You Dey Make Me Kolo (2)

Food for thought; you do the dishes

There is no doubt that the dynamics of relationships between the opposite sex have been changed forever by technology.

Whatever happened to times when you and a chick you liked exchanged love letters or notes? I remember my primary school sweetheart passing me crumpled notes at class. We would bribe her desk partner with ‘Gogo’ candy to help deliver them. Who can also remember the days of love letters where the girl sprayed the letter with her deodorant/perfume (until the letter looked like akara paper) drew a million cupid hearts at the bottom, before sending it off by post with a 50kobo stamp. Nah I am not that old.

The advantage of the old style was that you and the girl could assess your handwriting techniques, grammar and spelling because there was no spell check. I had a girl who actually found my rich cursive handwriting style attractive. Besides back then if you shelled too many times with your grammar, she could drop you like a bad habit. I doesn’t want you anymore….

Even the old landline telephones encourage active participation when toasting. You had to call the girl and risk meeting her whole extended family, or even risk going all the way to her house if you could not get through. You could not drop voice-messages so there was no escaping properly chatting a girl up. It has all changed now. You could meet a girl on Twitter, ask her out via Yahoo Messenger, have a dinner date via Skype, find her cheating via her Facebook status, and dump her via BB.

My favorite one is asking a girl out via text, or asking her anything for that matter. There was this guy who really fancied this girl in his office. He managed to get her number, and called her a couple of times to ask her out but she wasn’t interested in him at all.

On a Friday night out after work, the guy had plenty bottles of cheap Harp beer, got pissy drunk and courageous and decided to send a text to the lass, who was at home.

He used a code – I 1 2 4 Q

Her reply wasn’t coded at all: Get lost you bastard, and never ever in your sad stupid life  ever call or text me again.

Technology works a treat for rebukes.

Some Nigerian ladies get carried away with what they see in romantic comedy movies. A guy met a girl at a party and they really vibed. At the end of the party, he asked her “ I really enjoyed talking to you Tosan. How and when can I see you again?”

She replied shrugging her shoulders non-committally “If we are meant to see again, you would find me.”

The guys exclaimed ‘Sweetie, you live at Agbarra with your strict aunt, and I stay in Victoria Island.  I never go to that end of Lagos so you know our paths may never cross after this, so seriously, how I go take see you again.”

The girl gave up her number quick quick.

A girl once tried to be artsy like they do in the movies by writing her number on my palm. I quickly withdrew my hand in pain, after she had written about 3 digits. This babe wanted to kill me o – she had used an Eleganza biro, and you know they have a sharp felt tip. Whatever happened to using a soft eye pencil, or better yet just reciting the damn number so that I could store it on my phone?!

So what do you say to a girl who has features like the one in this article’s picture. How do you solve a problem like Maria? Or one like Ifeoma, Bukola or Hauwa? This all reminds me of the song from Sound of Music. Sing with me:

Many a thing you know you would like to tell her/

Many a thing she ought to understand/

But how do you make her stay/

And listen to what you stay/

How do you keep a wave upon the sand?/

How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?

How do you toast a girl without breaking bank or breaking your vocal cords?

A chap much older than me, when schooling me on the relationship and dating game when I was a teenager, advised me that if I wanted to toast a really hot girl but had no courage, I should just imagine that she was taking a shit. It would make her look very ordinary and approachable

Yeah, I can see that just working now. Thanks but no thanks, I am not imagining Munachi Abi, Genevieve or Agbani Darego taking a dump in some dingy pit latrine with flies about.  I tried to use the technique for Goldie and ChiDynma and almost passed out at the thought.

She gave a smile but I got no answer though/
It took a while before she gave me a chance, she’s acting cold/
I offered her a drink she turned me down flat/
She said if you want my name you gotta do better than that/

Cypress Hill (What’s Your Number, 2004)


You Dey Make Me Kolo

Hello, hello

Now, that I have gotten your attention with the above picture, if you are ready, we can settle into the topic for today.

I was listening into a radio show on the Verastically Livin‘ blog, and the subject was on male toasting and all its epic failings. Apparently Naija fellas are supposed to score low on this most important of tasks. Ah, it is this topic of toasting again, huh? I know this is a much flogged topic, one which I had opined on before in my older article – Toast A Nigerian Girl. However, with Nigeria tethering on the brink, I want to contribute my bit to fostering national unity by promoting ways to make love not war.

It is hard to blame some guys for falling short when it comes to chatting up girls. One reason may be that some girls are really really hot, and you get your words muddled up trying to form sentences in their lovely presence. Look at the above picture – how would you start a conversation with a broad like that. If you told her that you were toasting her because you are attracted to her intellect, even she would know that you are telling porkies Would you approach her with a starter like ‘I love how you do the dishes’ or would you say your mind (I just wanna love you) and risk a rebuke ? Can you see that being yourself does not always work when it comes to chatting a chick up?

I will be frank -my liver has failed me a couple of times when approaching chicks so I tend to rely on my charm (not charms or black magic oh). I once sat next to a brown skinned beauty at an event. She asked me for my name, and I replied Antonio without thinking. I had been watching Wild Rose, that popular Mexican soap on TV the night before, so the name of one of the characters came to my mind when I was asked my nomenclature. Yep, she was so fine that I forgot my own name. Don’t be mad if your looks had not had that effect on someone.

Then some weeks later, I was at The Palms, when I heard someone shouting “Antonio, Antonio!” and whistling to get my attention.

I turned around, and it was the girl from the event. She was panting slightly and was a bit upset, because she had been running after me.

I had forgotten my own name! She invariably later found out that Antonio wasn’t my real name, and that killed anything between us before it could start.

Most guys get their names correct of course, but that is all they do right.

There was this chap who was trying to chat up this really beautiful girl at a kiosk in front of his office. She was clad in the tightest skirt suit and killer heels, while he was sweating profusely from doing marketing runs for his bank all morning. She had just bought a soft drink and was about to leave. He didn’t know what to say so he said ‘So you like Fanta orange too.”

Corny, but the girl thought it was rather sweet (him, not her bottle of Fanta).

So she smiled, and the ice was broken. They started a long convo, hooked up on a date, and dated for 2 years.

The problem with this ‘woo-ing’ thing is that there is too much onus (not anus) on guys during the process to make things happen. Girls expect a guy to have smooth lyrics, drop ‘word’ that would hold their attention, make them laugh, hang around or constitute a general nuisance.  Did you see all the hassle Kevin Jame’s character had to go through in the Will Smith movie ‘Hitch’?

