Leading Article: Warrior, be my Valentine

Charles Wardle may be fearful of foreigners, but for some of us they have lost none of their romantic appeal. Today Cheryl Mason, 34, from Newport, Isle of Wight, will turn fantasy into reality at her local register office when she marries Daniel Lekimencho, 24, a 6ft 3in Masai warrior from Kenya.

Mrs Mason is one of an increasing number of women who are finding romance while holidaying abroad and are intent on marrying their exotic lovers. Coronation Street fans will recall the recent marriage of Deirdre Barlow and the youthful Shamir, whom she brought back to rainy Salford after her sun-drenched visit to Morocco. The Rover's Return had never seen anything like it.

Love has always been able to overcome cultural differences. Classic novels such as Jane Eyre and Rebecca are built around romance crossing a rigid class divide. But love founded in a foreign land is more exotic: an unconventional relationship with a foreigner holds for many the promise of sexual fulfilment, freedom from the confines of custom, and the allure of undiscovered mysteries.

Mozart's opera Cos fan tutte tells of how even a lovestruck fianc cannot resist the charms of a foreigner. Perhaps the most extreme example in film is Earth Girls Are Easy, in which Geena Davis overcomes social, cultural and language barriers to fall in love with Jeff Goldblum, a creature from outer space.

There is, however, another factor that helps to explain why men - and now women - are marrying holiday lovers. For some men have traditionally wooed foreign women in the hope that they will be prepared to play more submissive roles than their British contemporaries. It now seems that British women are also looking abroad for old-style relationships.

Like Deirdre, Mrs Mason is a Nineties woman with financial power and the opportunity to travel. She has used the fruits of feminism to indulge nostalgia and retreat from bald modernity. "In his tribe women are less important than cattle and Daniel can be domineering. He expects me to fetch and carry for him," Mrs Mason recently declared. "Not that I really mind. All my life I've been in charge and suddenly I've got this gorgeous, masterful man telling me what to do."

To British men, Mrs Mason's marriage should serve on this Valentine's Day as warning that they must strive to satisfy ever more complex and often paradoxical requirements. The demands of post-feminist women may be beyond even the fittest, most able males that these shores can produce. As Mrs Mason's jilted ex-husband said of the warrior who took his place: "What do you say to a man who has killed a lion with his bare hands?"

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British author Howard Jacobson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
books
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Private Client Solicitor - Gloucestershire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - We are makin...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Support Developer

£50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A unique and rare opport...

Insight Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k – North London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus 23 days holiday and pension scheme: Clearwater ...

People Change Manager

£260 - £325 per day: Progressive Recruitment: IT Trainer: E-Commerce Experienc...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn