Saturday, April 29, 2006

When The Pendulum Swings

I would like to take all the credit for this piece, but truth be told, I had some help. Though I had been thinking about this piece, it was not until Dammy Odetola of Michigan came up with the title that I started giving it some serious thought.

As usual, I’m concentrating on Nigerians because I am one, and they are really the ones I know. We as women are quick to talk about all the bad and wrong things men do; especially Nigerian men. Nigerian men are not romantic, Nigerian men are not sensitive, Nigerian men are flirts and cheats, Nigerian men are heart breakers and liars….blah blah blah. Yes, they are all these things (and even much more), but ladies, we have to give it to them, it’s not easy dealing with us. With our hormones constantly going on roller coasters, it’s not easy keeping up with us.

We are as uncomplicated as a two legged table (and you know a two legged table is damn near impossible); just when you think you have gotten it stabilized, it topples and falls. Are Nigerian men unromantic? Well, it depends on whose eyes are looking at it. A typical Nigerian man’s idea of romance will be taking his woman out to the store (not a grocery store, please) and spending a lot of money on her. An American man however will write his woman love poems (that do not include her being the only sugar in his tea or cockroach in his cupboard), buy her flowers, and take her out for romantic dinners, so you see, it all depends.

We as Nigerian women tend to forget the culture differences between us and the American women. Expecting a Nigerian man to be as romantic as the American man is as redundant as a Nigerian man expecting us to be as “sexually open” as the American woman; it’s possible on both sides, but what are the odds? I’m not saying that there are no Nigerian men who are very romantic, or Nigerian women who are sexually uninhibited. We as Nigerian women tend to read in between the lines of what our Nigerian men say; the problem is that sometimes, there aren’t even any lines.

We endlessly complain of how Nigerian men cannot keep their ding-a-lings in their pants, but we are no saints either. We always want to keep committed relationships, or rather be in a relationship with someone who is completely committed to us even though our eyes are constantly outside looking for greener pastures. We feel like “yeah, he’s a great guy, but…I really want to keep my options open; I don’t want to get stuck with the wrong guy.”

But speaking of looking for greener pastures, I am beginning to agree with men that we (women) really do not know what we want. I mean, when you ask a woman what type of man she wants, you would be surprised at the speed that the words would roll off her tongue. But what will actually happen when this ideal man shows up in our life? I’ll tell you what will happen. Most of us will be excited for the first few months about the little things he will do like call us every morning to say ‘good morning, love’, or buy us flowers, but as soon as he stops, we get angry that he has changed. We will talk with our girlfriends and come to the conclusion that all men suck, and they are all the same.

The problem is that another guy would come by and buy us flowers, then without thinking, we would say “this one is different”. Like hell, he is! If every man is the same, why do we always think the next one will be different? If truly we know what we want in a man, then why can’t we recognize it when it comes in a man? Why do we always get excited over the most insignificant things, and leave the more important things yearning for our attention? Why do we always chase after that which is not after us in any shape or form? Why do we want a man to be in love with us and yet complain about him being ‘too in love’ with us? Why do we always leave one guy for the other? What makes us think that the angel we do not know is better than the devil we know?

I met a girl who has a boyfriend that any other woman would be dying to have. He buys her flowers and whisks her away to romantic settings (and yes, he is Nigerian). She went on a four-day trip with her friend and got mad that her single friend was getting all the attention. Well, duh! She was single, was she not? Anyway, she is now drooling over a man who cannot give her even a quarter of what her boyfriend is giving her. I simply do not understand this. What the hell is wrong with us? Do we say what we want but mean the exact opposite?

I know a girl who had a boyfriend that loved her from here to there. He would do just about anything to make her feel better. She said she wanted to be married by 2008, and her boyfriend was more than happy at the news. But how do I begin to explain to you that she temporarily fell out of love with him, and fell in love with someone who already had a girlfriend and said he will not be getting married till at least 2014? She fell for someone who had absolutely nothing but bullshit to offer her. Do we have veils of stupidity hovering over our heads that make us unable to reason rationally? Needless to say, her veil of stupidity has fallen off, and she has come back to her good senses. Can I get an Amen?

I'm not trying to make excuses for indecent behavior(s) on the part of our men, but sometimes I wonder if our men cheat because they want to or because we expect them too. We obsess so much over our men cheating that we do not have the time to celebrate their fidelity. Calling every woman that talks to our man a whore or a bitch will not stop him from cheating if he so desires; the only thing the name calling will do is expose our insecurity. Endlessly slandering an ex-boyfriend/lover/husband and comparing his ill-mannered attitude to every other man (especially our current man) is the best way to say “I’ve got some serious baggage”, and trust me honey, there is nothing attractive about that. Unfortunately, confidence is not a genetic factor; it’s something we learn as we grow, so I suggest you better learn quickly and pass it on to your children.

When the pendulum swings, we realize that the problems we have in relationships do not all rest on the shoulders of the men (even though we may want to believe they do). We are also huge contributors to the trouble, and sadly, we are also benefactors of the disastrous end result(s). It will be in the best interest of everyone involved if we realize what we want and actually mean it; or else, each of us would become “the bride that wasn’t”. A fifty year old man can still find a woman to marry, but a fifty year old woman is considered “shagged out”, and unfortunately, simply considered to be expired. Hey, don’t blame me; I did not make the rules. I’m simply ‘shagging’ them.

Copyright © 2006 Vera Ezimora