Thus men who do not have these things tend to feel inadequate and thus not unafraid to approach beautiful queens because they will, inevitably, be snubbed or humiliated. The worst thing that can happen to a man’s ego is for a woman to tell him in no uncertain terms that, “You are not my type.”

Far too many women are into material class, nowadays, and many men have come to know their place understand what woman they can approach and who they cannot. We do need an understanding about what constitutes love, if there is any such thing in a money driven world. This thing called ‘love’ has become such an elusive and fleeting emotion that it is very easy to know who dates the best women in society. We all know that it is the moneyed types who may be politicians, businessmen, successful musicians and, above all, rich thugs. In fact, there is a common saying in some male circles that an ape in a Hugo Boss suit driving the latest posh car stands a better chance to have a beauty queen walk next to its heart.

To see a beautiful woman, impeccable in dress, well connected in social circles and to imagine her dating a simple and ordinary Joe Average has become, increasingly, a rare sight. It is as if, truly, all the beautiful Mzansi angels who walk the earth have been put on this world to enjoy the best that life has to offer. And, of course, that can only be offered by men who have money and all that it can buy.

Not too long ago, during the Easter Holidays spending spree, I watched young men and women as they emerged from movie houses, cocktail bars and restaurants at malls. Their faces were beaming with smiles of joy because they understood that love has become synonymous with money and what it can buy. Yet in the same country, I have hearkened to the cries of men whose relationships were strained and their hearts broken because there was not enough money to buy love through a candle lit dinner, a gift or red roses for the beloved.

Of course, the women are responding to the market driven image and definition of love as we have never known it to be: no romance without finance. As a result, there is a look of arrogance on the faces of some men who have ‘made it,’ a callousness that may elicit disgust or disappointment on the part of women who claim to love men for who they are and not what they have.

It is not that one wants to sling mud on the character of women on “High Heels” – that is, single, successful and satisfied – but someone has to make them realize how most men perceive their understanding of love today.

Cover art of Bongo magazine, Tanzania, early 2000s
Cover art of Bongo magazine, Tanzania, early 2000s

Of course, there are some women who love for the sake of it but they are very rare, indeed, in a society that judges a man by what he has. At the rate that women pile up pressure on men to go shopping, shopping and shopping one can’t help but believe that there is no romance without finance. On the same Easter holiday long weekend, for instance, I drove around to find countless men with a doomed look on their faces as they sat on pavements or stood at street corners with some hoping to find a piece job. There was a look of hopelessness on the faces of these men who could not be with their loved ones. I found myself asking: “Who would truly love a man who has nothing? What woman is willing to smother him with tenderness that will breathe a new life into his empty shell?”

It is not too difficult to feel that men who have nothing are reduced to nothing, even in matters of the heart. There are far too many men who not only are trapped by the hardships of an economic system that fails to give them work and purpose. But they also die, often in poverty, neglect and the weight of slander to be buried alive because nobody understands their anguish. There has been no study to examine whether men who have lost the land and its wealth can know true love in their lifetime. In fact, can a loser have self-love before he can expect it from someone else, especially a woman? This may make us understand why the sons of defeated men are quick to walk with a swagger to declare their little material success to women.

We have to ask ourselves: in money driven society, what will make us believe that men are loved for who they are and not what they have? There are women who may do that but they have not stood at the roof tops to make us see that there can be some romance without finance. But they seem to be far too few to mention. And, of course, we know that there is no romance without finance for man must, ultimately, provide.