Saturday, 23 February 2008

Heads, You Lose; Tails, You Lose.

I’m probably going to need some crutches to sustain my balance by the force of some of the reactions I will get to this post. I particularly look forward to the responses of the fiery ‘independents’, you know yourselves and, though sorely tempted, I will not mention any names – I do not feel particularly brave.

This post has been prompted by the expectations of women that men be more romantic. A few men, it must be recognized, work really hard to be romantic in their relationships and I believe they succeed, and I doff my hat to you. For the rest of us…

Women state they yearn for men to be more romantic, loving, tender, devoted, warm, gentle and adoring, yet there is also the expectation for us to be these strong, testosterone-fuelled ‘mighty igors’ who go to work all day, hunter gatherers that provide for the home (although I readily acknowledge that the equation has changed somewhat since many women work and contribute to the home). As a man, especially in Nigeria and the rest of Africa, you are expected to work. I lie. You are expected to GO TO work – none of that working from home modernist trifle. That’s why housewives vastly outnumber househusbands all over the world, and although the concept of the househusband is slowly gathering acceptance here, your life is in the hands of the almighty if you are a househusband in Nigeria because you will be viewed as a dosser. Even some of my fiery independents mentioned above would baulk at the idea of their partners being househusbands.

I imagine one of those pretty, muscle-bound male models they use in the glossies going down on one knee in front of a woman with a single red rose gritted between his teeth, then getting up to make breakfast for her in bed, preparing the children for school, doing the dishes, preparing himself for work – he will spend two hours in front of the mirror, I guess, eyebrows have got to be plucked, trimmed, shaped and sleeked back perfectly - going to do an honest day’s job at the office, getting back home, doing the ‘how was your day honey’ bit, serenading his partner with one or two Teddy Pendergrass songs (ok, ok, Ne-Yo or Mario – I’m old), preparing dinner, finally having a shower. Of course, those are enough to turn a woman on, however that man is simply a figment of my imagination.

So many men turn into Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde so they can fit the image described above. A friend who used to live in DC and about whom mutual friends complained because he was a totally changed man when his girlfriend (now wife) was around is a case in point. I witnessed it first hand on a holiday and thought he had become two people. This was a chap who was the life of any party and the joker in any group but was reduced to saying just ‘hi’ to his friends when his girlfriend was about. I mean, literally, “hi”.

An acquaintance used to lie to his wife that he was driving mini cabs (kabu kabu) nightly. On his way from wherever in the early hours, he would go to the cashpoint for some money and drop it on the dining table with whatever coins he had in his pocket, to appear like the night's takings.

There are also so many men who lie to their partners in order to go out: they lie about overtime, working nights, about some friend having a disaster, having to go view a property in ‘Manchester’ (your choice: England or Massachusetts), about a friend being suicidal, therefore, they have to stay with him awhile, all because they feel they will not fit the ‘romantic’ mould should they simply say; I’m going out Friday for a few hours. Women seem to see this type of man as more 'romantic' because he has not said: I'm going out for a few drinks.

God save you if you’re in actual fact a starry-eyed male individual when you think you’re being a romantic. Years ago, I heard a woman say to her female companion: “I’m really sick to the back teeth of Tunde; as soon as I get in, he starts rubbing himself against me like a cat. Can’t he just leave me alone and look for a girlfriend or something?” This was said in a church, mind you

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Irritating Habits

A few weeks ago, I put up a post about revolting habits and one of the comments, from 30+ I believe, suggested I put on a warning sign for readers. 30+, you know I love you but one would have thought the word ‘revolting’ was enough of a warning.

For these irritating habits, no warning is needed, they are just as described on the label: things I find irritating and sometimes annoying.

