The Pounded Yam and Pure Water Awards

 

 

Balling...

 

  

  

  

  

  

 

 

 

 

STRONG THING:

  1. People-driven pro-democracy revolutions ( ala Egypt, Bahrain and Libya)
  2. Nubuck/ Suede Oxford shoes by Clarks
  3. The current season of the TV series “Entourage
  4. The current price for Glo’s Blackberry Internet Service
  5. A potent cocktail mix of Guinness stout and Palmwine
  6. Blogs with original content
  7. Nigerian creativity, innovation and enterprise ( Tuface, Babatunde Raji Fashola, Sally Bawa)
  8. www.woahnigeria.wordpress.com
  9. The track “Imperfect Me” off M.I.’s new album “M.I.2”
  10. Indomie noodles made with suya pepper
  11. After-work drinks and weekend Premiership football matches at Le Real Hotel Bar, VGC, Ajah
  12. Registering to vote
  13. Then going ahead to vote
  14. Businesses that do not add special “Island” or “ajebo” taxes for goods or services
  15. The stable price of “pure water” (It has been 5naira since forever)

 

Dulling...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LONG THING

  1. Egocentric and power-drunk African dictators
  2. Girls who demand Valentine presents but never buy
  3. 30-something year old grown men with huge guts wearing skinny jeans
  4. Broadcasting your family/relationship squabbles on your Facebook page /twitter
  5. PHCN/NEPA’s ogbanje antics
  6. Chaps who gossip like Suzuki St. Pierre of Ugly Betty
  7. People who switch on their phones mid-flight on  airplanes
  8. Asun – I don’t get this peppery concoction made out of diced and fried goat meat. It is too harsh on the tongue.
  9. The fact that everyone in Lagos is/or wants to be a “consultant”/ stylist/ weave-on merchant/blogger/designer/musician
  10. People who  try to enforce their choice of GEJ on you, and think you are anti-democracy if you have an alternate choice for presidential candidacy
  11. Repatriates who did  2 year Masters degrees in the UK/USA/ Canada fronting like they cannot settle back down in Nigeria
  12. Nigerian businesses that charge dollars for products or services
  13. UTC Marble Cake with egg shell bits in it
  14. Adults who give kids bits of the chicken like the “head” or the “feet” and keep the drumstick and wings for themselves 

P.D.A

Let us take our romance PLC

Public Displays of Affection – what is your take on it?

Coming to London on summer vacation as a child in the 80s, I used to get dumbfounded when I saw punks with their brightly colored hair and piercings kiss passionately on the Tube. It really grossed me out to the 3rd degree, like tufiakwa! Back in the olden days in traditional Igbo-land, men didn’t even kiss women at all. Romance started off in the cassava farm or village stream and ended up on the raffia bed of the man’s hut. Usually after dowry payment and marriage of course.

I was around 7 years old, the first time I saw an oyibo couple in affectionate embrace. It was actually close-up on the top deck of a London red bus. They boarded the bus, and came and sat directly in front of me. They were both dressed in black leather, black make-up and had rock tattoos all over their hands and necks. They played tonsil tennis for a while before lady gave the man a hickie, which turned red on the spot. I sat there open-eyed, gazing at them. The man then returned the favour by giving the lady a thick “love-bite”. I let out a whimper. The couple turned back to look at me at the same time, and grinned mischievously. I quickly crossed myself as these people looked like vampires. Even then, I knew I had seen too much for a kid. I would never kiss a tattooed girl on a public bus when I grew up.

Public displays of affection in Nigeria have traditionally been a no-no. There are cultural as well as historic and religious reasons. Even if Ekaete has only just graduated from a traditional fattening room in ancient Calabar, Akpan the randy young fisherman dare not try to kiss her in the market square in view of everyone, unless he may risk drawing the ire of Pa Nsikak, her short-tempered father who is the best hunter in the village.

Perhaps it is also for the best that Nigerians are less prone to caress and smooch each other in public or in film. I mean, who really wants to watch Rukky Sander and Kanayo O. Kanayo make out in a raunchy Nollywood love scene? Salty and gross.

I know that romantic scenes on television differ from seeing people doing the same in a public place, but trust me it is all the same where adults are involved.

