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Caleb Somtochukwu Okereke: How to Date a Fine Boy



dreamstime_m_13250783We are fine boys; we know this already. Just as you know you look smashing when you wear a lovely dress, it is something we are aware of, something we are certain about. We are called “Fine Boys” all the time; we are called fine boys in the mall and at the store, when a market woman wants us to purchase her wares and when a cab driver wants us in his cab.

Our friends, with a certain encouragement in their voice, call us fine boys. We are boys who do not have to struggle to get girls, boys who always change their display pictures, as if we do not already own a mirror, as if we need validation from them before we know we are fine boys.

But we have learned to be civil about our attractiveness, have we not? We have learned to swallow praises with a “Thank you” because in the place where I come from, it is taboo for you to be attractive and conscious of it. You are to be unaware you are a fine boy, people are meant to tell you, like a tear on your behind on a market day, let it attract attention from others not you.

In the place I come from, you never open your mouth to say, “I am a fine boy” except it is a joke, your attractiveness is expected to be escorted by humility, by a certain unconsciousness.

Nevertheless, this does not stop us from being fine boys, Burberry shirts and red-lipped boys. We like that you look at us, that you wink at us, that you want to snuggle up in a picture with us, we like all these things. We like the things your hormones do to you too when you are with us, offhand and snappy, those hormones of yours.

They would tell you to date us regardless of the consequences, regardless of how you have to watch your man like the maid who has never used a gas cooker watches her soup frothing on it, in close snatches. Because you know if things go the wrong way tomorrow, people would ask “Who send you to date fine boy?” Fine boys are always excused of cheating; you know this and you still date us.

However, this is how to do it.

We do not like to be tied down. We are like little children that get restless when left at a spot. We are free spirited and tentative. We do not like to be owned, do not like to belong to a particular person. We belong to everybody and to nobody.

This does not imply that we do not love you. No, not at all, we really do. But our love is not the type that places a pillow over your face in the middle of the night and leaves you gasping for breath. It is not the type that hugs you too closely or calls you too often. Our love is lax, with loose edges, it does not suffocate you.

We like to be trusted. In all our unsteadiness, we like you to be steady. We want to anchor ourselves to you, fasten our shaky legs to your stable arms. We cannot –  if you are wobbly like us; vacillating, tremulous.

We do not need you to complain that we keep late nights, that your friend saw us somewhere somewhere, hands flung over the shoulders of another girl, head thrown back in laughter, that we looked like we were enjoying ourselves. Complaints upset us, they are prompts that we do not own ourselves anymore, and we do not like to not own ourselves.

We need you to close your eyes at these things, look the other way as if you have not seen us; we need you to gulp down our many sins even if they choke you. We would pat you on the back as a mother does her coughing child, press Robb into your nose. But we need you to first pretend you have not seen these things, we would take care of you, just swallow our sins.

And we love you oh! We really do. We think of you when we watch Titanic or read amazing romance titles. We think of you before we go to sleep, when we wake up and when our phone beeps with messages from you.

Nevertheless, our actions are one with us, like a novel with a sequel, we can exist without them, but we would not be complete. And so if you can live with the understanding that we are yours, but we are others too, then this relationship will work smoothly. If you can be comfortable with being the woman in the middle, but not the only woman, comfortable with seeing our phone beep with suggestive texts from beautiful ladies, then we are good to go.

We need you to understand us, because very few people do. You are the Dumbledore we run to in our Harry Potter series – the one who always has an answer for us, an excuse for our actions.

And you should know too, that we are not wowed by beauty, it is something we are familiar with, we see it when we look in the mirror, when we pose for selfies with Retrica, it sits comfortably on our skin and walks thoughtlessly with us.

But, to date a fine boy, you must be a ‘fine’ girl. Do you remember when your teacher taught you how to balance chemical equations in secondary school? That is what we are talking about here. You cannot leave one side of the equation teeming with fineness and the other side, with, well… I am sure your Mother told you this.

Nevertheless, I hope you know who fine girls are. Fine girls are girls who know their significance, who know they matter. They are girls who stand in a room full of sitting people, who own themselves, girls who are comfortable in their own body.

The fine girls are the girls who know that no man is worth wasting their time, they do not want to leash you, just as we like, and they are equals, classmates in this thing called ‘relationship’. They do not say “My Man” because they do not own us, do not nitpick about things as trivial as not calling them for days, the fine girls are self-governing, self-determining, and self-reliant, and we fear self-reliance.

They do not need us to define them, they are standalone, without us, they can exist perfectly; so we start to need them, because we need anchors, we start to fear that we would not survive without them.

They say “I love you” but coming from them it means “I love you but…” they have limits and stick to them, we love girls that scare us, girls we are afraid of losing. They sit on citadels of their own, fortresses they have built themselves, strongholds that do not waver.

The fine girls are self-girls, detached girls; girls who do not care if “edible catering” calls at 3am, they are the disinterested girls, the odd sort of beauty girls, “laugh at texts from other girls” girls and fine boys love self-girls.

Photo Credit: Jason Stitt |


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