Category Archives: Relationships

Why Do Married Men Cheat On Their Wives (Part 2)

By now, you have probably heard about the media personality/vlogger Toke Makinwa’s breaking news. Her husband cheated on her with a woman who is now pregnant for him. Neither party has released a statement confirming or refuting the story. For the last two days, there has been twitter and instagram fuelled frenzy going on regarding the Toke and Maje marriage.

The couple dated for 12 years and have been married for just 1 year and a few months. Personally, I think this is sad and the couple should be left alone to deal with their problems, or lack of, because we all might just be speculating.

Toke and Maje. Source:www.360nobs.com
Toke and Maje. Source:www.360nobs.com

However, I believe that there is a reason why this is such big news here. Toke is an “it” girl who has truly worked very hard within the Nigerian media circuit. She hosts an early morning Radio show on Rhythm FM Lagos, and hosts a regular weekly vlog which discusses relationships primarily on youtube. Beyond that, she hosts events, and is now a brand; many commercial brands have signed her up as an Ambassador. She’s gorgeous, hard working, and quite fun to watch and listen to.

Toke is a brand and thus literally every event she attends, every endorsement, every media or tv appearance ends up on social media and on blogs. This is good for her business, because in such a short period of time, she has become a household name. This means she works hard, hopefully she smiles to the bank. But this visibility in a young woman who is neither an actress nor a singer, is one which Nigerians seem to love and hate all at once. You will see why.

Toke Makinwa
Toke Makinwa

So why has Maje cheated on her? There really is no known cause of infidelity in marriages, there is a long list of potential factors. Infidelity in relationships could be seen as high blood pressure in humans. Sometimes there are certain pre-dispositions, perhaps not exactly genetics in this case. These predispositions may have to do with individual values, society’s expectations; including abhorrence or acceptance of certain behaviour. There is also the question of consequence or lack of it.

In the same vein, there are other potential factors such as incompatibility, mid-life crises, communication, revenge, or even certain needs. Sometimes there is no known cause. Unfortunately, because of Toke’s demand-driven and highly visible brand, and seemingly glamorous job, the feeling on twitter and on blogs is that her husband cheated because she was not available.

Toke and Solange:Source:www.instagram.com
Toke and Solange:Source:www.instagram.com

Nigerians are very religious. One who does not pledge allegiance to a faith in Nigeria is in a minority and is often ostracised. The non-religious in Nigeria is considered weird and suffers proselytism. However, Nigeria is also a society where religious beliefs are separate from values. It is a place where moral standards and family values quite commonly apply to only women. The world is an excellent place to be a man, but an even better place is Nigeria.

Suffice to say, the feeling even among some women and many men (at least if the tweets are anything to go by), is that Toke is responsible for her husband’s infidelity because she was at events all the time. Apparently, Toke also partied constantly, and was not available to Maje. He loved and respected her so much that he channelled his “missing her” energies into impregnating another woman. He could have done something more honourable if she was not available; leave respectfully. She had that career before they married just over a year ago, so he knew about her brand.

Maje Ayida. Source:www.igrooveradio.com
Maje Ayida. Source:www.igrooveradio.com

She probably feels a sense of shame at this time, but one can see why. There are people are mocking her on social media. The cheat should be the brunt of these jokes not the wife (although there have been a few angry women on his instagram comments sections). She is also double mocked for hosting a vlog where she discusses how to find and keep a man, how to spot a “side-chick”, and the types of men to avoid. Never mind that most of her vlog posts are girl next door-chatting-to-my-girls satires. So yes, she is responsible for her lot in life, she must be mocked, and perhaps in her next life, reconsider having a career. But even doctors can become infected. Oncologists are sometimes diagnosed with cancer too.

I wonder then if all career women, including surgeons, new resident doctors who work impossible shifts, broadcasters and journalists who have to chase down stories, or politicians and activists all have unfaithful spouses? I wonder if researchers who often travel to present papers, or conduct significant bodies of research have been presented with news of the pregnant ex? Perhaps international development experts, bankers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, in essence women with demanding careers who are shattering the glass ceilings, all have trifling spouses?

How about women? Do women with husbands who have been working in these careers for the longest time possible cheat on their men? Do we can blame their husbands for their lack of availability? I was irritated by calls to her to become more available to Maje because it fosters a sense that somehow, we know it all. We are insiders in their routine, in their home. That we know their story. But I was even more put off by the gentle chiding of him by both women and men alike regarding the use of condoms. Does condom use mean it is no longer infidelity?

“Couldn’t he have used condoms? Did he have to get her pregnant,” one tweet questioned.

The video above is one of Toke on a panel discussing men and cheating. In analysing her thoughts and views, it is clear that she urges restraint in telling a woman that her husband is cheating.

