Thursday, July 22, 2010

Life's Like That Sometimes

On Tuesday, July 20th 2010, what started out as a short trip to the University of Baltimore, Maryland turned out to be a real eye opener for me. How long its lesson would last is still unknown, but for my sake, I hope it lasts a long time.

The University of Baltimore is the most libertine school in Maryland, as I have been told, and while I loved that bit of information about the school, I did not like its location: Downtown Baltimore. For the past decade, Downtown Baltimore and I have had a hate-hate relationship, and we have not been afraid to make our feelings known.

Having forgotten to take my GPS from my mother, the next best option would have been to print out the directions, but alas, I have also developed a sudden inability to read directions from MapQuest and its likes. I relied, instead, on the directions that my friend, Funmi gave me. There was only one problem: she did not give me everything, and the plan was to call her while I was on my way. I would later find out that that was not a smart decision.

Five unanswered calls later and parked in front of the Wal-Greens on Harford Road and North Avenue, I realized I was screwed.  I had called Funmi for directions, but Funmi was nowhere to be heard. I had no idea what way to go next. I could either go back home or ask around and try to find my way. Having traveled so far, I decided that quitting would not be the best option, so I asked for help. When a slim African American lady parked next to me, I rolled down my window and asked if she knew the way to the University of Baltimore. Oh, she knew the way quite alright; describing it to me was the challenge as the maneuvered her hands from left to right, and from top to bottom, all in an attempt to give me directions. Not once did she mention a street I had to turn on. I thanked her and drove to the nearest gas station for some directions I could use.

The Caucasian man with the overstuffed briefcase knew the way. He told me to make a turn on St. Paul.  I did as he said, and sure enough, the University of Baltimore was right there. However, I was met with yet another challenge: the University was scattered all over the place, it seemed.  Several buildings bore the University of Baltimore flag. I had forgotten to check the name of the exact building I needed to go to. It was at that moment that I parked on the street with both blinkers on and put my Blackberry to good use. As it turned out, I needed to be on West Preston Street.

Frustrated, I drove around Downtown Baltimore, guessing which turn to make every time I got to an intersection, and somehow, convinced that eventually, I would get to West Preston Street. Funny enough, I did get to West Preston Street. Unfortunately, though, I was on the wrong West Preston Street. I would later find out from a cop who was parked on the street that I needed to be on the other West Preston Street. “Go on Maryland Avenue,” he had told me. He told me how to get to Maryland Avenue, and off I went, in search of West Preston Street. It was only while I had driven on Maryland Avenue for a while that I realized he never told me where or how far to drive on Maryland Avenue before I found West Preston Street.

It was the second day of my menstrual cycle (too much information, I know, but I was not nominated TMI Blogger for nothing), and I was starting to suffer the cramps. In the midst of my crankiness, fury, anger, frustration, and regret, I parked my car on Maryland Avenue, and right there, across a parking garage, I overlooked the street sign for Saratoga and decided that maybe I needed to call the University of Baltimore. But before then, I swallowed two Midol pills and drank it down with a bottle of water that had succumbed to the summer heat.

My conversation with the University of Baltimore took approximately ten minutes, and as it turned out, I did not need to drive there after all. As I sat in my car and thought about navigating my way back home, I had to take a moment to first recline my seat and rest a bit. Five minutes later, I was on my way home. I did not know the way, but I hoped that somehow, I would end up at home by the end of the day. It would be another ninety minutes before I actually got home.

My journey took me to Hanover, a place I did not recall ever being to before. Everything was unnecessarily difficult, it seemed – even getting a one dollar McChicken sandwich from McDonald’s was strenuous as I had to drive by three times before I finally got it right. It was the sweating Caucasian man sitting in his brown, humid car outside of Royal Farms that directed me back to I-695. “Just go up this way,” he had said, “Then you’ll go past a bunch of stores and shit,” he continued, and quickly added – after he saw the doubt on my face – “I ain’t gonna lie to you, sweetheart. You’ll see the exit for I-695.”

I took his word for it, and just as he had said, I did find the exit. My joy knew no boundaries at that point. Oblivious to how far away from home I really was, I thought I would start my I-695 journey at about Exit 20 or so. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I realized I was on Exit 7, knowing that I had to drive till Exit 34. Still, I was at peace.

Life is like that sometimes. I knew where I was coming from. I knew where I was going to, but I had no clue how I was going to get there, and I relied only on one source for directions. My source, as I later found out, was fast asleep as I hopelessly dialed and redialed her number. I spent so much time driving around and around, unable to get to where I was going because I had no idea how I was supposed to get there. Some days, I wake up feeling that way about my life.

I know where I want to go. I know what I want to do. I know the many, many dreams I have. I just have no clue how to go about them, and along the way, there have been too many distractions – most of which I welcomed and thought to be friendly.  I was a different person as soon as I hit I-695. I knew without a shadow of doubt that no matter what – in spite of the bumper-to-bumper traffic and the long distance I had to drive, I would reach my destination. It was only then that I remembered to turn on the music, put on my blue sun glasses, and enjoy the ride.

Life is like that sometimes.  Things become incredibly easy the moment we set our feet on the right track. We become very confident of our journey, so no matter what obstacles we may meet on said journey, we laugh and keep pressing on because we know for sure that this road we’re on, leads us directly to our destiny. The hardest part now is finding the White man in his brown humid car, the man who will say to us, “I ain’t gonna lie to you, sweetheart,” and mean his words.  My Pastor calls such a man a Destiny Helper.
Good luck finding your man (or woman).

Vera Ezimora is a writer, blogger, talk radio host, and self proclaimed perpetual laugher.

