This Thing Called…Marriage

marriage03

My father was wearing his trademark brown khaki shorts, it’s roomy pockets sagging at the sides, and one of those old singlets he loved but which every other person at home hated because they looked like suspenders. The memory stands out in my head, very sharp. He stood straight with his back against the wall, his hands – the only visible sign of his anxiety – busy doing nothing in particular. My mother stood in the space between my dad and I; her wrapper was tightly cinched just below her breasts and she had rolled up the bogus sleeves of the fading Hollandis blouse past her elbows. She took up most of the room in the tiny corridor, her back to dad and her face in mine.

“I si gini?” she asked, her voice a chilling ferocious whisper. What did you say?

I swallowed the ball of bile that threatened to clog my throat. I had thought this through, I was sure that it was what I wanted, what I needed to do. So I willed my racing heart to calm down, and I said to her – to them, “Acholum inu nwanyi kita a” I want to get married now.

I was just 16 years old when this transpired between my parents and I. If you are Igbo, or Nigerian, or human, then there is a 99.5% chance that you know exactly what my parents did afterwards. In fact, you all now have different versions of the ensuing events playing over in your minds but like Nollywood, we all know how it ends – I didn’t get married. Heck, it’s been a long time since then and I am still not married.

This Thing Called Marriage is a matter that will neither lie low for us nor our generations to come. An elderly friend of mine once said that even if humans evolved into giant clumps of metal eons from now, our hills of steel would still find a way to pair off with each other in marriage. It is so important to us that a lot of the time, marriage is the most important medium with which we classify adults, second only to gender.

Think: when you first meet that dashing young auditor who just started at your office, your first thoughts are not about her state of origin, or birth stone or the trait of snoring in her family history, are they? No. You want to know if she’s married. Or when you first see that hunky form from behind, all you want is for him to propose so you can hand over the children you already had for him in advance; then he turns around…and he’s wearing a priestly collar. Bam! And it doesn’t stop at adults either – even 5-year old Kamsi goes home to tell Daddy that he will marry Miss Tayo, his kindergarten teacher.

marriage05

Marriage – it’s the all-important issue. Question though is, why?

Some say it’s a holy order anointed by the gods of society: from ‘School’ to ‘Job’ to ‘Marry’ (S-J-M). Others, like my friend Paul, disagree. He believes that it subtracts from the beauty of the union when people say such things about marriage as ‘it is next on the list’. Paul does not think of marriage as a requirement for whatever accolades are given out at the Pearl gates; he thinks of it as a privilege, one he presently is favored by.

When asked about his partner, he gets all dreamy and emotional and starts to cry tears of love says “moments together with her are moments in bliss. There really is nothing more beautiful that when two people give themselves completely to each other. When we disagree, there is this lovable tension between us; the rest of the time, it is the legendary tale of love birds. Fight or no fight, the feeling is awesome. Words really can’t explain such feelings, neither can words describe how anxious I am to consummate it in marriage”

Then you think that it is all roses and chocolatey panty hoses…until you talk to my friend, Walter. In a recent piece, he recounted how in a moment of – I like to think – sheer bravado, he updated his Blackberry dm with the message: ‘I do not believe in the institution of marriage.’ Now Walter is past 25 and talented, so, promising, and he has a day job! So of course, “the aftermath of that declaration was a series of pings and phone calls from friends and acquaintances who wanted to know if I was suffering a fever or feeling inebriated, for me to have the temerity to say such a thing”

You’re wondering “but why” and I’m saying “Wyclef” “I wondered too” Walter stated as his reasons for his disposition, a compulsive nature and his penchant for lonesomeness. He had more to say – or more rightly, ask: “Why do perennial bachelors need to explain why they don’t want to put the ring on it? Does all of humanity have to want the same kinds of things? Must my happiness and fulfillment come from wanting to spend my life with someone, just like everybody else does? Couldn’t I simply live my life, putting out good stories, paying my taxes and occasionally traveling around the world, unfettered by familial obligations or spousal guilt?”

Then I wondered “why not?!” Really, why not? With the calls for equality and fairness multiplying faster than Ebola is spreading, one would have figured that if the married do not have to explain their reasons for marriage, the unmarried should not have to explain their unmarried status either. I remember one time watching Serena Williams claim another tennis trophy on television; I turned to my buddy and said how it was a shame that such a beautiful, strong woman with so much talent was unmarried and without children. Now I think of it, and the real shame is sitting on my head.

meme08

The problem of the human obsession with This Thing Called Marriage is that in the long run, a lot of us marry without knowing the half of what to expect. Some of us confuse wedding for marriage and enjoy the breeze of the former only to wake up in the latter as…

meme07

Even the internet is guilty; try googling the word ‘marriage’ and you’ll find yourself deluged by a litany of rings, white gowns and pristine wedding smiles. That is so wrong. Even for those who understand that the concepts of wedding and marriage are well and truly divorced, it is no guarantee that we understand This Thing Called Marriage.

As at the time I made my intention of marriage known to my parents – yes, at 16, I wasn’t thinking about a wedding. Neither was I thinking of conforming to the societal creed of S-J-M – going by the creed anyway, I wasn’t even half ready. All I was thinking of was the sweet girl (let’s call her Bimi) I was in love with at the time and how I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.

Like many of us, I was thinking of babies – how they would have my eyes, Bimi’s hair and nose, and a combo of both our lips, and how it would feel to sit in the evening breeze, with them curled up on my chest, making the cutest infant sounds.

baby03

But I wasn’t thinking of children – the mess they can make, the noise which knows no seasons, the tantrums, the pranks, the school runs, the allergies, the grooming and the raising.

baby02

Like many of us, I was thinking of starting small with Bimi – in a little bungalow in this polite neighborhood where the neighbors minded their business and the rain fell softly every Sunday morning; we would spend the days laughing and playing, I would let her win at cards and she would let me win at table tennis; and at nights, we would make babies.

couple05

But I wasn’t thinking of money – the university degrees neither of us had at the time; the rent for that tiny bungalow which we could never afford without jobs; the PHCN bills, generator bills and water bills, and maintenance bills for when the roof leaked or when an errant child smashed a football against a window; hospital bills, transportation costs to wherever we needed to go, and food.

couple06

I wasn’t thinking of Life – the food that would never come without money; the hunger that was bound to come without food; the attention I would need to pay to Bimi, and her hair and make-up – at 16, she had only just started experimenting with lipsticks; the clothes she would outgrow and the new ones she would need; the girl she would outgrow and the woman she would become; the boy I would outgrow and the man I would become.

The list is endless, and common among us, if we dared to be honest about it. We think of a lot of things, true, yet there’s a lot more we do not think of. And as if it isn’t hairy enough, reality is that a lot of the stuff we never thought of is still mysterious to even the married ones among us.

In correction therefore: The problem of the human obsession with This Thing Called Marriage is that in the long run, a lot of us marry without knowing the half of what to expect that all you can expect is to meet with the unexpected.

On this issue, I am neither for Paul nor Barnabas Walter; I am only that voice crying typing out in the wilderness, questions that you must answer for yourself: Firstly, do you ever want to be married? Why? After which you may then answer, what do you think of This Thing Called Marriage?

