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)?

Thursday Shenanigan: Maturity and Being Just Friends with Exes

When it comes to life, I believe simple is better. I don’t like complications. So I put that belief into everything and whatever I do. Relationships included. Friend equals friend. Ex equals ex. Boyfriend equals boyfriend. Toaster equals toaster. Let’s-not-mix-up-roles-let-everyone-know-where-they-stand thingy.

However lately, I’ve been caught up in conversations about having contacts with exes and sharing throwback gist with them every now and then. Tête-à-têtes in extreme cases. Now as much as I’m an advocate for to-each-his-own, I don’t believe in being friends with exes. In fact, when someone tells me we-can-still-be-friends after a breakup, I see it as insulting because the end result of that (usually) is the friends-with-benefits zone and at best, a situation where you tell me everything going on in your life including your heart troubles (things you told me when we were in a relationship). Why would I want to put myself through such misery? Just why?!!

Bandaged Heart

Let’s say I even go ahead to chuck my feelings at the time and listen to the woes, the best I’d give is “sound” advice which will obviously not be sound or a couple of eh-yahs rightly interjected in necessary places. So for me, it’s best we go our separate ways. It’s not about being immature. It’s about self-respect and then mutual respect in the afterthought. It means I respect myself enough to give me time away from you to heal and I respect you enough to not come to you with stories about how I have things going good or bad (without you).

Here’s where maturity and civility can come in. If after said relationship, we see each other anywhere and everywhere, I’ll personally take it upon myself to ask about all the months in between the last time we spoke and that day we met again. In fact, give me the full download and I’ll be the best sounding board you’ve had in months. Also feel free to call me up three or more months later to tell me how my advice worked and ask how I’m doing. But do not, I REPEAT, do not call me the very next day to ask if I’d like to hook up sometime or if I missed you in the time we’ve been apart. Nna, please don’t make me wire you shiko there.

Moving on, as much as I realize that examining one’s life from time to time is needed, I don’t think reminiscing with Exes is the way to go. Yes there are days when you look back and say, “Oh! I had it good with so-and-so person” and there will be days when you’ll say “I’m not going to act in so-and-so because that was my mistake with this person”. But in all of those I-wish moments and now-I-know-better days, don’t share them with the characters involved.

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Usually when the past reaches out, it is for a feel-good moment. So if you’re reading this, please know that moving on without the baggage of let’s-be-friends is maturity too.

My 25kobo!

The Things You Thought You knew

As Bayo left the house that afternoon, you saw the spring in his steps as he headed towards the Red Toyota Camry packed just outside the building. At first glance, you saw a gentleman. Another look at him didn’t tell you he has a wife and two beautiful boys at home as he wasn’t one to put on a wedding band. Many a time, you’ve seen ladies stare at him with hearts in their eyes. You noticed that Bayo wasn’t extraordinarily good-looking with his thin lips, large nose and squinting eyes. But when he smiled, he could be the most beautiful being as the wrinkles at the corner of his eyes beckoned you to just live in the magic of that radiant smile.

Unhappy woman lying on a couch
Unhappy woman lying on a couch

Everyone called him a wife beater. You too have heard the screams and shrieks coming from the room he shared with his wife. As if those weren’t proof enough, almost every other day, you saw telltale signs on his wife, Teni. The black eyes ill-covered by layers and layers of concealer, the almost blackish two lines that seemed a permanent tattoo on the side of her neck as well as the obvious limp in her step all of which weren’t there before.
But that afternoon, all you saw was the good-looking Bayo in a deep-blue Polo shirt with matching shorts and nice brown sandals. His appearance was of someone out for a fun afternoon. You saw him debate with himself for a while before he went back into his apartment.
Earlier you had seen his wife get back from her mother’s place where she had gone visiting. She had told you she was visiting the night before when you met at the supermarket.
What you however didn’t see was Bayo coming back out of the apartment and sneaking back in through the Kitchen which was at the back. You didn’t know he had to quietly sneak into the room he shared with his wife to get his wallet from the pair of trousers he wore the day before. Neither did you hear Teni call “Bayo” as she entered their room in that graceful way of hers- the one that bellies her limp. You didn’t see him almost jump out of his skin in surprise while he watched her pick up the vase by the bedside, testing its weight.
You didn’t hear her ask “Where are you going, Bayo?” without a trace of emotion in her voice.
You didn’t hear him say “Oh Teni, not today please”, almost pleading in that sultry alto voice that reminded you of melting ice cream.
You didn’t see her eyes go darker as he said that. You didn’t sense him quickly gauge the distance between himself and the door knowing only by sheer fate would he reach it before the vase in her hands sought him out.
You were not there when he gently walked towards her, choosing his words carefully as he said, “Teni, it’s just a hangout. You can come too, if you want. But it’s…just a hangout.”
You were not there when their 4-year old son walked into the room, crying; giving Bayo a chance to escape.
What you also didn’t know was that Teni wasn’t the victim. Bayo was. Bayo was the one who almost got scarred with a steaming Iron because he didn’t pick her call while in a meeting. He was the one who had narrowly dodged the kick she threw his way, dislocating her knee in the process. Bayo was the one on the receiving end of a thrown knife that had chipped the wardrobe door and one of the pieces had flew back at her, almost blinding her in the process.
Bayo was the one who had learnt to run when Teni was overcome by the very thing she had sworn not to be- a woman who beat life out of her husband like her mother did.
But you only heard the noise from the room and saw the scars on her.

