It was years ago when I realized I probably wouldn’t do very well in the “landing men who take me seriously” department. The year was maybe 2006, I was still mop-skinny; thin body, big head. To make things worse I actually had on this weave at that time which had been put together by a hairdresser who maybe was a carpenter in her previous life… Anyway, the weave made my head look much bigger, is the point I’m trying to make. Continue reading
My eyes dimmed again. It was a generous, uncoordinated mix of hunger, fatigue, and the little subdued angers of the day.
Too bad I couldn’t lose my temper on the job, or just walk away from my desk whenever I needed a break. Looking up, I notice a customer I’ve never seen before. He is a Hausa older man, dressed quietly in a white baban riga. He comes up to me with a complaint and somehow, I make small talk. I am smiling when he leaves; he has asked for and gotten my number. For official purposes, you understand.
The next day there is more anger and stress throbbing just behind my eyes. A couple people have taken me for granted and I hate it.
I don’t even know why I turn my head to the left, but I do. He is sitting there, patiently waiting. He’s focused on the TV watching until the chair in front of my desk empties. I’m not sure why, but I suddenly feel a quickening of my pulse. I’m nervous… uncomfortable, almost. I greet him when he takes the chair and he is all smiles. My eyes widen because now there’s someone else in the second chair in front of my desk. He has made no move, but I’m sure he’s about to say… something.
I don’t like queues.
He says it whilst holding my gaze steadily, confident smile lighting up his face.
I… I’m sorry?
I blink rapidly as I ask this. I’m not sure, what queue?
I hope the queue isn’t long, I don’t like queues.
I know now that he means the number of men… other men vying for my attention. Because he’s officially in the running now.
This time I’m struck dumb. Once again I’m grateful for melanin. If I didn’t have any, I’d be red right now, from the neck to the very edge of my receding hairline.
To dispel my doubts (I have none) he adds, when are we meeting later?
I laugh, because it is a cocky question and I don’t want to get into the what-makes-you-so-sure-there-will-be-a-meeting of it all. Too many times, I’ve had that argument. But they never listen, men.
He says he will call me around five, when I must be done from work. I say OK and watch him leave, with a flourish of his white agbada, the cadence of his voice laden with international exposure still ringing in my ears.
He’s a lovely man, confident in his level of life experience. He has a great smile, a hint of a great sense of humour, and strikes me as one of those people who is rich in a casual way.
But he is somebody’s daddy.
Later that evening, I watch as my phone rings twice. I do not pick up.
Have a wonderful 2016. Pray fervently, love passionately, pretend that hurt is a thing of fiction, do not give anger a chance, and above all, overcome fear.
It was her birthday, but she wasn’t excited about it.
Somehow, this neighbour of hers with whom she’d only recently begun talking had convinced her to go hang out with him. She guessed it was ok, he seemed funny and he’d definitely drop her off home since he lived a few houses down from her. She smiled sweetly as he pushed his head against hers for another selfie. They were currently in a club, after downing a few bottles each at a popular joint in the heart of town. He pulled her up when his song began to play, and she had to admit, his enthusiasm was infectious. They danced and sweated and drank and laughed until everything became a blur.
They left the club around 3.30am and drove back to the neighbourhood in relaxed, companionable silence. He stopped at his house and offered her some more beers from his personal warehouse. She went in with him. They sat on the couch drinking super-chilled bottles of Snapp, and making fun of the actors in the Nollywood flick on tv.
So where’s your wife sef, in all this, she asked finally. She’d scanned the walls and there was no sign of wedding photos or a wife anywhere.
Hmm, he said, taking a swig from his bottle. She could tell he was stalling, trying to decide whether or not to tell her the truth.
I have a girlfriend, but she’s not here… actually, our parents are hell-bent on marrying us off. There’ll be a family introduction soon.
Ah, that’s nice. She wasn’t surprised, everyone carried more baggage than the cargo hold of a commercial airplane these days.