 

I am @ojukwu_martin on twitter

 

This Thing Called…Love languages

Dear you,

Season II of the ‘This Thing Called’ series is here and it will feature five (5) TTC posts each spaced two weeks from the next. It’s been much harder keeping up blogging with the new job but I made a commitment to Usonwa and I shall keep it, come warm breeze or cool weather. More especially now that I have you too. It’s a lot of encouragement knowing that you always read and appreciate my work so do more sharing and commenting! 🙂

Now the first in the TTC series: Season II…


 

This Thing Called…Love languages

I wish I could claim it was me but Dr. Gary Chapman, Christian counselor and author, was the one who invented the term ‘love language’ when he published his book, The Five Love Languages. In it, he defined a love language as a medium of communicating love, as well as – he made sure to add – expressing it. He enumerated and explained the five ways all of which we will now attempt to understand:

 

  1. Words of affirmation:

IMG-20141017-WA002

You could also go for a subtle “Boo, you smell nice!” or just let it rip with “Chai nne, your hips don’t lie for real!”.

it also doesn’t have to end with looks. Try telling her “baby, if this your rice na motor, it is Bugatti…ah swear!” even if it is probably a lime-green keke napep; also say to him, “Darling, this your haircut na presidential oh” even though it makes his ogo bulge like a magnanimous, very cheerful pimple.

Just affirm…say it!

 

  1. Quality time:

(so she walks in on him watching soccer in the living room. She joins him on the sofa)

He: you have come to watch those tatashi kardashian babes bah?

She: no (snuggles closer)

He: Oh, Telemundo?

She: no, this one is fine.

He: which one is fine? (points at the tv) this one? F.O.O.T.ball match?

She: ehn nah…

He: Beht why? (genuinely worried) What have I done this time?

She: (laughs) Nothing joor. Today, I want to watch anything you’re watching. Oya stop whining…oh oh oh, see Denrele has scored oh…GOOOAAALLLL.

Shut your eyes, brothers and let us pray:

Dear Lord Almighty. we will forgive the audacity of imagining Denrele on a football field, we will even forgive when they gush over Cristiano Ronaldo’s packs – you could consider paralyzing his arms anytime he wants to rip his shirts off shaa. But yes Lord, we will forgive all of those…only make women more like this…

couple05 and couple02

Make them less like this…

couple03

and please oh, NEVER like this…

woman

AMEN!

  1. Gifts:

No matter how much you pretend or/and say that it doesn’t matter, we all know that there is a mushy some’n some’n about an item given you by that special someborri. It could be mind-blowing MAD expensive…

gift03

just expensive…

gift05

not expensive at all…

gift01 or gift06

or downright silly…

gift02

Just give!

  1. Acts of service:

gift08

She: I want to eat pounded yam.

He: Ok, there’s this new place in Ikoyi where…

She: no! I want you to pound it yourself (pout)

Hememe03

 

I sincerely sympathize with you, bro…and every other man who is stuck in this situation. I sympathize because if it is really what does it for her, you have to do it. I can guarantee you though, that afterwards you won’t so readily ooh and aah with the rest of us over Tiwa Savage…

gift10

It matters to him/her, yes? Do it!

 

 

  1. Physical touch:

Pick your minds out of the gutter…it is not always sex; it could be a simple

touch02  or touch03

A good ol’…

touch04

or simply…

touch05

Sex of course, is a very essential angle to the physical but it is my unsolicited opinion that it quickly loses its appeal in the absence of ‘innocent’ touches.

So touch him/her today!

 

According to Dr. Chapman, few people elect for one, some are comfortable with two or three while the rest – like me 😉 – communicate love in all five languages. He also brazenly stated that the languages are exhaustive, i.e. expression of all the love in the whole world must be by at least one of them.

People have tried to prove him wrong – myself inclusive – but have failed. Feel free to try, and if you can come up with a medium of expressing love that doesn’t fall under one of words, quality time, gifts, acts of service or touch, I owe you an entire blog post.

 

It is important to remember that the crux of This Thing Called love languages is embedded in the simple idea but very difficult practice of selflessness – the core foundation of love. What does she want most? What does he like? How can I make her happy?

To answer these questions however, you must know the answers as they apply to you. The reason is the same as why ‘self’ starts the word ‘selfless’.

Do you know the answers then? For you, I mean. What do you want from a partner? How do you like to be treated by the one you love and who loves you? Then, how do you show someone you love them back?

I did a mini-poll to help you out…

For Fave, it’s all about attention. So long as she’s ‘into’ the guy, she values attention – she will give it and expect to be given back in return. Gifts too. Another friend by name of Alex was bitten by the same attention bug as Fave because he is partial to undivided attention as well; that and unceasing smiles. Maybe we can hook them up, aye?

Then there is Ud, a beautiful lady who doesn’t want too much. The best way to let Ud know you’re besotted with her is through calls and frequently saying sweet ‘nothings’.

 

Uche on his part speaks the love language of touch – now that’s a guy I can agree with! He communicates his affection by touching, often subconsciously. He also favors quality time because he always keeps in touch.

Mefy though, does not buy the whole touch agenda. “Touching would wear off once you’ve been together for a long time” she says. “My love language is doing; if I were genuinely in love, I would make sacrifices and put my partner’s happiness before mine” She nearly bought me over, I’ll confess, if not for the anti-touch agenda.

 

Tobe is yet to clock 27 but he is very ‘elderly’, you’ll understand how in a bit. He doesn’t fuss over much else but honesty. His love language he says, “is openness…I expect the same too because it helps us understand each other better”

Anyi comes close but not too much. In showing his love, he neglects his partner’s faults, patiently assists her to be a better person while allowing her do same to him, behaves and dresses well around her, calls her sweet pet names and of course, spends some cash when needed. I don’t know if the right conjunction to use here is ‘and’ or ‘but’ but he literally becomes her slave (shudder)

 

For Kaka, it’s all about the pampering, “More like spoiling” she quickly adds, “and it doesn’t have to be with money”. Bobos are jubilating I’m sure, but the best part is this: “It goes both ways for me. I will spoil you too and make it seem effortless; I’d like it if you did the same.” Can I hear a ‘CHAI’ someborri???

Samantha is about a lot of things as far as love goes – respect, support, doing things with her partner that they both like, and majorly – wait for it – pampering.

meme (2)

 

Really, what is it with full-grown women and pampers?

“I will pamper him oh” Sam says, “but mine will be more as the lady. I will not tire from being pampered. Little things like that matter to me; plus I love being treated like a queen”

If you’re thinking ‘lawd have mercy’, you should hold it because Ezinma is more. She is in fact, multilingual. She likes random texts and calls from her partner who should also play and be childish with her. She wants to be bought stuff – expensive or not – and she feels loved when her partner does something for her and tells her it’s for her.

meme(03)

I said, M.U.L.T.I.lingual!

“My love language is also words” the delightful Ezinma continues, “I know that I know but tell me you love me. When we are apart, bridge the gap…I don’t want to miss you, not too much. And when we are together, take me out, do breakfast in bed and take my feet sometimes. Of course, I would do all these for you too”.

And a lot of guys be like…

meme05

But hey, it’s a free world of love and love languages. You should click down below in the comments to share your answers to these questions.

Do you believe in This Thing Called Love Languages? What is your love language?

 

I am @ojukwu_martin on twitter

THIS THING CALLED SUCCESS (2)

success

The line dragged lazily forward at snail pace, inch by inch. Up in the sky, the sun burned a loud orange, looking every inch the vengeful lover intent on seeing the earth below suffer. And suffer it did, because people hid beneath shades of umbrellas, a few sparsely-branched trees, buildings and even books. The students on the line had nowhere to hide though; the lecturer’s office was one of those buildings that were an after-thought – a lone cuboid banished to the fringes of the university premises.

