Episode 4: “Shmalentine’s Day”
- Wednesday, 26 November 2014 14:36
I was single throughout my entire varsity career.
#Truestory. Throughout my university years I would approach Valentine’s day with the feeling of being a stray dog in Noah’s ark. All around me I would see these smug couples cuddling, kissing and sharing romantic gifts with each other so expensive it made their tuition fees look like lunch money. It always boggled me that even in an institution that encouraged critical thinking that Valentine’s Day would still be sheepishly followed by the nation’s most promising young thinkers. But I guess even they had the same yearning that I had; the need to feel loved.
When I became a peer counsellor I was so relieved to discover that I was not as alone as I had thought I was. I discovered that various students- regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation or race- were all feeling the pressure to be in romantic attachments. Forget the B.A, the BSC or the Bcom, many students in fact came to university to obtain their MRS degree, with plans of meeting the proverbial one that they would eventually marry and begin the rest of their lives with. And such expectations aren’t out of left-field; university is filled with so many ambitious, good-looking peers that it is no wonder that so many married couples claim to have found their spouses on campus grounds. Fresh out of the hormonal high school years, the chance to find and make adult relationships happen feels palpable.
Off course, our expectations of relationships are, for lack of a better word, romanticized and the practicalities of genuine human relationships are often a lot more complicated than cheesy gifts and public displays of affection. Jabu daydreams of the love with Badanile in a highly stylized and over simplified way. But because of his own insecurities Jabu can only express his love online through the personae of his anonymous profile, That Other Guy. His profile and status’ in this episode are of an imagined self, imagining love. And Badanile does respond to this demonstration of love. But That Other Guy, like Jabu’s fantasy, is a dream and ultimately Jabu lacks the guts to actually make that connection happen offline. Ultimately it is not Jabu’s relationship status that is complicated. He is.
Sizo, on the other hand, knows all the tricks of romance; the chocolates and most importantly the car. But in the end those things are just that; tricks. And when the most valuable of those assets and romantic trappings get taken from him, notice how impotent he suddenly looks and becomes. And then there’s Badanile, whose self-concept as an academic over-achiever means that Valentine’s Day isn’t a day of love for her, but a day of self-loathing. Notice the dark waters she then treads without her self-love and self-regard to guide her.
So tonight (my birthday, by the way) I am nostalgically looking back at the romantic aridity of my university life wishing I could tell that Muzi that there is always more to love and life than what meets the eye, and that at 28 years old, both can and will get so much better.
Much love to you all!