ADVICE TO YOUNG MEN ON SETTLING DOWN – SISI YEMMIE & TITO

Everyday we hear advice for single women on getting married so it is refreshing to see a note to the ‘men’ on settling down on Eniola Abumere’s Channel

I enjoyed watching it, but here it is, let me know what you think.

 

WHAT IF?

It was a Sunday and I was visiting Wale. Sly, Scar, and Phantom (I just realized how like a band of pirates we must seem) were there too. I was slugging it out with Wale on FIFA 17 and he had me against the ropes – I was two goals down with less than thirty minutes to play. I didn’t want to relinquish my controller, and with it my title of champion, so I had to focus and figure out a way to counter his quick dribbling and long-range shots. “Guess who I ran into the other day?” Sly asked.

“Who?” Wale responded, and that gave me a break to counter. It was lightning quick with Ronaldo putting a side-footed effort past his goalkeeper.

Yes! 2-1.

“Ehen, so that’s your plan ehn? Distract me while Bobo scores,” Wale said. “Who was it, anyway?”

“You guys remember Siji?”

“Where did you see him? Dude has been M.I.A since he got married what, five years ago?” I asked.

“Ah,” Sly said with a look of surprise, “you didn’t hear that they’re no longer together?”

‘Wait, Siji that likes forming fitfam? The one with the beautiful wife and yellow daughter?” I asked, incredulous.

“The same one,” Sly confirmed. “It’s not news nau.”

I looked around to see the others bobbing their heads. “How did I not know this? You people have been hoarding gist, abi?”

“Shebi you moved to PH and freed your guys?” Scar said.

“Abeg shut up. Sly what happened?”

“Apparently she cheated on him…”

“So?” I asked.

“What do you mean ‘so’?”

“I mean I don’t get how it is almost expected for a guy to cheat, but a woman couldn’t. Like, the guys cheating who do they cheat with?”

“Well,” Scar said, “that’s the world we live in. Though in this case, maybe there was more.” We turned to Sly.

‘The way I heard it, dude didn’t even mind. How did he find out? She was in the bathroom and her phone rang a couple of times. My guy was taking her phone to her, that kain “your phone dey disturb my sleep’, and a message came in. You know all these iPhone things. He couldn’t believe his eyes. He sha asked her what was going on and he was willing to discuss it and see if they could work things out, but babe provoke. Cussed him out and mehn, it just got nasty. Long story short, they’ve been separated about two years now.”

“Oh wow,” I said. “This life is just one kain. What about their daughter?”

“She’s with the mom.”

“I don’t even know what to say.”

“Bobo,” Phantom said, “If you found out Cynthia was cheating on you what would you do?”

“You know what? I have never given this much thought, not because I kid myself that she loves me too much to cheat –though I hope that’s the case – but, because I understand that we’re human and people do stuff for reasons that make sense to them at the time.”

“Nah men, If Ronke cheats on me, she best have a damn good reason,” Sly said with feeling.

“What qualifies as a “damn good reason’?” Scar “And should she expect you to have same if you cheated on her?”

“Say ‘when’, not ‘if’.” Phantom joked.

“Guys, we’ve had this conversation before and I told her if she started feeling like things would go that way, she should talk with me about it. I am open to suggestions on how to spice things up, maybe even try a threesome…”

“Let me guess, another lady?” Phantom said.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” he replied.

“Ode.”

“I haven’t had this discussion with Cynthia, and maybe I should, but how though?” I wondered.

“Shebi you guys have an easy friendship? Slip it in one day.” Scar suggested.

“Hmmm, slip it in? I hear you.” I said with a wink and a nod.

“What is wrong with you? So spoilt. Gosh!”

“On the real though,” I said, “I would rather she was discreet and kept her secret. If, however, I found out, then we’ll have that conversation about what went wrong and how to fix it. If it’s a one-off or something that she needs on occasion so I know what I am dealing with.”

“I reckon if it’s purely physical, you can deal better. If she’s emotionally invested, guy just kiss the marriage goodbye – or you can have an open marriage type arrangement sha.” Scar said.

“And when are women not emotionally invested? Ordinary to off bra you will hear what are we doing?” Phantom said.