The students lined up in twos – over two hundred of them – the shorter ones lobbying to partner with the taller ones for want of sun shades; their books and fans fanned the hot air aggressively, in vain. Many of them would rather have been elsewhere, but it was result day for IMB 203 – the only 4-unit course for 200level students of the department of Industrial Microbiology in the university. On such days, nobody went elsewhere but towards the scores.

They entered the office as they were queued, in twos; each duo walked into the office and up to the lecturer’s table. One after the other, they supplied their names. The lecturer checked on the large sheet of paper splayed out before him and relayed the grade to the student. They didn’t argue, there was no room for protests or corrections, not for another month at least. They smiled and profusely thanked him for nothing – if the grades were good, or they mumbled curses which sounded like thanks and shuffled out of the room with fallen faces, if the grades were terrible.

On this day, the latter was in highest demand. The results were really bad, the kind of result turnout students called ‘EFCC’ because there was an abundance of F’s, E’s, D’s and C’s with either sprinkles of or entirely no B’s or A’s. It was quite the unpleasant surprise because the course had been the easiest – by everybody’s standards – for the semester.

Bola, Ifeoma, Florence and Abdul had already gone in and only Bola had made a B–65. The others had all made C’s and they were four of the class’ five brainiest students – some cartoon freak had once referred to them as ‘The Fantastic Five’ and tacky as it was, it stuck albeit in a more refined format as F-5.

A student would hurry up to join the line, and quickly ask around, “How far? E make sense bah?”

He would be greeted with downed faces and hisses, “EFCC oh”.

“Haba, how nah?!” he would exclaim. Then quickly ask, “F-5 nko?”

“Omo, na every every oh” would come the reply. “All-man hammer better EFCC”.

“Na serious wa oh!” Then he would shake his head, cross his hands and join in the mute chorus of pounding hearts praying for narrow escapes.

This was the unspoken script acted out by every student that joined up. For Kizito, that had been half an hour ago. Now he was at the front of the line, and sympathy hung heavy in the air behind him. Everybody was sure that Kizito would hammer an F.

If his rugged Rasta-esque appearance didn’t do it for you, his slurred Ajegunle drawl intimated you of how unserious a student Kizito was. He was so unserious that many a lecturer had begged him to quit school. But Kizito always smiled his crooked smile and waved the concerns away; he wasn’t called ‘Kizikaza’ for nothing, he was quick to remind them. He was a nice guy, always armed with a joke or prank to put smiles on people’s faces which endeared him to most of his colleagues.

As he entered the office paired with Onyii, a female course-mate, the others behind mourned Kizikaza’s 4-unit failure. Seconds ticked by very quickly and Onyii exited the office. Then Kizito followed.

“ÒPÉ OH! ÒPÉ OH!! ÒPÉ OH!!!” he screamed. In one fluid motion so fast it left everyone gasping, he scooped the petite Onyii up and twirled her around. Then just as fast, he plopped her down, ran circles around an imaginary object in the sand, did a back-flip and pumped his fist in the air. His face was split in a grin that sadly, made his already rugged face assume an even scarier mien.

But the joy in him was evident as he yelled even more excitedly, “Chae! Mò tí bad gaan! I baaaaaad!” He did a quick run from the front of the queue to the back, giving high fives to everyone as he passed them on the line. People were perplexed to say the least but they found themselves – involuntarily – smiling and accepting his high-fives.

“Oluwa tó bad!” Kizikaza sang. Then he knelt and raised his two index fingers up in the air in a move so akin to a soccer goal celebration. Then he stood and executed another back flip.

“Diarisgodooooooo!” he yelled one last time and ran off.

For the first few seconds after Kizito had run off, nobody said anything as all eyes trailed his rapidly receding figure. Mouths stood agape, expressions perplexed and half-amused. Then as one, all eyes turned to Onyii who stood to the side, visibly flustered from the twirl.

“Wetin Kizikaza get?” everybody wanted to know. What was his score?

The look in Onyii’s eyes was even more confused than those mirrored in the eyes fixed on her.

“E-40” she answered, “he got E-40”


 

This Thing Called Success means different things to different people. But a lot of the time, the definitions revolve around amassed resources and met goals. In the story above, IMB 203 was the sort of course we called ‘moi-moi’ back in school – the simple ones whose lectures you only attended to catch up on old gist and whose examinations you wrote without any need for ‘cooperative union’ seating arrangements.

So when the results came out, many of the students expected A’s with maybe a few sprinkles of B’s – success. But it wasn’t to be because for some reason, the grades were terrible, nowhere near as good as the expectations had been – failure. So when it was confirmed that the grades were indeed EFCC, everybody admitted failure. Everybody except Kizito.

As far as Kizikaza was concerned, his IMB 203 was a success. It didn’t matter that he had sailed past an outright F by a needle’s width, nor did it bother him that others were grossly disappointed with their B’s, C’s and D’s. Kizito passed. That was all that mattered – success!

success03

Consequently, I have had cause to believe that This Thing Called Success is in fact more relative than anything else. In This Thing Called Success(1), we examined cases where success was summarized as an executive position, a good pay-package and comfort…but does that define success for everyone? What is the generally acceptable definition of success? Does one even exist?

I sought my answers from people who saw and walked this earth long before my generation did. And I got some interesting answers…

“I learned…that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get” – W.P. Kinsella

“If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut” – Albert Einstein

Then the ones which in my opinion, hit home…

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”  – Albert Einstein

And then…

“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction.” – Bessie Anderson Stanley

Having pondered on these, I am persuaded to posit that:

#1. Success is indeed relative.

#2. It is up to everyone to define for oneself what success amounts to.

#3. For the sake of living a truly successful life, one’s definition of success had better be less and less material.

success04

You now, reader, tell me, do you agree? What does success mean to you? Ponder on it, chew on it, ‘kizikaza’ on it if you must…only remember to share with us in the comments section, your view of This Thing Called Success.

 

The Kizikaza story was inspired by a friend and brother in success, Seun Abejide.

I am @ojukwu_martin on twitter

THIS THING CALLED FEMINISM

 femme02

“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”  – Jane Austen, Persuasion.

“My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them like rational creatures, instead of flattering their fascinating graces, and viewing them as if they were in a state of perpetual childhood, unable to stand alone.”
― Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

The women above were expressing, albeit in the subtlest of ways, their dissatisfaction with some of the lowest forms of female-targeted gender discrimination – denigration and objectification. My immediate reaction upon reading these words is not just sadness, but also a fluid outpouring of sympathy, and shame. Because it is true that a lot of men see women not as humans but as appendages to manhood; appendages who have no business thinking or being intelligent.

