Tag Archives: Love

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

Three-Word New Year Resolution

When I was a child, we were encouraged to make New Year resolutions. Everyone made a big deal out of those resolutions but I never took them seriously. But as I became older and responsible for my life and where I wanted it to go, I began to make resolutions. I am excited at the opportunity for a fresh start at the beginning of every year.

2014

It started with the small things; lose weight, keep in touch with family and friends, smile more, etc. I have certainly failed at some and experienced hiccups at others. However, I am at a point in my life where I believe that to be happy, to be content, to have joy, to have peace, to be a success, to fall in love, to be a good person, to leave a legacy, one has to make a conscious effort to work towards all of those things. I sincerely believe that it is best to try and fail, than never to have tried at all. So yes, I am now one of those people who make vision boards and make New Year resolutions. This blog was a New Year resolution! Thus in response to the Trifecta challenge, my New Year resolution in three words is:

Keep the faith.


For me, this is not necessarily about religion, it is more about working steadily towards what I want out of life. This is about falling and dusting myself off, it is about banging about trying to make those items on my bucket list come to fruition. Keeping the faith to me is about going through life; one solid purposeful step after another. I hold the keys, I am in charge, I am responsible for my lot in life.

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Written for this week’s Trifextra Writing Challenge:

Michael Hess inspired us with his three word New Year’s resolution – just be nice. We’re asking for your own resolutions in just three words. Make it count; we’ll be checking back in come 2015.

Postcard Perfect

Winter Photos

I went to a performance of Cinderalla in all its romantic mushiness. It was freezing January, and although there was heating in the theatre, I was still cold. I remember leaning into him as he sat next to me. He put his arms around me and rubbed my hands in his. It was a really fun night, and I fell asleep on his shoulder. I am not really sure what it was; was it the brunch and wine I had before the show, or was I just plain tired? After what seemed like a short while later, he woke me up, the show was over but it did not feel like two hours were already gone. We began to walk towards the exit. Once we stepped onto the street, the beauty of it all took my breath away. The trees and streets and rooftops were covered in snow, it was so beautiful. We began the delicate walk back to the bus stop, and I stopped ever so often to take photos of what looked like postcard perfection.

At the bus stop, he took me into his arms while we waited for the bus to come and the world stood still. It was a cold afternoon, but I felt nothing but warmth, love and a gratitude for what was. There was something about that evening, something magical and there was no need for words. He felt it too.

“I love you sweetheart, marry me,” and as I heard those words, everything was perfect.

Before I could respond, I woke up. It was really just a dream. It was the morning after the first and only time I saw snow. It was over 5 years ago in Edinburgh and I had only seen snow in movies and photos. My host called me to tell me about the flakes falling past my window. I ran outside and stood out there for a long time, marvelling at the falling white flakes and the beautiful white carpet that covered the roofs and hedges. Thereafter, I went inside the house, made some hot chocolate and marshmallows, then slid under the covers. I went to bed after that drink and I had that fantastic dream above. Usually, I hardly remember my dreams, but that day, I remembered my snow and hot chocolate induced dream.

This was written in response to Picture writing challenge

“The ONLY “rule” is that you use the picture to make the story (or poem (yes yes ill allow poetry:)), That’s it. I know that there are a good few writers amongst you and I think that I would be really interested on other angles. You don’t even have to do a story as such, it could be a thought, a memory or a feeling that you get from it, basically anything involving words.”

Wedding Blues

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

I watched Ada walk down the aisle, smiling behind her pretty veil at the tall man standing at the foot of the altar. The old church smelt of sweat and prayers, of damp and mildew, the smells of age. She stared straight ahead, walking on the hibiscus petals strewn on the church floor by the flower girls. When she arrived at the foot of the altar, Nkem took her hand and helped her up the stairs.

Ada had insisted on having our old priest who baptised all of us, officiate at the ceremony. He walked with a dignified tremble, and I worried that the chalice would fall from his hand at consecration.

“When Ada and Nkem came to see me about six months ago to discuss their intention, I thought there was something special about them. I have seen many couples in my lifetime, so I know. ” Fr. Obulu began.

I saw her smile and glance at Nkem who took her hand in his and squeezed it, and it occurred to me, as it had occasionally in the six months that they had been engaged, that my bundle of joy arriving in three months, could potentially be his’. I touched my belly, large and perfectly round, wrapped by flowing bridesmaid’s taffeta, and felt light-headed from joy and from shame all at once. So many questions came to my head; what if he turned out to look exactly like Nkem? Someone was bound to notice.

I turned away guiltily as Ada turned and smiled at me. I focused once more on Fr. Obulu’s words.

“… now allow you to speak your vows to each other.”

“I love you Nkem. I love the kindness and honesty with which we belong to each other….” Her voice shook with the intensity of her emotions.

Nkem stood there and smiled like a fastman who had just hit turkey.

I could not take it anymore, I had to speak. So I cleared my throat and raised my hand.