“It may ruin your friendship, because the woman does not want you to know what goes on in her home. She will probably stay with the man,” she says.

She reflects briefly on an experience she had where she confronted her husband (then fiancé) on rumours of “someone else”. So what does this mean? Did she see this coming? Was it something that had occurred in the past that she had forgiven and moved on from?

The condoms statements on twitter bothered me the most. Is this an acceptable norm in society? Just as long as you do not get caught? This story should not be so important but it has become so. This is because it has triggered a conversation that we did not have before. A conversation about careers and women and fairness in the narratives that will become a legacy for our children.

I believe it could certainly mark a fundamental turn in how Nigerians perceive what is good and what is not when women are involved. Could this mark the turn of the tide where women are accorded the same level of humanity as men? I may be dreaming, but it may well form the foundation or the quick start to how we perceive women or society’s treatment of and perception of both sexes. Does a double standard exist? Absolutely. Can we see past our sentiments and recognise a fundamentally flawed psyche?

Hilary Clinton overcame the Monica Lewinsky saga.Source:www.biography.com
Hilary Clinton overcame the Monica Lewinsky saga.Source:www.biography.com

Invariably, it will be left for Toke to decide if she can move on. She must decide whether to carry on with him or to move on with her life. I have a feeling that she will heal and bounce back. She seems to be doing so already, appearing on radio this morning. Hilary Clinton seems to be doing alright; she could be President of the United States. If she wins, the man who cheated on her will be standing beside her at the inauguration. He will be former President and First Man. Hillary Clinton describes herself as “arguably the most humiliated woman in the world”. When asked about recovering from the Monica Lewinsky saga and forgiving her husband, she said “forgiveness is hard”.

12 years of one’s life is a very long time. Whatever reason Maje had or not, for being unfaithful, Toke is unequivocally, the victim here, the “injured party”. He should be ashamed and remorseful for what he did. He deserves a Tiger Woods type of shunning. The other woman deserves shunning as well, she very well knew he was married. Perhaps he didn’t quite think she was good enough to share his life properly, why else did he marry someone else and return for a dip in the pond?

Hopefully Toke will find succour with family and friends and decide what she can live with.

Carpe Diem

Should Men Pay All The Bills? (Part II)

This is a tough one that goes way back. I wrote about it over a year ago here. The traditional perception of family and relationships are evolving and changing. There are more divorces in the world now that there were 50 years ago, and these numbers apply everywhere; in North America, Europe and Africa. Look at Nigeria for example, the nuclear family unit or the “mono-polygamous” families as we knew them are fast disappearing. That is evolution though, things are changing and will continue to change. Only progressive people who embrace change, understand it, open up to its good sides, face it headlong, and emerge stronger for it.

Couple getting married. source:annechia.com
Couple getting married. source:annechia.com

There is divorce, single parenthood, civil partnerships and so forth. The world is changing. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing, it all depends on how you approach it. Are we better off for the changes or not? I say we are; look at the miracle of technology and the internet, social media, family so far yet so close, transactions made easy, and so forth. Look at the 2015 elections and how effective the media updates and live streaming were. Look at the strides made in medicine for example. There are treatments for cancer, vaccines against polio, advancements raising the numbers of safe childbirths, people are also living longer. Some people may argue that all these advancements have come with a cost. But one must weigh the pros and cons, do a cost comparative analysis and see how much time you save by conducting your business online. Does anyone remember those dreadful NITEL days? The dynamics of relationships have changed forever, thanks to these advancements.

Photo source: www.clipartof.com
Photo source: http://www.clipartof.com

When our grandparents were in their 20s and 30s, the population was lower, the pace of life slower, women were essentially marginalised with lower pay and fewer opportunities, and men were seen as superior. Thus the women kept the home, raised the children while the men were the breadwinners who paid all the bills.  The mid-19th century arrived with its major advancements and economic boom, the landscape of human rights began to change. The world required an increase in the number of skilled workers. This came with a clear evidence that men and women had the same intellectual capacity. The days of hunting and protecting the hearth, of superiority based on physical strength, were gone. Thus boys and girls became educated for the same opportunities and vied for the same jobs. There is still a lot of growth required in the area of equal opportunities and equal pay, but that is a post for another day.

Source: http://www.legrc.org
Source: http://www.legrc.org

Enter, a different kind of dynamics in the world with my focus being Nigeria. Women began to undergo the exact same pressures as men, working the same long hours and in some cases, earning the same pay. But their roles had not evolved and men refused to change. Women still cooked and cleaned and looked after the children, and when the men helped to change the baby’s diaper, the woman would say “thank you” as though he was doing her a favour. Men in turn carried on watching their football, coming home late and playing “tennis” on Saturdays.