What I however would like to dissect further in this post, is the rapidly-turning consensual presupposition that men are the one and only reason for denigration of the feminine gender and as a result, they must be punished so that total women empowerment can be attained. This line of thought leads us on to the popular and very controversial topic of Feminism.

femme04

I have always held the opinion that what the majority of us know and practice as feminism is actually – and very ironically – a campaign for the continued denigration of the female folk. A lot of mothers raise their daughters with mantras such as, “Men Are Evil”, “You Are Better Than Them(men)”, “Never Let A Man Ride You” among others; and upon growing into adults, a lot of these women turn ‘feminists’. Their practice of ‘feminism’ is built on a coarse foundation of psychological self-enslavement, carefully disguised as a caring system which would have made all their dreams come true were it not over-run by these ‘evil men-folk’.

femme06

From the start therefore, the girl sees herself as a victim and rightly so, acts like one; she cries foul at every slightest tip in the scale and yells “Me! Me!! Not them!!!”- like a victim; she fights rough, by hook or crook, fair or foul, demanding, beguiling, begging for rights, “the same rights they have”, rights which might have always been there for the taking – like a victim; and no matter how much is acceded, no matter how many victories she registers, she goes to her death whimpering about a world that always chose ‘them’ first and never gave her a chance – like a victim.

femme07

Perhaps there is no better illustration of this psyche-malformation than in the July 8th article published in The Guardian under the title ‘Oscar Pistorius’ trial: Lessons for Nigerian Judiciary’. The writer, Bamidele Aturu cited one of such lessons from the conduct of the female judge who has presided over the Pistorius case thus far as follows: “…the lawyers freely referred to the judge as ‘my lady’ and she did not take offence as some of our female judges, particularly those at the Court of Appeal, do”, he noted. “In Nigeria…our female judges refuse to be addressed as ‘my lady’. They would quickly point out to you that they are not your lady in such a stern way that you would think that you had just called them, ‘my wife’”

Many lawyers in quick defense of this would quickly say that there is no ‘woman’ at the bar…really, there aren’t? Of course there are – if biological differences still exist, that is – women at the bar, so it is more a case of those women not wanting to be regarded as ‘woman’ than anything else. In that case, two options are viable: either ‘woman’ is now considered such a derogatory term that learned females abhor to be so recognized while in their official capacity or it is just a principle of the profession.

I am fairly sure it is not the latter because in addition to the example of South Africa cited above, other instances abound, namely: in England and Wales, judges are called ‘My Lord’ or ‘My Lady’ and magistrates ‘Sir/Madam’; Male judges in Germany are formally addressed as ‘Herr Vorsitzender’ and female judges as ‘Frau Vorsitzende’, which translate as ‘Mister Chairman’ or ‘Madam Chairwoman’ respectively; and in Brazil, the judges can be called “Juiz” or “Juiza,” the male and female versions of judge.

Aturu went on to write – and I agree – that “in other countries, the shift to the use of ‘my lady’ to address female judges was the outcome of the struggle to treat women as women and to respect them as they are. It is therefore, demeaning of womanhood for a judge, for that matter, to stick to a mode of address that denigrates women and reflects a reactionary disposition.”

I have deliberately made this point as plainly and provocatively – if you may – as possible because only in starkness, will truth shine out in its most benevolent glory. As our people say, he is a dead man who hides a festering wound, untreated, behind swathes of fine dressing. The healing balm of truth in this case, is that obsession with the crucifixion of the men-folk for denigrating the womenfolk is no way to conquer gender discrimination. As clichéd as it is, two wrongs still do not make a right; the practice of a victim mentality and the incessant preaching to nail the ‘balls’ to the board, all in the name of feminism are in truth, anti-feminist.

femme01

Eleniyan is a Nigerian who wrote a very difficult to read, but insightful article titled ‘The Need for Feminism in Nigeria and Africa as a whole’ which was published on www.nigeriavillagesquare.com in September, 2009. If it matters to you, I am unaware of Eleniyan’s gender but the writer’s views on feminism shed more light on this very unpopular view of mine.

In the writer’s opinion, feminism “…is not ANTI-MEN! The problem with the anti-men agenda cloaked in feminism is that, in its effort to subvert the order of things, wanting to take power away from men, they forgot the fundamental differences both socially and biologically, between men and women. By peddling their “freedoms” or “anti-men” agenda that are artificial, self-destructive, and merely allow women to have superficial resemblance of equality, they hurt feminism’s aim to improve emotional and psychological relations between men and women and cultivate a genuine respect for women”

He/she went on to explain that this retributive agenda directed at the supposed hunters in flesh of men, has been mistaken for feminism. AND this singular factor is responsible for the many “road-bumps” against feminism in our society.

Feminism is a political, moral, social, and even now religious movement which aspires for equal rights and all-round protection for women. And often, the misconceptions surround the many different definitions of the term ‘EQUAL’.

femme08

According to Eleniyan, “Equality is not sameness in treatment, but fairness in treatment” The idea is that while differences in human compositions and nature make it impossible for everybody to be treated exactly the same, the same differences must discourage unfair treatment of one over another.

I am helpless before the veracity of these words because fairness does not focus on stamping down on one person for another to be raised up; it might be necessary in certain cases, that a head must roll for another to sprout, but the difference is that equality fights against an initial, obvious and compulsive obsession for this to happen, while accepting it when it does happen.

femme09

Fairness does not discard the needs, wants and aspirations of one person in favor of another’s; it accepts everybody – male or female, hunter or hunted – for who they are and treats them with respect. And the achievement of that for women, I believe, is the mission of feminism.

Nelson Mandela did not attempt to victimize the supremacist whites in South Africa in order to free his people of apartheid; he would have failed. He rather believed and fought for equality and fairness. He once was quoted as saying: “Let there be justice for ALL. Let there be peace for ALL. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for ALL. Let EACH know that for EACH the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.”

Even Martin Luther King Jr’s dream was not obsessed with demanding the heads of the white racists on spikes; his dream was “that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL MEN are created equal.’”

femme05femme10

Equality. Fairness. Is the stuff it ought to be made of.

And now it is your turn to share, reader. Whatever your view is – hot or cold 😉 – pen it down in the comments section for us all to share. What is your view of This Thing Called Feminism?

 

 Mention me @ojukwu_martin on twitter

This Thing Called ‘The Face’ – What People Had To Say

 

THE FACE

Thank you all so much for your feedback with the last TTC post; if you missed it, click here NOW!

As promised, this post will recapitulate the deal on This Thing Called ‘The Face’ with the responses I got on the question. I must warn, they range from the insightful to the absolutely clueless; as well as from the hilarious to the downright troubling. But I had a lot of fun and ‘aha’ methods reading them; I hope you find those.

I have tinkered with the identities of the respondents so if I were you, I’d take those names with a pinch of snuff salt.

Again, if you missed that TTC post, kneel down, close your eyes, raise your hands, and stick your tongue out click here NOW.

***

The question was:

“Complete this – you may be as effusive as you desire, or concise. However you want to answer it:

Before I die, I want to…”

Adanna: be at peace with God and man

Ginika: Go to Rome…ALL of Rome

Mimi: Write a bestseller

Ada: I dunno…how many words are required?

Tobe: I never wan die biko. Thank you

Bazo: Leave a mark

Adim: I shall think on it and reply you soon (four weeks ago!)

Pam: I don’t understand you oh. (I repeated it) I’ll think about it; it’s impromptu now (three weeks ago)

Cherry: Why you wan know?

Chioma: be happy and have succeeded in the things I wanted to do and lived a full life without any regrets.