There was this weird toothpaste advert that used to show on TV in the 80s. The jingle for the ad went “I wouldn’t do it till you have done it…” and showed an East African looking couple trying to kiss each other. The woman had mouth odour, so the man turned away as he held his nose. The next scene showed the couple brushing their gnashers with the magic white toothpaste, before meeting up for a date. They then decided to kiss….it was at this point that my mum always made me switch off the TV. Never mind that the soap opera “Behind the Clouds” was on at that time.

I also remember swallowing repeatedly as I watched a steamy shower scene in the movie American Werewolf in London while my uncle peeped up angrily from his Vintage People newspaper. He couldn’t take it anymore, as he barked ‘that is enough!’ and hastily ejected the tape. Somehow he didn’t believe that it was only a thriller.

I grew up thinking that there was no way my stingy uncle and his wife, my aunt could be having sex, how much more kissing. They acted like prudes. He didn’t even hold her hand on their wedding day. During the wedding reception, he also tried to catch the bouquet, as he chided her loudly for trying to waste expensive flowers.

During a visit to his house, I once asked him “Uncle, please where does a baby come out from?”

Looking very embarrassed, high defensive and boxed into a corner, he replied with a shrug “…the nyash.

Same place as poop right? Uncle you shouldn’t have; you really shouldn’t have.

How can we talk of public displays of affection when many adults or parents cannot even get “the talk” right?

I recall the day we had sex education lessons in primary school. I was in primary five then.

The lady giving the speech was a female teacher called Ms. Ganiyu. She seemed ill at ease as she looked everywhere else but at us. She then decided to divide us into 2 separate groups of boys and girls. The girls were then taken to another classroom instead.

The headmistress stood outside the class, by the entrance and fiddled nervously with her keys. Ms. Ganiyu herself looked like Whoopi Goldberg’s character in the movie “For Colored Girls”. She said the word sex like it was a very filthy word.

Looking at her with her plain face devoid of any make-up, drab clothes and chapped lips made me want to take a vow of abstinence forever.

Then when it came to the sub-topic of the consequences of sex like aids, STDs and unwanted pregnancies, she was in her element as her face lit up. She spoke of gonorrhea and herpes like they were bosom buddies, pounding and waving her fists for emphasis. All the pupils in the class nodded nervously in agreement.

I still wanted to know where babies came from. I put up my hand to draw her attention, and before she even obliged me, I blurted out my question “Ma, please where do babies come out from?”

The whole class fell silent as all eyes when from me to Ma Ganiyu.

Her eyes squinted at me with so much venom like I had asked her to prove an impossible calculus equation. The headmistress who was still by the door had her hands over her mouth too.

Just then the ringer went off which signaled break-time (recess).

Ah, talk about the classic “saved by the bell” intervention.

Ma Ganiyu obviously had no plans of flattering my question with an answer and she dismissed the class.

Rather she looked relieved, so turned around and started wiping the chalk-board furiously in the manner a washerman scrubs very dirty clothes.

She then opened a pack of Samco milk drink, and started gorging on it to relieve her stress.

I never knew the answer to that question until I watched the movie Last American Virgin.

I was on a luxury bus to the Owerri some years back. A man who was one of those Igbo traders based in an eastern European country had come back to Nigeria for Xmas with his oyibo wife. Somewhere after Ihiala in Anambra state, she decided to sit on his lap, straddling across him. There was an Okey Bakassi Nollywood film playing as part of the on-board entertainment, but none of the passengers was laughing or watching anymore. People coughed uncomfortably as they eyed up the lady until the conductor came and asked her to take her seat if ‘she wants to continue her travel”.  She would never have tried this nonsense on a trip to Zamfara.

Sometime in the early 90s, my folks dragged me to a wedding between these two 30 something year olds.  At the reception, the best-man called out the bride and groom to start their couples dance. During the dance, the bride who was a voluptuous, dark-skinned lady by the name of Ijeoma, started French-kissing the groom passionately. Alarmed, the MC then shouted “Ahn, ahn, Ijeoma it is enough o. The wedding is not yet over!” Her parents looked visibly upset as they eyed her aggressively from the high table. Why do they always take it out on the woman?

So there you have it; those were people’s attitudes to the subject of sex education back then. It consequently had an effect on displays of affection especially among men-folk.

As a pre-teen, the only outward display of affection I saw among adults was when my aunt peeled big oranges for my uncle to suck on as they sat with each other on the verandah in the evening.

Today, some chaps would not even hold hands with their girls in public. There used to be a joke that when a guy holds open a car door for a girl, it is either a new girlfriend or a new car.

