Getting Romantic, the Nigerian way

Okay, I admit it. It's been a long time since I wrote anything romantic. My days of writing romatic Phone
poetry are long gone — and my wife should be thankful for that, because my poetry was as impressive as Al Gore's dancing. These days, I just get my wife a card, one that expresses exactly how I'm feeling. So perhaps I shouldn't be too hard on all the Nigerians who are buying Femi Emmanuel's book "Touching the heart through unforgettable text messages (vol.2)." Thanks to him, here's what might happen:

Your mobile phone beeps, you have received a text message.

It begins: "I swear, I will make sure I give you HIV…"

"H is for Happiness and joy forever with an I: Incomparable
love that will never V: Vanish until death do us part. I love you," the
message concludes. [Link]

What do you think? Funny? Romantic? Both? Perhaps it works in Nigeria, but I don't think it would score high on the romance scale in North America, except perhaps with college students who've had a little too much to drink. I'm not really surprised where Emmanuel gets his inspiration.

"I was watching a Bollywood film and the main actor said to his female
lead 'hey baby, I'm a crazy lover'," Mr Emmanuel told the BBC.

"I thought 'that's good,' I paused the DVD and copied down the subtitles."

The text message threatening HIV was inspired by watching a Nigerian film.

"In the film, a man threatened a woman with giving her HIV. I thought how could I turn this acronym into a message?"

"You could send the first sentence on its own," he says.

"You are putting them in suspense, to create fear, and then you
follow up with the interpretation that will give them joy and

He must be doing something right — he has sold thousands of copies of his books, bringing himself lots of joy and happiness. Perhaps it's just me who has lost touch with what's considered romantic. After all, check out these "romantic texts" that several BBC readers contributed:

My love for you is like Diarrhea, it flows like a river.
Salan, Dubai

A good friend is like a good bra. Hard to find, comfortable,
supportive, prevents you from falling, holds you tight and is always
close to your heart. You'll forever be my BRA!
Olawale B, London

u r the only mosquito in my net
Patrick, London [Link]

Perhaps I should try the BRA line on my wife. On second thought, I may never see hers again.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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