Chibueze: Affect lives

Tochi: Make money

Ezinma: I want to love and be loved, live, travel, help, grow old, do crazy; make love, then have sex, have children; before I die, I want to live

Favor: Iron-pumper

JC: I don’t know oh

Uzoaro: Hmm…nnaa, I don’t know oh

Chidinma: Fulfill God’s purpose for my life

Achugz: Dive from the pinnacle of Everest and land on my right foot

Obiora: Leave a legacy, the kind Mother Theresa or Martin Luther King Jr left, but most likely on a much smaller scale. Or maybe more corporate-themed…like Steve Jobs. But in all, legacy is the keyword

Tombari: Live today

Claire: Attend mass at St. Peter’s Basilica with my partner and children

Mazesh: I want to visit Agra India to see Taj Mahal; want to go to the Bahamas and bask in the sun at the beach with my sweetheart; I want to test drive Bugatti Veyron; buy a Toyota GT 86; I want to proclaim in front of my family, my love for someone; I want to fly a T-rex 450 DFC FLYBERLESS RC HELI; ride on a jetski; see stone henge in UK. So many things…

Adaora: Repent

Dan: Hmm…still pondering (it’s been two weeks)

Debby: Hmm…let us see (still seeing for three weeks now…)

Jane: ride a power bike

Pretty: I want to make one person’s dreams come true

Emma: I want to live

Oge: Achieve so much in life and create a positive name

Marcel: Fulfill my dreams

Rose: Know God

Toby: Exhaust all the love I have in me

Cami: Make my name known at least in Africa, as one of the wealthiest, whilst adding something good to the society; start a family with a partner I love and who loves me, and live old enough to see my kids enjoy a comfortable life and stand on their own feet.

Oyibo: Hmmm…no be easy one oh; because I never dey reason die oh

Ofurum: Thank God for the opportunity of experiencing this world and for also for all my achievements and disappointments because they made this world fun to live in

Jessy: I want to make tangible achievements to speak for my existence

***

 

Well, you were warned 😉 A lot of them, as you have seen, revolve around seeking wealth and family, philanthropy and religion in a bid to find The Face. My personal favorites were sent in by Ezinma and Emma: I want to live.

It’s the shortest and probably, the rightest way to find ‘The Face’ isn’t it? Living fully everyday, devoid of all restrictions of society and propriety, without fear of dying too young or too fast or too painfully…just living. ‘The Face’ under such circumstances would reveal itself without any pomp, and every second spent alive would be a breeze.

I don’t know about you, reader, but before I die, I want to live.

IMG_20130929_141129

 

Find me @ojukwu_martin on twitter

THIS THING CALLED “THE FACE”

THE FACE

A long time ago in the land of UpSideDown, there lived a man named Festus who was gifted with hands of gold. His gift was such that whatever he laid hands on, regardless of how low or misshapen, immediately morphed into the best of its kind. As is expected for such a man, Festus was wealthy by all standards. He had herds and herds of cattle, seemingly limitless hectares of land, a blossoming business empire and a large happy family. He literarily and quite literally had it all.

But one day Festus woke up unhappy. He needed a new project, something else to take up and refine into the best shape ever imagined. And while he stood before the mirror contemplating this, his eyes lit upon his face. He stared. At the long crooked nose, the spotted cheeks and lined forehead, and the webbed corners bracketing the squinty eyes. Then he knew he had found it. He would take the face up and transform it so that it turned out to be the best face ever imagined.

Excited beyond measure, Festus walked around the mirror to retrieve the face but it wasn’t there! Festus moved the mirror this way, and that way. It was a large mirror, 9-foot high, 6 wide, made of oak and shiny arcs lined with rubies, and it stood on two large ceramic claws. Festus poked and prodded at it from behind, he squirmed this way and that way, nothing.

He peeked again at the shiny mirror surface and sure enough, the face was there. Then he looked again behind it, and the same thing happened…it went poof!

Alarmed, he called in his servants and explained his dilemma to them.

“If I may speak, sire…” a brave steward ventured.

“Quiet!” Festus yelled; his face was by now livid, forehead dotted with sweat and lips drawn in a thin unyielding line of strung-out anger. “Just find it” was all he said.

He ordered them to work in shifts, round the clock; and he had his bed moved so it sat just before the grand mirror. Every morning, the first sight he saw was the face. He would crawl up through the miles of bedding to it, a plea in his eyes, tears too. Please let me touch you. He would reach out to touch it – this obsession of his, but he would yet again make contact only with the hand, the cold, unfeeling, obtrusive hand that belonged to the face. Then he would grit his teeth, rise and walk around to the back of the mirror. And always, the face and hand would vanish.

Festus would fume and kick and scratch at his stewards and order them to bring him the face. They tried to take the mirror out but he turned grey all over and yelled like a train gone berserk. His servants obediently took to the mirror, peeling off the layers of shine, then paper, then strip by strip of oak. It took days but then it was done, but the face was still not found.

“Keep looking” Festus said.

“But how, sire? The…”

“KEEP LOOKING!!!”

Festus would hear the counsel of no one, not the tender pleas of his children, nor the amorous wiles of his wife of two-score years. And soon fed up with his sour demeanor, they parked up and left to the village. His stewards too, one by one, packed up and left the mansion until it was just sully ol’ Festus in it. Festus and the face that couldn’t be found.

He sent word out to the other eight lands and to the seven seas and oceans; he put up his entire wealth for the man who could find the face he saw in the mirror. And they came, and tried, and failed.

Festus watched the face wane every morning; the brows lost their wing-like drape, the nose grew even more crooked, and the spots took over whatever rest of it dirty graying hairs had spared. And as he watched the rot, his soul wilted. And as his soul wilted, the face waned even more. And waned. And wilted. And waned.

Until one fateful night, Festus lay down. And waned.

 

Interpretation:

The tag of ‘interpretation’ is for want of a more apt word to use because sincerely, there will be very little ‘interpretation’ happening here. Matter of fact, if I’ll be doing anything, it’d be more like EX-terpretation. So here goes:

Festus is everyday man, woman – you and I.

The Face is what some of us call ‘inner peace’ or ‘peace of mind’, some call it ‘satisfaction’, some broaden it to be ‘soul satisfaction’, some call it ‘true happiness’ while others call it ‘true living’. Because it is called by so many names and because I plain like to be noticed, I’ll continue calling it The Face for the purposes of this post.

However you choose to address it, The Face is that state we all – or some of us who have decided that death is unavoidable eventually – want to die in; that state in which we are free of all worries and in fact, happy with the lives we will be leaving behind. It’s that state we’ve heard that people were in who died with smiles on their lips. And many times, it’s a state we seek – some of us through the entirety of our mature lives and others, much later – and rarely find.

Fusing the analogy with this inexterpretation then, we often seek The Face and often, in the wrong places. Ironically, sadly, The Face is right with us, on us, in us, so we shouldn’t even have to ‘look’ in the first place. But oh, we do. We look.

We look for it in careers, in wealth, in crime, in power, in abusive relationships, in amorous ones, in love, in family. People tell us where to look, how to look and we listen or don’t. And either way, they soon tire because really, they can do nothing to help. As Abe so succinctly put it, “you wan hep pesin fain im own face?

So sometimes we find it, most times we don’t but check this out, eventually we die. And after we’re dead, people spend time wondering about The Face on our behalf; they wonder if we found it – did he die happy? Did she live a fulfilled life? Is that a 🙂 ? Or a 😦 ?

And they never know. Then they die. And the wondering cycle whips on along.

So I thought of a question that would best direct people to find The Face while they lived. So that it wouldn’t matter to you at death what other people will wonder or think about you. So that it wouldn’t matter to you whether you died 🙂 or 😦 or :/; when the time came, you would just quietly let go without fighting to hold on to the razor-sharp rims of mortality.