It remains a society which has stubbornly refused to evolve despite a clear evolution happening with the world. Whether you are on social media or not, whether you are anti-equality or not, we all need to wake up and smell the coffee, the world has changed. Only people who study this change, can adapt and survive. Closing oneself off to the change and Facebook, will not save your marriage. In some way, it is this denial, this refusal to change, that is wreaking havoc on family institutions and ruining relationships.

You see, there is a certain entitlement that comes with being a breadwinner, a certain power if you will, which acts as an enabler and makes that breadwinner feel that as though he/she is not accountable to their partner/spouse. Just as long as the bills are paid. It is a human thing particularly in an unbalanced society like ours. When someone doles out money for every expense in a society that is patriarchal, he will feel a certain entitlement to do as he pleases. Men do this. The same actually applies to women, it is a human thing. If she solely pays the bills, she will act as she pleases. I must issue a caveat; this does not apply to everyone. Theories do have exceptions after all.

Most women with whom I have discussed this have said that they preferred men who were responsible and ready to step up and provide for them. Some said they were happy to be a good partner, helping out with the finances. But they argued that men were cunning and the minute you gave an inch, he would shirk his responsibility. Others have said that they were happy to support, as long as he pulled his weight. A minority said they were happy to lay the cards on the table and divide up bills based on the income, but expected the man to treat them as an equal, that means ringing to say where he was going, coming home early just as the woman would, and doing his fair share of the housework.

What did the men say? A mix of different things. Most said they thought the woman should keep her money,if you allowed them to contribute, they start wearing the pants in the relationship. Others were resentful and complained about the women in their lives never contributing, yet they had jobs. What did they do with their money, one asked me? Some said they would not never be involved in “domestic anything” around the house.

Tailor Zaki Baushe Source: cartercentre.org
Tailor Zaki Baushe
Source: cartercentre.org

It seems like relationships in the 21st century are a badly coordinated dance. Women are resentful because they work as hard as the men, yet when they go home, they work twice as hard, and the men are nowhere to be found, after all Chelsea and Utd are playing. So what do they do? They keep their money and make the man pay for everything. Have you seen those types who punish their men for coming home at 3am by making demands for more material things? Men in turn are either resentful or taking the mickey; I pay the bills, this is my house, I can come and go as I please. And then in moments of anger, they ask her “by the way, what do you do with all the money you earn?”

All these pressures and falsehood lead to divorces and break-up. My solution? Change with the times. Adapt or find a like minded person. If a woman and a man work just as hard, why not put all the cards on the table and upgrade your lives with your double income? Why does one party have to carry on bearing the costs and another the labour of keeping house? It just breeds resentment and inequality. Look at your income (s) and whoever earns more can pay more.

Photo ©: niakc10 - Fotolia.com
Photo ©: niakc10 – Fotolia.com

The biggest destroyers of relationships are a) a lack of understanding and agreement of roles, b)unmet expectations c) finance problems. If you are traditional and believe in the “man pays bills, woman keeps home” arrangement, find someone like you. If you have evolved and are in a partnership of dual careers, find someone who thinks alike.  It is really a business partnership founded on love, approach it as such and survive.

NB: If you would like to write a response to this, please send me an email at iamannechia@gmail.com

How to find a Husband (Part III)

So it has been almost a year since the post on “How to find a Husband” according to my aunt. I am doing a stock taking of events in my life in the last 11 months. It may please you (or displease my aunt) to note that; no I have not cut off my hair/locs, and no I have not suddenly changed my age from the actual to the mid-20s. I still exercise and I remain consistent with my views on politics and the world.

But you see, I am still not married, and her patience is running out. You would think that I am the one whose patience will be running out, but no, this is a case of “drinking panadol on top of somebody’s headache”. The psalms and things keep being thrown my way. I think my aunt knows that I do not say them (for the most part), and so she sends even more to make me feel guilty. Anyway, it’s been over a year, and I have now decided to take matters into my own hands. I reckon these steps will fetch me a nice Igbo man in no time.

Couple getting married. source:annechia.com
Couple getting married. source:annechia.com

1. Buy a 32″ human hair. I haven’t decided if it will be from Brazil or Peru. All I know is that I am buying it, and it is going on my head where it will sit tight and walk around with me in my search.

Human hair on the way. source:elitevirginhair.com
Human hair on the way. source:elitevirginhair.com

2. Buy some Dencia otherwise known distastefully as bleaching cream. I do not know why trouble makers insist on giving this thing a bad name. The Igbo brothers like yellow sisi, so I better get cracking. Plus the new colour will match my new hair.