P. O. BOX 7893
Essex, MD 21221


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Facebook - The 9th Planet

We used to have nine planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto), but Pluto became a dwarf planet (an object in space). Facebook has since taken its position. With over one hundred and fifty million active members, Facebook has earned its place in the world of legendary planets. The only difference between Facebook and the other planets is that Facebook is virtual…and like all virtual worlds, it is full of surprises.

I was never going to join Facebook. I just thought it strange and unnecessary. Eventually, I joined for the sake of networking, or at least, that is what I told myself. Since joining Facebook a little over a year ago, I have found some old friends I never thought I would find again, and I have made some new ones too. I currently have two thousand, six hundred and eighty-two friends on Facebook. The weird thing is that I did not receive two thousand, six hundred and eighty-two perfumes (or Range Rovers) on my birthday. I really do not like this friendship. It is not quite beneficial to me – at least, not in the way I would prefer.

But like I stated earlier, strange (and funny) things happen on Facebook. In the profile section, every member has the option of declaring his/her relationship status. Your status could either be single, in a relationship, engaged, married, in an open relationship, or the funniest one of all, ‘It’s complicated.’ Facebook goes further to give you the option of declaring the person with whom you are in a relationship. For example, Joe’s profile might say, “In a relationship with Mary,” and Mary’s profile will say vice versa.

I can understand why a person’s relationship status might be single, in a relationship, engaged, or married. I can even try to understand (more like accommodate) a person’s relationship status being ‘In an open relationship.’ But why will a person’s relationship status be ‘It’s complicated?’ What exactly is complicated? Does it mean ‘we are divorced but still playing husband and wife?’‘we own a home together and have six children but are not married?’ Does it mean ‘I kinda sorta got my wife’s younger sister pregnant?’ Or worse, does it mean ‘I’m pregnant for him and I just found out we are first cousins?’ Do not tell me it means ‘my boyfriend does not know I used to be a man.’ Seriously, what does ‘It’s complicated’ mean?

No matter how complicated it really is, why does Facebook need to know? It has been quite a little while since I have been in a so-called relationship, so perhaps, I have forgotten how it is done. Pardon me for thinking that having a ‘It’s complicated’ status on Facebook will further complicate things. What do I know anyway? I am just a girl who owns a laptop and an imaginative mind. It becomes even funnier (and troubling, of course) when a person’s relationship status moves from ‘In an open relationship’ to ‘It’s complicated.’ One begins to wonder what might have happened. Did one partner decide to have a close relationship? Is one partner having a baby with someone – other than the one whom he/she is in an open relationship with? Has one partner caught a sexually transmitted disease and now unable to figure out where it came from? The possibilities are endless!

Speaking of relationships, Facebook does the most dramatic thing when a person’s relationship status changes. It is so dramatic that sometimes I am so sure that Facebook must have some Nigerian blood in it. When a person’s relationship status changes from being in a relationship (or married) and becomes single, Facebook alerts all the person’s friends. Example, it will tell everyone that “Joe is no longer listed as ‘In a relationship.” But that is not where it ends. It goes further to add a broken heart next to Joe’s name. Most of my Facebook friends are Nigerians, so you know they cannot help but be dramatic. People start leaving comments like “Oh, don’t worry Joe, your own will come…” or “Eyaa, poor you. Hope you’re coping sha…” or “What happened? I thought you were ready to pop the question.” Someone might even say, “Don’t tell me you got dumped again!” These comments never cease to tickle me. But what makes people (and Facebook for that matter) think that the end of a relationship means a broken heart? Is it not possible that the end of the relationship spells freedom and joy for Joe? Or maybe I am the only one who experienced that.

On the contrary, when a person’s relationship status suddenly becomes attached (in a relationship, engaged, married, etc), Facebook puts a heart – not a broken one this time – next to the person’s name. Of course, the busy bodies are always there to comment again. “Oh, congratulations, Mary! Who is the lucky fellow?” or “Ah, me too, I go love oh!” Once in a while, you will find an ignorant one like “Ah, ah, Mary, you’re in a relationship already? This babe, you no dey waste time o!” Now, I have to wonder; does being attached mean the person is in love or happy? The person might have just made a grave mistake by accepting to be in the relationship. But then again, maybe I am the only one who experienced that also.

Still on the topic of relationships, I have heard horror stories of people’s partners (husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends) being stolen on Facebook. I cannot say I am surprised. I do not think there is anything wrong with putting pictures of one and his/her partner on Facebook, but remember that one hundred and fifty million people may be watching. So before you embark on such a treacherous journey, it is imperative that your relationship is solid. When I say solid, I mean SOLID – not the we-just-met-yesterday-and-we-feel-like-we’ve-known-each-other-forever kind of solid. I mean the I-know-how-many-times-he-breathes-in-a-minute kind of solid – although some might call that obsession. It only starts with one friend poking your partner, and before you know it, all three of you are in a ‘It’s complicated’ status. All it takes is a poke. In retrospect, of course, only people who want to be stolen can be stolen. That is my story, and I am sticking to it.

Do you know that Facebook is also a proof of love, pride, and commitment in a relationship? Picture this: girl wants to ‘go public’ on Facebook, and boy does not want to. All of a sudden, girl begins to bear grudges against boy and overanalyze everything he does. Why does he not want to go public? Is he ashamed of her? Does he have someone else? Is he not committed? Does he not love her? Well, maybe he just does not want his business on Facebook. But girl refuses to see things this way, so she gives boy an ultimatum: either you declare our relationship on Facebook, or we are done. Cruel, cruel world, I tell you.

Facebook – God bless its heart – also wants to know if its users are interested in men or women. You have the option of picking one, both, or none. I have picked none. I am shocked to see how many people have indicated interest in both men and women. Does this mean that so many people do not understand what is being asked of them and therefore do not realize the implications of their response, or do we just have a rising number of bisexuals? Either problem is disturbing as it is bewildering. In spite of its obvious lack of sense, I will go ahead and believe that Facebook malfunctioned and mistakenly assigned both sexes to so many people. Honestly, that helps me sleep better at night.

