It has been said times without number that men and women are from two different planets. I am in my 3rd decade on God’s green earth, and I am no closer to understanding the inner workings of the fairer sex. Women also say that men are obsessed with shallow things, so fair play.
However I believe that some Nigerian women are another sub-species. This is a country of wide range of personalities, body-types, backgrounds, temperaments and levels of kolo-ness. After all this is the nation of Chimanda and Cossy, Dora Akinluyi and Oge Okoye, Iyabo Obasanjo and Abani Darego, Mama Bakassi and Toolz, Tiwa Savage and….you get my point.
So the Nigerian woman is diverse. But some Nigerian females are complex individuals. They play mind games on chaps who fancy them; they resort to mental backhand tactics to get what they want. Of all the things women do that intrigue, the most bizarre one is the emotional blackmail.
Emotional blackmail is a term used to describe a series of verbal and non-verbal actions females use to manipulate men into doing what they want.
Relax my female readers; this is not “bash woman day.” Read on and you would see.
I just mediated in a domestic dispute between a 30-something year old Nigerian couple. Maybe “mediated” is not the word, as the husband was physically present narrating his grieviances against his wife, when she called my phone blaring obscenities and using words like “Is that useless fool there”, and other foul words like “divorce” , “alimony.” Alimony in Nigeria? Well I never…I know of concepts like ceremony or testimony or plenty money.
And even though the wife was not physically present as I tried to adjudicate between this young couple, it was still warfare. He was trying to talk over me to her while I had her on the line, and I was trying to prevent her from smashing an emotional pestle over his head. I was unable to calm her down, and she later dropped the phone promising to call me later to vent.
What was the issue between the couple? Wait for it….
I then turned to the chap, and I gave him trite advice in a nutshell: Dude, I will try my best to reconcile you lot, but ultimately it is you who are responsible for keeping your marriage intact and preserving your home.
The guy shook his head as he tried to protest but I cut him off like Zenith Bank money van police escort. I explained that going forward, we were going to use a technique I read about somewhere. Rather than yelling loudly at your spouse or partner and having heated exchanges over a disagreement, you write your concerns and grievances as a 4 page letter, and hand it to him/her to read. When people are angry, they get defensive and less conciliatory. Women especially detest being abused or reprimanded, and you are unlikely to win an argument with your wife/girlfriend/friend by verbally sparring. Or so I think…
Nigerian women especially will out-shout you, and they will bring out weapons that go beyond the rules of engagement. Weapons don’t will torpedo your welfare and any attempts to wage warfare Look at you, so you can open your mouth and call yourself a man.
So this dude agreed to write his wifey a delinquent letter. I, Esco, have been granted a special dispensation to reproduce the letter for the first time, for the benefit of all subscribing Woah-Nigerians. I have touched it up off course, to make it a bit more readable. Haha! Listen (or rather read) and learn:
My dear wife, alias partner, aka permanent girlfriend, it is a cold world (and hot country) out there. I head out every morning at breaking day to seek out our daily bread (and remember you only eat sliced butter bread which is more expensive). Life is painstakingly hard without marriage squabbles jumping into the mix. I am already contending with opposing forces every day of my daily life – our township brethren want to give me hypertension with financial and cultural demands, LASTMA officers want to intercept my car for trivial traffic offences like buying hawked UTC Marble cake in traffic, NEPA wants to take power whenever they wish not caring if I am plugged unto a life support machine or not (sometimes I think the off/on power switch at PHCN is being controlled by a politician’s toddler who flicks and plays with it constantly for fun), the police want to take shots at me even though I was the one who called to alert them to armed robbers in my yard. My pastor wants to oppress me with a new Cessna private jet even though he knows I have been on Legedis Benz ever since our car lease company decided to do their ogbanje repo moves; Lagos Internal Revenue Service wants to put yellow tapes around and seal off my business premises due to unpaid taxes. There are runs girls who want to give me a “hot one” in my office, so that they can attach my salary.
That is why every Saturday, I put aside a set time in the afternoon to relax, recuperate my sanity and download normality into my banal existence. This is when I carve out a crevice in the fast pace of time, to watch football matches, and cheer a winning team since the party I voted into power are scoring own goals every day. But my dear wife, this does not seem to register with you for some reason.
Of all times to ask me to come and hook up the gas pot to the burner, it is when Chelsea Football Club is playing a vital match. Of all the days, weeks and months since we got married, it is only this particular time on Saturdays, you deem it fit to invite your talkative and poverty-stricken Uncle and his wife over to our house for brinner (breakfast, lunch and dinner). You know that they are incapable of comprehending when they have overstayed their welcome. I will have you know that it is especially difficult listening to Victor “Chelsea have leaded” Ikpeba’s commentary on the match, grammar shells and all, while listening to your Uncle display his rank ignorance on a wide plethora of subjects, with his wife nodding like a Red-neck lizard. He not only seats in my special and strategically placed chair, he eats my fried snails and struts around my living room like drunk housefly. Baby, I am frustrated with this marriage.