3. Learn to smile and keep my head down, you can’t be engaging anyhow with your eyes and discourse. I have been trawling youtube looking for videos on “how to be coy”. Chi m, it is not that easy. But it seems to be working, or maybe those vloggers are just messing with me.

4. Find an Igbo church here, that should not be too difficult. I went to a church in East London and for a minute, I thought I was in Gbagada. When I find the Igbo church, I shall join the youth forum, ushers, video team, caretakers, welfare team, readers, choir, women/mothers group (yes people like that sort of thing, it draws sympathy that you have shown so much faith and vulnerability. In no time, the married women will begin to introduce you to all their husbands’ single friends. I must remember to call them all “Aunty”). This is a question spreading your bets as much as you can. This blog is as much for me as for you single out there searching for your Igbo prince charming o. Shine your eye.

Photo source: www.clipartof.com
Photo source: http://www.clipartof.com

5. Stop being a smart ass, even me I am tired sef. Henceforth when I meet those potentials, I shall be saying the following, with a coy smile and downcast eyes:

5a. “I only just recently arrived, my father paid my fees to do a master’s, so I just want to bend down and study o”. Yeah I reckon that line spoken in the softest of voices should work.

5b. “I don’t really believe in all this new talk, people have learnt bad things from the west. A man is still the head of the home, every woman should listen to her husband no matter what. He’s beating you, he’s cheating on you, something must have gone wrong in your attitude. Me, I believe if a man does something that you do not like, it is not your job to engage him or fight and nag, no matter what it is, you don’t talk back. Just go on your knees to God, then after that, cook him a hearty meal”

5c. “Ah ah, but my husband should know how much I earn. There’s nothing wrong with giving your man your ATM card or even pay cheques once you receive them. He’s the head”

6. On the first date, I shall invite him over and cook some jollof rice with spicy goat meat. I shall also make white soup with poundo and some chocolate brownies. Before he starts eating, I shall cover my hair and say the grace. The long version. Ok make it second date, I mustn’t appear too keen.

Poundo and Egusi. Source: www.ventures-africa.com
Poundo and Egusi. Source: http://www.ventures-africa.com

7. All my high heels are going on sale on ebay. You can’t be a 5ft 8inches woman and be wearing 6″heels. As one igbo brother told me at a party in January, “your height is intimidating”. He then proceeded to bolt, and came back only after he was slightly inebriated and made me sit down while he stood. Henceforth, only 3″ heels, thank you very much.

8. I must stop calling myself a woman. It sends the wrong message. “You don born”? I have been asked. So from now onwards, I am a girl. or maybe lady?

9. No more JD and coke, or wine at these Igbo things. Henceforth fanta and coke. Or five alive, if we can find any. I don’t drink alcohol. It’s even bitter anyway.

10. And I must not dance every time I hear music, just sends all the wrong signals.

11. Imagine the swishing of my south American hair, when I walk from one single and searching Igbo man to the next at the upcoming event, freshening drinks and smiling. Fetching chicken wings and dips. It’s all for the cause.

Spicy chicken wings for the men at parties. www.godfatherpizzawoodoven.co.uk
Spicy chicken wings for the men at parties. http://www.godfatherpizzawoodoven.co.uk

12. Who has an opinion about the upcoming elections? I don’t! I am just praying about it, I do not discuss politics. That one is for you men o. I am facing my work.

13. Ask for money for most things. Why should I pay for things myself? A man is in control when he pays and hears thank you. The youtube vlogs said men do not like independent women, so why should I be independent? No wonder my asoebi plans haven’t come to fruition.

These are all I have considered, and I shall take it from here. I am also open to advice, if you know of any quick fixes, please send them my way. I suppose in some ways my aunt was right, one has to be smart about these things and use local sense. You have to know and understand your audience, it doesn’t matter how, it’s the end that justifies the means. Enough said, I must get cracking. Au revoir

Why Do Married Men Cheat On Their Wives? (Part 1)

Before I start, I must apologise in advance for what may change from a benign post, to a rant about moral obligations, double standards, and equal rights. This title speaks to my initial idea for the blog post, I have now written about so much more.

Today I decided to blog about an “epidemic” which seems on the increase in Naija. Have you noticed how it is now quite common place for men to cheat on their wives? If you go into the clubs or just regular fish and drinks gardens in the evening, you see scores of older rather unfit (although sometimes youngish) men wearing wedding bands, hanging around with younger women and the body language tells you that this is no family or blood connection. They don’t even hide it anymore. A good friend of mine spent Valentine’s day with her girlfriends (they are all single) at an entertainment centre, and apparently, one girl came up to them sobbing uncontrollably. Her boyfriend stood her up, they were supposed to spend valentine’s day together. Obviously this was a “side chick” who had been played. In the course of consoling her, this man’s photo came up and he seemed to be in his late 30s.

