Winie says … ‘Hook ups’ and their ‘mess ups’

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Babe dat your friend na correct catch oh, abeg na, hook me up’

I absolutely love Mercy, but in the middle of stirring a happy pot of Nsala soup on a beautiful Saturday afternoon like this one, her constant whining about my other friend, Daniel was irritating me to tatters.

Painstakingly, I gathered the last shreds of my patience. “I take God beg you,” I pleaded, “leave me alone!”

Her face changed and she stormed out of the kitchen, stomping my fragile wooden floor like a pissed off hippopotamus. This routine had been going on for the past three months, and I have absolutely no objection to her either dating or getting to know Daniel better. But as their mutual friend, I choose not to get involved; in fact, I shall not be found a thousand kilometers near the reason they choose to be together.

Who does that?! Right? Who in their right mind would pass up on the opportunity to ‘hook up’ two good people who might be meant for each other? I mean there are all sorts of perks to it: the sparkly toast they’ll make to you at the wedding reception; you get first shot at godmother to future offsprings, and don’t forget bragging rights – “I hooked them up ;)” It’s a juicy package, so why not? Well, don’t search too far; the answer is ‘Winifred’. Yes, me. E duro! Sit back and let me tell you a story.

It was a couple of years ago, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, much like this Saturday only without Nsala soup; I dey my side jeje when my good friend knocked on my door and would not stop ranting about my other friend and colleague. “Winie abeg, put in a good word for me,” were his words, “I really like her”. I interrogated him, and part-time psychoanalyst that I am, I determined that he was serious and had good intentions. So I obliged him and two months later, they were in a relationship.

Let’s just say that a few weeks down the line, some major kata kata burst and it was the messiest pre-marital divorce I had ever witnessed. Since I was the relationship initiator, I was the grass when the two elephants fought. Comments like, ‘how could you let them date?’, ‘Winie, you are wicked shaa’, ‘what made you think those two would ever work out?’, ‘how dare you let this happen?’ etc. were thrown at me. By-standers, other friends, acquaintances and gossips all had words of rebuke and advice for me. Everybody became self-acclaimed relationship experts.

All the while this nightmare was going on, my greatest fear was losing either of my friends to it. But I seemed to be the only thing they unwillingly had in common and even though I felt intense pressure to pick a side, I couldn’t. My friends’ pain tore me apart and no one was having a swell time. These two people couldn’t have been more wrong for each other, but somehow it hadn’t been as glaring initially. I struggled to find meaning, peace or even a way to move forward. What’s the right thing to say? Or do? I blamed myself for ever getting involved in the first place and would have done anything to undo it. But as it turned out, the only (sane) way to ride out the storm was to wait and see.

Eventually, waves of anger subsided and I picked up the bits and pieces of what was left of my friendship with both parties. Till date, these friendships still have some sore points; I still struggle with what to say or do whenever that experience comes up.

Back to my Saturday now, I watched Mercy as I set the table for lunch. She was sulking and staring at the TV. I reminded her again that she was too valuable for me to play ‘hook up’ games with. “If you like someone, go talk to him or wait and hope he notices you. But for the sake of our friendship which I hope to preserve, keep me out of it.” I gave her a big side hug and proceeded to tickle the frown off her. The explosive laughter that followed was a relief;  the only way to eat Nsala soup is in peace.

I know some very beautiful relationships have come out of ‘hook ups’, I also know about their ‘mess ups’ and how terrible they can be. I know that intense feeling of wanting to help a friend out and being unable to. If you ever find yourself being boxed into such a corner by a friend, here are a few things I have learned that just might help:

  1. Take a mirror, look in it and repeat these words ‘I AM NOT GOD’. It helps calm you down when you think you have the power to control or influence people’s lives and choices especially in relationship matters.
  2. The fact that someone is a good friend to you doesn’t mean that they’ll be a good romantic partner to you or someone else. As a matter of fact, the emotions that are specifically for romantic relationships, complicate things way more than you’ll ever anticipate. I say this to mean, your matchmaking MIGHT be a wrong fit. You never really know how a person will behave in a relationship regardless of how long you’ve known them as a friend.
  3. Let people choose for themselves. I mean the WHOLE process of making a choice. Let them convince the other person that they are good enough, without your own ‘few good words’. So that peradventure things don’t sail smoothly, no one will look at you and say ‘but you told me …’
  4. When your friends are dating, DRAW THE LINE. There should be that place where your friendship stops and their intimate private lives continue, especially when you know the two people involved. This is because, once you share that intimate space with them, it becomes CROWDED and heads start bumping. Take it from me; you’ll be the grass under two elephants.
  5. Finally, if and in the event kata kata burst, always remember your FRIENDSHIP is way more important than picking sides. So practice yoga if you have to, but you must straddle the thin line. After all is said and done, the people you meet and get to know are the summary of your existence. Every valuable friendship is worth keeping and maintaining.

That’s all I have to say. Your comments on COBIL were very enlightening, so let’s have more of that sunshine here. Have you had any experiences similar to mine? Do you have battle scars from meddling in ‘hook ups’ that we all can learn from? The Comments section is just a short scroll away, so hit it and share with us.

While you’re at that,

Winnie says … Have a Winning-Day.

For past editions of this column, click HERE

WAW

Winie says … Coulda-been-in-laws (COBIL)

COBIL

Coulda-been-in-laws are family members of your significant other whom you get very close to over the course of your relationship but get stuck with even after the relationship ends. It’s painful to form relationships with them, prepare financially, emotionally and mentally to be part of their lives, and then experience a break-up with the person that brought them into your life. It also becomes very complicated trying to analyze, what kind of relationship to maintain with them when you are no longer with their son/daughter, uncle/aunty, brother/sister, niece/nephew, etc. How do you introduce your ex’s sister to your new beau when you run into her in the mall? How do you relate with your ex’s mother that took you in as a daughter or son? How many of these awkward relationships do you want to have in one life time?
Some relationships fail after a long time which might make meeting and knowing each other’s family almost inevitable. Sometimes, you unintentionally, meet the person through their family member which might give you the pre-in-law status very early in the relationship. But there are some very unnecessary acquisitions of COBIL. COBIL might make it difficult for you to move on; constantly expressing wishes that things had turned out differently or bringing back memories that you may be trying to suppress. In my opinion, the more of those we have in our life, the more complicated relationships we acquire too. I have observed three common situations that lead to unnecessary acquisition of COBIL.

Helpers: Very early in relationships some people begin to run errands, buy items for the other person’s family, attend intimate family functions etc. Sadly, some people see it as a way to secure their place in the other person’s life. While it’s unrealistic to have set time when these things should happen, it should be when the two people involved have decided they are part of each other’s future, not when the relationship is new with uncertainties.  As nice as it is to help the family of someone you care about, when it happens too early, you only endear yourself to the family and vice versa without taking enough time to build on the relationship that actually counts. If you two end up together, you have the rest of your lives to buy gifts and help each other’s family. If after you advertise yourself as a ‘helper ’and the relationship doesn’t work out, all you have is a family that loves you and a man/woman who doesn’t. You would have acquired COBIL.

One Chance: There are those bad-belle people who look for people to date because they see a gap in their family that only that kind of relationship can fill. They have no long-term plans for you or the relationship, just the service they want you to offer. A few years back, one of my girlfriends entered a relationship. After a few weeks, the young man asked her to travel alone to another state during her free time to help his elder sister that just had a baby. (Bros!! how far?).  So, he found a girl that he thought was good enough to send for Omugwo. My friend is sharp; she didn’t go. They broke up a few months later; you can imagine. The list goes on: for women who turn young men to their family bank, or the guys that find a girl and promise her heaven and earth just so that she can help his mother when he travels abroad.  Sadly people fall for this plot and enter one chance. When they realize what’s going on, it’s too late, the relationship has gone too far, and someone has dashed them COBIL.

