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A Guide to Buying Valentine Gifts

In the next three weeks most of those who are hitched will have to decide whether to procure gifts for their partners.

Admittedly procure is too formal a word to use in a column that pretends to be funny and hilarious though so let us say to buy. Obviously this applies to hopeless romantics like me.

Please do not question the ‘hopeless romantic’ tag because I was given this adjective a while ago when my effort to win a street beauty queen went overboard. That tag stuck and at one point I actually believed it. Buying a gift, any type of gift, is never an easy process. Buying a Valentine’s gift is the most difficult thing ever. In terms of difficulty it is right there at the level of discovering a vaccine for HIV/AIDS which the world has been grappling with for close to four decades.

It is at the level of difficulty of dislodging Yoweri Museveni from presidency. It is at the level of difficulty of answering the question ‘Am I fat?’ from your wife. First of all there’s the small matter of budget. The January salary is the most hardworking salary I know. January salary is supposed to paper the cracks (which are actually craters to be more accurate) created by the December spending spree.

It has to cover school fees. It has to cover school uniform. And finally the constitutional Valentine’s present. This is in addition to the standard groceries, utilities, rent, mortgages and blessings! So budgeting for that gift should start right in October of the previous year. Otherwise there’s a real danger of shopping in Block 3 and procuring (did I say that again) Oriental goodies which women abhor and have the potential to spoil a perfectly good relationship.

The problem is when your partner decides in her mind that your relationship will last the length of time that gift lasts, which is not a long time with Oriental goodies. I once went to look for a gift at Block 3 courtesy of a December-ravaged wallet and my car was struck by a pickup truck being driven backward by a squat man with tattoos of dragons all over his body, who got out and explained to me, in great detail, why the accident was my fault, his

reasoning being that he was violent and muscular, whereas I was neither.

This kind of reasoning is legally valid in Block 3 apparently. I swore never to go there again and inadvertently saved my relationship. I am still looking for the squat man with tattoos to thank him for saving my relationship. Buying a gift for a man is tricky and so women usually decide on ties and colognes. Most men, despite the fact that they only wear 2 to 3 ties have close to a hundred ties in their closets but because somehow men cannot blend their outfits with their ties they stick around using 3 safe ties.

Tragic episodes of ‘You are not going to wear that tie with that suit’ being bellowed by the wife are all too common and so every new tie if it does not suit the ‘safe mode’ will join the other 97 ties in the closet and await its turn which will never come.

Men want something more practical that they can use like tyres, a camp chair, a cooler box maybe. But what kind of woman buys a man a camp chair on Valentine’s day! Buying a gift for a woman is even trickier. Of course as a man one of the things you do not know is your partner’s clothes size. Men have no sense of what a size 34 means and so they should stay away from buying clothes as gifts. Imagine your wife is a size 30 and using your sense of observation you buy her a size 40.

That is the ultimate insult and you could end up with lots of egg in your face. Getting the wrong size is only acceptable if it is smaller because that is flattery right there.

So the best thing to do is to buy makeup. You know the eau de face, eau de eyes, eau de toilette, eau de hands type. Any type of eau de usually resonates well with women and this is a great gift as long as you can explain how you know about them without incriminating yourself.

(For comments, feedback and insults email

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