They continued talking, the gist flowing easily between them. She looked towards him to catch what he’d just said, and suddenly his face was right there. They kissed and it was the most natural thing to have happened. She turned back to the TV, and it was a few minutes before they faced each other again and really kissed. A deep reconnoitre of a kiss that told her; he was a bad boy. He was a very experienced bad boy who had no shame and no regrets. He dragged the breath from her throat and busied his hands with her breasts. He guided her hand to his crotch and her eyes flicked open, a moan of appreciation escaping jaggedly from between her lips, losing itself inside his mouth. He stopped suddenly, laughed and sheepishly said, gosh I have to go pee.
The minute he got up, she drained her bottle, shook her head roughly and grabbed her keys from his centre table. She crept to his front door and let herself out, then set off at a fast trot to her flat.
She was trying to find the key for her screen door when she thought she heard someone coming. Shit! She hastened her search, fit the key in the lock and let herself in. She slammed and locked the door in the nick of time like the classic inappropriately dressed blonde in every horror movie ever.
She heard him walking around the side of the house.
Hey, what’s wrong, I went into the bathroom and you ran away?! What’s going on. His voice was soft and low, to avoid attracting attention from the neighbours.
Why did you leave?
The moonlight and security light from a neighbouring flat allowed her see him frowning at her in concern.
Because… she shrugged limply.
Ok, open the door.
No, I’m not opening this door!
Because if I do, we’re going to fuck.
She could see his breath catch in his throat, watched him swallow and scratch his head.
Well… so let’s fuck, then!
But you’re committed to someone. I can’t deal with all that.
She didn’t know if it was all that beer finally kicking in, or the effects of the full moon but she felt a familiar mood descend on her and she smiled, wickedly.
She stood directly in front of him, only the sturdy mosquito netting between them. Slowly, she pulled her dress off over her head, and flung it away.
Fuck! He was prowling around outside now, like a dog inches away from his lunch.
Come closer, he rasped, coming to a stop in front of her.
She unclasped her bra and dropped it on the floor, pushing her swollen breasts against the net. He stuck out his tongue and flicked it against her nipples. She pushed her head back and laughed at his very evident frustration. Are you still wearing your panties? He asked.
In answer, she stepped out of her panties, held them up for him to see, then let them drop to the floor. She stepped into a slice of moonlight so that he could see her naked.
Good night, she said, unlocking her front door.
Come back, he hissed. He wanted to yell but couldn’t, because it was late and he didn’t want to be mistaken for a thief or something.
So he stood there paralysed as she went into her house and locked the door behind her. He stood there a while, hoping she’d reappear and yell, sike!
No such luck.
He walked back to his house, glad there was ice in his fridge. He’d need an extra cold shower to survive till morning.
I open my eyes and squint, caught in the shard of violent sunlight sneaking in through the curtain. I wonder, as I often do, what actually woke me up. Like, at what point did my subconscious jerk awake, and why?
I heard my neighbour open a door, heard footsteps and waited for more information so I’d know if it was the husband or the wife. This house is eerily quiet, so quiet I once heard the husband pee, every uneven second of it, up until the shaky fart just before the flush.
I hear the crude sound of a broom dragging along the concrete floor of the compound and I know it’s the wife this time. She’s out for her morning sweep. I wonder why she bothers. The weather is dry and not at all windy. Added to that, we’ve no trees shedding leaves in or around the compound, what the hell does she feel she needs to sweep every damn morning?
It’s like she needs to pretend to her husband and all concerned that she’s a good, hard-working, well brought up woman, or some such shit.
My main issue with her sweeping is the fact that she sweeps the same area every day. Yet, when I come out on the way to work, there’s this same strip of green plastic sitting on the floor; what does she sweep up every fucking day?!