Source:sodahead.com
Source:sodahead.com

“Is he married”? My friend asked her

“Yes, he is. But his family is in Calabar”, She said

The girls just looked at each other, and bade her farewell and godspeed. Here was a side chick who knew she was with a married man, and felt entitled. She also felt it was ok because his family lived in another city. In other words, she was the non-Calabar wife. What exactly did she expect? I wonder if she expected anything different when she got married herself.

I have spoken to many men about this issue of cheating on their wives, and the answer has always been the same; men are polygamous, you do not get married planning to cheat, it just happens, the temptations out there are too strong, the wives are not supportive and are too materialistic, they need an outlet, etc. I often ask them if their wives know, and the answer is always the same; there have been close shavings, but the women always let sleeping dogs lie. I ask them if they know that it is wrong, unjustified and smacks of a lack of integrity, disrespect for their partners, and a gross let-down of their children. I ask them how they would feel if their wives did the same, the answers are usually varied, but have the same theme.

Photo source: www.clipartof.com
Photo source: http://www.clipartof.com

“Abeg Anne go and rest, it is a man’s world, men are polygamous na, that’s African culture”

“Ha how can she cheat on me? Women are usually faithful and supposed to look after the family. If my wife cheats on me, she’s gone the minute I find out”

“You know women attach emotions to sex, that’s when your real problem starts. To a man, a side chick means nothing. That’s why it is not good for a woman to cheat, because that means that you have lost her”

“How can you even suggest that? Are you becoming western or what? If a man takes care of his family and has an affair, as long as he takes care of his family, it shouldn’t matter”

“Well my wife is still number one, I don’t joke with her. I make sure she doesn’t lack anything”

“There is a lot of temptation out there, you may not want to cheat on your wife, but these single girls will not allow you to rest”

All these responses left me feeling amused, particularly the second and the last one. Our society is still a very unbalanced one, what is good for the goose, is certainly not good for the gander in Nigeria. Men are quite egocentric and expect submission, it is almost as though women have not come fully formed, and are lesser beings than they are. You think we do not feel exactly what you feel? We do, but do we act on it? No. You think I do not see all those hot men? They are everywhere; in the banks, in the restaurants, in church. Chai. Have you seen those types?

Usher. Source.menshealth.com
Usher. Source.menshealth.com

I follow a lot of them on instagram too o. All they do is close business deals, work out and take photos of their bodies. Their bodies make me want to sing “Imela chineke m ooo”, drop out of postgrad school, and cook for them all day long. In high heels and lingerie of course. They are so hot that I want to cook all the dishes my mother taught me, like ofe onugbu, nsala, ukwa, abacha, coconut rice and pepper soup. I feel like adding a twist to all the dishes; cheese, just because I can grate those blocks on those abs, then take my clothes off very quickly. But do I do that? Mba nu. Do you think I don’t want to have Bible study with that assistant pastor all day, everyday? Look, he has a lot to say about the Lord and he looks good saying it. I must find out what lipbalm he wears and the aftershave. Dear husband, I don’t want chapped lips or “townsend” perfume on you. Pastor Gaf’s lipbalm and aftershave are your possession and keys to the holy land.

I have been told that I am a feminist; no arguments there. Why are we so afraid of that word? Why has it been demonised? According to the Oxford dictionary, It simply means the “economic, social and political equality of all sexes”. I think this is fair, do you regard yourself as superior or less than any other human being? Do you regard yourself or anybody else, regardless of sex, as undeserving of the same opportunities? I think God is a feminist as we are all created in his image and likeness. So are the gods in traditional African religion; think about what you have read and heard about the roles of Ani, Idemili, Yemoja, Oya. Sometimes I worry that the advent of new religions in Nigeria and the subsequent interpretation has stripped us of all fairness and objectivity, with the verse about “submission” consistently quoted halfway and taken out of context.

Woman changing car tyre. Source: www.ispot.tv
Woman changing car tyre.
Source: http://www.ispot.tv

I blame my father for my views hahaha. I was raised to believe in equality and to hold myself and others accountable for mine or their actions, regardless of sex. We were raised (boys and girls alike), to be able to cook, and clean, and carry heavy things up flights of stairs, and change tyres, and be compassionate and empathetic all at once. I was 16 before I realised that it was unusual for a Naija husband to wash his plates after his meal, to wash his clothes by himself, to help his wife out in the kitchen while she’s making dinner, to cobweb, dust family photos, take the thrash out, and also be home at 6pm unless both of them were out together. Forget all those fake late meetings and constant hanging out with the mistresses, missing the vital family time.

My friends were shocked when they spent extended time at the family home and saw this. Ah it was already too late, that was my worldview, that everyone chipped in, that this was a partnership full of love and laughter and accountability and equality.