What is a girl supposed to be doing all this while? What is she bringing to the table? After all, she has a fair bit to gain as well. A guy may be saying or doing the right things but it takes two to tango. If a lass is not sending the right messages or giving the right vibes, it may put a guy off. And that in no way diminishes a guy’s toasting skills. The perfect analogy would be a joke I once heard Basketmouth the comedian crack at one of his concerts. He said that when he performs at a show, if some people in the audience don’t laugh, then it isn’t his fault as he always does his best with his performance.  If they don’t laugh, it is because their personal problems are more than his jokes. And in that case, he wouldn’t be able to do anything for them.

Sometimes, you call or BB a girl you are interested in, and she would ask something like ‘What’s up? Any better or any gist?’ like you should be a steady form of amusement for her. Dead uncomfortable silence…….

I once had a girl come over, get comfy on my sofa, and give me an ultimatum ‘Esco, I have come to see you. So entertain me or I would never come here again.’

I switched on the television, and changed the channel to E!. There you go.

I have noticed that what guys and ladies expect in the ‘toasting process differs. Men want to get it over and done with quickly. We actually want maximum returns for minimum effort –  we like less talk and more action, get it?

Women prefer a long drawn out toasting process where you have to prove that you have got what it takes. They want to be ‘wooed’ ‘flattered’ wined, dined, then caressed, which all takes too much time and resource; besides there are  a few girls who don’t mind it being in the reverse order – caressed, dined, whined, flattered, then scattered. Guys prefer the latter category, understandably.

Some girls just don’t want to be talked to – they want to be toasted. You may be called a slacker for just being open, and taking your time to know a lass. You may be labeled other names for trying to do things the convenient way.

There was this girl I had met at a networking conference years back. We just vibed, and exchanged numbers, then started exchanging SMSs frequently. There may have been a little attraction.  We decided we would meet for a date – movies and food. The problem was that the girl lived in Ogudu, while I stay in Ajah. This was around the time when there were really congested road-works going on Lekki-Epe expressway which would take me about 4 hours or more to get to her crib. I asked home-girl if she could meet me halfway – take a cab to Surulere. I would come and get her there, and take her to the Island for our day out. Then I would drop her at home in Ogudu in the evening. That way, we could maximize quality time spent together, rather than wasting it in traffic. Logical right?

The girl blatantly refused saying that I was trying to short-change her “Esco, you want to do things the easy way. You must come and pick me up from my father’s house if you want to take me for a date. You must go through all the processes if you want to take me out. I am not easy.”

Who said anything about anyone being easy?

This reminds of when a friend of mine mis-yarned by blurting out the wrong thing to a girl he was chasing at the time. She was a real down-to-earth easygoing type of girl, so he used to take her to Mr. Biggs and Bank Olemoh Designer Rice for dates. He was so appreciative of the fact that she wasn’t a greedy type of girl that he remarked one day “Titi, this is the reason I like you. Whenever we go to Mr. Biggs, you always order only one donut, and you don’t even ask for mineral. I have been telling my friends that you are a cheap date. I like that.”

The girl was like ‘Huh?’ She lost her cool, laidback nature and upped her ante – she always demanded for Double Four  afterwards.

That All-Nigerian Girl


Some nights ago I was conversing online with a female friend about the birds and the bees and we got talking about relationships, attractions and physical preferences.

She asked me the million dollar question: “what do you look for in a lass; what features are important to you?”

I thought about it for a brief second “Crazy, sexy, cool.”

Don’t worry, I am not obsessed with TLC‘s magnum opus of the same name or anything – I will explain it to you:

Crazy: A girl who is spontaneous/unpredictable (but nor be girl wey head dey touch o).  Crazy not one that has caught craze.

Sexy: A girl who is easy to look at, with sassiness and confidence which are always sexy traits.

Cool: easy going lass with effortless charm and girl-next-door qualities. (Girl next door depends on where I am living at the time. Lekki, yes; Mushin, not so much)

But my friend was not letting me off that easily ‘Your answer is a bit vague. Who is attractive to you? Name a famous person for example’

I wanted to reply sarcastically – I really have no clue. I think most men would be content with any girl who would piss on them, if they were on fire.

Truth be told, I have gone through different phases of what I consider as hot and attractive.  As a hot-blooded adolescent in junior secondary school, I once really fancied Phylicia Rashad (Bill Cosby’s wife in The Cosby Show). Then there was a time I thought Kim Basinger was the hottest woman on earth, and then she went and married Alec Baldwin. And most of the lads in my class in secondary school fancied a bit of Sharon Stone, after the interrogation scene in the movie Basic Instinct, during which she flashed her crotch as she crossed her leg.

On the Nigerian scene, sex symbols were few and far between. Mainly because most beauties when I was growing up, were mainly beauty pageant queens, and due to the prevalent conservatism at the time, it was hard to pin point outstanding hotties in the public eye. In those days, women who entered entertainment were deemed as saying goodbye to their chances of future marriage. Regina Askia’s eyes look interesting though. And that faired-skinned cutie in the 80s Joy Soap advert (a.k.a “Joy Girl”) was really hot, though she had guys falling over themselves on the street while she smiled at them and shook her head as if to say ‘nice try, but nothing for una.”

Recently, some of my choices of examples of beauties have been a bit iffy and some a bit weird. It helps if the girl has peculiar features, or an interesting/different look as most people nowadays seem to look, smell and dress the same. I think Scarlet Johansson and Moon Bloodgood look nice by the way. If it is a black chick, I fancy a brown skinned beauty – something about cocoa skin reminds me of chocolate (or amala).

I remembered the 80s hit movie Weird Science where 2 n.e.r.d’s used a super computer to create their ideal chick. I recently saw a video for Le Petit Marche where they were promoting a “Buy Nigerian” initiative, even though their fashion market had the “Frenchest”and most “un-Nigerian” of names. They should have used Igbo instead if they were that pro-Nigerian, and called it Afia Ntakiri.

I still had my friend on the phone waiting for me to answer her question, and I didn’t want to sound like an asshole using only oyibo examples for women I considered attractive or as my ideal choice. I knew a few hot black women examples, but they were not people in the public eye so I couldn’t use them as examples.

Thinking about that Weird Science movie, I imagined that if I had a machine which could construct the perfect Nigerian woman, what features would I take and from whom?

