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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: Operation Delta

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Some people say that one of things they find cute about some couples is the fact that “they’re so in love that they even start to look alike”.  This line of reasoning has always given me cause to pause and consider the validity in the assertion, especially as I am one of those people who always has to find a logical explanation for something.  Sadly. So, when I noticed that my friend and his wife seemed to be blending into one another in photographs, I had to ask. Could this be what people mean when they say couples look alike?

This guy, who is a regular jeans and cut-offs kind of guy, was slowly morphing into this brocade clad, different-forms-of-Ankara-Kaftan-rocking individual. According to him, his wife insisted that his style of dressing ought to change, in order to conform with his newly acquired status of being ‘a responsible family man’. After arguing for whatever shred of independence he had left, and realizing that the fights were definitely not worth wearing lace for a few hours on weekends, he gave in. He now silently bears the burden of his Atiku, while enduring the unwanted attention that comes from looking like ‘A Big Man’.

I know a lot of people whose dressing, hairstyles, even friends have had to change because they got into a relationship. All of a sudden, a girl, who can’t be apart from her make up set, is told ‘Baby, you know I like it when you look natural’.

Back in Uni, one of my roommates was struggling with receding edges. After years of patronizing those hair braiders behind Moremi Hall, she realized that years of making Sade Adu and Feathers in quick alternates had ruined her front hair. {I tried to find images to show these hairstyles to give visuals for those who don’t know it. No luck}. Anyway, she decided to go on a long break to allow for the regeneration of those roots. Then, her man started complaining that liked her better when she had braids on. He didn’t like this new regime of leaving her hair out. And on, and on it went… till she was back at Iya Sikiru’s stall, braiding her hair.

That scenario always made me wonder if these demands are as a result of a certain perception of what we would like our ideal partners to be. But it also begs the question of whether people should have caveats ‘Goods Sold in This Condition Can Not Be Amended/Altered’. Essentially, if you fell in love with him and his cut offs, why would you want to change that? Or were you just biding your time and hoping to lock down the goods and then state the terms and conditions of the merger.

As usual, I bounced this topic off the repository of ALL scenarios on earth. Had he ever asked his girlfriends to change anything? Had any of his girlfriends asked him to change anything? He shared the experience of how he used to be really averse to wearing ‘native’. However, the girlfriend who converted him into a Kaftan wearer did it so subtly, that he didn’t even realize when he changed. She would buy the fabric and have it sewn and delivered to him. He also mentioned that he also had a way of showing his preferences; in a style called ‘positive reinforcement’. He’d commend hairstyles and outfits that he liked more than others.

I have been told that certain religious and traditional constructs have requirements and as such, adherents have to comply. But one wonders if these requirements bind the adherent, or the appurtenances of the adherent.

God knows I’d be utterly mortified if I meet a man who says to me that he doesn’t like how I wear my hair in all its Kinky glory. Maybe 10 years ago, I’d probably have whimpered and tried to ‘explain’ why he should like it. However, with old age comes a lot of confidence and self worth. I’d probably thank him for his opinion and keep on keeping on. Me, my hair, my crase and my clothes come as a package. If I’m not telling you to wear Adire Shirts & Khaki shorts to events (You know how we creative people do our things), then please don’t ask me to change my hair.

Have you asked your partner to change a certain part of his/her style because you don’t like it? What was it and why? What’s the one thing someone would ask you to change and you’d completely balk at? How about the issue of weight? When you meet your boo, you love him and his lean mean self. Would you ease him into the CarbFactory just so that he fleshes out a bit, enough for people to know that he’s being ‘taken care of.’

Wishing you a fantastic week ahead!

Peace, love & cupcakes.

Toodles!

Photo Credit: themonteoz.com

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website atoke.com for more information.

48 Comments

  1. Vanessa

    February 24, 2014 at 9:16 am

    My sister had to transit from a long-hair-wearing lady who loves to dress corporate to a short hair jersey-and-sneakers-wearing babe. It was bye bye to heels. Louboutin and Zara wept for their favourite customer. Thanks to her boo then. When we had to cry for help when the guy started customizing jerseys for her and “encouraging” her to look smart. Thank God that after the marriage, she took in and had to drop those manly things. She is back to being a lady.