“Off bra? You’ve gone far sef. Just check up on her a couple times and then make the mistake of asking “you don chop?” and you’re in a relationship.”

“Oh well,” Wale sighed. “That’s life sha. I hope Siji’s doing okay?”

“Yea, he was actually looking well and he had a babe on his arm. I told him I’ll let him know the next time we’re having a BBQ.” Sly said.

“That’s cool.” Wale said, picking up his controller where he’d left it. “Ready to take what I have to give, babe?”

“Ugh! You’re the worst.”

PS: I drew the game in the 92nd minute, and won the game 2-4 after extra time #Champ.

THE PROBLEM WITH SEEKING PERFECTION

We all know that it is impossible to find something or someone perfect but somehow we all end up with these lists of what we may or may not want, without leaving room for mistakes. You can blame Hollywood or maybe Nollywood, but we cannot deny the fact that a lot of us have this warped idea of what our perfect spouse should be like and end up living in this bubble because we believe we can find the ‘one’… the perfect one.

For women, it is the man who is the ultimate provider, protector, and one who professes undying love from the top of the highest mountains. He has to be rolling in millions or maybe on his way there (fast), he must be a spiritual, financial and not to be left out, physical leader. He must love family (no mummy’s boys), treat everyone with respect, be romantic (Hollywood style), have no anger issues, must have attractive emotions (not too much) , must be great to look at, a GQ dresser, possibly be a member of the beard gang and must be ‘packing’ down below.

For men, it is the woman that has the brains of Michelle Obama, one who can be the first lady- the powerhouse but must come in the body of Kim Kardashian or maybe Beyonce. She must be a second mother but not treat him like a child, be opinionated yet subservient, she must be a great cook, prayer warrior, love kids, have controlled emotions, not dependent but not too independent and let’s not forget, she must know all the positions in the kama sutra.

They just have to be ‘perfect’

It is this quest for perfection that defines our dating society today. This contemporary dating game of jumping in and out of relationships so quickly without getting to know the person before we swipe left. One minute he’s everything you think you wanted until you realise he doesn’t send good morning texts and flowers “just because it’s Tuesday”, so you swipe left… or she’s your dream girl and more but doesn’t like to cook so, Next!

What we call dates are really interrogation sessions, searching for flaws, calling them ‘red flags’ without getting to know the person right in front of you. We ignore their history, we look at the now, walking around with mental checklists,  ticking the boxes we believe should be filled.

I am not saying you should settle, or take whatever is available, all I am saying is that the quest for the perfect one is a mission that will never be completed because there is no perfect person.

The problem with seeking perfection is that you remain single, waiting for an illusion to manifest and denying yourself the opportunity to really get to know people and possibly fall in love with who they truly are.

Love, relationships, and marriages are real, not perfect, that is, the ups, downs and everything in between. It is a never-ending process of uniting with someone who connects with you in every way including flaws.

Let’s step back from this fast-paced Hollywood idea of falling in love. No more Tinder-style relationships where you swipe left without deep thought, no more red flag hunting, no more jumping into beds only to jump out 2 days later, just good old conversation and understanding the people right in front of us.

If we all sought perfection, then no one would deserve to be given a chance, not even you.

im-not-perfect-youre-not-perfect-lets-be-imperfect-together-lovable-quote

FINDING HELP

“Hello babe, sleep okay?”

“My heart,” and as always this made me smile, “I am good. You nko?” Cynthia asked.

“I did too. How is Bobo doing?”

“He’s here beside me, sleeping. Mumsi thinks I should wake him up to bathe, but I am happy to let him wake up by himself. Meanwhile, you are now proud abi?”

“What did I do this time?” I asked.

“You didn’t let me know when you got to work. Is that the new one now?”

“Go jor,” I said. “I didn’t want to disturb you ni.”

“Ehn, you could have sent me a message.” She wasn’t going to let me off so easily.

“Oya don’t cry, I will not do like that again. You said we need help, kilode?”

“I woke up in a bit of a panic,” she said, “and thought of how time is going. Small time now I will be returning to work and we can’t keep mumsi here indefinitely. We should get someone soon so that they can learn what needs to be done and the transition will be seamless when mumsi leaves.”