Concussion the Movie; Worth Seeing or Nah?

Hi guys, it’s been a minute you saw me. How have you been? Okay before I get carried away with all the Valentine gist you can’t wait to talk about, let me tell you about this movie I saw on Valentine’s Eve; Concussion.

First, before you call me weird for not doing the usual lovey-dovey movie that any normal person would have done on Val’s eve, here’s what prompted the choice of Concussion.

Early Saturday, I somehow got involved in a discussion with friends on the movie Beasts of No Nation (click here to read my review on it), and one of them said she didn’t enjoy the movie because she didn’t think Idris Elba’s West African accent in the movie was that great. In her words, it was a rather poor imitation. My mind went on a spin. “What?” I gasped, just before another friend said he thinks BoNN is a rather great movie but Concussion now that is a movie that should get the accent-not-right hammer.

So imagine the hand of fate when getting to work on Saturday for a radio production, I found some of the guys watching Concussion. Out goes my Flash for a copy. So here is what I think about the movie aside the obvious Will Smith-your-accent-doesn’t-say-Nigerian-lest-talk-of-Ibo-Nigerian feeling I had. Or better still, let’s talk about it.

Will Smith as Dr. Omalu
Will Smith as Dr. Omalu

The first turn off was Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) pronouncing “Enugu” the way a foreigner would. His pronunciation didn’t convince me of his Nigerian-ness because Omalu supposedly spent years in a medical school in the Eastern part of Nigeria yet he couldn’t pronounce “Enugu” properly, the way my Eastern brothers would. Nah, Will, just stop right there. But basing this review on that alone is like making comments on the design of a package without a critical look at the content of the package itself. Unacceptable.

Concussion tells the story of a Nigerian migrant and Pathologist Bennet Omalu who finds himself as a coroner at a county office in Allegheny. While working, he is assigned a Mike Webster to perform autopsy on. Unknown to Omalu, Webster is one of many professional NFL players who would meet their deaths at a young age for playing American football. Omalu called it Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Prior to Webster’s death, Webster lived his post-football life trying to get his head to quiet down so he could sleep; doing a lot of hurtful and disturbing things like pulling out his teeth and gluing them back in or stunning himself to unconsciousness with a Taser gun.

Will Smith with Mbatha-Raw in the movie
Will Smith with Mbatha-Raw in the movie

Amidst the issues and drama of trying to concretize his (Omalu’s) discovery (about the danger of American Football), Omalu’s personal life is also dragged into the turmoil. In the end, his study is accepted, the NFL Committee moved to carry out further study and do more for the players, and Omalu lives happily ever after. Okay, I exaggerate but you get the drift.

The story itself is good but the plot is unbelievably flat. It reminds me of a mash-up you just want to get over and done with. There were times the transition from one scene to the other left me asking ‘what just happened’ (insert confused emoticon here) and other times, I find myself looking for the connecting thread between one scene and another. The dialogues were watery a few times and forced in some others. Throughout the movie, I kept waiting for the tension to happen. Perhaps because the movie attacks America’s favourite sport, producers of Concussion decided to not give it their best shot (all pun intended). For a movie that supposedly earned about $33.9million in Box Office, there’s just something (maybe many things) lacking.
In all, I didn’t get the wow effect I expected and if I were to rate it; I’d give it a 5. Just for effort.

Thursday Shenanigan: Is Your Daddy’s Money Yours?


Here’s a scenario. Two friends are discussing plans for a friend’s wedding whose Aso ebi costs 20k. Friend One says, “I don’t think I’ll be paying for Aso ebi because what I have is money saved up for school”. Friend Two says, “How much is 20k that you can’t pay”. Friend One says “20k is much o. I’ve been trying to save up for fees since last year and even though I met the mark some months ago, I don’t think I want to spend the extra on Aso ebi I may never wear again”. And Friend Two goes “How come you’re the one paying your fees? Can’t your dad pay? Tell him na. Why are you stressing yourself when he can easily give you?”. Oh, and the issue of Aso ebi, that’s matter for another day but I digress.