Hmmmm……

  • Waje’s boobs (no, not the real human Waje, but the Waje cartoon character in the new M.I video for ‘Action Film’)
  • Kel’s lips (I like ponmo lips; get your Angelina Jolie on)
  • Omowunmi Akinfesi’s fore-head (it is smooth like a pumice stone). If I can’t have Omowunmi’s, I will settle for Adaure Achumba’s own minus the accent though)
  • Ebube Nwagbo’s booty (I once saw her in a movie where she sported white jeans)
  • Eku Edewor’s complexion (So that I don’t have to buy her any Brazilian weaves. Plus when we go out on dates, people will call her ‘oyibo madam’, give us freebies because of that, and allow her jump queues and get passes because she is ‘half-caste’)
  • Nse Ikpe Etim’s diction. Enough said. She’s one of the only lasses that I have heard speak pidgin that I was not put off by.
  • Sasha’s cheeks – so I can pull them as a sign of endearment (Her cheeks look like she has two big udara seeds in her mouth). I also liked the hit song “Adara.”
  • ChiDynma’s gap-teeth – In my village, gap-teeth are a sign of beauty, and so I would be able to take her back home and show her off in the village square. I also have some jigida belly beads for her to model for me. Also so that she could explain to me why she has a capital “D” in the middle of her name.
  • Tiwa Savage’s legs.  Actually I could use a lot of features from Tiwa – her fingers, her toes, her elbows etc. I know a guy who thinks Tiwa is proper fine; so much that he swore that if he ever married her, he would take her surname, have all day lie-ins with her, and change his name to Randy Savage. Na wa o.
  • Mo Cheddar’s swagger. Did you see her ‘drop it low’ dance in the music video ‘The Finest’ by Knighthouse? Awon beri.
  • Nicole Chukwueke’s nose. I can know if my perfect girl is telling me porkies (ala Pinocchio). Our favorite song would be Mario Winan’s “You should really know/ if you’re playing games, keep it on the low.” Nicole is hot by the way – shorty is a 10 over 10, 10 over 10, 10 over 10. Shikena. Ok, I really should quit now.
  • Munachi Abi’s singing/rapping talent. I like listening to my love interest singing in the shower. Especially on those mornings where NEPA has taken the power, and I can’t listen to my favorite radio station when getting ready for work.
  • Mo Abudu’s smile – she will need it for all those dodgy in-laws, home-breakers from my village, fake friends and jealous well-wishers. She would just show her crocodile smile like “Thank you oh for your compliments. Na God oh” before her smile returns back to a scowl.
  • Goldie’s err…..locks?
  • ‘Toolz’  Curves – Just imagine Wana’s voluptuous assets in that ThisDay Newspaper dress. Wow! That’s going to take a whole lot of newspapers.
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s brilliance – Marilyn Monroe got hitched to the playwright Arthur Miller because she wanted to be taken a lot more seriously by marrying a member of the intelligentsia. Okay, bad example. But by incorporating Ms Chimamanda, there is a little dose of academic intellect to round off the perfect Nigerian lass. Besides she is economic power personified – she could ghost-write my blogs and turn my un- intelligible musings into a world class best-sellers. Imagine being able to buy The Chronicles of Esco at an airport bookshop (Heathrow, JFK,  Schiphol and Owerri Airports to name a few)

 

So there you have it – the makings of The All-Nigerian Girl.

And after it is all said and done, I would still have to ‘toast’ my creation because all Nigerian girls require you to win them over. And what better way to convince a lass of my intentions than to dedicate one of my favourite songs of all time to her.

‘Get to me’ by the band Train.

That Nigerian Guy Is Not That Into You

Dont be a chickenhead


“Some girls endure spanking from dudes with benjamin franklin notes while they ignore the good fellas like Kirk Franklin.”

A great man once said the above statements and it rings true. Some women would endure rough treatment for moneyed guys just to enjoy the financial perks of a relationship.

Ok, truthfully I thought up the above line some years ago during my player/lyricist phase. I also grew an ‘Emeka Anibear bear (beard) and started eating eba with a spoon instead of my fingers. My mid-twenties crisis.

Ok scratch the above paragraph.

I once heard a pastor say ‘If you do not love your wife, please pretend.’

Wow! In Nigeria, with the incessant traffic, PHCN’s epileptic ogbanje operations and the myriad of other issues, you have to pretend you ‘send’ your wife?

But this rule only applies to wives – not girlfriends or baby-mamas. So if your fella does not love you, he does not have to be a hypocrite. He can kick your ass to the curb, and he has a legit backing. But what if you should have seen this coming, or did and chose to ignore the sign.

Ladies, I am going to be over-frank. One of the merits of being an anonymous blogger is that I can write from the heart, and escape Nobs-gate type repercussions. I won’t confess to being the slickest out there. I was the same person who could not tell if a girl fancied him unless she spelt ‘I Really Dig You’ with chin chin and served me those on a platter. A girl used to stop by my desk every morning at work, and bring me over a cuppa, but I could not tell if she liked my PC screensaver or me instead. I could not even tell when she suggested after-work movies and drinks at Silverbird. The movie showing was ‘P.S. I Love You’. I was more concerned that she wanted us to go see a chick-flick. I wanted to see The Departed instead. Yeah, I could have my ‘Steve Urkel’ moments.

Some Naija girls bring heartbreak and romantic disillusionment upon themselves at times. Yep, sometimes chicks do get involved with the wrong fellas for the wrong reason, and others need to learn the ‘traffic lights’ code of relationships. There are red, yellow and green lights on the streets of love relations.  Let me play the role of LASTMA and explain the rules.

Green lights are positive signals which mean that all is going well. In fact with green, you can start secretly visiting Balogun markets to choose colors for your aso-ebi. You may even book yourself in for a marriage counseling course at your Pentecostal church even though your love interest has not proposed. Heck, you can start the course alone sef. You may even give money to the small chops woman to start buying yeast and groundnut oil for the event even though marriage or a wedding date has never been discussed between you and your bobo.

If you are already engaged, green light means you should start planning your Silver Jubilee, sef.

Yellow means you should tread carefully in the relationship – your dude is starting to try to do you ‘turn, turn, turner.’ Yellow means proceed jejely because you are in a banana peel situation in the relationship, as your fella has started acting dodgy. You should have the same uneasy sense of security as we all have when NEPA gives you light in your house for 2 days straight. You know the darkness is coming two-fold.

Red light is a signal of the epic failure of the relationship; you should call it quits now, change your Facebook status to ‘single’ and get the inevitable one  million irritating comments and enquiries from nosey-parkers, brush yourself up, and head to the next possible social event in search of toasters.