Some guys are averse to using affectionate terms of endearment like sweetie, baby, sugarcane, cherry etc. I know a chap who called his girl ‘my portable’ in public – don’t ask me why, she was about 5’10 and weighed over 220 pounds.

I went to Silverbird cinema to see The Takers when it first came out. I went up to the penultimate row to sit down. I ended up not hearing a word during the movie. A guy and a girl behind me were making out without a care in the world. The girl even sat on the guy’s laps, and in the process spilt his popcorn everywhere.

When the movie ended, I overheard the girl making a remark that she didn’t even ‘get’ the movie. Throughout their tryst, no one in the cinema hall even noticed or looked twice at them.

However there may be evidence that old attitudes still exist especially among the pre-civil war generation. There was a wedding in Lagos in 2009 where the bride and groom were commanded to do numerous unprintable things by the randy MC.  He told them to French kiss for 10 minutes non-stop, then made the bride do a raunchy butterfly dance routine. The bride was also sat down on a chair while the groom serenaded her with a mini striptease. The groom was then instructed to use his teeth to wear a lacy pantyhose up the bride’s foot.

The older people there, including the bride’s dad decided to leave in droves, taking their blessings and kolanuts along with them.

What are your views on public display of affection in Nigeria? Would you French-kiss your partner at Murtala Mohammed airport if he/she were travelling? Do you hold hands in public places like events, malls, weddings, engagements etc? At cinemas, do you pay for two seats but use only one? What would you say is the most acceptable limit for couples on their wedding day? Do you think that they can go all out as it is their day?

 

You know I love you when you are loving me/

Sometimes it’s better when it’s publicly/

I’m not ashamed, I don’t care who sees/

 John Legend (P.D.A, 2007)

Valentine’s Day Blues

 

It is Sunday February 13th, and I am at a convenience store picking up my favorite box of cereals and a gallon of milk to boot. Everywhere is full, especially with anxious looking chaps trying to do some last minute Valentines Day gift shopping. There are a couple of females too, but they look far more relaxed, picking up stuff like gadgets, electronics, video games and perfumes.

To my right, I spy a nervous looking man. He picked up a box of Godiva chocolates and a Sex and the City box set. Looking grossly undecided, he dropped it and then picked up a huge Teddy bear. In my mind, I was like, don’t do it player! After reflecting for a while, he decided to get a sizzling La Pearla lingerie set. My man! Love is about sharing, no?

When it comes to V-Day, I must confess, I am the worst. I once had an ex-girlfriend tell me that I was very error prone during Valentine’s Day. I seem to endure a reluctant passion towards Cupid’s birthday. I get it all wrong, just like a rich Igbo millionaire trader does with his pronunciation when he calls it “Valantine.” So shoot me. Some girls I dated nearly did.

Am I romantic? Well I have seen the movie “Love Actually” 5 times, and my best character in the Archie comics is Reggie. I also like the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.” Make of it what you will.

It seems that if my Valentine’s Day history could be summed up in a poem written in one huge card signifying my life, it would say “Violets are red, roses are blue; I get them all mixed up, trying to Val you.” Hehe.

As I made out of the shop, with my purchase, I decided to reflect on “Valantine” days gone past, from the good to the outright reckless – from the quite immature mistakes to naivety of the highest order.

I have left out some years however due to the Vavavoom factor, you see. This is a family blog, you know.

Ah, I have learned since then.

1994

I was dating a curvaceous brown skinned beauty by the name of Temi then. We were both in secondary school then. Her school was one of those federal government colleges in Oyo state, while mine was in Lagos state. February 14th of that year fell during the school term, and she was at her boarding school. I took a stroll from my house to “Baba Odu” bookshop on Adelabu Road in Surulere where I picked a fantastic card. The card ticked all the right boxes – it had nice colors, the wordings inside were not over the top, the word “love” was not used even once, the back of the card said “Made/printed in England” and the price was right – 12 bucks ( and I mean naira).

And no, I am not a cheap-skate. =N=12 was a lot of money back then. It could get you 2 tokens for the arcades at Entertainment World on Saka Jojo Street, VI. You could also treat yourself to a Sierra hotdog at Terris with that amount.

I signed the card, sealed it and posted it at the post office in School with a 50k stamp. Problem solved. During mid-term break a month later, she called me telling me how thrilled she was when she received the card at school. She had read the card so many times with her friends that they had all memorized the words.

Ah, that was a glorious era.