“Oh that?” I finally relaxed.

“Yes, what did you think it was?”

“I dunno, just…” I pinched the bridge of my nose, something I did lately to help me gather my thoughts. “We’ve talked about this help situation nau, I’m game. Do you know anyone we can ask?”

“I’ve spoken with a few people and the stories I have heard both frighten and amuse me.”

She told me about a friend of hers who recently let her help go. The girl asked for a stove, set of pots and extra money because she didn’t eat pasta and some other food they cooked, plus they didn’t cook with iru the way she liked it so she felt her request was in order.

“Wait,” I said when I was done laughing. “Stove to put where? In the same kitchen, or to cook in her room?”

“She’s crazy ni. They just told her okay, and helped her pack her things the next day.”

“So harsh.”

“Na you know. I’ll get the number for the agent sha and give her a call.”

“Okay then babe…”

“Your son is up. Let me take him to mumsi. Talk with you later babe. Love you.”

“I love you too.”

The next week Cynthia called to say she was meeting with someone the agent brought.

“Okay hun,” I said. “Let me know how it goes, okay?”

One hour later I checked my phone to see messages from Cynthia. The interview went well and they were on their way to a primary health center to run some tests. She’d keep me posted.

The next time we spoke she told me the lady was a 23yr-old from Jos with basic education, enough to work with and develop if she felt inclined to do so. She was expected to resume by the next week.

Resumption date came and went and there was no sign of the lady. She didn’t call to say she wasn’t coming or anything like that. Cynthia gave her two days before calling the agent who apologized and promised to bring somebody else. The girl finally called two days later – four days after she was due to resume – with some story. Cynthia was over her.

Three days later she called me and was really excited. She had just interviewed a new girl, 21yrs and from the east. She had just completed her SSCE but her family couldn’t afford university so she wanted to work and earn some money to eventually pay for university. She checked all the boxes and Cynthia. Was. Excited. They were at the health center awaiting her test results.

When my phone rang again and I picked it, I could hear the dejection and disappointment with the first words she said. “Babe, we’re just leaving the hospital and I am just tired.”

“What happened?” I didn’t realise how much I had bought into her excitement until the emptiness hit my stomach.

“Wo, she’s pregnant jare.”

“No.”

“I’m just imagining how mumsi will feel when she hears. She was already acting like the girl was her second daughter. Let me call you when I get home.”

“Okay babe, drive safe. I love you.”

 

HELP ME

I woke up with a start and lay for a moment wondering why. I lay in the pre-dawn darkness blinking the spots away, waiting for my breathing to slow and for my heart to stop racing. I raised my wrist to my face and the glow from my smartwatch made me close my eyes. 05:16.

A cold draft washed over me and I felt my skin prickle; what was odd was that the windows were shut. I reached for the blanket which I had kicked off in my sleep and bunched it over my chest where cold fingers seemed intent on clawing their way through to my heart. Fear.

Shit.

I said I quick prayer before rolling out of bed, sleep forgotten. I played music from my phone, loud, and set about getting ready for work.

***

When I got to work I went about my ritual of brewing some coffee. I held the mug of warm dark delight to my nose and inhaled. I could feel it working its wonders before I took the first sip.

I walked through the lounge inspecting the set up before customers came in. Rosemary was not at her desk and I felt a slight irritation.

We’re going to have a talk about this.

I pushed the restroom door open, meaning to peek in and carry on, but I heard what sounded like a sob and I stood there listening for it.

Silence.

I decided it was in my head and was turning away when I heard it again.

“Rosemary, is that you?”

“Sir?”

“Everything okay?” I asked.

“Yes sir,” she said. I wasn’t convinced.

“Is it alright if I came in?” I asked her while telling myself it was a bad idea.

“I’m okay sir,” she said.

Turn around and go, she says she’s okay. I walked in, past the male toilets and knocked on the door of the female toilet.

“Come in sir,” her voice was small.

I opened the door and I almost dropped my coffee. She was wearing sunglasses but I could tell she had been crying. Her hair was all over the place. I set my mug down on the sink and walked up to her.

“What happened? Talk to me.”