So I begin to think. This person has attended primary school on parents’ money. Secondary school on parents’ money. University, parents paid. Then post graduate, you expect them to pay again? It’s not the expecting that’s baffling, it’s the sense of entitlement that comes with that expectation. Aye ma le o… Did your parents come to the world to live and die for you? Yet people like that start working and only send their parents a token of what they get. Some mosques/churches even get more from most people than parents of those people do. Or how many of us really send 10percent of our earnings to parents every month? But we’ll eagerly do so for churches or mosques because “Tithes are a must”.

Growing up, my parents always made it clear; whatever money you didn’t work for, is not your own. Our money is not your money. If we give you, it’s because we want to. Not because you are entitled to it. I guess the definition of work in their time and mine are two generations apart. I think 50 Cent’s “Have a Baby by Me Baby, Be a Millionaire” predicted a new kind of profession for this generation. Or how else can one explain the Baby Mama profession of most ladies this generation? You should listen to that song again.

Moving on, I can only think of one, two, maybe three people who ever ‘dashed’ me money. In fact, my father is a staunch believer of whatever life you want to live, you should pay for it. Bills, lifestyle, the whole hog. So till date, if I get a money dash, I find it weird. Like in my head, I’m thinking, did I work for this? How much help have I offered this person to deserve this? Oh, before you start thinking, “this one no like money o”. Please I like money, I like it better when I’ve earned it. And before you think I’m rich, that’s not it either. (it’s been years my parents gave me anything that can be converted to liquid cash). Like you, I dey hustle. Besides, there’s nothing sweeter than spending money you worked for.

I know sometimes you’re fresh out of University and your parents decide it’s not yet time for you to join the workforce as they’d love for you to go for a postgraduate degree, which they’d gladly pay for. That’s fine. They chose to. But when the child’s attitude to that is the feeling entitlement and being unappreciative, then that’s just bad behaviour.

In my opinion, to raise kids with the idea of parents’ money is theirs is us not preparing them for adulthood and all its messiness. For one, these kids because they know Mummy or Daddy will always pay (or be there) will have little or no idea about money management. Then as a parent, you work all your life so you can retire and leave your kids well-off only to realize later in life that they had squandered everything because they didn’t know how to manage their lives without you.

I think parents should once in a while give their kids a long rope so they can begin to make certain decisions themselves. That way you begin to prepare them for a future of true independence.

So what do you think; is your daddy’s money yours?

An Evening of Many Days…

It’s Christmas eve as Ebun walked home from the hospital where she works as an intern pharmacist. Normally, hospitals are her least favourite. The irony, here she is, a hospital Pharmacist. Over time, she came to realize that it’s better being a worker in a hospital than a patient. Besides if everyone hated hospitals and stayed away, who will take care of sick people?

Her friend Biose always wondered why a cheerful lady like Ebun would choose such a depressing profession. At least, that’s what Biose calls it. But Biose would never understand that despite the hundreds of sick people that throng to the private hospital where Ebun works, She feels fulfilled when one person walks out hale and hearty, ready to take the world again.

That night, just before Ebun left the Gynaecology clinic Pharmacy where she has been posted for the past three weeks, the Pharmacist on duty asked her to attend to her last patient for the day before another intern took over on the next shift. The patient seemed pregnant. However on checking her case note, Ebun realized the patient wasn’t. With a Fibroid growth in a dangerous position and a HIV positive status, doctors seem afraid to operate on her. However, no one would summon enough courage to tell the patient.

“Help me”, the patient’s cries of pain and frustration echoed in Ebun’s mind as she took the few remaining steps towards home. “Pharmacist, e gba mi. I don’t miss clinic nor my drugs. Yet whenever I come here, the doctors say my PCV count is too low and they can’t operate on me. And when I go for tests, the other doctors say my PCV count is normal. Who exactly is deceiving me?”, she added just before Ebun handed her some prescribed drugs.

Ebun remembered how after the patient left again for HIV clinic to see if someone would consider her plight, the Pharmacist on duty had casually mentioned, talking to no one in particular, that no surgeon would take on the lady’s case because they think she has little chance of making it out of the operating room alive.

Ebun knocked on the door to her brother’s flat just then as her sister-in-law opened the door to let her in. The sound from the TV in the sitting room welcomed her home as the door shut firmly behind her. Ibadan is a cold city this time of the year.