Need false validation? Facebook is the place to get it. This is why girls who have been fearfully and wonderfully made by God constantly feel the need to post half naked pictures of themselves on Facebook. They put the pictures up and leave nauseating descriptions like, “I know I look hot.” Sex-starved men creep by, take a peek, and write what the girls want to read: “You go, baby girl! You look so sexy. I wish I could take you home right now.” The ignorant girl responds with a capital “LOL. Thanks!” Everyone else who has a functioning brain looks at the picture and virtually spits in disgust. Why do people leave false compliments on Facebook? Why tell a girl who obviously looks like she has just been used for a money ritual that she looks edible? Edible to whom? Vultures? A pack of wild animals? A ferocious beast? I wonder.

I have been told to never assume things, but I cannot help but assume that anyone who is on Facebook wants to be found. If that is the case, what then is the point of being on Facebook and changing your name every few weeks according to your mood in the morning? People that already have you as a friend on Facebook will find it difficult to find you; people that do not already have you as a friend will never find you. I assume, once again, that people who engage in this must not know the enormity of the confusion they cause for people like me. But then again, maybe I just do not understand the ways of the Facebook Citizens. Perhaps, I am still just a resident.

Anything and everything that can have a group and should not have a group has a group on Facebook. I have been invited to join the most ridiculous groups on Facebook. Out of courtesy and respect (and fear of being beaten up), I will not mention any. I have to wonder though; must there be a group for everything? Before one forms a group (virtual or not), it is imperative – in my opinion – to have an aim. One should not form a group just because the world wide web provides the unlimited space for it. I realize that some of these groups are for fun, but a lot of them were born out of the creator’s boredom – which is why you hardly see even the owner of the group participating in it. The poor group dies a slow, unnatural – though predestined – death before it gets a chance to even be ill. Such is life.

Everything happens on Facebook. People meet on Facebook. People fall in love on Facebook. People reconnect on Facebook. People get introduced by mutual friends on Facebook. Hearts get broken on Facebook. Hearts get mended on Facebook. Money is made on Facebook. Money is lost on Facebook. Spouses are stolen on Facebook. Fame is acquired on Facebook. Virtual fights break out on Facebook. Cheats get caught on Facebook. Employers spy on their employees on Facebook. Lunatics and psychopaths stalk people on Facebook. From the way things are going, I expect that people will soon start getting pregnant on Facebook. I shudder to think of the kind of virtual community my future children will belong to. I doubt if I will still be on Facebook by then. I even doubt if Facebook will still be in existence. By the time my future children are old enough to belong to a virtual community, Facebook must have gone to Virtual Planet Heaven. Or maybe Virtual Planet Museum. Unless, of course, the future will give birth to strange children who will join virtual planets at age one, write novels at age three, and – heaven forbid – get married at age five.

Ah, the possibilities...!


P. O. BOX 7893
Essex, MD 21221
United States of America
Does it mean

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dear Saint Valentine

Dear Saint Valentine,

I have a problem. A BIG problem. Your anniversary is on a Saturday. A Saturday! For the past few years, I have been able to come up with the perfect excuse for why I did not do anything special i.e. romantic on Valentine’s Day: it was a week day; I was busy. I was on the phone with a friend the other day and she happened to mention that Valentine’s Day was on a Saturday, to which I answered – without thinking obviously – “Oh, that’s great!” Then it struck me. What was so great about Valentine’s Day being on a Saturday? The mere thought of it makes me feel like I am breaking out in shingles.

Some years ago, Valentine’s Day was on a Monday. As usual, I had no plans, and I did not feel bad either – thank God for the huge exam I had that morning. As far as I was concerned, the only reason why I was not out having a lovely moment with a loved one was because it was a Monday. Who cared if there was no loved one to actually have a lovely time with? No one had to know the truth. But I came home that day overwhelmed by all the love-struck people I saw along the way. People had huge red and pink balloons in their cars, blocking their vision – and mine. The cold weather did not deter lovers from standing at bus stops and swapping spit, all in the name of kissing. God, I wished I was swapping spit with someone.

Desperate times have always called for desperate measures, so in my loneliness – dare I say, desperation – I did the unthinkable. I sent a ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ text message to a little coward who appeared in the form of a human being and called itself a man. I did not know then what I saw in it. Now that time has passed, I really, really do not know what I saw in it. It is amazing the heights a girl will climb to avoid loneliness on Valentine’s Day. My love for meat made me call a cow my brother, but you see, it just goes to show that your anniversary does bad things to good people. I needed company (even if it was on the phone), dear Saint Valentine, so please do not judge me. Alright, fine. You can judge me. I made a dumb move. If I could do it all over again, I would rather count the hairs on my head than send that text message. But I digress.

I was wondering if you, dear lovely Saint Valentine, could talk to the people – whoever they are – who made the calendar and have them do one of two things. They could either reschedule your anniversary for another day (like Monday, and this time, I promise not to do anything foolish), or they could assign you a completely new anniversary date (although I do love your anniversary being exactly one month after mine). Another option – one that I actually prefer – is for you to find me something fun to do – with someone, that is.

If there were a way for me to avoid going to stores like Wal-Mart where aisles and aisles are coated with pink and red – all things Valentine, I would. I am not quite sure how you intended for people to celebrate your anniversary, but newsflash…only the passionate lovers get a kick out of it. In spite of what the Hallmark and Mahogany cards may want us to believe, your anniversary is not a day for brotherly and sisterly love to be rewarded and/or exhibited. Your anniversary has little to no tolerance for agape love. It is all about passionate, romantic love – an area where I am currently dangerously deficient in.

