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From where we sit

Man up in the name of love!

At the start of the month, or even a week or two prior to February 1st, all of us begin to see love symbols everywhere. Roses, cards, and chocolates are visibly on sale in all malls. Delivery boys rush to send these items to ensure the receipt of the intended party on or before the big V-Day.

Most people enjoyed the atmosphere of mush and romance on Valentine’s Day, but there are some who found it quite bothersome, or even annoying, especially with the horrendous traffic. And, of course, there are also those who looked forward to February 14 for the perfect opportunity to confess their love or deep feelings for someone.

In Japan, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity for Japanese women to express their feelings; thus, it is the women who give presents to men. Japanese men are supposed to return gifts to women on a day called White Day (March 14). Sadly, we do not have such a practice in the Philippines but, nonetheless, shy Filipino guys still eagerly anticipate V-Day to express their love.

The problem is that Valentine’s Day went by just like last year, but many of these shy guys were not able to say a single thing to the object of their affection. One week after the big V, these guys are still wondering what happened and they are back to where they were. It has become a vicious cycle, so to speak.

To all those who want their feelings heard, I say, “Man up!” I won’t be the last to tell you that loving someone or having a crush on somebody is as natural as walking, breathing, eating, and talking. By the time we are in our 30s, we would have lost track of the total number of our crushes and individuals who became the objects of our affections.

Yet, it is amazing how this fact hasn’t encouraged all of us to just go out there and say we’re in love when we are in love, or have a crush when we have a crush. Some allow their shyness or laziness to get the better of them until the person they admire moves out of their lives, because they did not do anything or take any chance to hold them back.

It is never easy to say you like or love someone, but it is also never easy to get anything out of life, like your dream job, your fantasy gadget, that perfect summer vacation, and practically anything that has value. In fact, these things are precious and rare, because the path to them is littered with obstacles.

We must keep in mind, however, that we won’t be anywhere near a romantic relationship if we don’t make the first step. The first step usually involves summoning the courage to be noticed and to establish that crucial connection.

We, Filipinos, have always described ourselves as hopeless romantics. While it doesn’t hurt to be all dreamy about love, in the end, it is more productive to be realistic.

Especially when you’re already getting older, you don’t have the luxury of youth to spend your time waiting to meet your soul mate one magical day. As mature individuals, we need to make things happen.

To me, this shyness in matters of the heart is a manifestation of the typical cultural trait of Filipinos to be indirect. Even in things that do not concern love, we tend to stay quiet regarding our true thoughts and feelings. A perfectly simple task, such as voicing our complaints at work, for example, can’t be done because we’re too shy.

Some of us course our complaints through our friends and colleagues, building gossip that never gets any result. Worse, we may blog about it as if the people who should read it will actually come across our blog on the internet. In the end, we suffer, because we’re too afraid to speak up.

Let us end this cycle of cowardice and frustration by confessing what’s in our hearts. Talk to that person, offer her a bite or a drink, write her a card, give her some flowers—do anything to make your feelings known.

Failure is indeed a possibility, but we must remember that failure is a possibility in anything worth doing. And, on the other side of the coin, there’s also that clear chance of succeeding.

Be the person you want to be. Man up in the name of love!


Obet Cruz is a senior managing consultant of the Advisory Services Division of P&A Grant Thornton.


As published in The Manila Times, dated on 20 February 2019