Media Words
Some words have crept into the Nigeria media usage, which makes me just want to ‘commit’. Words like:
* ‘sanitize’ - “…in a bid to sanitize…”
* ‘actualise’ – “he wanted to actualise his mandate…”
* ‘mobilisation fee’ – “the company collected a 50% mobilisation fee…”

Contemporary Language
* ‘Basically’ – how I have come to dislike that word
* ‘To be honest…’ – spoken by the patently deceitful
* ‘Let me have your digits…’ – said mainly by men of a certain ilk to request a woman’s telephone number. Digits? Next, you’ll be asking for binary numbers. Are there some people out there who actually respond to that sort of request?
* ‘I just came by to say “Thanks for stopping by my blog/Thanks for stopping by/Thanks for your comments on my blog”…’ – for crying out loud, just return the visit as a matter of politeness, if you find it interesting and engaging, by all means leave a comment, if you don’t, quietly slink back to what floats your boat, but do not visit some person’s blog simply to say “I just came by to say thanks for stopping by my blog”. Gosh, it does annoy me so!

* People who ‘flash’ you in order to speak to you. I experienced this a lot in Nigeria and they even flash me from Nigeria in London. I just look at the sky in wonder and beseech God to provide me with an answer to why anyone would want to speak with me but ask me to pay for the experience. The last time my family member ‘flashed’, I called her deliberately and asked why she could not invest N500 to speak with me. I continue to thank God that the people I know now do not do that.

* Nigerians who clap when a plane lands in Lagos. If you need to say a prayer of thanks, why not do it privately? If you want to congratulate the pilot for bringing the plane down in one piece, why don’t you inform a steward who will let the captain know? The amazing thing is that these same passengers will not clap on their return journeys to London or wherever.

* Our people who buy food e.g. roast chicken from Selfridges to take to Nigeria (hmm…London chicken, tasty!). Many years ago on a trip to Lagos, when it was still fashionable for the airlines to deliver your luggage one week after your arrival, I went to the airport to collect my bags and you will never believe the stench in the hall where the luggage were left. It was like a sewer run riot. I immediately remembered an ‘aunty’ who had told me a few weeks earlier that she got roast chicken from Selfridges to take to Nigeria, and trying to persuade her that chicken in Nigeria is actually tastier was like pulling teeth without anaesthetic.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

How Not To Get Into Trouble

I had wanted to update the ‘I knew I was in Trouble’ post for a couple of days now but could muster neither the physical nor mental capacity; what with spending my working day chatting, driving, atimes dealing with the obnoxious, telephoning and sometimes actually working, the evenings are a sort of recuperative wind-down-in-front-of a news, sports or nature channel before bed. Except for most Fridays. And Saturdays.

I ‘listened’ to the comments on that post and found them to be wise counsel, so I limited my involvement.

Mr A was arraigned at Uxbridge magistrates’ court on the Monday of last week and, though he had some friends present as well as legal counsel (who thought it prudent to allow the state-appointed solicitor to continue with the case), was not granted bail because when coming into the UK, he had stated to the immigration authorities he would be staying in a hotel – thus, no fixed abode. So off to Sutton prison he went and was assigned a prisoner number (I never even knew there was a prison at Sutton).

By the time the case came up last Friday, the prosecutor had Mr A’s life on paper – educational institutions he attended (in Nigeria!), age (52), employment details, everything. It was instructive that she (prosecutor) tacitly acknowledged that he was not suspected of being a terrorist but someone who made a stupid mistake, and the law had to take it’s course.

Mr A, on a trip to the Philippines last year, had purchased the offending belt because he thought it was ‘funky’, looked young and was ideal to hold up his jeans. Unfortunately for him, it was a survival belt with a knife, fork, tin opener, nail clipper, lighter, torchlight, pen, etc; you know the type, bona fide James Bond material. The only things it did not have were toilet paper and WMD. Sadly, one of his friends who’s been here 14 years had seen him retrieve a ‘weapon’ from the belt days before his depature, commented on the belt being unusual and Mr A responded that it was his ‘travelling belt’, yet did not have the sense to point out the inherent danger.

The judge found him guilty, sentenced him to the minimum 14 days in prison and released him as he had spent the mandatory half (7 days). He left for Lagos the same day.

I called him last night to commiserate and offer my sorrow, if only he knew my blog friends had instructed me to ask if he wanted the cutlery for live chicken and amala. He seemed happy but said: emu London yin dani o, eni rimi nibe mo (hold on to your London, you will never see me there again).