Word Count: 333

Written for this week’s Trifextra Writing Challenge:

This week’s word is: TURKEY

“…three successive strikes in bowling
Remember:
Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
The word itself needs to be included in your response.
You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above…”

Love Never Gets Old: Funmi and Ifeanyi Obi

I went to good old England for a bit in June with my sister. It was the John the Baptist to our trip to Istanbul (more on that soon enough). We went to the UK chiefly to be a part of my brother’s wedding to a wonderful lady. You see, Ifeanyi is not my biological brother, but we grew up together and he’s my family really and vice-versa. What a wedding! What a couple! I cannot wait for the children; seeing as she is a Doctor and he is a chartered Accountant, they will be a brilliant lot. Yes, where I am from, we bug the couple for children from the wedding day, we do not care whether they are ready or not. We are ready!

Anyi and Funmi

_MG_2249

_MG_2320

He told me almost immediately after a few dates with Funmi, a stunning combination of beauty and brains. I was so happy for Ifeanyi, because if anyone deserves to be happy, it is him. He actively searched for someone to share his life with, kissed a few frogs along the way and voila, his princess appeared! She had been right under his nose all this while too. Six weeks after their first date, they packed up and went to the US for their first holiday together. After those 2 weeks, he knew! Of course he was hopelessly in love, and was ready to propose, he just needed the right time. For six months, there were no fights, no arguements! Then he jinxed it by talking about it, and the fights came; although they said it only made them stronger and more aware of how they felt about each other. I believe it was less than one year into the relationship, he bought a ring and sent me the link. Ifeanyi had it all planned out, quite the romantic. He made dinner, she arrived (believing they were just going out for the night) and he popped the question! She said yes, and the rest they say is history. I met Funmi for the first time over Christmas last year, and apart from how stunning she was, I also noticed what a warm spirit she possessed.

The hot groomsmen
The hot groomsmen
Anyi and Funmi
Anyi and Funmi
Couple's first dance
Couple’s first dance

It was a beautiful church ceremony, Funmi stepped into the church; a vision in a beautiful wedding dress that fit her like a glove. London in the last couple of days before June 29th was quite wet and miserable, but on the 29th, it was nice and warm, the sun was out. I did not need a jacket, that’s how I measured the degrees there 🙂
We travelled on to Hertfordshire for the reception. The wedding planner had done a fantastic job, the tables were all laid out, the hall beautifully accented in the colours of the day. There was a names/sitting board outside by the doors to the garden where all the guests stood around in little groups and the waiters passed out glasses of wine and Hors d’oeuvre. I found my name and checked out the names I was sitting next to, not bad! The photos were done, and we went into the reception. I sat with some familiar faces from university as my sister, my +1, had ditched me after church (full story on another day). We had rice, plantain, prawn, beef, chicken, some amazing chocolate cake, it was a feast. They had their first dance, the speeches were done and all took the floor! It was so much merrymaking! I had to drag myself off the dance floor and leave for London as we had a flight to catch to Istanbul at 6am the next morning. The party went on till 2am. What a blast!

The lovely bridesmaids
The lovely bridesmaids
Wedding party
Wedding party
Dance Dance Dance
Dance Dance Dance

Here’s wishing the lovely couple the very best in life. Nothing but the best will do xx

How To Find A Husband

Have you noticed how people equate the success of the female to being married?It does not end at being married; you also have to have children otherwise you are not woman enough. Apparently, the first question people ask my colleagues when they meet me at work or ask my relatives when they meet me back home at holidays when I go to be with my family is:

“Is she married?”

Since the answer is no, they then make sympathetic sounds and tag me.

So, no matter how hard I work, no matter how kind I try to be, to them, am really nothing and cannot be fully happy until I am Mrs. Somebody. Mind you, I have received this feedback only from people who have been “honest” enough to provide it.

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

“Everything good will come.”

That’s how my mum ends her conversations these days. Roughly translated, a good man will come. Don’t get me wrong, I want a good man to come. Indeed am a sucker for love; if it is not mad, passionate, selfless love, am usually not interested as I really suck at playing games and conforming to society’s dictation of how these things should work along gender lines. I believe it’s alright to stay open and keep searching for it. Sometimes, you may think that you have found it and it blows apart in your face, but we keep searching and trying. I have heard some amazing love stories. Who thrives on mediocrity?

However, I have also seen the other side. I have seen it many times, I have almost fallen victim to it; you decide that you are tired of being alone or hearing about it, you develop a checklist, find someone who checks some of the boxes, and then take the plunge. Disaster for the most part; hence the prayers which my mum insists my sister and I say every night.

Am still not sure who nominated my aunt to call, but here are a few tips she shared. I have never been one to hoard useful information, so see if you will find it useful. Since she thought to share it, I thought I would share it in turn.

1. Do not go out at night, a decent girl stays home.

2. Do not be too strong and independent, men like to be needed.

3. You must not have an opinion about politics and the economy. Be submissive.

4. Always wear long wavy weaves. Men do not like natural hair; dreadlocks are particularly detested.

5. Learn to cook very well. Men want a good homemaker.

Dreadlocks
Photo source: http://www.suburbanscooters.com

I asked her if rolling my dreadlocks and putting them down counted as long wavy hair? Then I asked her if making noodles was considered good homemaking ability.

She told me off and hung up.