Let me entertain you with examples.

  1. Your bobo prefers to take you to the cinema at the least crowded times, and goes straight to the back row (also known as Death Row). You get the feeling that he is not interested in the movie at all, but rather how he can un-hook your bra strap without alerting over movie watchers. If a guy refuses to watch a single frame of an action movie like Batman Begins, but would rather have you straddle him in a public cinema hall, you need to be careful. Trust me, it’s not cause you are so hot.

 

In fact if you have a boyfie who tries to shag you anywhere or any chance he gets without an iota of thought or respect for your dignity, you need to run 440. Back in Uni, there was this chap who was going out with a chick, and was living in a school male hall. He smuggled the lass into his room in the hall every weekend, where she would sleep 2 consecutive nights over along with 7 other room-mates.

Dude used to shag this girl on the top bunk. Everybody in that particular block in the hostel knew to tune in every Friday and Saturday night to watch free mojo. His room-mates pretended to sleep, even the slacker in the bed below. The girl is now married to someone else and is living in PH. (YELLOW LIGHT)

  1. Dude walks in front of you, or way behind you in public. Don’t blame yourself for being a slow walker; he is probably ashamed to be seen with you in public. And if he is ashamed to be seen with you in public, why should you want to be with him? I know this girl who was really large. Her fella was really ashamed of her because he said she walked like ‘someone who doesn’t have any problems.’ Why would he want to be with someone who came across as problematic?

Some fellas are this way with their spouses too; especially those who had a marriage arranged for them. They introduce their spouses with a reluctant whisper, like ‘…and here is my wif…..oh excuse me, my phone is ringing. Ah, international call…’ (RED LIGHT)

2. If your boyfriend tries to toast your friends, that is a bad sign. Guys are usually seen as nkita (dog in Igbo) who would shag anything if they could, but there are boundaries. I am not justifying cheating, but come on. If a guy starts making passes at your childhood bestie, it means he knows that there is a chance that she may spill the beans to you, and he does not care.

Like Shawn Carter the Jay Z rapped in the song ‘Ain’t No Nigga’, “You watch your friends, you gotta watch me; they connive and shit…” (RED LIGHT).

 3. His best friend who you think is an absolute follow-follow tries to chat you up. The best friend starts with subtle stuff like asking you for your BB pin or adding you on facebook/Twitter. Then he starts trying to hook up meetings where your boyfriend somehow won’t be present.

Guys usually have as their very close friends, people who they have known most of their lives. And unlike girls, we do not make new friends every other day and fall out with old ones. There are never petty jealousies in male friendships so most friendships wax strong.

That being said, many male friends are not averse to ‘sharing’ and that extends to women. It is a subtle form of ‘gang-bang’ where one friend dates a girl and shags her, breaks up with her, and tries to pass her off to his mate. Usually the girl would have no clue, and use the friend’s shoulder as a base to cry on and end up having him as a rebound. It was planned.

I have made enemies now by revealing this long protected secret – please salute me. Shine your eyes too. (RED LIGHT)

4. He ‘bbs’ you or does Facebook/yahoo chats but never wants to hear your voice. It does not matter if you guys exchange enough correspondence to fill a full-scap notebook; if a guy is into you, he would want to hear your voice via phone calls or face to face ‘whispers of sweet-nothings.’ If anytime you call, he begs you to drop so that you can chat instead, that is nothing sweet. It is either he doesn’t really fancy you, or that your spoken English is full of grammatical ‘shells’ or you have serious mouth odour. Either way keep the Kleenex tissues close and a health tube of Macleans Toothpaste. Better to drop him like a call on MTN’s network. (YELLOW LIGHT)

5.  A dude that is not into you would not care about what you do. He is interested in seeing you undress and not your progress. Someone I know was asked what his new girlfriend does for a living. He replied ‘ She is a.. err….consultant.’ In Nigeria, ‘consultant’ means that either she does nothing for a living, or the person is not sure. (YELLOW LIGHT)

6. Bros does not ‘send’ you. No, he literally does not send you. Chaps like see their girls as an extension of themselves. If a guy is into you, he would suck you into his world and want you to be a part of everything. He may even give you small tasks like entrusting important information or items in your care, asking you for little favors which show you are a huge part of his life.

 

Asking you to boil or run hot water for his bath or develop ‘yams’ pounding yam for his dinner does not constitute ‘sending you’. (RED LIGHT).

 

Please share your own experiences with partners who were not that into you or vice versa.

Babes keep your heads up, legs closed and eyes open..

act like she don’t see the exit sign/
Start crying, how much she love Shyne/

Shyne (Get Out, 1999)

The Case Of The Exes

 He loves me, he loves me not; she loves me, she loves me not. We have all heard the phrase – there is a thing line between love and hate. I beg to differ on every scale. In between love and hate is a man/woman’s broken heart and a quest for vengeance.

We have all seen movies where ex-girlfriends flipped on the chaps who had caused them heartache. We have seen movies like Martin Lawrence’s 1996 flick ‘There is a thin line between love and hate.’ We also saw a classic case of kolo, mixed with infactuation in the thriller ‘Fatal Attraction.’ May your ex never try to knife you to death with a cutlass.

In the movie ‘Endless Love’ the heartbroken chap burnt the house down. In rural parts of Nigeria, we have heard cases of angry men trying to burn the woman down – with acid from batteries. Fire and love do not go together eh? Unless you are lighting a candle for a candle-light dinner date.

I would not say that I have dated hoardes of women in my short eventful life, even though I have ‘been’ with quite a few. The slim, the orobo, the slender, the lekpashious, the ridiculous, the jagbajantis, the ones that shoot competitors dagger eyes, the meek and accepting.

Bolanle, Temi, Jadesola, Akunna, Hauwa, Sandra, Ekanem, Ibie, Tokunbo, Taiwo, Chisom, Alero, Efe…etc etc. Do I still keep in touch with all. Not really, but that is not of my own voilition. I find that most Nigerian girls would rather stay away from an ex, unless they broke up with you, and they have moved on better than you have. Nowadays, it is changing a bit, because many girls are going back to their unmarried ex-boyfriends as they consider marriage options in a desert dating environment. Chaps are going on Facebook to locate and connect back with the primary school sweetheart they had back then, who divided her ‘Jemka’ chewing gum into 2 with her teeth and shared it with them. Swallowing your vomit may not always taste bad after-all; it did come from inside you..

