What It Really Means To Be a Man in Nigeria (A Lady’s Perspective)

This is for every man out there who is in constant psychological battle for his masculinity
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Gentlemen, shall we?
For once let’s talk about what it means to be a man. Let’s leave society’s drama of man versus woman and social media standards of men and women. Let’s look beyond the Yoruba demon hash tags and the men-are-insensitive speeches and take a look at what it really means to be a man.

Admittedly the Nigerian society is unfair on women. It’s very demanding on us, tasking us to have woven ourselves many yards thick into the fabric of wifely actions and/or inactions from our teenage years. Judging us to be good wives and great mothers, expecting us to birth and raise children who will be model citizens from the moment we become women and making sure anything short gets us the “you’re not a good woman” tag. But this is not about women.

Carried away by the noise constantly raging between the sexes, we forget that this part of the world is equally unfair on men. It’s more subtle but it’s there. It’s there every time you approach a girl for a relationship and in the first few sentences, she’s gauging how much you’re worth, if you can cater for her needs and if you can really match up with the image of the man she has in her head. So first you have to be better than the man in her head or some prior man in her life.

imageSociety’s unfairness is there in the subtle way it expects you to cater to your family and woman’s needs not minding whether you even have enough for yourself. It’s also there in other men’s expectations of you. So from go, you’re made aware of the many people you have to convincingly provide for to be called a man. There’s you, family (nuclear and extended), woman (or women) and of course social responsibility. It’s brutal if you’re unable to. Society will not hold back.

So you get a job to keep up with those expectations. You’re happy with the job but soon, the little you make is no longer enough because the bills at home keep going up or “your mates are driving good cars and you’re still on leggedez benz” or “Temi’s boyfriend took her to Dubai for Christmas but where did you take me?” So you buckle up and start one or two side-businesses in order to meet up responsibilities and keep up with the social scene. Did I forget to mention that the kind of career you find yourself increases your reputation? Oil sector is equal mega hit. Business and ICT equals he-get-prospects. Banking is big-boy. Medicine/Law/Engineering gets you a he’s-a-professional. Every other, you’re on your own. Try explaining to a Nigerian what it is you do as a copywriter (hopefully they don’t get it confused with copyright).

The unfairness is there in the expectations from family in taking care of your younger ones or in even supporting the home front especially if you’re the first born son. And just when you’re getting the hang of it, just when you’re beginning to understand what it means to be a man, then you’re subtly urged to begin to include iyawo rere in prayers because you need a woman who will hold home down so you can focus on the hustle. So like the woman who doesn’t want to be tagged for Shiloh 2030, as a man too, you don’t want the tag of someone who can’t keep a woman. So you try to be a man and man your way through heartbreaks and sadness and deaths and depression and manipulation and family. So you learn to be bigger than you really are, even if it means faking it and dressing it up. You have to be a man. Remember?

deceptionWhat about sex? Every day you go online, somebody is talking about 6 inches and 9 inches and without even realizing it, you’re measuring yourself against someone’s preconceived idea of how many inches you need to be a conqueror in bed. You begin to wonder if that hot new girl you are about to conquer has been with someone bigger or smaller and if you’ll somehow do better or less than her last man. You begin to ask yourself if the you’re-the-man which Precious was chanting the last time you both rolled in the hay was her being good at faking orgasm or her being the real deal.

In the end, the struggle to be a man is no small feat. Men may break your heart, take advantage of your love, choose the hustle over you; in the end those things are things  society conditioned them to be in order to be called a man.

So for once, guys tell us, what does it mean to be a man?

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This thing called Youthful Exuberance

As a writer, there are certain things that come to you easily; particular attention to things (details) even when it seems you are not looking.

So sometime ago, a contact of mine used a Display Picture that most people keep hidden, an insignia of a particular confraternity. Usually I’m not one to ask people stuff about their DP except we are very good friends, I proceeded to ask him about it nonetheless and if he was a member. He answered in the affirmative. He then proceeded to explain his reason as “youthful exuberance”. My antenna went up just then. I thought he could have just own up to his choices and then let it go. I’m a sucker for people who own up to their choices, good and bad anyway. But calling his choice “youthful exuberance” when he is apparently still proud of his membership didn’t go down well with me.

For me, youthful exuberances are choices one would rather not associate with as one grows, but which are part of a person’s growing up reality. If you’re proud of your choices as an adult, then it no longer qualifies as youthful exuberance. A friend argues that though youthful exuberance is not necessarily something you’re not proud of, it could be something you’ve outgrown nonetheless.

If this guy’s choice was something he has outgrown or regret because he did it out of curiosity or peer pressure (I didn’t ask his reason), why is he identifying with that choice? However, confraternity is not the subject of this article. This article is about a young man who blamed his choices on youthful exuberance when he still very much enjoys the benefits of that choice as a young adult.