She broke down and started crying. “I don’t want anymore sir, I am tired.” She said between sobs that shook her whole body.

“Hey…” I reached out and touched her shoulder and she collapsed into my arms, head on my chest. I held her there while she cried. For maybe five minutes we stood like that, and as I was beginning to think the crying wouldn’t stop, she stopped crying enough to tell me what happened.

The previous day she had received a message from a number she didn’t know, it was a picture of her boyfriend’s penis. There were also messages begging her to rein her man in. Apparently, it was something he did often, sending her pictures so there were other dick pics. He was asking her to have his baby.

Meanwhile, Rosemary had gotten pregnant two months before and he beat it out of her. She miscarried and was still recovering.

When she got home that evening and showed him the picture and messages from the lady, he beat her again. “I can’t seem to do anything right,” she wailed. “Everything I say or do earns me a beating. This morning I told him I was through with him and he followed me out of the house shouting at me on the road and beating me. It was so bad, the security people had to get involved…”

“Wait, he beat you till you got to work? Our security people stopped him? Did they detain him?” I was breathing hard.

“No sir,” she said. “They begged him to leave me, that he should wait for me to get home and resolve whatever it was.”

“You’re kidding! Please tell me you’re joking. Do you know their names?” She held onto my shirt because I was ready to go out and give them a piece of my mind.”

“Sir, please just stay.”

I gently unlocked her fingers from my shirt and I felt her tense. “I promise, I am not going to them now.” I tried to reassure her. “Do you want to go home?” She shook her head. “Do you think you will be able to work today?”

“Yes sir, I just need a few minutes and make up.” She smiled. “Look what I have done to your shirt now.”

My shirt front was wrinkled, and the area around my chest had some brown on it. “It’s not a big deal,” I said and walked away.

‘Sir,” I turned and she was holding my mug out to me. “Thank you for everything sir.”

“No worries…” her fingers brushed against mine as she handed me the mug and I looked up to see her looking at me. She felt the jolt of electricity.

I walked into my office with my mug of tepid coffee, wondering what had happened and what it said about me that I was affected that way by someone who was just crying in my arms.

I picked my phone up and scrolled through my messages. There was one from Cynthia that made the hairs on my hand rise.

Babe, we need to get help

 

BOBO 2.0

I was not always Bobo Nkiti. Maybe I was, but that wasn’t my government name.

I was born the fourth of five children: sister, sister, brother, me, sister.

I was argumentative as a child and was always getting into it with my brother, and that earned me the nickname ‘Zik’ after Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. Thinking about it now, that wasn’t such a bad thing being likened to one of our founding fathers who fought for Nigeria’s independence, but back then it made me see red.

My brother saying something like “Zik how now?” or “You dey follow Zik argue?” would send me into a rage that I could never express for fear of the beating that would follow from mama. I’d just be there swelling.

When I turned thirteen, or fourteen, while my brother and our friends played football and took care with how they looked – mostly because of girls, I was more likely to be found with my nose buried in a book, without a care if my hair grew wild.

My brother took to calling me Bobo Nkiti. I never understood why he started calling me that, but it stung worse than being called Zik. I guess it was because of its ironic connotation that I was bourgeois when I was bohemian if anything at all. The neighbourhood children joined in and the name stuck. As I got older I embraced it until I owned it and it stopped hurting.

***

When the time came to choose a name for our son, even before he came, Cynthia and I went through a lot of names and their meanings before deciding on what to name him. I checked online for “English” names that I liked and discussed them with Cynthia. Her only contribution was that his native name would be his first name. I thought this was ironic as she rarely used her Yoruba name. When we settled on the names, we took care that the initials spelled out another name which we planned would be his nickname. Cute, I know.

We asked his grandparents for names as well, and my mother was reluctant. “When I gave birth to you I named you,” she said, “and the name has served you well. Name your child. I will join you in praying for him.”

I insisted and she relented and named him after her father.

When people asked his name and we told them, they would go “ah” with a knowing smile because his first name was Igbo. What they didn’t know was that Cynthia gave him that name, and insisted it be his first name, and I loved her more for that.

Weeks have turned into months, and for all the thought that went into selecting his names, the name he reacted to; the name he answers to, is Bobo.