Am I friends with any of my exes? Am I my brother’s keeper? Am I my neighbour’s keeper? Should I be my ex’s keeper? Everything depends on how well you have moved on yourself, how the relationship started and your disposition.

I for one, have dated only a few girl steadily who were my ‘girlfriends’. For all of them, we were very good friends, and had a good rapport before we decided to go steady. For most of the time, I and the girl would even start getting intimate before we realized that we should define everything by going steady. So even when we broke up, there was a platform to stand on. Any drama or negative vibes created during the break-up soon evaporated and the sunshine came out, because we still had a basic friendship. It was a case of ‘I want to see you happy, even if it is not with me’ and not ‘ E no go better for you; you would never meet someone who would love you like me.’ Girls need to chill with the curses and negative professions sometimes. What if you and him decide to get back together after a while? Guess what, that curse still stands..

I wont however sit here and act like everything has always been honky dory, whenever I and a ex—chick broke up. There are a few who hated my guts after we split. One’s fiance even came to ask me whether he should go ahead and marry her, even though she smashed  my heart into little pieces. I gave a her a glowing endorsement – Attitude (A), Resourcefulness (A), Culinary Skills (A), Intelligence (A), Front ‘Curve’ (DD). She passed with flying colours, and they were wed at UNILAG Main Indoor Hall.

I find that it is easier for men to remain friends with their exes than vice-versa. Whether we should is another matter, but I believe anyone who comes into your life has their own purpose. Each one to teach one. The physical or emotional relationship may have failed, but there are business, intellectual and professional relationships to look forward to. Unless the girl did ‘aristo’ runs while dating you. That is inexcusable. Ha ha.

 Being friends with an ex-girlfriend may depend on the following:

1.  Has your ex moved on herself or is there emotional garbage? I remember that I was dating this chick, and was still friends with 2 of my exes who used to drop by to see me once in a while. On my birthday, I decided to do a small get-to-gether thing organised by a few friends. My 2 exes showed up. It was a case of being surrounded by the devil, the deep sea and Lastma. They all could not stand each other, so the tension rose in the room by a 100 degrees. I was trying to divide attention among them, but my girl was getting pissed, from the way she was dicing the birthday cake furiously with a huge serrated knife. The knife was making a huge thud like she was slicing okporoko (obokun fish/stockfish). I later walked out to get some air, and ended up sitting on a car bonnet gisting with a female guest for an hour. Best birthday gift ever

2.   Everything depends on how you broke up, and whether bridges were burnt irretrievably. If your ex-girlfriend cheated on you with either with Chief or did aristo runs while you dated, that bridge is gone forever.  If your ex-girlfriend broke up with you because of your ‘promiscious’ ways, that bridge is as wide open as 3rd Mainland Bridge. Men have big egos, eh?

 If the break up was messy, and words were exchanged and properties divided, it may take your village elders to reconcile you two as friends. A chap I know called Jay and this chick broke up because she was sleeping about. While they were dating, as part of their ‘trust’ and love to each other, they had told each other their email passwords. I found it stupid at the time, and told him but he laughed it off. My girl at the time, after she heard, asked for a similar commitment from me, but I didnt answer her.

Around the time, Jay and his chick were having problems, he went to her email account and saw a long exchange of texts between her and chap nick-named ‘Congo’. He was pissed off, and so he deleted an unread saucy message in which he was describing all the things he was going to do to her at their rendevouz that weekend.

He did that one more time the next day, deleting any unread messages. Later that night, he called and confronted the girl. She did not try to deny anything at all; rather she abused him for logging into her email account, and told to go and stick it.

He rushed to a cybercafe and when he tried to log into her yahoo account, the password had been changed. He logged into his immediately, and saw that the girl had gone in there and deleted all his email messages, mumbering over 4000 from the time he had opened the account. Some of the deleted messages even contained very sensitive and important work and business documents. Panicking, he quickly changed his password, before she beat him to it.

I think you would agree with me that there is no chance of them remaining friends now or in the future. Word of advice, never give your facebook or email password or bank debit card pin to anyone including your girlfriend. The only pin number you should give her is your BB pin.

 

3.   Your present circumstance –  is your current girlfriend or partner easy going? Does your present partner see your ex as a threat? Nigerian women are competitive and an bound to scratch each other’s eyes out at the drop of a dime. Not to sound racist, but I find that if your ex is from certain ethnicities, females get scared and would want you to keep away. Looks also matter. If your ex looks like Munachi Abi, no girl would want her man around her. My word on this is, if you ex looks like Munachi Abi, then why in hell’s name did you ever break up, stupid guy. Munachi is a work of art.

 

4.  Have you moved on? If your ex has not moved on, and you have, it may develop into a new booty call relationship. One of my exes used to come and see me in a short, short, summer dress. She would just ‘drop by’ to say hi. I was not seeing anyone then, but we had broken up, right?

Wrong…

The One-ness

African queen - Nigerian dream?

Every un-married Nigerian female has fantasized since birth about meeting and getting married to “the one”. Okay, truth be told, not every female may refer to him as “the one.” To some girls of easy virtue, or ‘runs’ girls, he may be merely “Number One” or the “Main One”  ( a bit like that under-g cable which connects Nigeria to mainland Europe for increased internet bandwith). Alright, let me stay on course.

Dudes would probably relate to this article better. Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt, the UK and US are filled with Nigerian fellas who are educated, not too broke to get married and have decided to take the full plunge into marriage but cannot find a life partner of their dreams. There are scores of Naija chaps looking for “the One-ness.” Weighted by the shackles of shackles of masculinity, societal expectations, and the fairytale storylines of many Hollywood chick-flicks or Nollywood traditional “action” movies, no chap would readily admit that he is finding it difficult to find a marriageable girl. It is not in our DNA to moan about it.

Most people, especially other women, believe that a dating in Nigeria is a man’s market, and all a single lad has to do is pick from a ready and steady pool. Fiction not fact. Ready not steady.

The truth is that there are girls everywhere, but as a bachelor may find, much to many girls’ chagrin, is that not every girlfriend can make a great life-mate. Even a supergirlfriend may make a terrible wife, and all that wonderful make-up and dinner dates go right out the window when subjected to the scrutinies of Naija life. Marriage is not all flowers and wine; well, only in rare cases. I hear Jennifer Lopez’s first husband said that she was so beautiful that he could drink her bath water. To each his own - good luck with trying to drink Jenifa’s bath-water.

One of Liz Taylor’s many husband once said that being married to her was like having a one-night stand everyday. Well, even as good as she supposedly was, she had 7 different husbands and was married eight times. So, we in Nigeria may have to do with  our Liz Bensons (no disrespect).