I took this worldview to the university and I still remember my first serious boyfriend. He was a great looking “corper” from Ilorin. Bros invited me to his flat one day, and this ensued.

“I bought ingredients for bitterleaf soup, come and cook”, he said

To which I responded by staring at him in shock. He carried on.

“If you are worried about staining your clothes, you can wear my boxers and singlet,” he said, while reclining and chilling with a football match on.

When I didn’t budge or take my eyes off the Readers’ Digest which I was reading, he carried on.

“Oh you don’t know how to cook? Ok, come, you can do this one.”

A family that cooks together stays together? Source: www.madamenoire.com
A family that cooks together stays together?
Source: http://www.madamenoire.com

I followed him into the room where there was a mound of dirty clothes including jeans and the like for yours truly to wash. I went into the living room, chuckling to myself. I picked up my handbag, and like Lot, I never looked back, poor guy. Now tell me, who raised this man to have such expectations that a girlfriend was his housekeeper? O gini?

Anyway, enough digression. I have theories around why married men cheat on their wives and why there are such saintly expectations of women. I shall share these soon enough in my next blog post. I leave you with a thought; it is time that women started picking up some of the bills and helping out financially around the house, and ask the men to pull their weight domestically. I wrote a post last year titled “Should Men Pick Up All The Bills”, there, the comments and opinion came to 50-50, some thought a man should look after the finances of his family solely, others felt women should contribute, my theory is that a partnership brings about accountability, open and honest communication, and reduces the chances of infidelity in marriage.

Durex Condom Survey. Source: www.durex.co.uk
Durex Condom Survey.
Source: http://www.durex.co.uk

Unfortunately, it looks like women are now beating men to their game; your wife going to fellowship and bible study three times a week, or going for school run 30 minutes before the time, and attending all those weddings in asoebi, may be enjoying other less ideal activities. This is just something based on a survey for the most unfaithful wives in the world, carried out by Durex, which found Nigerian women to be the most unfaithful wives, emerging in first place out of 35 countries surveyed. It seems we have now overtaken Thai women who were number one in 2012 and last year. Is this true? Could this actually be happening? Why are the tides turning (besides the temptation on offer on instagram :-)?)

How To Find A Husband (Part II)

So I just got off the phone with one of my favourite aunts, the aunt from the first post on finding a husband.. When I saw her number flash across my screen, I was so happy. You see, I speak to a lot of people back home, but they are mostly people from my generation who use social media quite a lot.

“Aunty!!!” I screeched happily into the phone
“Nne kedu?” She responded.

Then she spoke very quickly, her words tumbling over one another in her rush to say her bit and get off the phone seeing as it was an international call and all.

“Are you keeping your eyes open? Nkiru’s mother told me that many Igbo men live there.” She said

I was a little disappointed because I had hoped to have a conversation with her and catch up on the gossip back home. When I did not respond, she continued. Here is a list of what keeping my eyes open means, in her own words;

Making the meat: My job at the forum
Making the meat: My job at the forum

1. Find out about the Igbo forum and join it, you will find all the Igbo men there.

2. Try to attend their ceremonies, and make sure you help out, people always need help with frying the chicken and even serving.

3. Put on nice wigs and cover those your dreadlocks. Do you not see how other girls have nice weave-on.

4. Ehen when you join those forums, don’t be going to sit with the men to discuss politics in Nigeria, face your work.

5. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a suitor there, because those Igbo men are always coming home to marry good girls, show them that you are a good girl who has just arrived and is not yet corrupt by that place.

6. When anybody asks you, tell them your father sent you to do masters. That way they will not run away and think you will be stubborn.

7. Reduce your age by 4 years.

8. Everyday read Isaiah 62, the whole chapter, everyday. Go to only the churches that our people attend.

9. When you are going for those Igbo meetings, make sure you go alone, and befriend the married women, if they like you, they will introduce you to their husband’s single friends. You don’t have any business with the single ladies.

10. Don’t be doing too much sports, our men don’t like women with strong body o.

Making the salad: A "face your work" option
Making the salad: A “face your work” option

There you have it. I don’t think she wrote it down, but somehow she managed to get it all out quite clearly under 3 minutes. I think number 4 is my favourite! Face your work literally means face your work; keep frying those chickens and serving the men. I also like the “reduce your age” bit, and I wondered how someone could ask you to lie in one breathe and bug God in the next. I could have called her back but as I did not have any calling card, I thought I would blog about it. So people, do you think I should face my work and not discuss politics anymore? Feel free to add on to my aunt’s list. I am sure this is not the end of this post. I shall do an update once I speak to her again 🙂