Sadly me and Ms. Brown Skin broke up amicably a year and a half later, but trust me it was not because of Valentine’s Day of 1993. I hear she is now married with 3 kids and lives in Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

Ha-ha.

1996

I had met a beautiful, charming girl called Chineze the year before and I was absolutely smitten. Chineze was everything a girl should be – nice colour, good shape, firm legs, intelligent and classy. When I met her, we were in Jamb/ O-level School waiting to gain admission to University the following year. We would have long, long chats on the telephone until her mum shouted at her angrily to drop the phone and come help in the kitchen. She had a pet name for me as well. I was in 7th heaven with this chick. If you had shot me with a gun whenever I was with her, I wouldn’t have died.

But there was one problem; she refused to be my girlfriend. It was one of those mysteries of life. We chatted for long hours, we spoke intimately with each other, she sounded jealous if I spoke of other females, I held her round her waist once as I fondled her, but when I asked her out, she refused and couldn’t give me a reason. If it were in the present, I would have been ok with it, seeing that we were everything else but officially dating. But sometimes when you are younger, you want a name/tag on everything. I also think it was because I really fancied her and wanted my scent all over her like an Alpha male lion.

When Val’s day approached, I had Hamlet on the brain – to v or not to v? Should I Val her or pal her? Just some days before I had received a windfall of cash, and as the money laid in front of me, I was confused. I asked a couple of my best mates, and they were like I should not bother giving her anything since we were not exclusively dating each other. I was fine with it, so we all decided to hit a couple of joints, have a few beers and hang out till late.

Every single place we went to that evening was filled up. Couples were every damn where. After a few beers, we decided to call it a day. I took a cab home. Once I came through the door, my sister told me that Chineze had tried to call me like 10 times. It was already late so I couldn’t call back since it was a house phone and these were the days before GSM phones in Nigeria.

I changed, got into bed, and decided to turn on the radio and listen to the rave of the moment station “Raypower FM.” It was worse – Kenny and D1 had a program where lovers called in and professed their undying love for each other.

I really felt somehow that day.

The funny thing is that Chineze called the next day a bit upset that I hadn’t even called her or sent her wishes on Valentine’s Day.

1998

First year of University, and I was dating a girl called Oyinda. I attended a University located in a small university town, so most chaps were sending anyone going down to Lagos to help pick up some stuff for the girls.

I had a friend called Ogbe who was heading down to Lagos on the 12th of February for a family barbeque. He was supposed to return back to school on the 14th. So I gave him some money, and asked him to get me a really nice card, some chocolates, a bottle of wine and nice silk night dress.

On the 14th, evening time came and there was no sign of Ogbe. From 6pm, chaps had started sending gifts to their ladies, or driving up to the girl’s hostels to pick their lassies up for dinner before exchanging gifts or whatever. By 8pm, my girl had sent a message through someone that she was waiting for me. An hour later, Ogbe had not come. My girl sent another person with a message saying that she didn’t mind if I hadn’t gotten her anything; all she wanted was for me to come to her room where she was waiting for me to come and get her so we could spend the rest of the day together.

I was about to get set to leave, when Ogbe burst in panting and carrying a huge knapsack. He explained that his bag containing stuff he helped me buy got stolen at the car park on the way from Lagos, and so he had to stop over at Ibadan and pick some replacement articles. He opened his bag to reveal some Cadbury chocolate finger sticks, a really colorful card which sang a depressing tune when you opened it, a bottle of something that looked like Bacchus Tonic Wine and a red ladies thong pant. The pant looked like something the wrestler Jimmy Fly Snuka would have worn. Or the female Norbit.

I was too weak to start laying into Ogbe. He obviously had bought me some cheap goods and pocketed the change, and was just telling me porkpies to put me off track. Snatching the stuff from him, I promised him that I would get back at him later. I threw the “thing pant” into the thrash, gave the bottle of wine to some heavy drinking dude that lived in the room next to wine, and dashed for my girl’s room.

She stayed in a premium girl’s hostel, and I managed to get there on time before visitors were prevented from entering anymore. When I got to her room, she opened the door wearing the shortest red dress you can imagine. Apparently, she knew how much I liked, eh, ‘fitted’ dresses and decided to wear one for me on this special day. There were scented candles everywhere, and a 112 CD on repeat in the deck. The room was also empty, as her roommates were all “conveniently” out. Obviously they were in on this arrangement, because the room was usually stacked with loads of girls and their friends.