Getting married to the right person is paramount. It is one of the few human relationships you have a choice over. You cannot chose who your parents or siblings are. Well, except in Nigeria where every older woman is your ‘aunty’ or every stranger calls you ‘broda’ when they need a favour. So you have to make it count with wifey.

I have further heard it said that a good wife is better than a good mother. Orphans or kids brought up in abusive home or absent mother-figure home situations may recover to become upstanding and successful members of society; a man with a terrible wife is soon parted with half of his fortune in alimony payments. In Yankee, he may sleep on the couch/guest bedroom most nights or spend more time at the office; in Nigeria, a man with a bad wife quickly learns how to prepare Indomie noodles with a boiling ring to stave off hunger, and befriends the pepper-soup joint matron.

Finding a suitable wife has never been easy; check  history. Jacob had to toil and wait for 14 years to be able to marry Rachael. In between this period, he was even offered and married someone he did not really fancy. And why do you think that the prince in the Cindarella fairytale had to throw a ball so to inspect the local talent in “Far-far-away-Land” only to have his love interest “Ms Cindarella” run away thereby abandoning her bata in the process. That Cindarella was a ‘runs’ girl.

Even in modern times, series like “The Bachelor” have shown how difficult it can be selecting from a bevy of girls. Koko mansion too, although D’banj was never looking to get hitched to any of the contestants. You get the gist of the message, though.

"Anti runs-girls spray" - Use around pockets and wallets area

This article is not of those many articles circulating the web, berating many 21st century Nigerian women for being fake, weave-sporting, fake nails clawing, ‘undometisticated’ beings incapable of being marriage material. Besides yesterday was International Women’s Day; what would I look like putting down own women.

Why is it difficult finding a girl to marry despite the apparent stream of ready females. I dunno; I and a couple of friends have spoken about it a couple of times and I find that there may be a couple of underlying factors

  • Indecision. Sometimes many guys may have a couple of girls they are considering who as someone once told me “are not as good individually as the sum of their parts”; whatever that means. Each girl may not have all key attributes the chap wants ( and who does really?). Monica may like money and expensive dates too much cook a fantastic ofe nsala; Tokunboh may have great legs but be a terrible cheapskate, Alero may be laidback and easygoing but have “Jenifa” traits especially with her spoken English. Chioma may be a smart and hardworking professional but have her head in the clouds. Back in the day, our grandfathers fixed this problem by marrying 2 or 3 wives and combining their strengths and praying their weaknesses did not send him to an early grave. I can just imagine that polygamous arrangement working now, Monica cooking all the meals for the household, Chioma working to bring in income, Alero running the house while Tokunbo ‘serviced’ the hubby. Not bad.

How come I no see am before

 

  • Many Nigerian girls are more materialistic and less likely to start their life with an upcoming youngster. Yes, this rings true, though many girls would swear with a cutlass to argue otherwise. I know chaps (voluntarily and involuntarily) who had to eliminate potential partners due to materialism. Sad but true – some Naija girl’s weekly maintenance spends could finance a small wedding. Wax on, wack off.  Eddie Griffin the comedian once wondered, how come girls no longer fall in love with a brother with a bus pass. A BRT bus-pass not a Air Bus boarding pass.

 

  • Societal restrictions – the usual suspects like race (Yoruba or Igbo are races not tribes), family background, ageism, social class etc. By the time a fella considers all these, and I hope not together, he may be left with zero, zilch. The age one is really a factor in Nigeria, because people expect the man to be older or the same age at least so this eliminates potential cougars. Besides most dudes are scared of a woman looking like their gran after a few kids. It does not help that when we look at some women in the generation before ours, some have not aged well , adding excess ‘alatika’ weight and using ‘wrapper’ to conceal. It is changing now though but still early doors. Basically, Stella would never have gotten her groove back in Naija.

 

  • Girls, girls, girls. In cities like Lagos, Port-Harcourt and Abuja, single girls boku. And that is not even adding Owerri (Nigeria’s own version of Las Vegas). There are bevies of ladies everywhere – in traffic, weddings and events, malls, cinema, offices, Zenith Bank Customer services, Bank PHB Head-quarters, church..Go to TPH on a Sunday, and you would be like a cow in the field (ok, sorry wrong analogy). Ok you would be like a possum caught in the headlights at night. There are so many young women everywhere that you may end up doing nothing. And nothing comes from nothing. According to a 2009 American Community Survey, there are 131,548 more single women than men in New York City. Big deal?
 

Disregard our Nigerian Census Board, there are more than 200 million people in Nigeria. Everyone has a relative in Lagos, so there must be at least 10-15 million people in Lagos. Let’s just estimate conservatively that half are women and one-eight are singles of marriageable age. Dude, that is about 250,000 single women. And that is not even counting those in the UK, US and Canada. Woah Nigeria!I mean all our grandfather had to do was choose between the hunter’s daughter, palm-wine tapper’s youngest sister or the headmaster’s niece. It was not like his village was brimming with talent or alternatives.

Our grandpas had it easier

 

  • Nne, can I meet you? Back in our parent’s day in the rural areas, you simply “blocked” your love interest on the path to the village stream and offered to carry her bucket of water if she agreed to meet you behind the butcher’s hut for a midnight dalliance. Not so back in the day, you stopped by the original Megaplaza, chatted up a chick and offered to buy her that cheap popcorn they sold on the ground floor. Now there are millions of spots around Lagos and Abuja. If you have a 9-5 and work on the Island, how do you meet other singletons?

Abroad, they have online and speed-dating schemes. I’m not sure how speed-dating can work here in Nigeria; we cannot even get Lekki traffic right. Ok, bad joke.

 

Maybe someone should start a BB dating service. Another smart idea is to start a service like one I heard of once in America which organises trips, tours and outings for single members. Please send my royalty check via post.

  • Unrealistic expectations –  Yes this prevents some chaps from making a choice or meeting the right girl. Every chap in Nigeria wants a girl who looks like Munachi Abi.

 

Back in the day, our grandfathers were married off to women with athlete’s muscles and chest/facial hairs and may not have to had ‘wooed’ her by chatting to her at the town yam festival. Many marriages were arranged prior to birth, so all the groom’s parents had to do so was have the bride price/dowry ready. However this could be why women ended being subjugated to the background, with no career or romance. Having paid a hefty bride price, grand-dad tried to get as much bang for his buck (pardon my use of irony). No doubt music videos, the internet and exposure have affected what guys believe should be a standard for beauty – sometimes a tad bit unrealistically.

