Love and Valenswine
My niece is effortlessly beautiful (it runs in the family, I am told J) and occasionally generates some envy among her officemates. Those who have boyfriends get pleasure in asking my boyfriend-less niece, “Do you have a date for Valentine's?”
She’s learned to reply: “Yes, Feb 14.”
The above retort is a lot better than “It’s only because I’m much choosier than you that I don’t” for those like her who believe “Ang pikon, talo.” (The one who loses humor is the loser.)
In the United States, Valentine's seems to last two days, February 14 and the day before. In fact, so many men celebrate Valentine's with their mistresses on February 13 that it’s become known as National Mistress Day. Unofficially, of course, since happily, I cannot imagine liberated, equality-for-all President Obama officially declaring it a holiday. But apparently, restaurant owners and hotel managers have as much as done so.
I can imagine restaurant owners must be rubbing their hands in glee come Valentine's week when the reservations come in. Some report that secretaries make reservations for both February 13th and February 14th, with the request that the staff pretend that the clever (albeit repetitive) cheater wasn't there two days in a row with different women. Apparently, men bring their mistresses then, so they can bring their wives on Valentine's day itself.
It is not only restaurants that flourish; hotel managers, florists, jewelry store owners, boutique stores specializing in lingerie and fine chocolates do too.
Yet another service industry that does well this “month of love” are companies that specialize in tracking down cheaters. That used to be only private detectives, but as cheaters upgrade their “stealth tactics,” so do those that hope to catch them.
According to Todd Morris, CEO of Brickhouse Security, it was actually the wives and partners of men they thought were philandering that made him realize there was another demographic they could pitch their services to. Mr Morris’ company traditionally supplies corporations with security equipment, but now they are getting more and more women who want “tiny GPS tracking systems for briefcases, SIM card spying devices for cellphones and keyboard loggers for computers, to catch their dishonorable hubbies in the act.”
Unless one is willing and has the money to spend on high-end gadgets like these, most Filipinas rely on the good old photos taken from afar that they later throw at their partners when they deny their accusations.
However, the new technology cheaters are using these days may render the old camera with a zoom lens useless sooner rather than later. Apparently there is an app one can download where if your partner suddenly appears while you are texting your mistress, all you have to do is jiggle your phone, the messages disappear, nothing will show up in your history, and a password is needed before you can get into that conversation again.
According to the founder of www.InfidelityAdvice.com and the author of "Is He Cheating on You?” Ruth Houston, there is a “three-day window where anyone who's cheating will more than likely be making contact with the person they're cheating with.”
I have two questions. The first is why. If men who are smart enough to pay for their wives’ flowers with a credit card and go to a different florist and pay for their mistresses’ flowers with cash—not to mention make sure they make love to their wives as often as they used to pre-mistress days just so she doesn’t suspect a thing—why in heaven’s name would they be dumb enough to take their mistresses out on February 13?!
Surely it’s not because those overgrown “American” roses will seem fresher that day. Or that the mistress will feel she is hard done by because her lover gave her a cruise to South America (starting point: Europe) whereas he’s told her his wife’s Valentine's gift is a Caribbean cruise tagged on after their yearly US visit to their kids.
I think I have the answer. Other than flowers which work best when a really impressive bunch is delivered at work where others can see the “proof” that he loves her, women believe the gift should be given personally. And where he gives it to her makes another statement.
Yes, they can have the best meal room service can provide at the latest 5-star hotel in town, where, in addition to the gift, he can spend a fortune on Veuve Cliquot champagne and truffles discovered by special Vietnamese piglets in some remote French countryside and flown in exclusively for the hotel.
Making it public
But nothing beats giving her the gift in public—preferably at a fancy restaurant. But fancy schamnzy isn’t what really matters to them. What matters most is that it is in public. This means it is not some tawdry liaison he insists on conducting in out-of-the-way cafes. This is the real deal, a relationship with a woman he is willing to be seen with.
A mere Wagyu steak—hamburger even—shows courage when shared in public. In the mistresses’ mind, it may even show the man’s willingness to be “caught” and thus be forced to making a decision. Ahhh, is there greater love than this?
My second question is how.
How in the name of everything that’s decent and kind can you bear to bring your unsuspecting wife to the same place you wined and dined your mistress the day/week/month before? Manila is not that hard up for fancy restaurants you can bring your delighted date to.
How can men, on the day they’re supposed to celebrate with the woman/women they purportedly love, make fools of them so cavalierly?
I was once a guest speaker at a Rotary club. One of its members volunteered during the open forum that for him Valentine's lasted the entire month, in order to please his wife and all his mistresses.
Obviously he had the money (I conclude that is the reason he announced this so proudly). The smarts I am not so sure of, in the light of what Ms Houston’s comments. But definitely neither the kindness or civility.
Can you imagine how silly his wife would look the next time she is present at a Rotarian activity? Maybe the Rotarians themselves wouldn’t think so. After all, “boys will be boys” and all the usual rationalizations. But at least 60% of their wives would too. In my clinical experience and contrary to received knowledge, men tell stories about their friends that do not always put said friends in the best light. The most common reason is to look better in comparison.
I guess it’s for men like him that the term Valenswine was coined. - Rappler.com