When No Means Yes: The Lines Between Rape And Romance

I was very saddened by a piece of news I read this morning about a teenager who was raped and brutalised and left in a pool of her own blood in Lagos. She was rescued by OPC and taken to the police station. It is my firm belief and hope that Gov. Fashola will ensure that this is investigated and these miscreants found and prosecuted. It made me recall a link to a blog which a friend sent to me on twitter, where the male writer was basically asking his male readers to push on when a woman says no to sex. It was a tournament he said, and women expected to be conquered. His argument was that women would not give in easily and needed to be coerced or taken down like the opposition. In the comments section, many men were extremely pleased with the article while many women were outraged by this worldview. Now I am not certain if the writer was being sarcastic or ironic, it did not seem that way to me. I am writing about this because this is something men commonly discuss in my culture and laugh about. Apparently, women are created to be coy and should show some resistance. I remember discussing this with some guys at a party; and they totally agreed that when a woman says no, she means yes and just wants you to wear her down. I was much too shocked that day to say much.

source:returnofkings.com
source:returnofkings.com

I will say here that giving the rising numbers of rape particularly in developing countries and patriarchal societies/cultures where the laws do not protect women, this just shows why. There is rape of women on streets and in buses and other public areas, and there is domestic rape also where the rapists believe that the fact that the women are in their “space/house” or they paid for dinner, etc, means consent. In countries like India and Nigeria, women are raped all the time and perpetrators go scot free. The recent outcries in India following the rape and death of the young medical student and the prosecution of the men involved has opened up more questions about laws and gender crimes in developing countries. People may remember the rape of the young Nigerian student in Abia State University in 2011; she was raped over and over by five men who made a video and circulated this on the internet. I remember being deeply disturbed by her cries of “please just kill me”.

Rape is rarely reported to authorities in Nigeria, as their handling of the cases are very degrading of the woman and her family. According to federal police statistics which were gleaned from a website called Nigeria Police Watch, only 1,952 cases were reported in 2009. In spite of these numbers, a 2006 Amnesty International report said that those numbers are at best “sporadic, piecemeal and inconsistent” in a country with numbers rising above 160 million people.

I was raised to stay away from potential situations which would put me in a position of violence particularly gender motivated attacks. When I was younger, I thought my mother just did not want me to have fun. Now I understand. If a woman is raped, society judges her; they ask her questions such as where were you, why did you drink, why did you go to his house, that dress you were wearing can cause rape because it is too short. I believe that things can only change when we change as individuals. When a woman says no, she actually does mean no, if she were being coy, she would come to you in no time. Have you ever wondered why men from developing countries tend to serve time in Europe and North America for rape? When one takes the no means yes mentality to a developed country where the justice systems work, then be ready to serve a well deserved time in prison; and rightly so too. I get very passionate when I write or talk about this. Someone even said to me when I was discussing this piece;

“My friend is serving time in Germany for allegedly raping a girl. But this chic went home with my friend, why did she go home with him, and she was moaning too, my friend said so.”

Really? You take advantage of a drunk girl who probably said no, and you think she will fight you? Unless a woman is trained in black belt or some such martial arts, how is she going to fight off a rapist? That will probably make things worse. I always say to people; be a gentleman, actually no does mean no. If a woman is interested in taking it further, she shows it soon enough. I feel that this piece is so small, I feel that I must launch a huge campaign with our police and the people who need to amend and implement the laws to protect women. If the law makes examples of a few people, it deters many others. However, I am confident that there are many groups working on this and trying to make the world a safer place for all vulnerable groups; and it is my hope that this drop can gradually begin to cause small ripples in our mind-sets and legal systems. I shall follow up the story of the teenager in Lagos and hopefully update this post with news on police investigations going forward. While I do that, I urge everyone to work together in every little way possible to make the world safer for our mothers, our daughters, our wives/partners/girlfriends and our sisters. No does indeed, mean no!

Should Men Pay All The Bills?

I am fascinated by relationships, by our very human need for love and companionship, and everything in between. I am also a hopeless romantic, so everything about relationships to me, is beautiful. But we all know that this is not the reality and lately, the more I speak to people, the more it seems to me that the basis, the foundation, the crux, the soul, if you wish, of most relationships, is finance. It makes or breaks relationships, partnerships, marriages. If you are looking to find a husband or a wife, you better be ready to discuss finances I think.

Photo source: www.clipartof.com
Photo source: http://www.clipartof.com

So without further ado, my big question really is; is the man responsible for taking care of the woman financially, whether they be boyfriend/girlfriend, partners, husband/wife? Should a man pay all the bills in the home should they be married and have children? Is the man responsible for paying the bills, whatever they may be? I spoke to men and women alike and what an interesting mix of responses.