I listen to her absently, as she performs her punishment straight out of Hades; doing the same thing and making no difference and wonder…
I wonder if she has trouble conceiving. I feel she’s doing something wrong as far as sex with her husband is concerned. I think to myself how maybe he’s sexually frustrated, and she’s plain frustrated because she keeps shagging the guy but fails to get pregnant.
And how would she get pregnant with these sweeping patterns, I ask you.
I stretch luxuriously when the sweeping sounds stop, and mentally prepare myself to get ready for the day. When I rush out of my door right in the nick of time, as usual, I sidestep the green plastic in its usual place and sigh deeply.
Who am I to judge this poor woman, I think, hastening my step so I don’t get to work late. After all, aren’t we all like her, going through the motions, with that one aspect of our lives we’re not willing to change?
So it was the birthday on Wednesday, and I’ve decided to share some life tips, goals and general updates today. Yes, I’ve grown into a kind, wise and sensitive lady, I know this.
I’ve stared long and hard at my reflection and am pleased to report no wrinkles. There are a few things I insist on calling laugh lines, but no actual wrinkles for now.
Well, the bucket list of a couple years ago is still there, not that many items have been ticked off it. Many items on that list have become unnecessary to life as well. I’m still pondering the real need to draw up a revised bucket list.
I have decided to get a house plant which I’ve pre-named Larry. I have deep feelings of affection for Larry and have what I consider a super witty sign to hang around his stem; “Don’t feed the animals.” Of course, none of my neighbours and very few of my friends here will get it, but that’s a post for another day. It is my hope that when I do get Larry, I will remember to water him enough to keep the poor guy alive. The logic behind getting a plant is that I can be an old cat lady without the cats.
Recently, I acquired a pet when I discovered that a female Agama lizard hangs out around my back door to eat flies and other juicy insects. I’ve named her Sally, and usually hail her whenever I pass by. I discovered that she brings a couple of her friends around as well (apparently my pet lizard has a more active social life than I do). I call all of them Sally because I really can’t be arsed to identify and name the others.
Of course, there is the back/waist pain to contend with. I can’t quite recall the last time I had a bath with water out of a bucket that was on the floor. Nah, you gotta elevate the bucket. Reduce incidences of bending over completely and throwing out the old back. I do, after all live alone. Who will fly to my rescue if I’m prostate on the cold bathroom floor, rendered immotile by a malfunctioning spinal cord? Hopefully the mental exercises I do will actually begin to happen at some point, and that will ease out the creaks in my waist.
I’m glad I had a couple videos made of myself dancing my one dance (flexing and twisting my waist in snake like fashion) because these videos comfort me when I have sudden realisations of how old I actually am.
Also, I have pictures stored up somewhere depicting my body in various peak moments. What I’m trying to say is, there is nothing like a young body, no matter how hard plastic surgery tries. That being said, fingers crossed that Dr. Ray comes to Naij and offers HUGE discounts sometime soon.
Um… Lemme see, what else?
Right, love life.
Recently I saw a picture of a jumbled up ball of yarn with the caption “What the hell is happening?” right underneath. Yeah, that sums up that part. Sometimes I get out a really long piece of wool out of that jumble, but… no… wait… darn, it’s all tangled again. So… yeah. Work in progress.
Also I’ve come to observe over the last few months that all the cute guys are babies!!! How did this happen. It’s either Married or Underage, there are shockingly few In-betweens.
As for my hopes?
Well, maybe I should list them, to avoid rambling on. In no particular order:
– Buy a Larry
– Pay Sally and her guys more attention
– Maybe someday go jogging again. Yes, I said “again”, it actually used to happen in the old days, what do you guys really take me for, I’m so hurt by your judgement.
– Be a teensy bit more ballsy when it comes to putting myself out there in life.
– Stop being apologetic for being myself.
– Curse a tiny bit more, I hear it relieves stress and reflects an honest personality.
– Somehow stop people’s daddies from saying inappropriate things to me at work or chatting me pervily on Whatsapp. Curse you, Whatsapp, by the way. Just work on your privacy settings, plix!
