Generally speaking, African men are still novices when it comes to simple romantic gestures like opening the car door for a woman, snuggling up in a theatre while watching a movie, holding hands while on a romantic walk or saying those cute little words “I love you”.
We have been learning how to be romantic since the year 1900 but the truth is, we are never getting any better. Every now and then, we get mauled by our women for our poor sense of romance. But the fault is not entirely ours. So many factors add up to why African men are not so romantic.
1. No one ever taught us how to be romantic
Where I grew up, it is near impossible to stumble on a sight of two adults holding hands on a romantic walk. It’s uncultured and in some cases a taboo to kiss or show a partner affection publicly. This has become our way of life. When you grow up in a society that abhors close relations between the genders, it inadvertently becomes a part of you.
2. Let’s shove some blame to our women
Chofam interviewed and asked 50 women in Nigeria if they would kiss a man in public. 68% said they would not for varied reasons. 12% said they would, 20% said they would but only if it was absolutely necessary. In any case, it takes two to tango. If really the most romantic men were in high demand, more men would learn to be more romantic. But then, African woman value more of strength and ruggedness as opposed to caring, calm or meekness. Guys who indulge in romantic overtures are seen by the women to be less manly or weak.
3. We don’t know how to go about it
As earlier explained, romantic gestures are not what we experience or see every day. Put yourself in the shoes of a little boy who grew up never seeing his parents kiss or hug each other. He would surely feel like grabbing and kissing his girlfriend passionately but he would have no idea of how to go about it.
The little boy has never ever seen his dad help his mum with the laundry, prepare a meal, clean the house or confess how much he really loves her. The woman on the other hand also never expects her man to make any of these gestures because she has been configured to think that way. We are just not used the word “romance” as expressed in the western sense.
4. We have our own kind of “romantic”
The most romantic African men are those who take responsibility, work hard, protect and fight for their women. According to Richie Emeka,
“We have our own definition of being romantic which could be sneaking in the middle of the night to visit and spend time with a loved one, being alone in dark spots, sneaking into your man’s room when nobody is watching and sneaking out too, buying gifts etc. I’ve done a lot of that in the past, mostly being in the dark alone till 3am.
And when alone, that’s the time we show how romantic and how caring we are”.
5. Many African men have become victims of toxic Masculinity
A lot of African men feel worried or ashamed that they may be seen as weak or girly when they express their emotions publicly. This is a resultant of peer or societal pressures.
“A lot of men worry about being seen as weak or effeminate and a lot of people assign romanticism as being girly which is ridiculous. Everyone needs to show and be shown affection. Why wait till you’re behind closed doors to hug or kiss your partner? Perhaps if I’d seen friends and family freely show emotions and affections I would not have been quite as inhibited growing up” Dee Alex.