I remember when I was 8 years old, I and my female neighbour Joan would play “mum and dad” make-believe games. It was fun stuff and infantile exhuberance. She would act like her barbie doll was our baby infant feeding it “milk” made of ground chalk and water before heading into an imaginary kitchen to “cook” up a meal for me.
Sand and water were mixed as garri – she used would get on her knees and mould it into the most perfect paste. Garden plants were plucked and used as soup leaves like oha, bitter-leaf etc. For pieces of meat, we utilised pebbles or gravel from my neighbour’s drive-way. Funmi Davies of the then Maggi Kitchen TV Cooking porgram would have been proud.
She then set up my “dinner” on a plate (the huge leaf of a banana tree) perfectly. She watched smiling and proud as I pretended to wolf down my sumptious meal. Afterwards, “wifey” packed away the “plates” and returned to sit by my side and make small talk. What a domestic goddess – Nigella Lawson could learn something here.
Sometimes we would end up under the ironing table with the cover cloth overlapping its sides as we chatted and laughed in the dark. Intimacy was holding hands, but that was it….honest.
For our other neighbour’s wedding, I was the page- boy and she was the flower girl. Our mothers dressed us in our Sunday best – me in a nice black suit and she in a lovely lace dress which she proudly flitted about in. In a sweet, innocent gesture, I asked her to wait a second as I ran to our back garden and fetched a “Queen of the Night” flower from the garden and planted it affectionately in her hair. Just like that cheesy old Impulse deodorant ad from the 80s.
At the church, we glanced at each other at the same time as the main couples took their vows. I whispered and sign-lauguaged the words “my wife” to her, and she giggled softly, as she called me her hubby.
By calling her my wife, I was subconsciously according her the greatest accolade a man could bestow on a woman he cared for and respected. I didn’t know that then, but those were much more innocent times than now. Present day male kids, if they left their Ipods and Nintendo Wiis alone and played this game, would call their female playmate their baby-mama. And never mind Sunday best, kids these days have been known to show each other their birthday suits.
My princess later moved houses when we were both 10 years old because her father got transferred. On the day they were moving, she gave me a peck behind my house, and I gave her my Hot Rod Transformers action figure , as a momento to remember me by – honest.
There is no doubt that our attitudes are changing. Respect for women and female-folk is slowly ebbing away in our society today. Many men believe that woman exist just for sexual gratification. It is hard to blame them, though they deserve a reprimand, because everywhere you turn in Nigeria, especially in the metropolises of Lagos and Abuja, cheap girls are like a dime a dozen.
You drive into the mall; there are girls in skimpy outfit looking for mugus to buy them popcorn in exchange for popping their coochie. How can you barter some creamie pie for some ice cream? Not even for Haggeen Daas. Never for Walls. I know diamonds and bling-bling are a girl’s best friend, but please don’t trade your maiden-head for Fan Ice.
When I was in primary five, there was this girl in my class whose mother was our class teacher. Her mum was extra hard on her and used to flog her with the cane at the slightest provocation. She would ask the class a question, and if noone could answer, she would flog her daughter – alone. It was ridiculous. I thought her mum was just being a saddist. Now in hindsight, I wonder if her mum used to beat her, because her mum could see the future and wanted to punish the girl in the present. That girl is now a first class groupie with clientele drawn mainly from the federal legislative houses. If you ask her what she does for a living, she says she is a, err, consultant. Ah let me guess, you are the founder of Dominatrix, oh sorry, Domitilla Consultants.
And every chap in Nigeria wants to be a player; You have fellas who would try it on any skirt walking, even if the broad should be off limits. Even pregnant or married women are not exempt from the lust of some chaps. A chap tried it on a woman, and when she declined and politely explained that she was married, the chap sneered as he said “I didn’t expect a beautiful woman like you not to be married. Nne biko give me your love.”
Come on man, I like beautiful women just like the next lad, but there has to be limits somewhere. Ikechukwu the Nigerian rapper twitted a couple of weeks ago about this: he said that Nigerian guys were the only ones who would try to chase their best mate’s girlfriend or fiancee. His supposed words on Twitter were “Omo I bow for Naija sha, niggas toasting their niggas babes is regular practice. Guess we are all different. Good morning.”
Good morning to you too sir; I cannot stand such behavior myself.
In Nigeria, people will toast your girl in your face! Once I and a couple of workmates in an office where I briefly worked went for after-work drinks on a Friday evening at that water-front bar in Lekki Phase One. One chap, called Edet invited his fiancée and girlfriend of 10 plus years to join us – we were about 15 people in all. This chap introduced his fiancée to everyone, and we all settled down for beer, pepper-soup and sweet meats.