Many of us don’t like to hear this next part so reader discretion is advised for the next 23 words, 3 commas, two semi-colons and 2 full-stops.

Some of us will die violently, others peacefully; some slowly, others quickly; some painfully, others by an orgasm. But we will all die.

So death is sure – check; we can’t control it, nor can we control the manner in which it will visit us. What we can control though is the state we are in at the time it comes. Maybe we can die without feeling regret or intense dissatisfaction, the kind that breaks the heart of even a dying man.

If you’ve died before, then don’t bother reading this to the end, you already know what I mean. If you never plan to die…well, cumbayaya cumbaya. But if you – like me – are yet to but will surely die, kindly follow to the end.

I came upon this blog post from December of mega-sized ‘blackboard’ walls where people wrote with pencils their individual finishes of the open-ended clause, “Before I die, I want to…” And I thought, cool. So I conducted a mini-survey among my usual pool of youths 20 to 30 years of age. My pitch to them was this:

“Complete this – you may be as effusive as you desire, or concise. However you want to answer it:

BEFORE I DIE, I WANT TO…”

IMG_20130929_141129

And the answers came rolling in. I will share a few of the answers I received back as well as my own answer in the next TTC post but now, take a moment to answer it for yourself. Because this question will help you find The Face, or peace of mind or soul satisfaction or happiness…whichever.

What is it that you deem your life’s purpose? That dream, that goal, that ambition which achieving right now will see you very happy, even if death came in the next minute. What is it that you want to have checked as DONE before death comes knocking?

What is the deal with This Thing Called ‘The Face’?

Think on it and do well to share with us.

 

P.S. While you’re at it, don’t look in ANY mirrors

 

Mention me @ojukwu_martin on twitter

 

 

THIS THING CALLED…SUCCESS (1)

 

Because the muse hit in 2D, I’ve split this TTC post into two. This first leg is inspired by a sister’s post on her online forum where the issue was of successful women and why unhappy romantic relationships seem to be the price they pay for said success. A lot of people like to make this a ‘Just African men’ thing but for the purposes of objectivity, we’ll leave it open here.

For starters, ‘successful’ in this context refers to that woman who is clearly flying high. She’s at the top of her career, controlling power, fame and recognition, money and even men. And she is married to a man who by his bank account and social status, is not exactly Lazarus of the biblical Rich man parable but is neither Dr. Dre, post-Beats sale. They may not even be married yet; maybe the John is dating her, or wants to. Why is her success a turn-off?

Chimamanda Adichie in reference to her global success once said, “the type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in”. And I can hear the sisters whooping in the house. But wait. Take a chill pill – yep, I can be hippy too – and let’s really think on this.

Why do men run away from successful women?

 angry couple02

Scenario A:

Peter earns more than Mary who he is in a serious relationship with. Mary decides to change the dining table but Peter says, “No, baby, I can’t afford it. Plus do we really need a new table just to eat?”

So Mary lets it go. A few months later she gets hired by a multinational; her new pay package is higher than Peter could ever dream to earn even with two promotions. Three months into the job, she’s on a business trip in Mainz and sees this fancy oak-wood table which literally calls her name as she passes by. She purchases it with a few dainty chairs to boot; she has the whole set shipped home. The day it arrives, she does all the moving and redecorating herself; she is going to surprise her husband when he returns from work with ‘our shiny new dining room’.

Peter comes in, having had a harried time at the office – he really should burn some black candles on top of his boss’ picture. He has just reached for a cold bottle of water in the refrigerator when he sees the table, the chairs too – WHOA! He looks around him quickly – no one – and takes a second look. It’s one very VAAIIIRRYYY ugly table but it’s new – he touches it – EX-PEN-SIVE too. He turns around and Mary is standing there beaming at him…”SURPRIIIIISE!” She runs up against him, hugs him, pecks him, she’s gushing, “Babe, you like it? Come take a closer look…”

Peter sets her away from him very roughly, eyes reduced to irate slits of black. He flings the bottle of water against the wall and positively, literally, incandescently BLOWS UP!

“Did you not hear when I said I do not want a new table? What is wrong with you, woman?” – then – “SO BECAUSE YOU NOW HAVE SOME CHICKEN FEE TO SPEND, YOU THINK YOU CAN RIDE ALL OVER ME?”

THE END.

Okay PAUSE! Now, rewind. Not at the refrigerator, keep going. Go all the way to the beginning. Unhuh…wait! Too much, go forward a bit…there! Good, stop. PLAY!

 

Scenario B:

Peter earns more than Mary who he is in a serious relationship with. Mary decides to change the dining table but Peter says, “No, baby, I can’t afford it. Plus do we really need a new table just to eat?”

So Mary lets it go. A few months later she gets hired by a multinational; her new pay package is higher than Peter could ever dream to earn even with two promotions. Three months into the job, she’s on a business trip in Mainz and sees this fancy oak-wood table which literally calls her name as she passes by. She purchases it with a few dainty chairs to boot; she has the whole set shipped home. The day it arrives, she does all the moving and redecorating herself; she is going to surprise her husband when he returns from work with ‘our shiny new dining room’.

Peter comes in, having had a harried time at the office – he really should burn some black candles on top of his boss’ picture. He has just reached for a cold bottle of water in the refrigerator when he sees the table, the chairs too – WHOA! He looks around him quickly – no one – and takes a second look. It’s one very VAAIIIRRYYY ugly table but it’s new – he touches it – EX-PEN-SIVE too. He turns around and Mary is standing there beaming at him…”SURPRIIIIISE!” She runs up against him, hugs him, pecks him, she’s gushing, “Babe, you like it? Come take a closer look…”

Peter lets her drag him. He listens with a smile and nods obligingly in between sips of his water while Mary tells him all the special things about the table. She tells him it’s vintage ‘gold’, Pharaoh’s – yes, the very pharaoh of the Red Sea story – elephants were born under it and the legs are hollow so one can store spoons and plates. Peter is exhausted but he oohs and aahs while she hops all over the place, happy as a tot in a candy store. He waits for the perfect break in her gushing, for that lull in her commentary where she takes a breath then he butts in.

“It’s beautiful, darling”, Peter says. She beams. She knows, she says. Then he adds – quickly, “let me just take a bath and we can launch it, huh?” She beams again. Great.

He pecks her and zooms up the stairs, already tugging on his tie. Mehnnn, he thinks, that table is U.G.L.Y. He can’t believe how excited one person could get over one squat ugly table and a set of even uglier chairs. The image flashes in his mind, of her hopping one-legged, gushing excitedly over the absolutely hideous table, and he chuckles inadvertently. Kai!

THE END. No, really the end now.

So my take is that it’s all about attitude. And perception. Have man and woman risen to a level of maturity where material success doesn’t adversely change who they fundamentally are? Is the man able to realize that his partner is the same – faults and points, vices and virtues – whether she earns more or not. Is the woman able to be that – the same – even when her man’s pay is doorman’s tip compared to hers?

Your perception is the fine line. If she always hated cooking, then it is in character that she hire a cook or buy take-out on one too many nights, especially if her pay can afford it. You bore it bravely when she earned peanuts but you can’t stomach it now because she earns six figures? Now you only eat freshly cooked soup, nothing over 24hours-old!