If you know as much about love as history portrays that you do, then you should know that being deficient in passionate, romantic love can lead to destructive behaviors – like texting certain people one would otherwise not have texted. Other adverse effects of not having this type of love on Valentine’s Day include clutching one’s stuffed animal a little too tightly, crying for every movie, commercial, and greeting card, seriously envying every couple, eating a whole bucket of ice cream, and worst of them all, calling that person you swore you would never call unless hell froze over and the angels used it as a skating ring.

But come the morning of February fifteenth, one begins to bombard herself with the what-have-I-done question. She knows what she has done; she just wishes it was a nightmare. But alas, it is not. It is then she realizes that on the fourteenth of February, she sunk to rock bottom. And then, she sunk some more. That is what happens when one does not have love on Valentine’s Day. Yes, she begins to send text messages to people that go against her natural gradient – a perfect recipe for a future disaster, I tell you.

I could tell you that I do not care if I celebrate the day alone, but I would be lying to you. I could tell you that I would love to spend the day with family and friends, but that would be a big, fat lie too. Should I tell you then that I would rather spend it with someone but not just anyone? I guess I could tell you that, but you should know that already by now, dear Saint Valentine.

Valentine’s Day is a day meant for lovers. We may kid ourselves all we want and say otherwise.
We may say, ‘Why do I have to pick a special day to show my love? I show my love everyday.’ That may be so, but we are humans. We need special days in our lives. That is why Sunday is the Sabbath day. Does that mean we do not praise God every other day? That is why we have our birthdays. Does that mean we do not grow old every other day? And what about Christmas? Does that mean Christ’s birth is not celebrated every other day? So you see, special days are important because sometimes we forget and get carried away. The special day reinforces what we already know. Who does not need a little reinforcement in the form of a hand-written love note? Yummy.

That being said, I would prefer spending Valentine’s Day loving and being loved. The alternative is organizing and attending a solo event which will be called the Singles Awareness Conference – just in case you have forgotten you are single, let this day serve as a reminder. My friend, Funmi gladly suggested that we should stay home and order some pizza, after which we would head to Cold Stone Creamery to have some creamy ice cream. I sternly declined her offer. I refuse to spend this Valentine’s Day with her – especially at Cold Stone where love-struck couples will stand in line for some heart-shaped cakes while they nibble on each other’s lips, suck on each other’s tongues, and whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears – to my detriment. No way. I would rather watch a tree grow.

So you see, Saint Valentine, I need your help. It is not as if I have ever asked you for anything before – except for that time I asked you for a nice, honest man. Come to think of it, that was the year you sent me that counterfeit, the one that downed kegs of Guinness Stout every day and prided himself in his alcohol tolerance, only to end up driving recklessly and acquiring two speeding tickets in one night. Ah, common sense is not so common after all. What a waste of my time that was. Did I mention that already? But everyone deserves a second chance, so I will give you a second chance to prove yourself, Saint Valentine.

Dear Saint Valentine, what I am asking is that you should make my Valentine worthwhile. Make it unforgettable. Make it pleasant. Make it fun. Make it Verastic.

P.S. In spite of what I might have said about Wal-Mart, I actually love those dancing, singing stuffed animals. Too cute.

P.P.S. The singing cards are especially adorable. Especially the big Hallmark one that sings, “Wild thing! You make my heart sing…!”

P.P.P.S. I may have thought about it, but I have never, ever stoned a couple that I have seen locked in a passionate kiss. I have only wished to be locked in one too.

P.P.P.P.S. If you decide to be kind to me and send me someone to give me a Verastic Valentine, please make sure he gets the memo: I do not care to receive a box of chocolates.

P.P.P.P.P.S. But if he really, really likes chocolate, then who am I to say no? I shall oblige him – even if for a day.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Do people still send hand-written love notes? If they do, have him send one to me. I would love to reply. I happen to have a nice, readable hand-writing – if I do say so myself.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. The thought of swapping spit with someone, having my lips nibbled on, my ribs tickled, my neck sucked on, and my body being engulfed in one’s warm embrace is not repulsive at all – neither does it make me break out in a rash. If anything, I welcome it.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. I really do love Valentine, dear Saint Valentine.

P. O. BOX 7893
Essex, MD 21221
United States of America


Monday, December 22, 2008

Date Me Jeje, Date Me Tender

I have never, ever been on a date. For someone who can describe a perfect date even while in the middle of REM sleep, it is rather appalling that I have never, ever been on a date. I have ‘hung out’ with guys, and I have been ‘taken out’ by guys, but I have never, ever been on a date. I do not think I have ever had a man say to me, “Let me take you out on a date.” If a man has said that, then there is only one reason why I cannot remember it: going on a date with him would have been a waste of my time and his. Either that or he asked for a date as if he was doing me a favor. He might have said something like, “Don’t worry, I’ll take you out on a date.”

I have never, ever gone out on that date - that one where the dashing young man who is crazy about me just cannot wait to come and whisk me away from my house. We set our date for seven PM, but he shows up at six fifty-nine. He does not stay downstairs and blow his horn like a taxi cab. He does not call my cell phone and say, “I’m downstairs. Hurry up, I’m double-parked.” He comes to meet me upstairs with a surprise – not a bouquet of flowers. Flowers are wonderful, but they have become lazy gifts – the thoughtless things you give because you are too lazy to think of something thoughtful.

He comes instead with something different – like a pack of starburst candy. It can be gotten for ninety-nine cents at the gas station, and it is my favorite candy. Or maybe he comes with that little paper that is tucked inside a fortune cookie – the one that tells one’s alleged fortune. I love those too. Maybe he comes with something blue (like nail polish); blue is my favorite color. What about a funny Nigerian movie? The simplest things in life can sometimes bring the biggest joy.