Edet was one of those types of dudes who just couldn’t handle their liquor. After 3 bottles of Star, he was out cold, throwing up and yarning gibberish. While he was out in cuckoo-land, one of the work-mates was trying it on his fiancée, like trying to get her number and to fix a date to meet her. She felt very small, and called Edet aside and told him what had just occurred. His drunken stupor evaporated immediately. Words were exchanged, and the erring jerk nearly got tossed into the Lagoon by the bar.
Even when I was abroad, everybody found it easy to spot the chaps who had just come in fresh off the plane from Nigeria. It was laughed that they were the ones with “dudu” eyes. These were the ones that entered a club, a bar or a party with blood in the eyes and starred down any girl who showed a bit of skin or mistakenly glanced their way. Especially if the girls were oyibo. It is as if they just caught a severe case of jungle fever as soon as they stepped into the arrival lounge at Gatwick.
This manner of “hunting” down girls for the take-down even has corporate approval in some circumstances. I know of a corporation which has pimps in all the tertiary institutions in Lagos and the neighbouring states. These pimps organise pools of girls for company executives and managers anytime there was an AGM, company retreat or conference. And if you think that the class of girls you would see there were like Funke Akindele’s character in Jenifa, you are grossly mistaken. Most of them are from decent middle to upper class families – besides this blue chip company will only pay top dollar for pink ladies.
Once in a bar filled with chaps, we began talking about the level of waywardness in Nigeria presently. One guy in particular was upset that his girlfriend of 3 years had been dating an aristo, behind his back all this while. The said aristo was some top shot on a Federal Government board, and had rented the girl a swanky apartment in the Chevron area of Lekki. Then one other chap we called Makaveli because of his mundane theories on life said something that I found weird at the time, but may be a logical explanation if not a justifiable one.
Makaveli dismissed the other guy’s heartbreak issues. He asked why any pretty looking average girl faced with 2 economic choices in present day Nigeria would choose a young professional guy for a boyfriend over an older rich man. The young boyfriend spends less, tries to monitor her movement, and sleeps with her more often. In fact, according to Makaveli, a young boyfriend would use her “to experiment doing what he has seen in all the American films” thereby devaluing the girl whom he may not even eventually marry. Meanwhile the older rich fella who is a busy man may take care of all the girls needs, will not be as possessive and will not have the stamina for advanced or sustained bedmatics. He may ask the girl to fondle him briefly till he snoozes off, and may leave a hefty sum on the bedside table for her the next morning. Wax on wax off. Hmmmm…..
I know someone that has blamed the problems of this country on these fast ladies who close-mark legislators whenever they are in town to sit, leaving them no mental energy for their legislative duties. I dunno about that, Bill Clinton did quite well as US president despite the Lewinskies of this world. In fact JFK is one the most celebrated presidents despite his finer qualities. And Abacha……ok on to the next one.
Everyone wants to be a mack nowadays – that’s the difference between these days and when I was a teen growing up. Back in my day, there were the players and then the nerds and nothing in between. Being a nerd wasn’t necessarily social suicide as there were different interests to occupy N.E.R.D.s than chasing tail.
Back in secondary school, the nerds were divided into classes. Those who liked video games, owned a Super Nintendo, a Sega Megadrive, a Neo Geo and a GameBoy. These class of nerds usually found Chun Li sexier than a real lass, like say Monie Love at the time. These nerds were more pre-occupied with virtual womenfolk in skimpy kungfu outfits than say, attending an over-crowded party at Glover Court where you spend more time outside trying to sweet-talk power-drunk bouncers than any sweet-faced beauties.
Then there were the nerds who were comic and cartoon buffs. They were into the Ninja Turtles, the Simpsons, Swamp Thing etc etc.
There were also the academic nerds as usual. They would never miss a class, and their uniforms were always spotless.
There were chaps into WWF which was really big at the time. Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Million Dollar Man Ted Di Biase etc. Guys into wrestling used to take it personally when other people laughed at their hobby. They especially got every angry if anyone said wrestling was fake or scripted. One guy in particular called Toyo was the greatest advocate of wrestling – he had all the Royal Rumbles on video, and knew every fighter’s special moves. He got into a hot exchange with some guy named Cole who said wrestling was for psychos with no social lives. The argument turned into a bloody brawl which settled the issue of whether wrestling was fake or not for prosperity. Mr. Toyo gave Cole a pile driver. Cole’s head needed extensive stitches. So there you have it…
I remember getting into an argument with a WWF fanatic by the name of Rasheed about how fake wrestling was. Thankfully he disarmed my arguement with brain not brawn. Listening to my reasons about why wrestling was fake – the punches that never connect, the feigned anger and showmanship, Rasheed sighed as he pointed to the TV which was showing footage of Shawn Michaels giving Baba Jango a suplex which was a complex physical stunt “But can you do it?!!”
