Valentine
Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

Since we’re all pretty much homebound these days, we thought it would be fun this month to take a virtual trip around the world to see what everyone else is up to.

The Wodaabe of northern Niger value male beauty over female beauty…and it’s the men who spend hours putting their makeup on—up to six hours—to compete in their annual “swinging festival.” (It’s not clear exactly what that means but the nomadic tribe is “non-monogamous.”) Men with long, thick hair are considered especially beautiful and when a man is regarded as extremely attractive in Wodaabe culture, he is called kayeejo naawdo, which translates to ‘hurting man,’ meaning they are so beautiful it hurts to look at them.

Miss dancing? Consider the plight of young lovers of Trujillo in northern Peru. They are renowned for the “Marinera” — one of Peru’s most popular dances — a romantic, graceful, and sensuous dance that enacts the courtship display of a young couple dressed in elegant clothing. Up north, the Marinera Norteña is sometimes performed with the man riding a Peruvian Paso horse, a breed trained for its fancy and elegant stepping.

Meanwhile, across the street in Thailand, single people can take a free tour with fortune-teller in attempt to boost Covid-stricken travel sector. In a kind of “cruise, pray, love” scenario, the singles are invited to pray for love on a river cruise to nine temples, one of a series of matchmaking trips designed to boost domestic travel.

Courtship over? If you’re planning to get married in the Tidong community in Malaysia and Indonesia, be sure to visit the toilet first — because for three days after your wedding, you and your partner are barred from leaving your hut, even to visit the bathroom.

And in the Congo, marriages are no laughing matter. Couples are expected to abstain from smiling on their wedding day.

Please, don’t get us started on South Korean “beating the feet,” Maasai father-of-the-bride “marriage spitting,” German crockery smashing, or the stomach-churning French custom of Le Pot de Chambre.

Really. Don’t.

A significantly over 40-something Phoenix-based writer, author of On Being Eight Again and The Tao of Coyote. Divorced with no children, he has been exploring the dating scene and collecting tales of woe for many years.

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