So he comes upstairs looking suave. He is not wearing a pair of extra-tight jeans that is squeezing the life out of his crotch, and neither is he wearing a pair of jeans that looks like it is begging to reach the ground. He’s dressed in a semi-formal way. We do not have to have the regular date which is dinner and a movie. In fact, I would prefer that we do not have the regular date. We could catch a play instead. If the weather is warm and time permits, we could go ride those little bumper cars. We could go listen to some soulful poetry. And I bet no one ever thought of this, but we could go to church. What better foundation to lay than God? Recently, church has been one of the best places I have attended.

After the date, he will take me home and walk me back to my house. He will not lurk around and hope for a nightcap, and he will not guilt me into asking him to spend the night by asking to see my album and then beginning to yawn in the middle of it while saying, “Boy, I’m so tired. I hope I don’t have an accident on the road and die.” He will not attempt to steal a kiss; this action has not worked out well for his predecessors. Many have tried, and just as many have failed.

He will instead give me a hug – one that says I-had-a-nice-time-and-I-hope-we-can-do-this-again-soon. He will proceed to plant a warm kiss on each eye. Kisses on the cheeks are so ordinary; I would rather have my eyes kissed. He may, if he wishes, stare at me for an uncalculated amount of time until I blush and flash him a smile, revealing my vote of confidence in him. He will then smile too and scratch his head - the scratch that says this-babe-is-scattering-my-head. And then, he will leave.

He will call me on his way home to thank me for such a fantastic date. I would decline his thanks and say that he owes me no thanks. I will thank him instead. For a few minutes, we will argue over who should thank who. We will agree to disagree. I will get off the phone and let him concentrate on his driving. As soon as I get off the phone, I will smile from ear to ear – the kind of smile I will not be caught doing while taking a picture. He will call me when he gets home to tell me he has gotten home. We will talk till two or three or four in the morning about anything, everything, and nothing. We will say our goodnights; I will fall asleep with the phone on my chest and dream dreamy dreams of my date. That is the kind of date I am talking about. I have never, ever been on a date like that – or anything remotely close to it. But obviously, I have had plenty of time to imagine it.

These days, when men say they want to take you out on a date, they are already calculating how much you will have to pay them back in kind. I believe that taking a girl out on a date is not a necessity, nor is it a law. Whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well. If you must take her out on a date, do it right. What exactly is the point of taking a girl out and then asking her at the end of the date if she will come back to your place? Seriously, what the heck is that about? I find it rather insulting, and not to mention, amusing. But I cannot blame the men completely anyway. Some of us have been found to be flattered by such derogatory statements. That being said, I could not care less about anyone’s date right now. What I care about is mine – the one I have never been on.

Is it not a bit problematic that at my age, I have never been on a date? It is days like this one that make me wonder if my fears and preconceived notions are true: are there really no Nigerian or at least African men on E-Harmony dot com? That website has promised to match me on twenty-nine different dimensions of compatibility. That is a whole lot more than what I have been able to do for myself. And what about Match dot com? Dr. Phil has told me that it is okay to look there. So I have looked – but just at their home page. I am not quite ready to divulge into anything else yet. Chemistry dot com has vowed to find me a person who will make me go weak in the knees. Now, that is the kind of passion I want!

When I go on a date like the aforementioned one, I will have officially been on a date. But who will be brave enough to not only date me jeje, but also date me tender? That is the trillion-dollar question. This cannot be the conclusion of this story. I must come back and write about how I was jejely and tenderly dated. All I need to figure out now is the title of the upcoming write-up. Allow me, however, to end this one like a Nigerian movie: To God Be The Glory. Watch Out For Part II.

P. O. BOX 7893
Essex, MD 21221
United States of America


Sunday, October 26, 2008

The First Impression

…is a lasting impression. The sooner you learn that the first impression you make on a woman is a lasting – and possibly perpetual – impression, the better for you.

In the event that you meet a woman you would like to know better, there are a few things you should keep in mind. There are three phases to this: the pre-meeting phase, the meeting phase, and the post-meeting phase.

Pre-meeting phase: At no point in your life are you sure of what will happen in the next second. Therefore, it is imperative that you plan accordingly and expect the unexpected. Sure, you do not think you will meet a girl at the mechanic shop, but what if you do? That being said, keep the following in mind:

1. A funky man is not a sexy man. Did you know our sense of smell is our strongest one? How can she take you seriously when your stench is clogging up her lungs? You should endeavor to smell good at all times. This is not an impossible task. I do not ask that you shower in cologne that will cause her to wheeze and suffer from symptoms of bronchitis; I do, however demand that you brush your teeth before leaving the house. Some kind of working deodorant will not hurt either.

2. Nobody – and I do mean NOBODY – looks good chewing gum. Whether your mouth is open or close while chewing has no bearing. Whether you chew or suck the gum does not matter either. Do not be caught leaving your house with a piece of gum in your mouth. Chewing gum while talking to her is a major distraction to her.

3. We are in the 21st century. In this century, you do not beckon on a woman by making kissing sounds as if you are calling out to Bingo, your dog. In this century, you do not get a woman’s attention by doing the ‘pssst!’ thing; for goodness sake, you are not in third grade hollering at your boys. You do not whistle at her as if you are flagging down an okada. And you most certainly do not guess her name by her complexion. Just because she is light-skinned does not mean her name is Chichi or Amaka. Lastly, you may think it is cute, but licking your lips as you stare at a woman like she’s a piece of steak or suya is very disgusting, and it sends all kinds of mixed signals.