Back Door: These are the people who on purpose go through family members in an attempt to win a person’s heart. This is called using the ‘back door’.  In this case the people either have unsuccessfully tried to approach the person directly or believe using a family member is a surer and faster way. They get close to the person’s family members, buy gifts, inject themselves into their lives, and use them as weapons or use their own family members as baits and tools to lure the person to themselves. There’s a high chance of not winning the person of interest through the back door; this might equally earn you or make you give someone COBIL.

On the part of the family, it’s not also fair to introduce someone to them, and yank that person out of their lives when the relationship fails. I’m sure some of us that grew up with uncles and aunties know that feeling of pain when the person that supplies you biscuit and sweet stops coming. I mourned the end of some relationships of my relatives. Not just because of the goody-goody, but the connection that was made with these people was lost and I missed it.

Bringing family members very close at the beginning of a relationship has its downsides. They make decision-making and building a relationship a little tougher. I’ve witnessed situations where family members like a person more than the other part of the relationship duo. Hearing your mother’s voice in your head about how awesome a man or woman is, when you don’t feel the same, might just mess up some things for you. Of course if the opposite is the case, the hatred or dislike might not allow you make a right decision on what to do.

Finding a life partner is not easy; I’m absolutely convinced that family plays a huge role in the decision.   I support discussing the person of interest with family, talking about qualities, asking questions, etc. and hopefully having someone in your family that you confide in and get guidance.  But a face to face meeting, I believe should come later, because personal interaction is a different ball game. The marriage will be between you, the person and God. Those are the only people who should matter at the initial phase. I like to think of it like building a house. You start with the foundation and you make it as strong as possible. Get to know each other to a certain extent; at least be sure to a point that a future potentially exist. Then you can build the ‘house’ further by bringing in family. A strong relationship foundation can withstand a lot, peradventure you have issues with family acceptance but a weak one won’t stand a chance. When that foundation is strong, family love and acceptance will strengthen it and not complicate it. You also minimize the pain of a break-up when it’s necessary and save your family the trouble.

For those of us that are still yet to tie the knot, I suggest we avoid coulda-been-in-laws (COBIL) so there would be space for the real ones.

These are just my thoughts. Who agrees? Who has had an unnecessary COBIL or an encounter that might have led to one and how did you handle it? Who has a different opinion on when family should be involved, at what point and why? Do not hesitate to share in the Comments below.

While you’re at that,

Winnie says Have a Winning-Day!

WAW

Fresh new column … coming soon!

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This is a public service announcement.

It is with great pleasure, and for your even greater reading pleasure, that ‘Words Are Work’ brings you a fresh new column from one of our extremely talented writers. You might remember her better as ‘Nikki’ – that female protagonist whose hunger met its physical and spiritual equal in the story, ‘The Day He Showed Up’; but her name is Winifred Adebayo.

Winie calls herself a ‘word addict’; for her, writing is a passion that unites all of her interests into one perfect little ball of warmth. For a long time, she did nothing about her love for writing, but since she started not so long ago, she has been unable to stop. She loves God very deeply, people too, and this love motivates her in everything she does.

WAW caught up with Winie on one of her rare ‘free’ moments and asked to know more about this new column. Her answer was straight, short and simple: The column is titled ‘Winie says …’, and it will bring you thought-provoking articles on life and relationships. Before we could ask about degrees and other professional certifications which qualified her to opine on such subject matters, Winie quickly added that she is no expert. “‘Winie says …'” she said, “just says it as it is”.

You can read her blog-posts on winiesworld.com; also follow her on twitter and Instagram @wini_ade.

In the meantime, ‘Winie says …’ is loading, so …

Watch this space!

The Lectern: A Message to Unmarried Women

Emmanuel Akaeze is at ‘The Lectern’ again this month, this time on spinster matters.

If you missed last month’s episode which had A Special Message for Unmarried Men, take a minute to read it before you go on.

The Lectern01

…that we might be read

Are you male? Female? Both? Or undecided?

Are you single? Double? Or undecided?

Yes? No? or well…still undecided?

