I have my tinfoil hat on as I prepare this memo. I may need it, because though my readers have come here seeking enlightenment, at the end, I could be the one possible pleading indictments. This message will self-destruct after 5 minutes. Starting 1,2…..
Before my little bairn Otakaara goes to sleep every night, we observe our bedtime ritual. I tuck her into bed and hand her stuffed animal, and then I ask her to recount what we have termed the 8 absolutes – an Esco family keepsake of pledges and mantras. Otaakara recites as follows:
– I am smart
– I am beautiful
– I am important
– I am Igbo
– I am Nigerian
– I love Jesus
– Jesus loves me
– Jesus protects me
And in that order too. Sometimes I get the arrangement mixed up when I try to repeat it with her, and Otaakara, all four years of her, interrupts me as she interjects with corrections: “Daddy that is not how it goes. Let me say it!”
Why do I make her recite this? Because they are reflective of the 3 main essences of life:
When she gets a bit older and is capable of more complex understanding, I will teach her about relationships with the opposite sex (and warn of the baseball bat I keep for potential toasters), self-accord, graft, craft and the love of community. I will teach her about charity and chivalry. I will ingrain my daughter with lessons about the circle of life; and the world lessons passed on to me by the late, great Esco Senior.
I will teach her that happiness, fulfillment and contentment starts from her, and that she will be foolhardy to depend on any son of man for same. I do not know if I will succeed in imbibing this into her…but I will damn-near try.
You see, there is a war going on outside – no man is safe from. Nigerian men are under attack home and abroad. We used to have to contend with being treated like morally-corrupt fraudsters and fundamentalists in foreign lands.
Now our women at home are saying we menfolk are no good. It has become common place to attack men for laziness, a roving eye and for not manning up. For being cheap on dates, and for lacking the spine to cope with the nu-woman.
A few may have legitimate claims, but much of it is chaff for the trade winds.
Here is what I have discovered from hearing this oversubscribed subject discussed at every turn. Feel free to disagree:
Not every woman (or man) will or has to get married.
Not every chick is built for a relationship with anyone that is not herself. Some women (and men) are actually “unmarriageable”. They are certain females incapable by their nature of sharing a common path with another individual, much less a man. They have probably not realized it yet though they suspect it within, but something about another person with a phallus being in their personal space 24/7, expecting them to pool resources towards a common goal, and not putting the toilet seat back down makes the concept of jumping the broom burdensome to them. Nigerian society has to make space for the unmarried to exist peaceably without being critical of them. Not being in a relationship is not death. The dead are not scorched in the desert of desire. They do not suffer from the thirst of passion. Or stagger blindly towards some mirage of lost love.
A girl’s first interaction with a male is with a father figure
Hopefully this is her biological dad, stepdad or guardian, rather than a sugar daddy or political godfather. Her papa is her conduit pipe into the world of the darker sex (and hopefully not darker sex), until she starts to form relationships with male siblings, peers and the like. The father figure either makes or mars this impression of men. Check if your first male relationships were intact and have not over-bloated or deflated your expectations of man. Would your brother recommend you to someone whose friendship he holds dear, while keeping a straight face?
The grass is always greener on the other side
As “Side” by Travis goes (I love that band): “The grass is always greener on the other side/ The neighbour’s got a new car that you want to drive”. Don’t be fooled by Bey and Jay, or whoever is the current rave – people work on their relationships and a love connection is harder to sustain than a diet of efo and PX90. Don’t believe all what you read in ThisDay Style. As the name implies, it exists to report the stylistics of the here and now. Love is the articulation of the tomorrow-ed. There are no fairy tale bonds without some strife or away matches. Love is a journey, not a destination. If you arrive, you get separated/divorced or get widowed. You pay in heartbreak, alimony or burial fees.
There is a need for Nigerian men to evolve
I do agree that the modern Nigerian man has to evolve a bit to be hip to changes in society. I see dudes who hand their wives a bundle of cash to go spend their final trimester in Yankee and give birth. In many instances the wife has to put up with an ex-school mate, overburdening them with pre-natal hospital appointments. The dude is nowhere to be found on the day of labor. Sometimes the father of the newly born child does not see the baby until 3-4 months after birth as the baby is not strong enough for travel. Besides the golden fleece (US passport) has to be collected before their return, or else. Mbanu!
Women complain that men are just interested in sexing. However, certain women are not sure themselves when they want this interest to start or quit. If a man acts gentlemanly, and regulates his trouser snake, certain women spread rumors about his sexuality, as their egos take a knock. Some even call him a mugu. I have always said it better for a man to err on the side of caution, and assume she is not interested in sex, until she asks for it in 3 languages, so that there is no miscommunication. Maybe is not yes. A cold shower is better than a cold cell. Nothing beats cold beer though. It does what it says on the bottle.
The feminism confusion
A lot of females these days seem a tad bit confused about “feminism” and where it starts and stops. The ideals of feminism are to empower womenfolk to be the best persons they can be, whether as a top brass of a Fortune 500 outfit, or as a housewife who keeps a home and suckles infants. Be the best you. Direct that blue chip company to greatness. Load that baby with milk like a boss!
Mega man, Ahoy!
It seems to be that some ladies wants a jack-of-all trades alpha male guy who goes to investigate a noise downstairs in the middle of the night with his cutlass and makes sure the house is safe for the whole family. Fair enough. The mega man who helps with all the chores including making dinner, doing the dishes and changing the baby’s diapers. Okay good. At the same time, he should be cheesy enough to watch your Africa Magic and forgo his football games with the lads. No o. He should be kind but strong, considerate and buff, macho but romantic, intellectual, and practical, manly but sensitive, in control and not controlling, eager but cool, worship the ground you walk on but allow you fly, smother you but not bother you, be lax but not relaxed, hold the forte and hold the pot, be short tempered and long papered. Bi-polar or no?
Wives want to you to treat them like a girlfriend; girlfriends want you to “wife” them. Confusing, I know.