Some chaps have suggested different ways of testing whether a girl was “the one-ness” and suitable wife material with varying degrees of success. In the 2001 African-American movie “The Brother” starring Morris Chestnut and Gabrielle Union, it was suggested that someone who loved you very much would offer you the last morsel of any food she was eating. A chap tried this by waiting to see if a girl he fancied would do the same with some take-away they had brought back from a date. The girl wolfed down the foot-long sharwama in 2 takes, and belched, as she rubbed her tummy. She didn’t even ask for water. He was weak – her frame was smaller than Christiana Milan’s; where did all that food go? Home-boy beat a retreat; he feared for what she would do with a pestle in her hands, a 5 tubers of yam in the mortar.

Some Nigerians in the diaspora (hate that word, by the way) used to come down to Nigeria to look for wives; but they soon found that charity did not always start at home. In fact Charity, in this case, never stayed at home, but painted herself and the town red every night looking for rich clientage. He soon found out once she was safely married and back abroad with him.

And some guys have resorted to seeking out and marrying their ex-girlfriends or college/university sweethearts. Not a bad idea if the spark still remains, and if they are still single. The devil you know…is a devil in a blue dress.

 

 

To be my queen you must,/

point out my enemies, a girl who is into me/

but not a hype-chick, someone with proper energy/ 

Someone who is into me, who wont do all my enemies/

And you can be the one cos I’m feeling your energy/

Nas (Hey Nas, 2002)

 

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)

Marriage Or Carriage?

 

Some weeks back, I and some friends of mine were having drinks after work at  Newscafe, VI, when one of them, Sam, barely married 4 months, received a call. His face sunk when he saw the caller’s ID. We all started giving him stick when he announced that he had to split – wifey needed him home asap. He wasn’t smiling, when he drew me to the side as he was about to leave and said the words no single chap would like to hear a married man say: My marriage is hell, why the hell did I get married?

 And I am thinking, Mate, if you are asking yourself that question, then you and the missus best be sitting down to have some serious discussions. Only 16 weeks of marriage?!!

 I would be the first to throw my hands up and admit that there are many articles floating around the web, which purport to be authorities on marriage and permanent relationships. In Nigeria, it is much worse as every fool and his (or her) dog  inundates you with tips, pointers and observations about the cardinal union of marital relations. I will tell you what; maybe we should ask the penguins how they do it, because unlike men and women nowadays, the flippy Arctic birds mate for life.

 It is bad enough if you are a single man, worse if you are a spinster. Your ears are harassed at every turn by the proponents of marriage – why you haven’t gotten hitched to the person you have been sexing anyway, don’t you know women have a time limit, you need a woman to fix your dinner and reorganize your trashy studio apartment, etc etc.

The proponents of marriage are many – from the newly-weds and freshly abused, to relatives and aspiring in-laws who have a vested interest (wedding food and drinks, future unannounced stays at you and your spouse’s house, requests for money). The proponents of marriage also include parents, nans, grandpas and even the great unmarried (women who use Ms. in front of their names permanently, or men who no women can stand even for a ring and a new surname).

Let me not bore you with a Singles and Married Specials.

To the hitched and unfree, why did you get married? Bachelors and spinsters, why would you?

 I think you will find that the chief reasons, men and women get married differ.

For men, they need the following – child incubator, sex on tap, a mother figure (Freud’s postulations), good home cooked broth without paying restaurant fees (noodles and agege bread don’t cut it every night…..ask single chaps), and a shoulder to lean on.

For the fellas, it’s a bit straight forward, though you will find that in today’s society, it is possible to have a woman do all of the above, without you having to take her to the altar. Except for service on Sunday obviously. So are the above reason enough to get married?

With women, it’s a bit more complicated. Other than love, I find that some seem to want:

 1. A permanent boyfriend – Some see marriage as a way to get a boyfriend for life, as opposed to a husband. It is all well and good to aspire to be a permanent girlfriend, but marriage carries responsibilities. In a  simple boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, the parties exist in a vacuum with no legal or communal commitments. A marriage is a much more complicated arrangement as it involves families, communities, children and financial responsibilities. I would not bore you with them. But remember that a permanent girlfriend must either become or behave like a wife after sometime, or make way for another new permanent girlfriend.

 2. To shut up naysayers and doubters (those who falsely claim that a single girl’s chances of marrying dip once she reaches 27) – desperation is the most unclean force in the world. Suddenly “Bruno” doesn’t look so bad; he used to beat me into a pulp and bundle me into the car boot when we were dating but so what? He swears he has changed and now wants to marry me. He is a banker, so he has to be a sure-banker; besides he has a really smart apartment which I cannot wait to re-do up. He also drives a really flash Honda. Yeah right, E-Honda of the 100 hand slaps fame. 

3. To have children quick before the countdown to menopause (notice why it’s called men –o – pause). So they marry, and get their wish, but after Junior is born, Senior turns to an elder tyrant.

4. To marry as that’s what society and the community expects. How come the community is hardly there to pick the broken pieces of a marriage (they are always there to gorge of large pieces of meat and chicken at the wedding proper though?). Call me naïve, but it is dangerous to do something just because community expects – community expects you to pay your levy even when your take home pay leaves you three bus stops short of home every day.

5. A father figure; most men run away from women that want this. Back in the days, the rich uneducated or unexposed types loved woman of this ilk – as far as they were provided for ( a roof, money for market, a car and driver, and the latest Singer sewing machine), they were content. Now economic realities have made some men prefer ladies with a job or a career (in these days and times, a wife spending all day watching African Magic is hardly an option).

Granted, some girls could want a father in their husband emotionally. But that is what sugar-daddies are for; why marry for that?

6. A friend – one  of the best reasons to get married, it seems. This is unless the woman wants a platonic friend in her husband with no sexual chemistry at all. I didn’t make this up, some couples co-habit together like brothers and sisters. The test-tube baby business is going to experience a boom in the near future in Naija.

7. Unrestricted copulation; Ok I know this sounds like a word that should appear on a Census Board Notice or Demographic Report instead, but seriously, the black man in me struggles to see this as a sole reason for any  Nigerian woman to get married. Somehow unrestricted copulation seems like a Caucasian reason, even though they don’t need the above reason to get busy anyway. Maybe this would be a reason best suited to girls that had very strict parents – children of whip and bell wielding prophets, SUs, prudes and the village headmasters. 

