Isio Knows Better is an attempt to capture the shocking and highly entertaining conversation within myself. The conversations between my mind (the sharp witty one), my soul (the lover and the spiritual one) and my body (the playful one concerned with the more mundane things of life). She is the eternal referee between the caustic mind and the sensitive soul. This is Isio. So, here’s to making private conversations public.
“Hey you, I am outside, I have a present for you…”
“Yippee!” I squealed with delight into my cell phone and flung it on the couch and hurriedly wore the slippers at the foot of my bed. I love presents! I wondered what it was.
So, I rushed out the doors with full speed and screeched to a halt when I saw what Mr. Man was holding in both hands…
“SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS, WHAT MANNER OF MONSTROSITY IS THAT?!” My mind sputtered in alarm.
For once I had to agree with my caustic mind. Really. What was that?!
Several thoughts sped through my brain with lightning speed in a nanosecond. It was a teddy bear. A gigantic, four feet high, furry monstrosity. If Sasquatch and a teddy bear had a baby, it would be that.Who MADE that thing? Why would anyone make such a thing? Who would buy such a huge furry object?
Oh crap… someone did buy it.
And he was standing right here in front of me with a smile on his beautiful face.
“Look at it, don’t you like it? It’s cute isn’t it?” Mr Man broke into my thoughts and wiggled the thing excitedly and its massive head bobbed as he did so.
Cute? That is NOT cute! It’s flipping large! Where is it going to sleep? Definitely NOT on MY bed.
“Yeah, it’s kinda… cute.” I said as I side stepped Sasquatch’s baby and gave him a side hug.
And so Mr. Man spent the next fifteen minutes talking about this and that and I wondered how in the world I would tell him that though I appreciated the thought, I didn’t really want Sasquatch’s baby.
I love love. I really do, and have no qualms expressing it. What I seem to have a problem with is the word romance and all its idealized connotations. My girlfriends have tried, forever, to defend romance. They have all failed. Quite simply put, I am a lover and not a romantic. I simply don’t believe in the word.
It just seems like something we use to emotionally blackmail our partners. I want you to do this and that, you don’t feel like it and so I wail that you are not romantic,and so you quickly go and buy me flowers. Works like magic for most people.
My thinking is that there is a certain level of thoughtfulness, affection, and sweetness that SHOULD be expressed between lovers. That is fine and it is as it should be. My confusion is when someone actually DOES these things (as they should) and the partner is so flabbergasted by these actions that he/she has no choice but to oohhh and ahhhhh and coo about it and call it “romantic”. No sweetie, that’s not being romantic. That is what lovers do. Is your relationship so starved of sweetness that you have to elevate an expression of love to romance status?
This does not mean I don’t believe in showing affection o. I will do anything nice for my man. I am all for giving massages, cuddling on the couch (that’s fine), spooning (just for a while biko. First, I can only fall asleep when I lay on my belly, and secondly there is nothing romantic about sleeping on a strong hairy chest and waking up with muscle pull on your neck- true to God!)
I love PDAs (as long as you don’t use it as an excuse to use your tongue to pierce my mouth every time you see a hot dude passing by). I love holding hands, laughing in public, giving and receiving massages and all, but again- please don’t call it romance. It’s called being affectionate with a side of thoughtfulness.
Romance seems to represent an extravagant, unrealistic and highly idealistic declaration of love. That was how when I was in the University, I was at the Dean’s office after waiting forever to see him. If you went to a Nigerian University- especially Unilag, you know how those secretaries get when you have to see their Oga. They could be so rude and dismissive, and would make you come back at least twenty times before they attend to you.
So, the twenty-first time I went back, nervous but relieved that I was finally going to see the Dean. I had taken an elective in that department, but my results weren’t published. Naturally, I was worried. And then my phone rang, it was le boo. If you saw the evil, irritated eyes the secretary used to look at me eh… Odiegwu. Still, I picked it up. He wanted to know how I was doing- I told him I was well but couldn’t talk much, would call him after my meeting with the Dean. He said “I love you”, I said, “Okay, cool… me too. Will call you back.” He said, “Say it out loud!” I said, “What? Dude, I am NOT about to have a carry over for your sake!”
No mind am. Na aje-butter pikin who schooled abroad. He didn’t understand the power that that secretary wielded. She could keep telling me to come back later until it was too late. Nah-ah-ah.
Later that night we got into a big argument. He sulked and whined for hours. Apparently, I was not romantic. And how he bemoaned his fate. Finally, exasperated I had to scream,
“Oga biko-biko don’t come and kill me here, I told you I loved you yesterday, this morning and many times before that. Did you offend me between then and now? No. How many times do I have to tell you I love you in 24 hours? As an Urhobo girl, hence-forth… One I love you is valid for thirty days before it expires! Shuo! I don beg you so teyyy my mouth wan bend.”
He stared at me in shock! Then we started laughing. Later, cuddled on the couch, he told me it was the only time he had been able to rattle my cage.
I can be very loving.
Flowers are nice but I never seem to know what to do with them at the moment I receive them especially if the guy is still standing there eagerly. Oga this flower no get scent o. How much is this thing sef? Choi, choi, choi, but with this price na wa o… perfume for make sense sha. Anyway, make I no mess up…
So I do what oyinbo girls do in the movies… I take a deep whiff, look at him from beneath my lashes and beam like an angel.
Thoughtful or romantic? Perhaps it’s just semantics. But if I were to recall the three most romantic moments thoughtful and memorable experiences, they would be these: being thrown three birthday parties and him singing to me in front of dozens of our friends. The moment he gave me an Argentine mare and introduced me to her. Third, being taken out on sea to swim near some caves in the Mediterranean.