BN Prose: My Boyfriend & I by Arit OkpoPosted on Tuesday, February 19th, 2013 at 9:08 AM
By Arit Okpo
You’ve got some questions for me? Why not? I’d be glad to answer them
Why did I decide to date a white guy? Why not? A man is a man isn’t it?
Yes I know what people say about young Nigerian girls dating older white guy. I know what they think when they see us together. When we first met I used to care; now…I know half of it is envy, that I have the nerves to do what they couldn’t do.
Ha! I know he won’t marry me but I also know that as long as he is here, I am the only woman he will ever be with, and that’s fine by me. Isn’t it better than half of you who stick with some loser small boy for years? You wash his clothes, use your hard earned money to buy expensive foodstuff to cook delicious meals for him, spend money on weaves and clothes to keep looking perfect, put up with his disrespectful friends and younger siblings…all to show that you are wife material; in the hope that he will marry you before your eggs finally give up and turn to crème caramel.
Rob will not marry me – I know it and he knows it, I will enjoy the time we have together and when it is time for him to leave, I will send him off with good wishes and gratitude for a wonderful time together.
Love? What is your definition of love? Is it being unable to go a minute without thinking of him? Ain’t nobody got time for that! I love Rob in my own way, he showed me a way of life that I might never have been introduced to and I will always be grateful for that. This thing we call love is really about fluttery feelings that have less to do with a person and more with what they make us feel. I see things differently, I have a relationship with give and take, we both play our parts and I am happy with that.
What I get out of it? Where do I start? We go to the finest restaurants, travel to exotic places, I live in a comfortable serviced flat, have my own car. He pays my sister’s school fees, and for my father’s monthly checkups. I even own land in my town and I have started building. Before I met Rob, I would have saved for months to afford a trip to the spa, now I go as I wish. I know how to use chopsticks, I attend French lessons now. He has opened my eyes to a life that I never thought I could enjoy.
Sex? You guys don’t believe in privacy do you? Well, yes we have sex. What do you mean how is it for me? How is it for you when you have sex with your boyfriend? Mscheew. Next question please.
My family likes him. Even though he and my dad are age mates, he still calls Daddy “Sir”. Mummy calls him her son and fusses over him when he comes to visit. They see what he does for me and they appreciate him. Yes I lost friends because of it, a few insulted me and left, one actually went behind my back to try to snatch him from me. That day I thanked God Rob isn’t Nigerian. Your boyfriend would probably have chopped and cleaned mouth, mine called me immediately to tell me what had happened.
I don’t really care what people think. I know what Rob does for me. He treats me with respect, like a partner. One day I went to do my hair and I was delayed. I rushed home thinking he would be upset at me; I walked in to see that he was putting a meal together; he said he knew that I would be tired. I was stunned! Would your boyfriend do that? Does he rub your back when you have cramps and take the time to feed you chicken soup? Does he take the time to teach you the difference between a normal fork and a dessert fork? Does your boyfriend even know that there is a difference? Does he advise you on how to invest your money? Has your boyfriend ever travelled to your village to learn about your history?
People look at Rob and I and all they see is another old man with another young girl. I walk past them and I see the scorn in their eyes. I would be bothered, but then I think about the opportunities this man has gotten for me. He has helped me to package myself and now I have a good job. He has taught me what it is to be respected and valued by a man. I have learned about foods and ways of life from around the world, I can hold a conversation with anyone without worrying that I will sound ignorant. He has shown me that I am a big deal and that men should feel lucky to have me. So really, why should I care about your opinions? Why should I care what you think about me? I know what I have, what Rob has given me and I am content with that.
Now if you don’t mind, I have to go now, Rob and I are going to Senegal for a week, and I have to pack.
Photo Credit: newamericamedia.org
Writer’s Note: This piece is not meant to be a generalization of the usual relationships between foreign older men and younger Nigerian women. I have been fortunate to meet several women in loving relationships with older foreign men who tell me simply that who they are with is who they happened to fall in love with, or that they cannot cope with young or Nigerian men. However, there is a general mindset that we tend to have when we see these couples; this piece is a response to that – a rather sarcastic response I dreamed up. My point in writing this piece is to try and show that everyone is entitled to the life that they choose, that even if it is not our preference, we must learn to respect one another’s choices.