– Err… etc, etc, because you guys never get enough of amebo *eyeing you pipu upandan*
As for what I did on the birthday? Oh, you know. Went to work, came back home, was asleep by like 9pm, slept this wonderful, like-a-log sleep straight till morning, so that was great.
Right. I have said too much.
I’m including that song because it tells me there’s hope; I can still be young and carefree and parry dan mehn, kimon!
I’m so grateful for my foolishness, and for those who love me; family (they don’t really have a choice :p), friends (those guys could walk away if they want but they’re still here. So touching 😥 ), and the well-wishers, most of whom I don’t know much about…
Anyways, God bless all of youse!
You guys know I’m not really that old, ba? 😦
Please invite me to your parties and sturvs, I’ll totally fit in.
Thanks in anticipation.
Premise: you’ll float through life humming your “relationship song” which is mushy and sweet and describes your love perfectly.
Reality: You’ll walk around singing Stereoman’s Sample Ekwe under your breath, because that’s what the guy you love loves.
(Meanwhile, he was the original Iyanya, lookit some of those moves.)
The question has logical origins, I suppose. We Nigerians have always had near-maniacal levels of hospitality etched in our culture. I mean, you have a guest coming from far away, guest gets to the house by say, 2am. The first thing you ask is, “Have you eaten?” then proceed to offer him a wide array of “light” food to “manage” with. Like pounded yam and afang soup, correct jollof with heavily peppered snail, or the complete package; fried rice, chicken and salad.
You know, stuff one can “manage” by 2am, for quick digestion.
At some point, the hospitality got a bit weird though. Now it’s used in all kinds of ways :s
You get a call, goes something like this;
“Hello? How you dey? Enh? You had an accident?!! You’ve been in the hospital since yesterday? Oh my God. But have you eaten?”
Because food cures everything. Jilted at the altar by your lover of seven years? Tragic story, but have you eaten? Make sure you eat, you’ll feel better. Should we get you pap and akara?
And of course, you know I have to go there, this random post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t… Nigerian men cannot apologise. Even when they’re obviously wrong, and have had an argument with you spanning three days. When it becomes glaringly clear that he was at fault the whole time, your average Nigerian man will clear his throat, pause awkwardly for a few seconds, then grudgingly ask, “Enh, have you eaten?”
Ladies, sorry to break it to you, but that was your apology. Yeah. Right there. Just take it, and keep praying for patience, not strength. Because if you had strength, you’d have strangled the guy by now.
Same thing with Nigerian parents. You know how you watch Hollywood flicks and you have touching scenes where the parents admit their fault and say sorry to their kids?
It is easier for our friend the camel to pass through the eye of a needle, brethren. You can have a quarrel of epic proportions with your parents. Such a huge fight that you are not on speaking terms with them for weeks, and even your siblings pick sides and only talk to you when Mom and Dad aren’t home. Only for your mom to walk into your room one fine afternoon, pretend to read the blurb of the novel on your table, do the awkward cough, then ask “Have you eaten? There is rice in the kitchen.”
This means that all is well again, and she and her spouse have seen fit to leave your name in the will after all. That thing she said is actually equivalent to the turn up arranged for the prodigal son in ancient times.
And of course, the most annoying one. When a guy is struggling to claw his way out of the friend zone, this is all he will ask you. Breakfast time, lunchtime, dinnertime.
Have you eaten?
Have you eaten?
HAVE YOU EATEN??!!
Until a girl gets irritated and insults the guy and he’s all, “But I was only trying to be caring…”
I liked when it was used to shut down voltrons arguing passionately about something that didn’t concern them in the least on Twitter. After their endless numbered tweets, one calm soul would retweet with, “Yes, but have you eaten?” Meaning; please go quietly away and do things of direct benefit to your existence.
Of course, the “Have you eaten?” question is closely followed by “When will you marry?”
But that’s a post for another day.
In the meantime, it’s already afternoon, and