I think everyone of us have done things that looking back, either makes us smile, fill us with regrets, make us wish for those times, is the reason why a particular nickname stuck or just become great entertaining stories for when we meet old friends again. I think it is fair to call exuberances experiments i.e. experimenting with life until we get to that point where we can make informed decisions about what to let go of and what to continue with. If as a young person, I had experimented with drugs and alcohol and then decided to stop because I have outgrown that period of my life, then I can call it exuberance. If I had at one time derived joy in partying all day every day, going from one party to another, with no direction to my life and then one day I stopped it all, then that also qualifies as youthful exuberance. But if I still do these things and take pride in them, then it is not exuberance.

I’m open to a different opinion though. What do you think qualifies as youthful exuberance and what does exuberance mean to you?

Should Tribe Be a Major Factor in Marriage?

Hi guys,

Tonight, we will be doing things a little differently. Today’s article went up on another blog I’m a contributor on. I had a different topic planned for here so I had to debate with myself about it. In the long run, that topic won the debate. So here goes, Should tribe be a major factor when getting married? Click on that and it will take you to the other blog. I hope you enjoy it as always and please don’t forget to share and leave a comment.

I love you guys always.

Bae Monitoring: The Many Ways You Are Doing It Wrong

Once upon a time, I was a radio freak. Radio put me to bed every night and woke me up in the morning. I remember there used this be this show on Cool FM (before adverts got more space than programmes) where listeners called in to have their boyfriends/girlfriends tested. Basically all the listener needed to do was call in, provide phone number of the said person and give vital information that could help the presenter cook up a valid lie.

On this particular day, a guy called in. According to him, he had invested money, time and emotions on the lady and he was at the stage where home-to-mama was the next sensible thing. However he wanted his lady tested so he can be sure they were on the same page. The presenter called the lady; let’s call her Sandra, telling her that a company she applied to is of the opinion that she is the best candidate for them. However, because of the nature of the job, they require people without commitments as they will be more flexible. The presenter then asked her, “Do you have a boyfriend?” If it were you, biko, what would your answer be? Therefore, Sandra answered, “No”. Na there kata kata burst.

Somebody lied!!
Somebody lied!!

Let’s come back to two days ago. While scrolling through Twitter, I saw a tweet about how you can find out if your boo has other boos via http://www.knowyourboo.com . Na so I click. I was curious about the new ways people have invented for monitoring their partners.

According to the Masterminds of this app, “the only thing you and your Boos’ other boos have in common is you all call the same number (well except your Boo is one of those James Bond kind- then we can’t help you), so the more people enter your Boo’s phone number, the more potential boos your Boo has.” I’ll try to ignore the “Boos’” up there as that technically means even the person wey dey search for Boo’s Boo get plenty but I’ll chuck it up as grammatical error. Who else sees the fault in this creation? Just in the event that I’m the only one seeing it, let me share.

Say for example, 20 of my friends input my number and follow the prompts thereafter. According to the app, that translates to me having 20 “potential” boos, not minding that those who searched me out could be anyone. Let’s just take this as another app to add humour to our already boring lives (Something tells me this could be Anakle at it again. Remember that Bride Price app that went viral one time? Yeah)

Maybe she's not just his student
Maybe she’s not just his student

This brings me to the many things people do to monitor their partners. I’ve been privy to instances where Baes ask their Boos to give the phone to whichever friend the Boo had told them they’d be with just to confirm if Boo is where he/she claimed to be. All to be sure they’re being cheated on. Why go into so much trouble? What happened to trust in relationships?

In my opinion, if your boyfriend/girlfriend is a passive, chronic or not a cheat, you would know at a certain point in the relationship. However I have to agree that some are actually gods at this cheating thing, you would never know. The question is, after knowing, what do you do with that information? Do you stay in the relationship and keep hoping that you monitoring them will eventually cause them to stop? Do you take it as fate and look the other way just so you don’t kill yourself on top man matter? Do you go on one of your own and defend it with the tit-for-tat resolve or do you just get out of the relationship altogether?

Who is he talking to?
Who is he talking to?

Really I think monitoring your partner is just a quicker way to six feet below. Yes, you can ask bae where he/she is at, but leave him or her with the discretion of whether to tell you whom they are with. Usually, you wouldn’t need to ask. However going the route of asking them to give someone else the phone, following them everywhere in a taxi, stalking their social media or even calling in to radio shows to have them checked out, that’s way over the top.

So if you ask me, the best way to monitor bae is not to monitor bae.

But do tell, have you ever monitored your Bae (past or present)?