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