Monthly Archives: June 2011

Onugbu soup is very important. So is stockfish.

I tugged at my skirt and tucked a stray two-strand twist behind my ear.

“So what film would you like to see?” My date asked me. I raised an eyebrow, amazed that he didn’t have it planned despite pushing for a movie date for the past three weeks.

“Errrr…I don’t know. What kind of films do you like to watch?” I was trying to be generous since he was paying.

“Oh I don’t care really,” he said trying to take my arm as we walked into the foyer. I pretended to fumble in my bag until the moment passed, then I followed him to the automatic ticket machine. “I just wanted to take you to a movie.” He turned to face me. “So…”

“So…?”

“Tell me a bit about yourself.”

“You already know a bit about myself.”

“Yes, but I want to know more.” He tugged on his shirt cuff until it showed the desired one-inch underneath his grey suit jacket. Unbuttoning it, he shoved his hands into his pockets and thrust his crotch forward. I looked away. “Like, can you cook?”

“Of course.” Half of me was angry he asked while the other half smiled at the predictability of it all. I checked my watch. “What can you cook?”

“Everything…”

“…What soup? Ora? Okro? Egusi?”

“Yes, yes and yes.” I looked him in the eye. “Is this an interview? I thought we were going to see a film.” He paused.

“Can you cook onugbu?” He held his breath. I toyed with the idea of not answering, to see if he would faint dead away and save me the trouble of knocking him out.

“Yes, but…”

“With okporoko?” I grimaced at the thought of the dry, tasteless stockfish like so much wood pulp, sculpted and dried in the sun.

“Yes, but I won’t. I hate onugbu. And I hate okporoko even more.” He looked shocked as if I had suddenly taken of my pants and flung them at his head. Then he shrugged and asked again, “But you can cook it right?”

“Yes, I can. But I will not cook for you; I don’t make it a habit to cook for men I’m dating.”

“Oh, that’s quite alright as long as you can cook onugbu.” He turned to the ticket machine, paused in the process of pressing a button and said over his shoulder. “So how am I supposed to know you can cook onugbu now? Am I supposed to take your word for it?”

I sighed, turned on my heel and walked out. I could hear him calling behind me:

“Wait! Don’t you want to watch the film again?”

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So, how do you snag an Igbo guy?

You won’t believe how many times I get asked this question.

A lot of people are afraid to give race/ethnicity as part of their search criteria. In fact just this evening a friend mentioned ‘Igbo’ as her number one preference, before hastily adding “But I don’t like to say so in front of people before they say I am being tribalistic.” Which made me wonder how she was supposed to find someone if she couldn’t even vocalise her choice outside herself.

Don’t get me wrong, I have dated outside my ethnic group and even outside my race. I am an equal opportunities dater and don’t see what the big deal is – never have. But as it happens, I have ended up marrying an Igbo guy, which is why I am suddenly this go-to person for single girlfriends. And their friends. And whatever chick I happen to meet at any event I attend with my husband on this side of the world who realises that we’re both from the same ethnic group (apparently a rarity among diasporan relationships. Who knew?)

So, how do you snag an Igbo guy?

Well, you have to date him first. Don’t you?

Which is where I come in.