Marriage is complicated. Sermons, churches, cults, careers and corporations have been built around the industry of marriage – it is that complicated.  Ok, apart from that lame Jennifer Lopez movie, the Wedding Planner.

Here were some of Nas’s reasons for getting married to Kelis:

I want a son to greet every morning/

Daughters and more sons tickle my feet/

Wife smiling, telling me it’s time to eat/

I’m getting married…/

…I will make an honest woman outta you yet/

Everybody staring at you, I’m at the altar, standing/

Heart pounding out my chest like a cannon/

I’m happy, one of my Groom’s men/

Under the music says, “Don’t do it”…/

 Nas (Getting Married, 2004)

LOVE MY MISSUS; DESPISE HER FRIEND

 It is one of those ironies of life – you can choose a girlfriend or partner, or make a choice as to the special person who you want to spend the rest of your life with, exchanged vows, cheap rice confetti and all. But, and I mean a big but, you cannot choose who she decided to call her bestie – annoying or not.

Unbelievable, but I found out that Google has an entry on how to deal with an annoying in-law , annoying siblings or work colleagues. Trivial it may be, but it’s been researched enough times to be given its own prompter. How about if your girl’s best friend is annoying too? What do you do?

 My chick’s bestie is annoying; no scratch that, she can be a nasty piece of work. Think of all the worst attitudes a 25 year old has, rolled into 5 feet 5 of brown muscled wonder, and you will begin to catch my drift. Alright then.

Reminisce with me, as I recall her various atrocities. The time was December 2009, just around the time everyone was doing their Xmas shopping. The venue was the main dining room of the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island . Bestie (let’s call her that) and her then fiancé (a nice and pleasant chap) had called I and the missus to join them for Sunday brunch at the Eko Hotel. My girlfriend then agreed to meet up with me at the venue in 30 minutes.

So I jumped into the shower, and emerged minutes later – but alas, I was in a deep dilemma. Not only could I not find anything to wear, but my mind was in 3 places as whether to take the engagement ring I wanted to propose to my beloved with. A 24 carat white gold ring with a solitaire (thank you, thank you for the compliments), it had only arrived in Lagos the day before via Chisco Transport (yes they deliver rings), from Brighton United Kingdom by way of Port Harcourt. Ask me nicely enough and I would explain.

I had given my sister who travelled to England some weeks prior, my girl’s ring size and a healthy wad of British pound to purchase the rings. After days traversing the high streets of gay Brighton, my sister had seen a smart gem in a vintage shop window. One problem though, she wasn’t going to be back in Lagos till the new year, and I needed the ring like yesterday – my girl was travelling back to Yankee after Xmas. So my sister gave it to my cousin who was travelling back to Naija, but to PH not Lag. My cousin agreed to send it, but via Chisco. My heart was in my mouth. I prayed against kidnappers, baggage-stealers; I bound and destroyed one-chance bandits, thief-thief policemen in my prayers. I am sure you people are like, na wetin naa? How much the ring cost sef? Well let me put it this way, that ring was more expensive than 10 Chisco return tickets to Aba.

Fast forward, I was able to pick the ring at Chisco’s office just before 2nd Round-about, Lekki. My cousin had wrapped it in a bag filled with ube (native pear) and azu-urokpiri (dried fish). Funny enough, I was with the missus, when I stopped at Chisco’s, but her eyes and long throat were on the azu-urokpiri so she didn’t notice the ring’s box.

Ok, SO I am still in my towel and in a dilemma. To be or not to be? E go be sha.

I decided on a pair of khakis pants, a smart white shirt and a cord blazer; and I chucked the ring into my pocket. Got to Eko Hotel – the missus, Bestie and her fiancé were all seated and having starters. The soup looked like water color so I ordered the main course straight. Bestie was really feeling like the Queen of England, asking the waiter for foreign confectionary and everything outside the menu, in the fakest British accent I have ever heard.

I hope this is freshly squeezed orange juice. No it is Nutri C ma.

Is this Satis beef sausage? Oh I hate those!

Do you have PG Tips tea? Oh put the monkey on it, you old sod.

 Is your bacon salted or cured? Salted? Now she thinks she is Angelina Jolie.

 Meanwhile, my princess was comporting herself with all the graces a future life partner should have. Bestie was the complete opposite – cursing out the waiter for not getting the napkins in the perfect triangle, or for not squeezing lemon into her iced water. Who does that in Nigeria. The last time I had lemon in water, was when I used a Krest bottle to fetch water in boarding school  cos i didnt have a flask.

After eating, I kept on procrastinating, thinking of the right time to sneak my little speech in. Moreover I was boxed into a corner, due to the tight seating arrangements – kneeling to propose would be impossible. Bestie, sorry Beastie, arranged a seat for me, as far as possible. I was still trying to make up my mind, when Bestie and her chap said that they were about to leave. I decided to seize my chance. In my best Hugh Grant, shy and awkward impression, I announced that I had an announcement as I clinked a tea-spoon on a glass cup.

Clink,clink! I have an announcement to make. The other guests from other tables eyed me like a nuisance. Trust Naija people.

Looking at my beloved, I said “You have been very special to me, all this time…”Blah, Blah. Blah and all the mushy stuff. Then I smoothly pulled out the ring box from my blazer pocket in the same slow motion manner James Bond pulls out his Walter PPK pistol. The price of the ring – shebi I told you before, the equivalent  of 10 Chisco return tickets to Aba. The look on my sweetie’s face – priceless. I got a scream of joy, a huge hug and a kiss so wet that I looked like I had just eaten puff-puff.

 Yes, yes, yes, I will marry you…

Bestie’s fella just kept clapping and saying he couldn’t believe how smoothly I proposed, out of the blue. He was happy and laughing and congratulatory.

 Bestie? Her face said it all. She looked over-whelmed and needless to say not very pleased. She then started talking about how her fiancé had proposed to her at a chalet in Obudu cattle-ranch with all the gorillas, monkeys and cows watching.

In my mind I was like come on, skip the bull; this moment is about your best friend and not you.

Needless to say, her fiancé was embarrassed – like please don’t bring up an event that happened in the tropic South South eons ago. For crying out loud, someone just asked your best friend to marry him!

 That damned Bestie!

Girl, I will give you karats ’till you feel you a rabbit / Anything in your path, you want you can have / Walk through the mall, if you like it you can grab / Total it all up and put it on my tab / And then tell your friends all the fun you had/

Mase (Tell Me What You Want, 1997)