Regardless of whichever it is, we give you…

A Message for Unmarried Women

Madea

I hear a lot of people took my hard truths a little too hard, especially the prettier and fairer creatures among us. I really do not care for anyone who can afford the luxury of misunderstanding bare-faced facts. So today, I come with even harder, ruthlessly naked truths. Hate it if you must, but read it nevertheless.

Marriage has always been an important thing for many women, but the race for it today has become so bad it’s almost diabolic. Yes, many women are doing all sorts of infernal things to get married. Young woman that wants to get married, pause a bit and ask yourself this important question: why do I want to get married?

I ask you to do this because your reason for getting married may very well determine the kind of man you will hook up with. If you want to be happy in your union, you’ll carefully and prayerfully choose a spouse. Or, still carefully and prayerfully, let a spouse choose you.

But if you want to be married because all your friends are, or because your family thinks so, or because society says your clock is ticking, you may very well end up making the wrong choice. Like a man who abuses you – be it physically, verbally, emotionally, psychologically…hell, even spiritually. No matter what you say, there are always signs of an abuser. Whether he’s a featherweight, middleweight or a heavyweight practitioner of the punching, verbal or emotional slicing arts, those signs – like pi – remain constant.

Now listen to me; when a man makes you stay on a video chat for 24 hours, just so that he can see where you are at all times – don’t look at me, this shit happens everyday – he’s an abuser. You can say he’s just a bit jealous or you know men are like that all you want but we – you and I, know the truth. And the truth is that it is not “a bit” of jealousy and not all men are like that!

When a man makes you take pictures of yourself and send to him 1,440 minutes every day, so that he knows where you are and who with, my sister you’re in bondage. Only that your master hasn’t paid your purchase price. Any man that makes you do this, under the guise that his heart has been broken by the previous women in his life and therefore, you need to earn his trust, is a confirmed wizard. He needs Jesus and you need a copy of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.

When a man flings objects at you during an argument, throws and breaks his phone against the wall and then says, look what you made me do, you better run. He will one day throw you and then blame you for it. So run! And when you have run far enough, pause and text him the number of a psychiatrist who will enroll him in Yaba for anger management courses.

When a man tells you that once you get married you will pound yam for him while you’re nine months pregnant, because his mother did it. You will also wash his car, feed your three children and drop them off at school, clean the house, do the family laundry, go shopping, and pound even more yam, all without any help. I ask you: are you familiar with the letters R. U. N?

When you’re in a relationship with a man who arbitrarily picks up your phone, deletes some male contacts and text messages, then grills you whenever you pick a call from a man. He logs into your Facebook account, abuses and warns off all the men who say nice things to you, tells you which friends to keep and which to dismiss, and short of getting you a bodyguard, monitors your movements in every way possible. I have the pleasure of informing you that he is not the man who loves you; he is a monitoring, familiar spirit. The earlier you’re delivered from him, the better for you.

Having said that, I’d like to add that some of these kinds of men can smell desperation and know that there’s little or nothing you can or would want to do to them. They can sense it when you have started asking God to crush you with the train of marriage bells and slam-dunk you with the fruit of the womb. And like sharks smelling blood, they will zoom in and literally answer your prayers.

So my advice to you, dear prospective bride, is build your self-esteem. Be proud of who you are, be picky. Yes, contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to drag the bottom of the barrel. Know that you deserve a good man and take your time to select one.

Take your time; because once you make your choice, you’re stuck with him. There really is no need to for haste, for where the hare gets to by running, the tortoise will arrive there by walking.

By Emmanuel Akaeze

Emma

Emmanuel is an avid reader, a creative writer, historian and public speaker, a Process Engineer by profession, Business Analyst by occupation. Still single, he lives and works in Abuja. His life philosophy implores you to “Change the way you think, change your life”

If you have written something which you would like read at ‘The Lectern’, send it in a mail titled ‘The Lectern’ to ojukwumartin@gmail.com. If you are unsure about a subject matter but want to be read still, send me an email too and we can work up something appropriate for you. It doesn’t have to be right, left, right or wrong…just your opinion.

Chisom

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:

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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…

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and please oh, NEVER like this…

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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