  2. @edDREAMZ

    February 24, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Nw checkout my best line frm this post.. ””’Some people say that one of the things they find cute about some couples is the fact that “they’re so in love that they even start to look alike””’. Mehn, am – loving this paticular line…… Love is so so awesome….
    .
    .
    ***CURRENTLY IN THE SUN***

  3. Simsi

    February 24, 2014 at 9:33 am

    The one thing I would balk at is if someone tells me to stop making my hair. OMG!!! I can’t even accept that cos I love making my hair. I feel very confident about myself wen I have a nice hair do. My partner has never really tried to change anything about me. however there r things I would want to change about him. But I realised dat that’s d way he is actually and changing him wil just be a waste of time. So I just let him be. I would like to change d way he dresses tho. His color combo is out of this world. Its hilarious. And I happen to be a fashion designer. So u can imagine how I always feel. I’m bidding my time

  4. doris

    February 24, 2014 at 9:34 am

    I do agree with you,when you stated, it takes experience,maturity and self confidence to be able to stand your ground when your man tries to make you look like what he wants you to be.
    You have to love everything about a woman not partly before approaching her in the first place. At this day and age,if you dont like me the way i look,keep moving.
    My man have grown to accept me now with my weavon and stopped insisting on everyday braids.

  5. memebaby

    February 24, 2014 at 10:00 am

    regarding weight.. while I was in uni, my ex was so lanky.. We had to shop for protein shakes, I made him eat eba or poundo once everyday but wasn’t getting fat while I was packing all the weight (maybe for the both of us lol). So I decided to lose weight so I won’t look like his sugar mummy. So yea, some people may like to change something about their S/O with or without knowing it.

    • Easy n Gentle

      February 24, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      I tried picturing you both together. Sugar mummy and Her playtoy. Very amusing…

    • memebaby

      February 24, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      lol you will have to try harder oo..my orobo self has gone for a long vacation and isn’t coming back!

  6. http://www.anemistyle.com

    February 24, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Lovely post Atoke, When my husband and I met we agreed to be better for each other. Lots of people with find this weird because it included staying in shape and making the effort, of course all this has to be done with respect and sensitivity. You have to work to keep your partner attracted to you. If the likes you better in braids but you prefer weave, try having braids 30-50% of the time.
    All this ‘LOVE ME THE WAY THAT I AM’ attitude is what causes some men to cheat!

    • Utterly Baffled

      February 24, 2014 at 11:17 am

      Wow!!!! you take the cake on “disturbing”. What kinda nonsense is that, so what’s wrong with loving yourself the way you are? And men/women cheat because they don’t care about the relationship, or respect the other person or lack self control. Say what you have to say without bashing on self-love and confidence,life is hard enough with out spewing such nonsense or encouraging self- hate or self0- deprecation.

    • http://www.anemistyle.com

      February 24, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Oh ok no need for harsh comments, I think you completely misunderstood me, where did self hate come into this?. I am all for self love but I am trying to encourage people to be better for their partners. There aint nothing wrong with that honey!

    • sigh

      February 24, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      i agree w/ u @utterly baffled. And she now said “men” only…like women don’t count. troubling…

  7. Priscy

    February 24, 2014 at 10:45 am

    A male colleague of mine says he hates weavons and only prefer braids on his wife. He does not like makeup or any artificial beauty, that it is ‘worldly’. Meanwhile, he met his wife while she she was doing all this o. She had to stop to please her man. Funny enough, he’s cheating on his wife with a so-called ‘worldly’ lady.

    • X Factor

      February 24, 2014 at 11:04 am

      Haaa!

    • Ms Ominiknowest

      February 24, 2014 at 11:18 am

      HA! Let me explain. The man is attracted to ‘worldly’ girls, because he is, he is afraid other men will be attracted to his crown jewel so he is trying to make her unattractive to them, which also makes her unattractive to him hence the cheating. I have seen this happen a lot. The guy makes all sorts of rules and ends up cheating on his wife with the anathema of his rules. Its a scope babes, if he was attracted to you while you were that way changing you to something else wont make him more attracted.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      February 24, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      Hehehehehe… 🙂

    • Que

      February 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Thats their standard way…. it sounds like u jnow my friend in Skye bank…. I cant even count d men who I have heard spew such nonsense rants, den u catch dem in barnie’s arms on d downlow, claiming that their wives r boring! Oloshi!!

