Annabel Onyango has never been keen on Valentine’s Day. Why? It’s just too corny. Invariably, your exaggerated Hollywood-inspired expectations of the day as a wife/girlfriend /lover/it’s complicated are never met.
The general hoopla when you go out on Valentine’s night (if you can get a date) I can frankly do without – calling a hundred restaurants trying to get the last unreserved table in Nairobi, hunting for a requisite sexy red dress, ‘tastefully’ sharing images on Facebook of ‘all the flowers’ you received without looking like you’re showing off (when, in fact, you are).
That same reasonably-priced restaurant you were at last week will suddenly double their prices in a “Valentine’s Deal” that everyone knows is anything but a deal. Three courses at the neighbourhood local can’t possibly be valued at Ksh 10,000 per head, drinks paid for separately. And that one, measly glass of champagne included in the Special Valentine’s Menu just doesn’t cut it for me.
As a colour, red doesn’t particularly suit my complexion; I never wear it. The only red I will be consuming on February 14th is in the form of a good Cabernet Sauvignon. Valentine’s night is not the time or place for a rosé, you need something full-bodied and robust. Love and wine are, to me, inextricably linked. On a romantic date, a delicious dark wine in a long-stem glass will perfectly fuel all those lovey-dovey emotions. It makes the food taste better and the night last longer. It amplifies the romance and ignites the passion. Without wine between lovers, might as well save yourself the trouble and put whatever you intended to say to each other over dinner in an email and press send.
But every couple has their own style, and for some, doing THE MOST on Valentine’s Day is an annual ritual. Something my husband and I do is have Valentine’s dinner the night before or after the actual Valentine’s night. No red balloons, no violin music. It takes a lot of the pressure off, and just allows us to enjoy a dinner out without all the cheesy décor and frantic table service. Or we’ll just stay in, wear sweatpants and cook something really delicious (my husband can throw down). One year our friends even came round after dinner. We stock up on the wine, throw in a good movie, and it’s the best night ever.