financially, right from my days in the university.Â Itâ€™s money, money, money; even from girls from affluent homes.Â There should be dignity in this quest for money. If a guy is unemployed or a student, his girl would still want him to satisfy her financial needs.Â Where would he get the money from?Â I canâ€™t go and steal to satisfy any girl. Naively, I used to spend all my pocket money from home on my girl, because she said thatâ€™s part of dating a girl.Â Sometimes,Â Â I would eat only once a day on the campus, because that was all I could afford.Â My mother was worried sick of my gaunt looks.Â Luckily, my elder sister got to know how I was spending my money and she sat me down to talk to me.Â I got wiser instantly, and began to give only gifts that I could afford.Â The girls werenâ€™t satisfied and they left me.Â Â Â Iâ€™m in my early thirties now, but Iâ€™ve told myself that I wonâ€™t marry until a find a girl who behaves decently in money matters.Â Thanks ma.Â Â – Chris, Benin City.â€™
Auntie, not all girls are like the girls in your write-up; wanting expensive gifts from their guys.Â There are many girls who just want to be loved and treated respectfully by their boyfriends, with or without money.Â But the trouble, ma, is that some men believe that if they donâ€™t give you gifts and money, they wonâ€™t be secure in the relationship.Â Some would even accuse of you of having secret sugar daddies if youâ€™re not demanding financially.Â Â They actually encourage girls to become mercenary.Â Thanks.Â Â Mildred.Â Â Lagos.â€™
Madam, Iâ€™ve brought up my daughters to respect themselves and not ask men for money or gifts for any occasion.Â Still, theyâ€™d come home and show me expensive gifts which men who are not even their boyfriends have sent to them.Â Of course itâ€™s with a view of luring them into a relationship.Â Â Â I taught them to reject such gifts, and theyâ€™ve always complied.Â All three of them are safely married now with their own families, but I just wonder what would have happened if they had secretlyÂ kept accepting unsolicited gifts from admirers.Â Wouldnâ€™t they have been harmed in one way or the other?Â We hear of girls being gang-raped, or beaten up, etc.Â Usually, itâ€™s a man who has spent heavily on them and have been dumped who is behind such atrocious acts.Â Â Â Mothers should raise their sons to believe in their own personal charm when courting girls, and not try to use money to buy love.Â Above all, letâ€™s teach our sons to be gentlemanly, decent and violence-free.Â They should learn to accept rejection from girls.Â Thank you, my sister.Â Â Mrs. Ayo, Ilorin.â€™