    • Que

      February 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      *barbie not barnie.

  8. Chinma Eke

    February 24, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Atoke, I love the caveat ‘Goods sold in this condition can neither be amended/altered.
    I am a person that goes through various phases; the natural hair phase, braids phase, weave phase, skirt phase, etc. So whatever phase I’m at, my man has to live with it. Yes, I might adjust slightly to suit the situation, but everyone who knows me knows telling me what to do is one way to get me not to do it, and reverse Psychology doesn’t work either.
    Compromise in a relationship is good, when its on both sides.

    Chinma Eke
    chinmaeke.wordpress.com

    • Autoprincess

      February 24, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      You have said exactly what I wanted to say. There are areas of compromise but not outright dictation of what I wear,etc. I also go through phases too, my hubby knows that. Right now, I am carrying my natural hair without relaxer, just because I want to, even knowing that he does not like it. I compromise by getting pixie-cut hairstyles made with Miss Rola once in a while. By the end of the year, I may decide ‘relax’ my hair and it will totally be my decision.

    • TA

      February 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      Gbam! There you have it. Nothing wrong with compromise especially if the other person is not fussy or authoritative about it. Lord knows I hate wearing shorts but if le hubby loves me in it,well aint nothing wrong in wearing it occassionally just to please him.I shall pick my battles wisely…

    • Blessmyheart

      February 24, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      I like men who keep a bit of their hair, not too bushy though. My husband used to scrape off all the hair on his head like it was a sin. I remember I bought a comb for him at a time but he still went ahead to scrape off the hair. He finally agreed after some pleading and fighting, and confesses he likes the look better.
      Funny enough, he also prefers me with my own hair rather than the braids I used to do once in a while. I was getting tired of the braids anyway, so now I mostly wash and style my hair. He knows better than to complain about the time I spend taking care of my hair in the morning.

  9. Karonwi

    February 24, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I once had a bf who used to sag his trousers, I stylishly tried to get him to pull up gradually. lol. I thought it was a good exception.

  10. ann nkesi

    February 24, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I am a low cut freak.i had to start making my hair when I started seeing my first boyfriend in my 300level in d uni.he said he didn’t want people thinking he is dating a juvenile.that he wanted me to look mature and all.i gave in.we still broke up.my latest boo prefers me in skirts and gowns looking all classy but decent so he does the shopping himself.by the way,this is my first time ever commenting.i just read the comments.Atoke am your no1 fan.

    • sigh

      February 24, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      so u can’t wear pants cuz ur boo wants u looking classy? Wow. Why is he the one shopping for you, picking ur clothes?

    • Priscy

      February 24, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      So, that is how you will continue to change to please your man till you meet your husband? Looks like you need a truck full of confidence and self love

  11. Grown Woman

    February 24, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I think changing something so as to please your partner is def not ideal, because most times you end up being miserable especially when the person goes out of the picture…abeg there are better things to concerntrate thn changing your partners looks lol

  12. mia

    February 24, 2014 at 11:50 am

    i don’t have a problem with changing a few things about your partner, could be diet, appearance and all. the problem is the approach. you cannot blackmail people or badger them into changing, when you met them a certain way. i find that rude. my husband changed some things about me (God knows i hear the diet preaching all the time) but he does it in such a way that i reason with him and even when i try to water it down, he know it’s just my mischievous self trying to pull his legs.

    i always say this, if i marry a man who does not like the way i make my hair (which a lot from me to put together) he will just get home one day and find that i’ve cut the hair. i no get time!

  13. Neo

    February 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    My take on this is simple. We met and proceeded based on certain physical attractions so its not too much to ask that we keep it that way, no? Apparently, i dress “too sexy” but i assume this is one of my many wonderful attributes which attracted you in the first place, perhaps your fear is that this same attribute will attract other men. Then the issue is whether you trust me enough to rebuff the advances. You drive a Ferrari,people are gonna admire it but no one is going to get in unless you exit the drivers seat, nah?