If he always was loud and never stuck a finger past the kitchen doorpost, then it is within character that even when you’re overwhelmed by kitchen chores, he’ll be outside with ears plugged shut, mowing the same lawn he had mowed only the day before. When he paid all the bills, you thought it was ‘cute’ how he evaded any kitchen duties; but because you’re now a CEO, he’s being ‘childish, insensitive and domineering’. And it’s nerve-grating to you that men cannot stand a working class woman!

And there, successful ladies and gentlemen, is where the fabric starts to rip.angry couple

So what’s your take? What’s your opinion of This Thing Called Success, in the context of successful women and their less successful male partners? Click below in comments right now and Share!

 Mention me on twitter @ojukwu_martin

 

THIS THING CALLED…WEDDING.

I attended the early morning mass today; it’s Ascension Thursday. I was early (for an early morning mass, can you imagine?!) so I sat just outside the door and smoked a joint while I waited. LOL…ok, goofs stop here.

I sat and watched people shuffle past me to sit in different pews. There was quite a handful of people but one couple caught my attention; the man was in a suit and the lady wore a simple black dress so it wasn’t their dressing. What drew and kept my attention was the thing they had going for them. They giggled, laughed, never stopped touching – they were clearly in love. I was seated a few seats behind them so I just looked on with this silly half-smile on my face, crying and wailing “Lawwd, see ME!!!!”

When altar activity indicated that the priest would soon be out, the lady picked up a black polythene bag I hadn’t noticed before then, and stepped outside. Moments later as she passed by me enroute her seat, I did a double take. She had changed into a white wedding gown with a train and veil to boot, jewelry winked from her arm, neck and in her hair. A little murmur swept through the sparsely-occupied church and she smiled this small demure J and took her seat. I was dumbstruck and enraged – Cinderella came to church and nobody saw it fit to pre-inform me?!

We all learnt eventually that it was their wedding day, Cinderella and her prince. They wanted a really really small wedding with – the Monsignor made sure to add – “no noise”. I slept through most of the homily – blame it on the sexy-chilly morning – but I was wide awake through the wedding parts where they exchanged vows, rings and kisses.

20140529_072053

What is the deal on This Thing Called Wedding?

Why do people spend so much money and time planning a wedding only to suffer through the day worrying over who received a souvenir and who did not, or who ate the goat meat reserved for the Umunna? When did weddings stop being about a man and a woman, excited as toddlers at the park, committing their lives to a union of love in the presence of God and man? And become a (townspeople) + (friends)*(ex-friends + people-you-never-met-before) reunion? When did it become about having THE wedding of the year and because you never could have afforded it, spending your honeymoon cooped up with your partner eating Pringles and playing ludo?

Some days ago, I met up with friends from my university days for a mini-reunion. Because the rest of us hadn’t been at her wedding about a month back, Jane regaled us with tales of her new life with her ‘my baby’ – she kept calling him that…all dis freshly-married people can know how to make somebori jealous shaa. Anyhow, we got talking about weddings and she mentioned that all she had wanted was a traditional marriage and a wedding blessing. She had eventually agreed to a church wedding one day after her traditional marriage and it had been a small one; a small, happy and classy church wedding (see here if you can’t remember the details).

I asked Ifeanyi what kind of wedding he envisioned when he imagined his; he wants his traditional marriage and white wedding to hold within the same week witnessed by only close friends and family. He thinks it foolhardy to have “the whole wide world at my wedding on top my own pocket!”

Ekene is a friend whose personality is the exact opposite of Ifeanyi’s. Surprisingly, he wanted the same type of wedding as Ifeanyi – “small and classy with very close friends, cousins, uncles and aunts who have actually spoken to me before,” Ekene said. He went further to place a limit on the number of guests he would have at his wedding – “100 and not half a baby more.”

I asked another friend, a female. Your guess is as bewilderedly true as mine – Kaka also wants “a small and classy wedding with just family and a few close friends”.

My poll on ‘This Thing Called…Wedding’ was targeted at young men and women, 20-30 years old who were unmarried, about to be married or less than a year old in marriage. The ‘small and classy wedding with close friends and family’ party won by a landslide over the ‘big wedding with paparazzi and screaming crowds’ party.

Who then wants the big weddings? Who wants the noise, the crowd and the paparazzi? We have them every weekend, in those town halls, school auditoriums and even out in the open to accommodate as many people as are interested. If nobody starts out wanting them, how then do people end up with these weddings?

My research fingered society as the major culprit. My sources will remain anonymous for those of you looking for who to carry wedding-akpo for, but according to them, society in this context means those people you know or have met who will get offended because they didn’t receive invitations to your wedding, THEN show up anyway. They are those people who you sent invitations just so you don’t hurt their feelings, only for them to show up with an entourage. They are also those ones who because they want to do something nice for you – either for genuine or selfish reasons – reproduce your wedding invitation cards and disperse them unto the biblical fertile soil.

We all want our weddings to be about us – that special day where you smile, laugh and dance the best and most you ever have, and then get to treasure the memory forever with the one you love. By virtue of its nature, big weddings rarely ever deliver that yet many a couple find themselves having one.

So if you want a small wedding and you already feel the choice slipping through your fingers with calls and mails from old colleagues and acquaintances who just assume they are invited and “can’t wait to see you at the wedding”, here’s a tip from my wedding-savvy source: HAVE IT SOMEWHERE FAR FAR FAR AWAY. Have your traditional marriage at home – one, it’s tradition; two, ‘they’ always elect to attend the white wedding. If you can afford it, stage it abroad. If you can’t afford it or if like me, it doesn’t sit right with you to wed outside Nigeria, hit google.ng. Search out little places far away from the region where you have spent most of your life. That way, only family and friends who care enough to go through the trouble of travel will be at your wedding. Also, you save some money to have yourselves some good ol’ delicious honeymoon.

Maybe I’m being overly sentimental or hurried in my judgment, but I daresay everybody likes a small, happy wedding. Yours doesn’t have to be without family like the couple whose story I shared at the start of this piece, and you definitely can choose to wear your gown to church rather than bring it in a bag. But if it’s small and classy and filled with joy and laughter, everybody likes it. You best.

That said; I will add that there is nothing wrong with having a big, loud and classy wedding, so far as it is the wedding you and your partner want. That is really all that matters – your choice. Your happiness.

blacklove02

So what do you think of ‘This Thing Called Wedding’? Have you had any relevant experiences or do you know any secrets or tips for having the dream wedding – big or small? Don’t be shellfish, SHARE IT!

Mention me @ojukwu_martin on twirra

THIS THING CALLED…HONOR.

HONOR

I was in another Nigerian chat room about a month ago and I raised the issue of honor and its value or lack thereof in the context of present day Nigeria and world. The discussion basically rolled between this very interesting guy, whom I will call Emma and I. Below is how the chat session progressed:

Me: Imagine this, it is early in the era of the Roman empire and you are a Roman general captured by the Carthagenians. Your captors send you as an emissary to negotiate peace for them on terms that are not favorable for your people. They (your captors) also make you give your word that if your people refused the terms they proposed, you would return to them and pay with your life. What would you do?

Emma: I’ll go back home happily and gather the whole might of the Roman legion, then return and wipe those dumb bastards off the face of the earth.

Ik: <thumbs-up smiley> On point

Emma: Na so na. E be like where you catch big fish, come tell am to enter back water go bring the smaller ones come back.