Almost all the women I spoke to told me that they wanted to be with a man whom they were sure could take care of them. Women told me that the man had better be ready to pay for a trip to the salon, a vacation abroad, meals when they were out, gadgets including mobile phone credits, and shopping sprees. One person asked me of what use the man was if he could not provide for her?

“I equate love to gifts, if a man gives me stuff, then he clearly cares about me.” Another woman told me.

It depends on the relationship, if a man is wealthy, then it would not be a problem to provide for his woman. However, if he were struggling and earning a certain income like the woman, it may seem unreasonable to expect him to cater to everything. Someone said to me that men are providers, and feel much more happy and in control when they are able to provide for the people in their lives without having to ask the woman to contribute. But doesn’t it also depend on the relationship being shared by both parties? If both people are in a partnership built on a solid foundation of friendship and equality, then naturally most responsibilities will be shared fairly depending on income bracket. In this part of the world though, that seems far fetched, as most relationships are still very traditional, with the woman expected to be submissive to the man, the man is in control and is not necessarily accountable to her for his actions.

In order to maintain this position, a man is required to pay all the bills and occassionally give a monthly allowance to his woman. her responsibility is to take care of him and the home front, prepare the meals, raise the children, respect and honour him, and defer to him, even though she has a job. To women, when a man takes care of the finances, it makes it easier for them to submit and revere him as tradition/society requires. A friend once told me that she often found resentment in her heart, because her husband did not play any active role in the house, except grudgingly bankroll stuff. She had a job as a teacher which did not pay much, however, she was on her feet all day, and was exhausted by the time she got home. He insisted on freshly cooked meals, and would never get up when the baby cried at night.

source:annechia.com
source:annechia.com

I spoke to some men who told me that they could never be with a woman who makes more money than they did. This to them would be too dicey. Women can be quite mouthy and unable to control their emotions. More money would give a woman a big head, and she would very quickly slag off her husband and be disrespectful.

“She can keep her money, I will provide for my house. I am the head of the family.” Someone told me.

Again it depends on the situation, if a woman kept all her money and spent all the man’s income (if he’s not rich), will there be resentment at the end of the day on the man’s part? Will he wonder what she did with the stash she earns? A former colleague once told me that he was married to the most selfish “nuisance” (yes he called his wife that) on the face of the earth. Apparently, she refused to tell him how much she earned, but she knew his’. He could tell that she made quite a bit of money, about 10% less than he did, he knew because he determined the average salary of people on her grade level. Not only did he not know how much she earned, he paid for everything in the house including her personal items and “grooming” including brazillian hair which cost him as much as $1000, and which she proceeded to weave unto her scalp. He was nagged for months until he saved and paid for the fake hair. She would go off with her girlfriends and buy really stunning jewelry and beautiful shoes, and then ask him for money for food for the house and toiletries too.

Source:sodahead.com
Source:sodahead.com

It made him resentful because he could not treat himself much, as he was down to zero at the end of the month. On the other hand, some men require that their wives hand over their salary at the end of the month/on pay day. He then gives her what she needs from it. That shows that a woman is respectful of her husband and is submissive as stated in the good book. There are also scenarios where the woman pays for stuff and would do it through her husband so that he does not feel like less of a man. For example, there are casual workers who have come to fix the plumbing or the fence, she then gives him money to pay them. The dynamics of relationships are always very interesting.

I spoke to a few men and women who are quite progressive and told me that both parties must share all responsibilities; whether they be financial and/or domestic, if both parties have jobs. That way, everybody feels like they are part of the relationship and nobody feels used, or feels like a freeloader. These progressives believe that the two parties should split the bills if they are living under one roof. Two salaries/income streams are certainly good and can provide a better lifestyle for the couple and their family. With two incomes, it may be easier to live in a nice house, or perhaps take a vacation or buy a home. One person should only have to pay for stuff all the time should the other party be laid off from work.

source:elitevirginhair.com
source:elitevirginhair.com

Are women really golddiggers? This is the vibe I got from speaking to people. Men here say women are consistently nagging them for stuff. You take a woman out today, you are not even sure you want to see her again, and the next day, she’s calling you and trying to get you to buy her brazillian hair, or a new iPhone. Women on the other hand, say men are selfish and are consistently playing with multiple girls on the side, and that although they do not admit it, men like the power of wielding their wallets and get very intimidated once a woman wants to pick up the bill. If she does, she is arrogant, will never make a good partner in a relationship and is “showing herself”. I personally, will attempt to contribute on a date, and will look out for body language. If a man says no, I will never ask again, but will do other things like buy tickets so both of us can see something, or get dessert. It’s a path to be threaded carefully.

What do you think about finances in a relationship? Should a man pay all the bills? Have the times changed at all? A part 2 has now been written for this post. Read it here