  14. Que

    February 24, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Generally I like to be fair with pple as i would expect…. I am a dressy, heels, chic dresser n my ex was a sneakers-to-dinner, plus polo shirts n face cap wearing kind of guy, n I mean everywhere… maybe for work n very formal events he tones it down, but dats it and however strange it looked to most pple, I never saw d good dat could come from having an unconfortable man go anywhere with me…My one request as far as styling, is dat he’s well groomed. I am largely a ‘live n lets live’ kinda person, and I think Change is good and welcome so long as it is in my and den our best interest…. the real challenge will be getting me to see how it profits my life n soul….. if its solely to make society aka family/ friends/ colleagues etc feel better, honey u gon be sitting on a looong asss thing!

  15. Berry Dakara

    February 24, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    “This guy, who is a regular jeans and cut-offs kind of guy, was slowly morphing into this brocade clad, different-forms-of-Ankara-Kaftan-rocking individual. According to him, his wife insisted that his style of dressing ought to change, in order to conform with his newly acquired status of being ‘a responsible family man’.”

    That right there! Why does a “responsible family man” have to wear native attire? Cakes is trying to gravitate towards this type of dressing (using the same logic, which I just don’t understand) and I’m begging him not to make it 100% of his wardrobe. I like seeing him in untucked button-downs and jeans 😀

    The other day someone told me I’m dressing/looking like a wife now, and I was a little offended, even though I didn’t know what it meant. I still don’t know what it means, but I’m not down with it.

    berrydakara.blogspot.com

    • Que

      February 24, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      I dont know why ur closing line ‘…I’m not down with it.’ Got me laughing hard…. ur worry is very genuine…. I have no idea what wives shld look like, but by naija stds I will go with conservative… guessinv thats what the supposed compliment meant.

    • Esther

      February 24, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      My dear I do o! According to Le boo, when we get married, no dress or skirt shall be above my knee, everything shall be in moderation including my make-up which in my opinion is already very minimal. I shall not make my hair all the time. Must i paint my nails all the time? And the list goes on and on. i have told him he met me this way, and why would he want to change me so drastically? And his response was so, would I still do something even if he isnt pleased with it?
      And i asked him if he would rather have me please him and then resent him for it?
      I will confess i have tried to improve his dressing sha but i promise its for his own good…hehe.

  16. OgeAdiro

    February 24, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Some partners are better at certain things than others. If I thought my wife or girlfriend was more stylish than me then I’d probably let them make wardrobe decisions for me, as long as it doesn’t become too invasive. Now, skimpy clothes. That’s the one I’ll fight to change if I were to marry someone who loves ‘half shimmy’ as shirt.

    • whocares

      February 24, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      lmaooooo. “half shimmy. LOOL. I haven’t heard shimmy in a while.

    • Energy bill

      February 24, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Buhahahaha @ half shimmy, you are a clown. Slightly off topic, a while ago when I was still in Uni, come summer I liked to wear ‘half shimmy’ as tops. One day my friend who always teased me about my skimpy clothes just blurted out “shimmy e yi de fine gan o” (This your shimmy is fine o). People always think that we are a lot younger than we actually are so in her bid to correct this, she dresses really old while I wear what I feel suits me hence the teasing.

  17. Gold

    February 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    @OgeAdiro, u got me cracking with that ‘half shimmy’ comment. loooool

  18. Lohlah

    February 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Atoke, this is a very lovely piece! I once had an ex-fiance who wanted to change everything about me. We already had our Introduction but it took me all the nerves in this world to call off the wedding plans and break the hearts of our families. I have been wearing natural for 6yrs before I met him but he always nagged about wanting me to change my hairdo from time to time because he did not like the dreds; thank God for my very high self esteem, I never gave in. He even used different tactic like admiring other women on braids and I got upset at some point but he defended himself saying if I changed my hairdo more often, he won’t look at other women. I simply told him I would never cut my hair for any man except for myself. At some point he kept complaining that I was too thin as well and I just could not get him anymore so I just moved on. He begged and tried to come back I simply told him I am not his kind of woman. A year after, I met my current boyfriend, who loves me just the way I am. He even encouraged me to eat healthier and I grew from a UK Size 6 to an 8 (I could never admit to my ex that my body size worried me as well for my age but I had a good self esteem to accept it). I have never felt prettier and happier with myself. Most of all, My dredlock will be 9yrs in April and it is my signature. Ladies, pls don’t let any man talk you down about yourself and still remain with him….you will be miserable and depressed.