There were the rap music fanatics too, to which I belonged. Ok, I lie, I was also one of the cool kids. But seriously, the rap afficiandos were the chaps who dubbed all the latest jams on Maxell or metal TDK cassettes. They also made mixes, and called them names like “ Hardcore G-funk 1994” or “Best of Soul 1995.” They were the chaps that swore that they dubbed the songs from someone who bought the original CD in Jand; bloody liars – they dubbed their cassettes from someone who dubbed their cassettes from someone with the CD. These chaps usually carried a Sony or Aiwa walkman about, and sat in groups comparing rap lyrics, or arguing about who was harder between Spice One and Scarface.
So basically, the nerds had a preoccupation. Now, everyone is grown up and wants to be a player. What now happens if that the roles are reversed – the wannabe players end up breaking girls’ hearts and making more females cynical and bitter about true love or romance. Adversely, players start acting like nerds to settling down end up making a groupie a housewife.
Nollywood’s potrayal of the Nigerian woman does not help. Even as a casual viewer is introduced to the movie’s preview, he begins to form a sterotype in his head. If some hot headed chauvanist is not slapping some lady to within an inch of her life, there would be scenes where women are protrayed as cold blooded, money-hungry opportunists. View any dialogue between a set of college girls – they are always loose, materialistic and thinking of how to get money from “Chief” or “Senator.”
In Nollywood flicks, why o why cant a man and a woman have a decent row or conersation without the brute hitting the lady? The lady herself, acting according to a perverse script almost always wills the beating by her antics.
I have heard people try and defend Nollywood by saying Hollywood encouraged violence and murder in their movies. These people say that action stars like Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone killed scores of people in bloody movies scenes with huge guns. Surely such wanton shows of violence and carnage are worse than Nollywood images of a man striking a woman across the face in a movie. Well the fact still remains that Stallone and co never continuously struck women in their movies, as these would have cause an outrage from pro-feminist groups. Ok scratch that, Stallone did slap women in his early movie career as a mojo entertainer, but it was on the butt-cheek not the face cheek and the women looked like they actually liked it.
Are we raising a nation of men that slap ladies and a nation of slutty, loose, female slappers?
And life imitates art. A friend of mine promised to visit Nigeria again and again from America after he had the time of his life last year. He attended a party where the guests were all put up in a hotel. Around 9pm, desert was served via room service. He heard a knock on the door, and when he opened, an older lady was standing there with a group of about 12 girls of different statures, complexions and builds like ice-cream flavours in Ice cream Factory. He was offered his pick of 2 or 3 of the different flavours – tropicana, vanilla, coconut, coffee, chocolate, mango etc. Lets just say that he ate till he purged that night.
Don’t get me started on our advertisments and radio jingles too. The latest Etisalat add is a bit queer. A scheming girl gives out her number to guys freely so that she can get free credit under a promo that rewards you for calls received with your Etisalat number.
I have heard girls compaining that these fast women’s antics are making it difficult for decent girls to be taken seriously because they are heating the marriage and dating polity.
Even oyibo people have started catching reverse jungle fever. But awoof dey run bele, and oyibo people can overdo it sometimes. A few years back, here was an expatriate who came into Nigeria to oversee a project for a multinational. Knowing his taste, the mutlinational company sent a driver as well as a “hostess” to pick him from Lagos airport. The girl was one of these volumptious riverine girls who wear waist bids to accentuate their 36-28-36 body dimensions. Before long, the expat and the girl had hit it off, no doubt aided by the dollar signs in the girl’s eyes. The girl ended up giving the oyibo man fellatio in the car on the way to the hotel. It was all too much for the oyibi man as he screamed “I am in an African paradise!” The driver managed to prevent himself from crashing over the culvet on 3rd Mainland Bridge as he peeked through the rear-view mirror and tried to concentrate on the road.
A week later however, the expat was sent to Warri on company business, and got kidnapped and hidden in a dense Naija delta jungle – well a jungle is paradise to monkeys and swamp things. T.I.A – This is Africa.
Yo, I seen you at the five and dime wasting your time/
Oh you shine, I’m looking at your ass from behind/
You walked by smelling like watermelon/
You might make me a felon, my eyeballs swelling/
Cappadonna of Wu-Tang Clan (Maria, 1997)
It’s time to call a world order where every girl’s your daughter/
and priceless as ices and pearls fresh out the water/
Big Punisher (Boomerang, 1998)
And since we all came from a woman/
Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman/
I wonder why we take from our women/
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?/
I think it’s time to kill for our women/
Time to heal our women, be real to our women/
And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies/
That will hate the ladies, that make the babies/
Tupac (Keep Your Head Up, 1993)