Me: What if your emperor is not interested in fighting the Carthagenians. He is okay with the way things are so long as they don’t attack Rome. Then, what would you do?

Emma: Then I’d just return to Rome and tell the emperor their terms, after which I’ll retire to my house and warm up my bed with my wife whom I must have missed so much from being at war with dumb catarrh-plagued dudes.

Me: Lol. Whatever happened to honor?

Emma: Which dirty honor? Bros, honor holds with fellow countrymen, not barbarians.

Me: No guys seriously, check am well oh. There used to be a time when a man’s word was as precious to him as his penis. What changed?

Emma: There are two things I value more than my life and I don’t break them for anyone: my word and my balls – Tony Montana (played by Al Pacino in Scarface)

Me: Great quote! See my point?

Emma: Well bro, life above all else. I follow Scarface, but it’s only when I give that word freely. In such a case, my word would come before my life. But not when I’m under duress or forced to give my word against my own volition.

Me: I hear you, bro. But when honor was golden, a man’s word was as blind as Thermes to terms and conditions. It was just what it was – a man’s word. If you can’t do it, don’t give your word, simple!

Emma: Mhmm. In 33 stratagems of war, this story was told of a Chinese general who passed a law that the owner of any animal which trespassed the state orchard would be beheaded. For years, the law thrived and one day, the general’s stupid donkey strayed into the orchard. And the stupider man surrendered himself to be beheaded. Funny enough, the law was repealed after his death and he was quickly forgotten.

Me: Hmmm…so if you were the general, you would have exempted yourself from the law?

Emma: Omo, I no fit enact that kain mumu law ni!

Me: Lol…

And on it went…

I recently watched an old movie titled ‘It could happen to you’, about a cop who keeps a promise by giving a two million dollar tip to a waitress. The cop was played by Nicholas Cage; on his way back from purchasing a lottery ticket, he is served by a waitress who is having such a bad day that he feels bad for her. When he gets his bill, he realizes he has just enough money to pay for the cups of coffee he and his partner drank, and he so badly wants to leave this harried lady a tip. On a very – reckless, if I may add – whim, he promises her to return the next day with either double of the tip or half of his earnings if he wins the lottery for which he just bought a ticket. She of course laughs him off, but he repeats his promise and leaves. It turns out that this cop wins the lottery that night, for a sum of four million dollars; he is stumped by the incredulity of his situation; his wife is much more than stumped, she is livid. I mean, two-milla worth of ‘keep-the-change’ to a total stranger, who wouldn’t be?!

Anyhow long story cut short, cop turns up at the diner the next day and asks the waitress to choose one out of the options he promised. She is in a better mood than from the day before so she elects to go with the option which she feels will give him an easy way out – he couldn’t have just won the lottery, could he? And cop gives her two million dollars. His explanation – A promise is a promise, I gave my word.

Granted, these situations are a bit primordial but still, I wonder, what is the present worth of a man’s word? And by man, I mean men and women? Or perhaps it remains an exclusively male trait – one of the few surviving attributes on which the quintessential woman does not want equal rights with men? Does This Thing Called Honor still exist, and how does it rate on the scale of value?

So let me know what you think; and while you are at it, ponder on these words of Mark Twain,

“Honor is an even harder master than the law”

 HONOR

THIS THING CALLED…BEAUTY.

beauty

After I read this piece which again reiterated the ubiquitous mantra “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, I wondered about beauty and the various human perceptions of it. Clearly, it is an important ideal to humans including (if not more especially) those who claim to not care. It is a word which abounds in discussions among youth, males especially because it is more generically appropriated to the female gender. I therefore took the liberty of running a mini-survey among men aged between 19 to 30 years.

The question was: “This thing called beauty: Take a few minutes to answer this as honestly as you can: ‘What qualities in your opinion, qualify a woman as beautiful?’ No restrictions”

And answers poured in, from the outright ludicrous to the hilarious to the ‘bombshell’ one-worded responses; I have relayed them all with little to zero editing. I like to call them the ‘26 Alphabets of the Beauty language’; they are as follows:

A. ‘Arsenal’ and ‘Barcelona’ and height – very powerful criteria. If u get money, woman character is under your control.

B. Pretty – fine face and body; personality – smart, character and humility.

C. 90% attitude and 10% looks: respectful, moral standards, articulate, at or above my frequency with God and NOT BORING.

D. Exceptional charm, self confidence, shining light that sparkles through her smile and eyes and willing to cook for me.

E. Respect for her man and knows her wifely duties in the kitchen and bedroom, handles children well and is always there for her man; respects God too.

F. Physically attractive, character, endurance and sincerity; I will set tests for her pretending as if I don’t care, she must pass them to prove her resilience, behavior towards money.

G. God fearing and catholic, humble, fun loving, enduring, intelligent, pretty with a lovely figure, intuitively caring with everyone even children.

H. Character and charisma.

I. A sight to behold – physically beautiful, I mean nicely shaped with some flesh here and there (wink), she has to be godly too and intelligent. I trip for intelligent ladies.

J. Neatness and perfect form of facial and body structure.

K. Beautiful – good and humane character (care and love); humble and respectful; God fearing and hardworking; smart and good looking.

L. Beauty physically and at heart; she must have those curves.

M. Respectful, facial beauty and kindness/generosity.

N. Gentleness and good character; other features especially the physical only support these.

O. Right attitude, sound morals, respect to God and humans, good attitude to strangers.

P. Character.

Q. Physically, she should be pretty; I love well-endowed tall, slim, dark ladies;

Emotionally, she should be mature, able to handle stress, independent, not crying easily, think like a woman not a girl;

Spiritually, she’s gotta love the Lord! Know how to pray, know what the scripture says about life situations;

Socially, she’s gotta combine being quiet and playful at the same time, love fun but know how to get serious when needed, dress well, act gracefully with poise, good listener.

R. Good height, slim not too much at least average, straight leg and good character.

S. Facial appeal, humility, sincerity and intelligence.

T. Truthfulness and sincerity.

U. Presentable, elegant, courageous, certainly tall, sleek, bold and beautiful; good character remains constant that is, respectful, God fearing, trustworthy, tolerant, understanding (ok with 60%).

V. Physical appeal, being lovable, respectful, tolerable and homely, etc.

W. Her smile in its genuineness, not lousy, can be discreet and very observant. A go-getter. One who takes care of her body, a good shape is always a plus. Stable and consistent, not prone to excessive mood swings. An optimist at heart with a beautifully logical mind.

X. Adorning her outer grace with wisdom, tolerance, understanding, and faithfulness to God and men.

Y. Lovely eyes, figure-8, long straight legs added advantage. Must have common sense, manageable character.

Z. A woman who is beautiful inside and outside and loves God.

My personal favorite is opinion Q, because it is exhaustive. But as I feared, a lot of young men (besides me…right?) have a meager or no understanding of beauty. First proof of this is in the opinions polled above where the word ‘beautiful’ is used repeatedly in the definition of itself – an obvious sign of misconception.

Another observation of mine which is as interesting as it is not startling is that many young men cannot ignore the relevance of physical appearances and attraction to beauty. So preach all you want about the beauty of a woman ONLY radiating from the soul and inner peace and cumbayaya cumbaya, the world is saying ‘eyes eat first’.

beautiful-black-woman

What do you think though? What is your personal opinion on the truth of this thing called beauty?