Before I married you, I knew your strengths and weakness and accepted both. Let me begin with your strengths – you are a powerful orator, never requiring a public address system to announce private issues. You are very generous too – but with my possession and earnings. The beneficiaries of your largess are conveniently your family. Now, timing has never been your forte. Timing with words or timing with time-keeping or timing with requests. I find it odd that you want us to pray before we have sex. That means I can never enjoy a quickie with you.
I can bear all of the above, but when you interrupt my weekend football sessions, I lose it, like our government has lost the plot.
Now, you were angry because I peacefully asked you to wait 10 minutes till it is half-time so I could sort out your request. You started foaming at the house, screaming and poking your fingers at me. As I turned to address you, Fernando Torres, the Chelsea striker missed a sitter when through one-one-one facing the keeper in the penalty box (does he ever score; but that’s beside the point, isn’t it?). You distracted me from the match and now I have missed a vital play.
You raised your voice at me like an owambe party announcer. And I am like, please stop waving your hands at me like a Yellow Fever warden, it is making me nervous. Out of the side of my eye, I saw Nwaolodo our 45 month old daughter watching us closely soaking up the events like Ijebu garri. I have told you many times to stop exhibiting violence in front of the kids. Nwaolodo’s teacher has already confided in me that the child behaves aggressively in school towards other kids. She extorted Bornboy’s lunch from him, and blew ground chalk in Binta’s face. Then last week, I saw her with a novel that wasn’t hers. She had stolen a classmate’s “Eze Goes to School” book and had drawn jaka-jaka all over it. At her arts class, the teacher was visibly shocked when she drew a picture of Ibori’s head.
Now she is just standing there watching, and seemingly willing us to come to physical blows like Dick Tiger versus Bash Ali. Or Samuel Peter versus Joe Lasisi. Or Karen Igho versus the security guy at that Club in V.I, or Don Jazzy versus…
Violence is never the key. You seem to have gotten it on lock though.
So back to our matter at hand. You got impatient and tried some guerilla tactics by standing between me and the TV, blocking my view totally like Face Me – I face You buildings. Then the worst happened – I heard the commentator scream “Mikel shoots likes a trigger happy MOPOL. Goal!!!!!”
I heard it but didn’t see it. Why? Your ample frame had blocked everything – the beautiful set-play, the creativity and genius which accompanied it, and the well-taken strike. Goal ocha!
You blocked my view of my 40 inch plasma screen; baby you are baying for spilled plasma o!
Choi! Baby you have killed me!! You made me miss a Mikel goal which is an oxymoron, like incorruptible Nigerian politician. Baby you have murdered peace! Where does this marriage go from here? From Mushin to More Hits?
Seeing that you had broken me emotionally, you now twisted the knife in by announcing to me: Since you have refused to help me connect the gas pot, I cannot cook, so they would be no food to eat today in the house, and definitely no pepper-soup. I have locked the kitchen. By the way, Nwaolodo had the last 2 packs of Indomie for dinner.
Baby Walakolombo! Papa Emeka our neighbor, make you come judge matter before I lose it quick, like stolen Brazilian weave.
Wait and it gets worse, I cannot even get your family members to intervene, as they are a motley crew of mercenaries.
Your mother is like Medusa’s twin sister. She seems to derive joy whenever we argue and cannot be trusted to be fair. It is so transparent the way that she calls my phone whenever she hears that we had a tiff (which is the only time she ever calls me). The conversation always starts without the customary “hello” greeting: “In-law, I heard what happened…” Even before my daughter told me the story, I judged that you were wrong. I raised my daughter right…you are the problem. You were also wrong for my daughter.
Following Esco’s prompting, I have decided to be brush everything under the carpet. After our argument, I left the house without finishing the match, and drove down to Esco’s place to clear my head and have a cold beer. Here is my apology for 2013:
Please darling, from here on now, do not make me choose between you and Chelsea FC because it is ridiculous. You are my physical wife, my old earth, Oma, the apple of my eye, the corned beef in my moi moi, the battery in my blackberry. If I didn’t value you, I would not have paid that outrageous dowry your hungry father placed on your head. I could have used that tidy sum to buy land in Mowe or shares in Spring Bank.
Chelsea FC is my trophy wife. Unlike Arsenal. Ok bad joke.
I hope we put this all behind us. I will never let you go like LASTMA when they catch you using one-way. Our love will grow like an udara seed. I love you like Yoruba people love fish stew. Our bounty will be plentiful like Igbo people in Houston. Please forgive me. But your mother is another matter….
Part 2 next.
Girl don’t even start again, I beg your pardon/
and get your hands off my six button cardigan/
Big Pun (Punish Me, 1998)