I gave her the card I had with me, and started to explain what happened to the rest of the gifts, but she hushed me as she gave me soft kiss. In my mind, I was like wow, something for nothing. Happy days.

Well it should have been “happy days”, but it was “fright night” for me. For some reason I wasn’t comfortable. Something was wrong. I gave her a cheap looking card and wasted time before showing up, and now I was about to get some? Awoof de run belle o.

I looked at her outfit; she was nearly spilling out of it. Imagine putting Mercy Johnson in tiny Daisy Duke Shorts, or making Omotola wear one of those tight skimpy dresses Eva Longoria would wear.

I told Oyinda that I needed to rush out briefly and drop the box of chocolate fingers for my friend Femi downstairs who had wanted it to give to a girl he had been trying to hook up with.

I dashed downstairs and ran into my Femi and a couple of other chaps I knew as well. Everyone there had handed over their gifts to their girls and were just chilling in the car park of the hostel gisting and having a laugh. Femi said he wasn’t interested in giving the girl the chocs anymore as they had a tiff some moments earlier.

It was almost 11pm now, and one of the chaps suggested that we all go down to mammy market and get some pints of beer. He offered to get the drinks in, so we all headed down there.

The guy ordered drinks, and as the waiter brought the tray down, I broke open the packet of chocolate fingers, and everyone dug in. Chocs and beer – what a combo. As we laughed there, and took the piss out of each other, we saw one guy called Bunmi walk in carrying a huge box card.

Someone one asked him whose card it was and Bunmi said that a girl who had secretly admired him for a while had just given it to him. Now if ever there was someone who was a loser, Bunmi was one. He was a pathological liar and someone who couldn’t pay a girl to date him. All of us now looked at him shocked – dude actually had someone that admired him enough to buy him a card, never mind a huge box one.

We were congratulating him, and someone had even instructed the beer woman to bring him a chilly bottle of premium lager, when suddenly someone snatched the card from Bunmi’s grip and noticed that it was actually addressed to someone called “Janet”. Bunmi had been spreading falsehood again.

Needless to say, we all laid into him furiously. It was all light banter though and he took as well as he got.

The next day when I ran into my girl Oyinda in the class area, she couldn’t even look at me. She called me a “jerk.”

2003

I had only just graduated from University, and was dating some girl called Ololode. She was really a fearless and feisty character. She lived in Ikeja; so on V-Day around evening, I went to pick her up at her place. She had to sneak because her folks were around. There was a Valentine’s Day dinner concert with the American singer Joe at Oceanview in Victoria Island, if I can recall. But we decided to skip it, get some takeaway, suya and drinks and drive to her Uncle’s house in Lekki.  Her uncle and aunt had a massive house in Lekki, but they were doctors and walked in Saudi Arabia for 9 months of the year, and only came into the country during the summer. They didn’t want their house lying fallow and ill maintained, so they gave Ololade and her elder brother keys to the house. Olalade’s brother worked in a financial institution on the Island so he spent weekdays in the house and returned to his folk’s house in Ikeja for weekdays.

So we got to the house, and went to the lounge upstairs. Ololade then lit scented candles all around and set some soft blankets on the ground, then turned off the lights. She then put some music on, and spread the food and wine on a low coffee table in front of us. We then exchanged our presents. We then ate the food and drank the wine. We were making out seriously when we heard the sound of a car horn and then the gateman opening the gates to the house. Her brother and his friend had arrived with their dates. They were supposed to have gone for the Joe dinner event, but decided against it.

In my mind, I was wondering how all this was going to pan out. Ololade didn’t care obviously; she said that her brother and his date could hang out downstairs while we did our “thing upstairs.” Hello, I am the type of chap who goes to a party and then sees his  sister or female cousin there and is not able to have fun any longer. There is no way; I can be in a house where my little sister is being “nailed” by a randy upstart on the floor above.  I would race up the steps with a baseball bat in my hands, ready to smash him. Keep your snake in your trousers, dude.

Hello sister....

Even if I had Scarlet Johansson trying to come on to me, I wouldn’t be able to concentrate. Ok I am exaggerating now. That one na lie o

Thankfully it all went well. Her brother stayed downstairs with his date. I bared my snake like Medusa, and we all even had lunch at noon the next day before going our separate ways.

There have been other February 14ths but I would rather hear from you. How have your days gone? How did today go?

 

Standing there beautiful/

Like what am I going to do with you/

Camron (Daydreaming, 2002)