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

 

Every Sunday

church

This poem is about love

And it is very long

It is a long poem that tells the story of a kind of love

Not the kind of love you read about in romance series

And not the kind you see in soppy soaps

With dark-haired men and yellow-haired dolls

Who never have children because then what color would their hair be

This poem is about love

It is a long poem that tells the story of a kind of love

A love you will not recognize

A love that is disrespectful and blasphemous

A love that does not know its name

I don’t expect you to understand

Don’t understand

I only wish that you would pay attention

No, don’t pay attention

Don’t pay anything

Only listen

It is yet one of the harder requests ever requested

Requesting that one listen

Because we all like to hear our own voices most of the time

But still I wish that you would listen

Only listen

 

This poem is about love

Love that started in the church

In the house of God where the devil worships on Sunday

Every Sunday

And the demons burn incense and bath in holy water

This poem is about love

Love that started in the church

Between a boy and a girl who sat on either side of a man and woman

He was a chorister

Join a choir today

But he did not sing in the choir because he was too good a singer

So he sat just behind them and sang aloud

Sang better than they sang on Sunday

Every Sunday

Every time he sang so that they could hear that he was good

He was singing aloud when the man sat beside him

And a woman followed and sat beside him

And a girl followed and sat beside her

And he was singing aloud just like he sings

Every Sunday

 

She was not a chorister

Remember, join a choir today

She just joined her father and her mother to church on Sunday

Every Sunday

Every time she dolled up in Ankara and silken wraps

She blow-dried her hair with a hand fan

A souvenir from a cousin’s wedding

And she tied it with a yellow headband

A souvenir from a broken heart

And she got in the car and went to church with her father and her mother

Every Sunday

Her father sat down and her mother followed him

Her mother sat down and she followed her

And sat down

Just like she does on Sunday

Every Sunday

 

Pause

Rewind to the last stanza

Not this last last one, the one before the last one

He was singing aloud when the man sat beside him

And a woman followed and sat beside him

And a girl followed and sat beside her

And he stopped singing

He stopped singing aloud like he used to on Sunday

This Sunday

 

He stared

And she pretended not to see

Still he stared

At her full head of dark natural curls

Bound up in a mellow yellow bandana

Grow some dark natural curls today

Buy a yellow bandana, a mellow yellow bandana

Her eyes were hazel and hazy

As if they struggled to cover up mistakes done by, gone by

Her eyes were set a tad too far apart

As if they struggled against their own chemistry

Her nose was a slight button of caramel-tinted flesh that overturned like a fancy W

And her mouth was full with lips lusty and lined

Sun-dried tissue peeled off here and there, like roasted bundles of human phloem

Roasted and ready to eat

And he stared at them too long because he wanted to speak to them

No

To her

He wanted to speak to her and hear them speak to him

But the man and the woman sat between

Garbed in white and unmoving

Like the seven seas and seven hills

Where the seven dwarfs lived with Snow white and the princess, Obeledu

The man and woman sat still

Garbed in white and unmoving

Holding hands

Whispering and pecking when everybody else shook hands

 

The girl stood and made for the altar

Her offering bunched in her hand

She walked like the answer to a charmed human prayer

She walked like she knew she was the answer to a charmed human prayer

The man sat still, the woman sat still

The boy sat still

But only for another second

Then he stood and made for the altar

His offering bunched in his head

He walked like a charmed human prayer

He knew he was a charmed human prayer

He had no money in his hand but there was a song in his heart

All things bright and beautiful

All creatures fair and caramel

All hazel eyes and hair plentiful

The Lord God made them all

 

He waited on the stairs and she never came

Till he dusted his seat ready to give up the game

But then she came and she was the same

Like he had seen back in the pew, just the same

I think I know you from somewhere

It was the dumbest line ever

Learn some suave lines today

No, I mean it

Learn some suave lines

No you don’t know me from anywhere

It was the straightest jab ever

True, I don’t. Give me your number

Smile

Let’s go downstairs

So they went

Down the stairs

And they talked on the way

Down the stairs

About crying babies and praying adults as they walked

Down the stairs

 

Give me your number

No

I shall return here, same time, same pew on Sunday

Every Sunday

Just to see you again

Smile

You are wrong to assume that I will be here, same time, same pew, on Sunday

Every Sunday

Sigh

And they talked some more on the terracotta

A few yards from the gate of heaven

The huge narrow gate to paradise

They talked about foreign languages and strikes and campuses abroad

Then the mass was over

And the din of shuffling feet and bustling voices rose to a fever

Pitch like it did

Every Sunday

They poured forth from the gate of heaven

The huge narrow doorway

 

Give me your number

No, you’re a stranger

In the church we’re one, almost like family, not strangers

It was a suave line

Remember, learn some suave lines

Smile

Give me your number

The dark curls shook no

With the mellow yellow headband in tow

Remember, buy a yellow headband, a mellow yellow headband

The boy smelled the man coming

The girl smelled the woman coming

Give me your Number

No

Aaarrrgh

I shall return here, same time, same pew next Sunday

Every Sunday

Just to see you again

The curls rejoiced in the mellow yellow flames

I hope you do

Smile

Sigh

Give me your name

Smile

And they lived happily ever after

Every Sunday

 

This poem is about love

I warned you that it is very long

I warned you that

This poem is about love

A love you do not recognize

A love that is disrespectful and blasphemous

A love that still does not know its name

I did not expect you to understand

Don’t bother

I am just glad you paid attention

And you listened

 

Her name was Omoye.

 blacklove

I am @ojukwu_martin on twirra