Meeting Phase: So you have spotted the girl, and you think you would like to get to know her better. You look good; you smell good; life is good. Sometimes, it is not easy thinking of what to say when you approach her. Calm down; it’s okay. If you cannot think of what to say, please think of what not to say.

1. No hanky-panky please. If you want to know if she is single, ask her. Approaching her with cheesy lines like “I cannot believe your boyfriend let you come here all by yourself,” is as dumb as it is annoying. What if she agrees with you and says she cannot believe her boyfriend let her come there alone? What then becomes of you?

2. Contrary to popular belief, flattery will not get you everywhere. Only the right flattery will get you everywhere. Complimenting a light-skinned lady as ebony will not score you any brownie points. And if you are not sure of the color of her eyes, please reserve your right to not compliment them. Hazel eyes are not brown eyes. They never have been; they aren’t now, and they never will be.

3. The truth does not always set you free. You must not say everything that comes to your mind. It may be hard to believe, but some things are better left unsaid. Yes, Dakore has a striking resemblance to Bob-Manuel Udokwu, but must you say it? If the lady you are interested in happens to look like Dakore, please do not tell her that she reminds you of Bob-Manuel. Bob-Manuel is not a bad looking man by any stretch of the word, but no woman wants to remind a man of another man. It is as troubling as it is painful. That being said, Dakore remains a very beautiful woman.

4. Say what you mean and mean what you say. There is a trend going on in the boy-meets-girl world. I call it the he-screwed-up-at-the-last-minute trend. There are countless demons in the world, but I am yet to figure out which one possesses a man to screw up in such a way. I want to know why a man, after approaching a girl, successfully having small talk with her, making her laugh, and acquiring her ‘digits’ would say to her, “Call me sometime, okay? We can hang out.” Why, oh, why would you lay the burden of calling on her? This may seem small to you, but on our planet (Venus), this is a major offense, and it is punishable by permanent deletion of your number from our phonebook, or the movement of your number to the do-not-answer group. Look at it this way: if she wanted to call you, she would have asked for your number one way or another. You do not ask a lady for her number and then tell her to call you.

Post-Meeting Phase: You have survived the pre-meeting phase and the meeting phase; do not screw up in the post-meeting phase. You have come too far to end it. There is light at the end of the tunnel, gentlemen --- if you keep it up.

1. Do not make a career out of calling. All things being equal, the day you meet a girl and successfully excite her, you leave footprints in her memory. The thing about footprints is that time washes them away. The longer you take to call, the fainter your footprints will become. If you are not there to make more prints, you will be demoted from ‘Luke, the funny guy I met at the bar’ to ‘some guy.’ In other words, you may be nice, but you are still very forgettable, trust me. If you do not want to be actually forgotten, call within no more than forty-eight hours, or else you will become a faceless name in her phonebook.

2. Limit the phone calls. If you call her and she does not pick up, leave a message and wait for her to call you back. If she says she will call you back, wait for her to call you back. If you do not hear from her for days, you can call her again, but please wait at least twenty-four hours before you do so. If she has a habit of not picking up or returning your calls, cut her off. Any woman who wants to call a man will never be too busy to do just that. Badgering her with phone calls raises red flags. There is a thin line between an enthusiastic admirer and a crazy phone stalker. You do not want to be identified as the latter.

3. Pick a date. Keep the date. Assuming you called her at the right time and you both finally picked a day for your date, make sure you agree on a date that works for you...and keep the date! Cancelling your first date is like cancelling an interview for a highly competitive job: the rescheduled interview (if there is one) is a steeper hill to climb. Keep in mind that just because you are not calling her does not mean no one else is calling her. In order words, make hay while the sun shines. If you must cancel, it better be because you are trapped in a whale’s stomach – or something like that.

4. Save the drama. There are countless things to talk about on your first date. Your psychotic ex who slashes your tires and sabotages all your potential relationships should not be one of them. Save the doggie-style-is-my-favorite-sex-position conversation for a dozen dates later. And while we are on the subject of sex, please refrain from the how-many-people-have-you-had-sex-with conversation. You can always have that conversation some other time – like never.

***When you do have that successful date, please feel very free to send me a bottle of perfume (like Pour Femme by Bvlgari) as a thank-you gift***

DISCLAIMER: If you follow all the rules and things still don’t work out, please forward all your complaints to God. Unlike me, He’s available 24/7.

P. O. BOX 7893
Essex MD 21221
United States of America


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Poles Apart

Have you ever had a phone conversation with a man you have never met, but whose voice you find irresistible? Even when he says a word as simple as “Hmm,” (which technically isn’t even a word), you simply cannot get enough of it. Everything about his voice is fascinating. You cannot quite place your finger on it, but you know that you do not mind hearing his voice right before you sleep and hearing it again as soon as you wake up. His voice is just … just so entrancing. Have you ever had a man with that kind of voice talk to you? I have.

Is it not simply amazing when you see a man who is as fine as fine could ever get? White dentures, no bournvita stains. He has that Colgate smile. His hair is cut low and neat like a military man. He looks darn good, and he knows it too. Everyday you see him, he looks like he is wearing his best outfit. He looks so good that you have sometimes forgotten yourself in the process of watching him. Everything about him betrays his opulence. My God, he is scrumptious. He walks the walk, but does he talk the talk? Certainly, a man like this must have that captivating voice, right? Eager to know, you approach him and strike a casual conversation with him. You say – more like ask, “It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?”

He looks at you, smiles that expensive smile, and says, “Oh yes, it’s a beaurriful day.” Not wanting to believe you heard what you just heard, you ask him, “What did you say?” With confidence and a million dollar smile, he repeats, “I said it’s a beaurriful day.” But how could such an epitome of visual perfection pronounce beautiful as beaurriful? Surely, it must not have been him. Unfortunately, it was indeed him. Apparently, a person’s looks can be poles apart from the words that exit his mouth. Not wanting to believe he is as dumb as he sounds, you continue the conversation, hoping it will get better.

