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19 April 2024

Love and fresh air: UAE residents cost-cut this Valentine's Day

By Bindu Suresh Rai

The universal day of love is finally upon and while many lay in hope that a bouquet of flowers or a romantic dinner awaits them at the end of work day, it seems this Valentine Day is all about penny pinching for UAE residents.

In an Emirates 24|7 poll, where we asked residents how much were the willing to fork over as a declaration of their undying love, the numbers emerging could break many a heart today.

In a landslide vote from the 458 respondents that answered the poll, a whopping 69 per cent claimed that do not or will not spend on Valentine’s Day.

While several of the women quizzed simply said that men were just being men by ignoring the one day of romance every year, others like Naila Mohammed, a school teacher, said: “I think the figure is more culturally motivated than men simply being stingy.

“In the Arab and Muslim culture, Valentine’s Day has no significance. For us, it’s all about respecting and loving your spouse every day of the year. February 14th’s significant growth as a day of celebration here has only emerged in the last decade or so with the increase of Western influences here.”

The poll results further indicated that of the budget set for the day, 10 per cent of the respondents or 46 people said that they planned to spend less than Dh100 on the day.

“I think you can do a lot with Dh100,” said Marcus White, a finance manager here. “Even with the high prices, a rose stem shouldn’t set me back more than Dh15 and I can add a bottle of grape to that for another Dh50.

“I can assure you the Mrs would prefer a simple gesture such as this as opposed to a flamboyant six-course meal at the local five-star hotel.”

Another seven per cent of voters said that their wallets and purse strings could fork out between Dh100-Dh200 for Valentine’s this year, while another five per cent or 24 stated their budget was a tad higher, allowing them to spend upto Dh500.

Said Arjun Mehta, an investment banker: “I am not counting the fils that I have kept aside for my girlfriend, but Dh500 is a healthy budget to book a nice romantic dinner and serenade her with flowers. Who really wants grand gestures these days?”

Mehta’s question may be answered by the next result, which show that only two per cent of the respondents were willing to increase their budget up to Dh1,000, but ironically, an eight per cent were willing to spend higher than that for their loved one.

Said Karan Khanna, an account manager: “It’s simple really; why spend Dh1,000 on a larger than life dinner that will end in one night, when you can splurge a little more and buy a diamond pendant or some such trinket that will be a talking point for life.

“It is all about playing it smart really.”

Khanna added that despite his lavish budget, he was planning to spend February 14th alone at home, minus a date.