Category Archives: Bad behaviour

Born-again virgin blood.

Can I just say, if you are a man – African or otherwise – who has sown all his wild oats and then insists on getting a girl from the village because of the likelihood that she will be a virgin, you deserve everything you get.

IMG-20140311-WA0000I know it probably isn’t real but it gave me a real chuckle. A part of me hopes it is real. It would serve some men right!

 

Rage against the machine or ‘Who are you even doing, sef?’

One of the many benefits to being self-employed – and some months, not even that – is the freedom to do as you please. It’s harder with a toddler but basically you work in short bursts or long stretches, depending on the time you have. You might watch a bit of TV in between or work out, or have cereal for lunch. Or blog. Or even go all day without a shower because you’re waiting for a parcel. Like I am right now.

You have to watch your behaviour a lot though. You don’t want to be that person that conducts Skype meetings in your pyjamas or does  radio interviews over the phone while still in bed because pretty soon, you are that guy. You know, that guy; the one that you see on your way to work, going to the corner shop in a slanket .

That being said, it really is freeing. But it has got me thinking about how much of what we do is for other people, be they of the same sex or otherwise. I always used to say I dressed and groomed for myself and I believed it too. But how true could it possibly be when I am sitting here in a pair of joggers a size too small, an oversized cardie, no underwear to speak of and the most extraordinary amount of underarm hair I have ever grown in my life?

Yes, you heard me. I am free to grow disproportionate amounts of body hair. Call me Cousin It.  Not for me the folly of depilatory creams, waxing, buffing and whatever the newest hair removal torture is. Pah! Why should my body be under the control of society and accepted norms? Take that, society! In your face, literally and figuratively. I am saving money! Think of the bungalow I could be building in my village while you’re getting your eyebrows threaded, you pleb. 

Back when I used to work outside the house, I would leave my very unshaven legs out in the summer and get pitying looks on the bus or tube. White people looking at me, shaking their heads like “Whoever doth inflict  madness upon this poor child, may good fortune forever elude thee.”  The black grannies cursing my ‘rass’ for showing them up in front of white people, wishing this godforsaken country had access to koboko and no police. I’d sit there pretending not to notice, singing ‘God is good, he has done me well’ and hoping that no one would jump me before my stop. (You know, to drag me off to the nearest salon, get the mess on my legs fixed. Black grannies do not play.)

It was such a faff. And that was when I my features were aesthetically pleasing.  Now that I am grossly overweight I am sure they’d put aside their differences, light some torches and  chase me with off like Frankenstein’s monster. So I just sit at home, writing and growing my hair in silent rebellion.

Whatever, man. I am standing up for feminism. Or motherhood, whichever. Because God knows this whole mess started because I couldn’t find my razor one very busy morning.  And now I am just too lazy.

Help me.

Somebody? Anybody?

Igbo dads and dangerous phalluses.

Once upon a time I was heading out to study for my final university exams with friends when my father called me back.

“Nwunye,” he shouted after going through the names of the other twelve of my siblings.

“Sah?” I answered, because I am a good child.

“Where do you think you are going at this time of night?”

“I am going to Ogo’s house, sah.” I looked at my watch. It was 5 pm.

“Which Ogo?”

“Ogo my friend, sah. You have met her sah.”

“I have?”

“Yes sah. She has big…brains sah.”

“Ah, the big-brained Ogo. So what are you doing in her house at this time of the night eh?”

“We are studying sah. Me and Ogo and Chiamaka and Ifeoma.”

My father grunted, picking  vegetables from his teeth with a toothpick. When he finished, he popped the teeth back into his mouth. “Okay. But this one you are always  going to study with those girls…” He fidgeted.

“Sah?” I bristled, thinking he was calling their character into question. Did he not remember who they were?

“Just know I don’t want any daughters-in-law. I want sons. Sons-in-law.”

I caught many flies in my mouth on the okada to Ogo’s house that day.

Yes. This really happened.  I remember relaying the story to my study group when I got to Ogo’s house. (And for those who are wondering, yes, I did attend university from home. If you’ve only known me as an adult, you’ve just had an ‘Ah-ha’ moment because shit just made sense.) My friends thought it was funny. Me, I was just dazed that my square to the power of infinity dad knew about lesbianism. I didn’t dwell too much on this though because I would have started to wonder what else he knew and my imagination cannot handle things like that. Every generation likes to think they invented sex after all.

But this is what I do not understand.  This is the same man that flogged the brown off my skin because I went on a date with a guy at seventeen. It wasn’t even a date if I am honest. Okay, it kinda was. But I was in my second year of university and for chrissakes it wasn’t like I lay down on the road and had sex with him. That came much later. I wouldn’t recommend it by the way. Vehicles are a bloody nuisance and Nigerian grit gets into cracks like you cannot imagine. Sometimes when I sneeze, a little bit of sand and coal tar comes out.

A good Igbo girl is not supposed to think of guys other than as things to beat in school which is unsurprisingly easy.  (Yeah, I said it. Heh heh!) Not even when the boys in question are your cousins. You get to a point when your breast buds appear and all male cousins suddenly become off limits.

You spend the next few decades learning that men are the enemy. You spit when they talk to you, your put-downs are legendary and if they touch you, it’s hi-ya! and out pops their eyes. Your parents applaud you, chaste Virginia, you. At what point are you supposed to stop using them for target practice and start seeing them as potential mates?  It was a wonder I even tried that first date on for size. (Such was the level of my inexperience with humans of the male persuasion that the first date became the start of a two-and-a-half-year stint.)

I know I have said all this before, but things keep happening that make my jaw drop. Some Igbo parents can really screw up their female kids.

At what point am I supposed to consider giving you (if I desire it) sons-in-law as opposed to daughters-in-law? After all the scare stories about the beastly nature of men, their dangerous phalluses and their fickle-mindedness in dealing with the consequences of their sexual actions (pregnancy, disease. Pregnancy.), when exactly am I supposed to think “Hmmm. I’d like to jump on that dangerous phallus and snare me a diseased baby or two?”

Cover up, close your legs, don’t whistle, don’t sit on a man’s thighs, don’t laugh with a man, he’ll think you’re cheap, don’t whistle, don’t wear rings on your fingers if you’re not married, don’t go anywhere once the sun sets, don’t be arrogant, don’t correct a man in public, don’t raise your voice, don’t argue and my personal favourite , don’t drive – he’ll think you’re feeling too big, then who’ll you marry?

No wonder some women cry at their weddings. Lucky me, I didn’t. My dad did though. Huge, splashy, snotty tears and much hysterical sobbing. My mother looked as if she wanted to give him Snickers bar.

I guess he was just relieved I ended up with a dude.

Dear Njideka (8)

It is a pity. A dem pity. I thought you was matured but it is now that I know that a standing breast is not a sign of maturity. It is me you are insulting, and for what? Because I love you? Because I told you I love you? Am I the forced man to do TT? Am I the forced man talking to you?

Peradventure you think I am not a somebody. Let me tell you, I am a somebody. I have just opened another shop in cloth section selling jorj and woodin and many many other things and this December gonna be great in this market. Not because I am writing you letter.

I thought you were matured but now I know. You are a small girl. Anyway, it is my fault.

Hopewell Okoronta Esq.