    • Gorgeous

      February 24, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      Amen. I have dropped guys for this. Once you change something, what else in future do you have to give up for the sake of the relationship? Friends? Family??? How deep can this go? I have always been quite self confident, and when i see a guy trying to change things in me i know fairly i am okay with, i drop the person like a bad habit. The new boo was trying to tell me something recently, i told him, look, if you dont like me the way i am, i am too old to change. So it is better you move on and leave me alone. He started to beg. The fact of the matter is, if i know it is something that is fair, e.g weight issues which could affect my health, or something i acknowledge is a bad trait i will make the effort to change it. But when you are just being obnoxious and selfish. Or looking for ways to put me down or control me, then you are in for a very very rude shock. mtscheew.

  19. zahra

    February 24, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    lovely post Atoke! i am currently transitioning to virgin hair because my hair is damaged due to excessive use of chemicals on it. i have been dating my guy for 6 months and i havent discussed the-new-kinky-me with him because i dnt know how he wld take it… i dnt want to lose him, yet i dnt think i can risk getting bald at this my young age oh!

  20. debs

    February 24, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    I could understand a little suggested adjustment here and there and help if need be. But I cannot understand bullying to change. I detest it particularly when I am meeting a guy for the first time and he is already suggesting changes to my lifestyle. Like you say, Atoke, the self confident person that time and age has helped fashion will in the later situation come on strong and defensive.

  21. curious cat

    February 24, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    lol at the shimmy
    what about lace underwear BUHaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  22. D

    February 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    The hubby was told by coworkers that he needed to start wearing native once we got married, he started buying too. I told him, I met you and fell in love with you with your jeans and polo shirt, that is what I saw, what I like and married so please if they feel wearing native is now the new definition for “married and responsible” it is yet to make it to my own dictionary. Hubby is back to where we were before all that rubbish. I am personally not a native person but if he was a native person prior to our wedding; I would have let him be. The only thing I changed were his shoes( you know how some men wear 1 shoe for every and all occasions) and I love shoes but he appreciates that

  23. Easy n Gentle

    February 24, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    I am pretty much a “live and let live” kinda person; as long as whatever you’re doing doesn’t affect me directly, i do not think i would mind much.

    One thing i know i would absoultely insist on is the painting of finger nails; any hue not transparent is going to be a turn-off. While growing up, when i started insisting that i couldn’t eat mumsy’s food because of her painted finger nails, she was a little upset. Eventually, after Months, she realised i was serious and stopped painting her right hand. I just get this feeling that my food is unhealthy because its made by painted fingernails.

    From my girlfriend, i might not insist because you’re just my girlfriend, you don’t make my (our) food every day but from my wife, its something i’d feel strongly about.

    • whocares

      February 24, 2014 at 8:42 pm

      lmaooooooo.That is such a peculiar (phobia?) to have.. I hope you know how to cook ‘cos you might be cooking “family” dinner a lot more than you bargain for my nigga. lool.
      @Teniola.. I think you have a point about the facial features.. My closet friend and I are usually mistaken for twins whenever we go out.. I am light skinned (people say in Yoruba that “o ku die kin fin” lol) and she is chocolate and we honestly look nothing alike yet we get the “are you two sisters, or cousins in the least” a lot… it never made sense to us, but now I think you may be right about the facial features because I know that girl inside out and visa versa and we may sometimes mirror each other without being aware that we are doing it.

    • whocares

      February 24, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      for sisters.. not twins. certainly not twins..

  24. Teniola

    February 24, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    I recently read somewhere, we are recognized by our facial features, and not the whole face. People call my sister and I identical, we are not, it’s the facial expression! We live together, see each other everyday, so we have what I call, mirror expressions, we even pitch our voice alike @times, lol!
    Then about changing your partner, that’s normal, even among friends. It gets annoying when the ‘changer’ is forceful, my sister gets really angry about that, if u want me to change something about me, let’s discuss it, if it makes enough sense, no problem!

    • Que

      February 24, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      Abeg no vex, are you Tuface’s Teniola….*runs away*

    • Bosa

      February 28, 2014 at 10:49 pm

      this got me rolling out loud!!! You are so kolo!!!! LOLOLOL

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