Did he just ask you if you are Yoruba or Igbo after you told him you are from Ondo State? Yes.

Did he just ask you if you were born in London or in UK? Yes.

Did he just tell you he needs a glass of ‘warer?’ Yes.

And yes, he just said the humidity is hot.

Do not tell me I am the only one who has experienced this.

It feels a lot better when you see a guy who is forgettable. He looks like an average Joe, nothing special. But the moment he opens his mouth, you need not wonder just how high his IQ is. He speaks English like he invented the language. Who knew that English could make you feel all girly inside? He makes you feel like enrolling in English 101 again. Who cares if you are a grad student?

When the case is reversed and you see a good-looking man who looks like he just stepped out of the cover of a GQ magazine, the last thing you want is for him to sound like an Onitsha trader, throwing in at least one ‘nna men’ in every statement he makes. You cannot help but wonder how such a man got into such clothes. It is a mystery, I know.

Of course, this problem does not discriminate against any gender. Men are just as susceptible to having the shocker of their lives. As a man, you may see a woman whom you swear is Halle Berry’s twin. Her hair is beautiful. Her skin is flawless; she looks like Mac used her face to create ‘pancake’ for women. She’s got the high cheek bones, the hypnotizing eyes, the small waist, big hips, powerful ass, and of course, kissable lips and touchable tits (excuse my French, but I needed to rhyme).

So you take her along with you as your date to your ex’s wedding. You need to show your ex that you have moved on, and are now with someone more beautiful. You are now with someone who beats her hands down. In the reception hall, women stare at your date; men gawk at her. In fact, you could swear you saw your ex, the bride, rolling her eyes at her. Amongst the other women, your date looks like a rose in a field of green grass. Men seem to be quietly begging you to tell them the koko – how did you win this chic over? You are the man. She’s perfect. You’re perfect. Life is perfect. You smile the smile of a confident, self-assured man. Only winners can smile that type of smile. And you are a winner, right?

Dinner comes along. Your mouth drops open and hangs open for an uncalculated amount of time.

Is that your date licking – more like sucking - the egwusi soup off her fingers? Yes.

Is she doing it with all the sound effects too? Yes.

Is that your ex, the bride laughing at your date? Yes.

Did she just stain your white tuxedo shirt with soup? Yes.

Is she chewing (and sucking) that meatless bone? Yes.

Did she just hit the bone on the ceramic plate to force out everything inside the bone? Yes.

In public? Yes.

Are all eyes on you? Oh, yessss.

Thus goes the cycle of life: everyone is missing something. The good-looking man and sharp dresser does not have the voice. The man with the voice looks like a village headmaster. What is a girl to do? Of course, there is always that guy who has both the looks and the voice, but he has no words. He’s a beautiful man with a beautiful voice and ugly words. Well, the words themselves are not ugly; it is the sound of them that is ugly.

Have you ever heard a sexy, baritone voice that sounds like he just erupted from the village square? He’s got the voice, but no words. What a waste! Even when he is speaking English, he still sounds like he is speaking Yoruba. All the words that start with ‘h’ (like house, horse, etc) have somehow managed to exit his mouth without the ‘h,’ so they now sound like ‘ouse’ and ‘orse’. Instead, he has decided to put the ‘h’ in front of every word that starts with a vowel. He pronounces ‘earring’ as ‘hearring,’ which now makes it sound like ‘hearing.’ As you can imagine, this can complicate things tremendously, especially for those whot are not aware of what is going on. It is fair to say that the ‘h’ has been lost in transition. The Igbo ones, on the other hand, are very good at changing the pronunciation and syllables of words. ‘Make’ is often pronounced as ‘mek,’ and ‘did’ is often pronounced as ‘didi.’

Countless disappointments have thought me to expect nothing. Not having any expectation means not having to deal with any disappointment that is likely to follow through. I should say, however that I would rather hear a beautiful voice and be disappointed by the look than see a beautiful man and be disappointed by his voice. Somehow, it is easier to get over the look. As people begin to grow on you, they begin to look good. And it makes a lot of sense because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This explains why no one ever thinks that his or friend is not good-looking. But how does one begin to fall in love with a voice that is sure to send him/her to an early grave? Well, either an early grave or prison – for killing the owner of the annoying voice.

If you ask me, I would say this is just one of God’s many ways of being funny. The man’s sense of humor is uncanny. I have never met anyone quite like Him. I maintain that He is the funniest Man ever. No one else in history has set a judgment date that everyone must attend, and yet refused to tell anyone the date. Simply amazing, I tell you.

P. O. BOX 7893
Essex, MD 21221
United States


Monday, May 05, 2008

By Their Looks, You Shall Know Them

There is something about a Nigerian woman that makes it impossible to not spot her. She may be properly dressed (and I use the word ‘properly’ sparingly), but there is just something about her that is very Nigerian. It is in the way she looks. There are so many aspects to this, but I will try to tackle them all.

I will start with the aspect that bothers me the most: the eyebrows. Seriously, is there a rule that says it is wrong for women to keep their eyebrows? What is up with shaving it off completely and replacing it with eye pencil streaks? As if that is not bad enough, these streaks come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are thin and curvy; they even go so high that they are almost touching her hair line. Some are thick; they make her look like an angry witch. Some are straight and thin; they are so straight that they look like they have been drawn with a ruler. For goodness sake, who came up with the idea of straight eyebrows? They’re ugly and unnatural. I must mention however, that some drawn-on eyebrows do not look so bad, but more often than not, they look terrible.

While the size and shape of the eyebrows are scary enough, some people also feel the need to paint them. I do not understand the logic behind having red, burgundy, or gold eyebrows. I can understand the need to match your shoes, hand bags, jewelries, and make-up to your outfit, but why must your eyebrows compliment your outfit too? And while I am on the subject of eyes, I would like to make it clear to all Nigerian women – regardless of your complexion – that black women do not have blue eyes! Apparently, contact lenses are now part of our Ankara and Swiss laces. Yes, your eyes must now match your outfit. What happens when your outfit is pink or purple? Do they make contact lenses in those colors?

What about the hair? Why do Nigerian women think they look good with bright blonde wigs and weaves? A light skinned woman hardly looks good with a blonde weave, but a dark skinned woman looks worse. The embarrassing thing about the blonde weaves and wigs is that the women wearing it never wear it well – not that wearing it well will make it look good on them. What exactly is the point of wearing a blonde wig when your black hair is clearly visible under it? And maybe I am dense, but I cannot comprehend the sense in having pitch black hair and attaching a blonde synthetic pony tail on it. On a serious note, how does this work?

I want to address the issue of clothes a little bit. When it comes to pants (trousers), Nigerian women seem to think that all pants have to sit above their navels. Not only are these pants sitting high, but they are also afraid of touching the ground. In other words, they are always ‘jump up’ pants. Somebody needs to tell our women that it is not okay to wear white socks (or any kind of socks for that matter) with open-toe shoes. It is also not permissible to wear knee-high panty hose with a skirt that does not reach your knees. And if the elastic band in your knee-high panty hose is no longer elastic, please throw them away! Wal-Mart sells four pairs of knee-high panty hoses for only one dollar!

When it comes to jewelry, there has to be a rule that one must wear all her rings to any single event. I do not know why Nigerian women wear at least one ring on each finger, and these rings are huge and expensive. Oh, and also very ugly. If she does not wear all her rings at one time, she will not feel complete. If she does not wear a huge, ugly, expensive necklace, she will not be able to breathe well. She must always adorn her beautiful body with as much jewelry as it can handle.

Have you ever met those women that cannot seem to let go of their youth? After much observation and deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that the problem is not that they cannot let go of their youth, but rather that during their youth, they did not have much fun. I think they must have lived somewhere in the village during their youth, and all of a sudden, like a jack in a box, they have been let out and released into the city life – whatever that may be. Why else will grown women be dressed like teenagers? What is the essence of putting on a five hundred dollar lace and accessorizing it with colorful plastic jewelry from the dollar store? What is the sense in a voluptuous, curvy woman forcing herself into a pair of red skinny jeans and wearing it with those Italian shoes they usually wear with the laces? Why, oh why will a woman who has had five children and breasts that have succumbed to gravity feel the need to leave the house without a bra?

Make-up is a beautiful thing – when done right. There is no rule that says every woman must apply blush on her cheeks. But if she chooses to, does she have to look like she stuck a very red slice of pepperoni on each cheek? Must the eye shadow also extend into and beyond the eye brows? Must she really use the eye pencil to create cat eyes – or the pitiful equivalent of it? Must her lipstick really come in unnatural colors like purple and lime green?

When it comes to foundation (alias ‘pancake’), some of our Nigerian women seem to think that everything that can be applied must be applied. That is why they first start with the liquid foundation. From there, they take it one step up to the liquid-to-powder foundation. After that, they apply the pressed powder, which must then be followed by the lose powder. And of course, she must also use the concealer – whether she has something to conceal or not. By the time she is done applying the pancake on her face, she weighs at least ten pounds more. If you look at her face carefully, you will know where her face ends and where her make-up starts. That is never a good sign. Your foundation is supposed to blend in. It is imperative that our women learn that the amount of pancake that goes on the face is highly dependent on how much coverage is needed – not how much pancake she can lay her hands on.

While there is such a thing as too much make-up, it is also possible to not have enough make-up. This is evident in the women who confidently leave their homes looking as if they had just emptied an entire can of Crisco on their faces. There is so much glare on their faces that you can literally see your reflection. Their faces are so bright that one will need sunglasses with 100% UV protection to look at them. God forbid that they directly face the sun. The impact of that will be equivalent to a mirror facing the sun and beaming its reflection into someone’s eyes. These women’s cheeks and eyes are so puffy that they look like they have just emerged from an intense physical battle which they lost. But alas, they were not in a physical battle. They just believe they look too good to use make-up. Make-up only serves to enhance what one already has.

One Nigerian accessory that I absolutely adore is the scarf. When done right, the scarf can be the icing on the cake. It is almost equal to the crown that sits on the Queen’s head. The scarf is often the first thing that foreigners notice and compliment. It is imperative that you note that all scarves are not created equally. Some women tie their scarves shallow and wide. I do not mind it at all. In fact, I love it. Some women make theirs narrow and tall. Again, I do not think this looks bad either. The ones that boggle my mind are the big ones that look like they were rumpled and placed on the heads of the wearers. If you stare at those scarves long enough, you just might get busy. They are as shapeless as an amoeba. What about the little ones that are so small that one could mistake them for hats? Why did the wearer not just wear a hat? Some scarves are so flat that they look like the wearers had been carrying heavy buckets of water on their heads. Some are so flat and boring that one would think the wearer was trying to achieve a ‘wrap’ hair style on her head with the scarf. Must the scarf be so lifeless?

This is not to say that Nigerian women are not fashion-conscious. Those who are fashion-conscious are fashion-conscious. Likewise, those who are not fashion-conscious are really not fashion-conscious. In other words, the good ones are really good, and the bad ones are really bad. The next time you attend an event – Nigerian, African, or whatever else, take a minute to inspect the women around you. By their looks, you shall definitely know them.
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