Friday, December 22, 2006

Marry or Die

Everyone's doing it. Jumping the broom, tying the knot, lugging the ol' ball-and-chain - call it what you will, it just keeps happening: marriage. The incessant influx of wedding websites to Adaure's blog is a very obvious indication that people, especially my people, just cannot seem to wait any longer to join themselves in holy matrimony, 'til death or divorce do them part. And they're taking the single ones along for the ride. From flashy engagement ceremonies in Nigeria to elaborate church weddings in New York, our young men and women are eager to show their love to anyone who will respond to their invitations, and promises of a buffet and open bar. An open bar gets me every time - I can never resist a dance with Monsieur Chardonnay and his friends, Jose, Jack and Sam (Adams, that is). But I cannot help but think that this rush to the altar is just a chain of reactions to the actions of a few deluded couples who think marriage will complete them. A herd reaction, if you will.

I'm not a cynic, and I don't think that everyone who gets married will get divorced (though the stats speak for themselves). I just think that our reasons are wrong, especially among Nigerians. The top three reasons our people get married are, in a word, ridiculous:

1) It is our responsibility as children of God
2) We got pregnant
3) It was just time

The third reason is the one most commonly used by the men. You see, when it is "time", the very next girl who agrees to enter into a relationship with them is inevitably, unavoidably, The One. Excellent strategy, gentlemen. Availability trumps romance, and the messiness of true courtship can be avoided since the girl is almost instantly thrown into planning the wedding. I don't suppose they can be blamed, though. It's the young women who allow themselves to be flattered by a marriage proposition right off the bat. And yes, it is a proposition, not a proposal. Because, you see, for these men, marriage is like a business transaction that must be completed in a timely fashion before the stock value falls. Whose stock? Theirs. If the young lady actually requests some time to get to know him a little better before she agrees to his offer of instant-marriage, it's a deal breaker. Because she might actually discover one or two things about him that he needs to work on before he drags someone into a lifelong contract, in which case he would actually have to become a better man. And that's too much work. Now or never, darling, he laughingly threatens, a sinister glistening in the back of his eye. And the young lady, prodded on by nosy aunts, sisters and her mother, a barrage of websites detailing weddings to die for, and the fact that "nobody has ever been so serious about marrying me before", stupidly resolves that this is God's will for her and agrees to marry this man she barely knows. Five years and four children later, when she realizes that he's been hitting on all her friends, including the maid of honor at her wedding, who was extremely flattered that he would make her his mistress - and potential second wife - so soon, she wonders why life is so unfair.

I speak from experience. But I'm suspicious even of people who eat too quickly, so I backed out, declared that I needed more time. Three months later, he sent me an invitation to his Mediterranean wedding and now, he just pops up occasionally to invite me to be his paramour and ask me why I ruined all our plans. Our plans? Hm.

Personally, I don't think I'm hardwired for that phase of life. I see people exchanging handcuffs - I mean, rings - and I get nauseous. What's so wrong with dating, people? The white man even came up with a brilliant solution for people like me: common law marriage. If you can stick it out long enough, you might as well be married, so he declares that you are. And you don't even have to worry about spending all that money on a frivolous wedding. Brilliant! Of course, Nigerians wouldn't allow that. Marry or die, that's the motto where I come from. But I wonder why anyone wants to marry a Nigerian man anyway. Noncommital, irresponsible, selfish, arrogant, inconsistent, and dishonest - all in a half-assed package that isn't even gift-wrapped. They show their asses right up front - unless they want to get married, of course. Then you have the pleasure of discovering your grave mistake either moments or decades after you've made it, but certainly only after it's too late to do anything about it. Try, and risk the weight of society bearing down on you: your parents complaining that you want to bring shame on the family; your so-called friends waiting to laugh behind your back, even as they commiserate with you on your failed life plan; your children who will certainly be abandoned and forced to go to a badly-funded public school, perhaps helping you sell akara to pay their school fees, or even worse, they will be taken from you and raised by an evil stepmother who gives them whippings for breakfast; your pastor condemning you to hell for even thinking about breaking your vow before God and man. Forget that he broke the vow first; as a woman, you must be the strong one, the cross bearer. Forgive him, and while you're at it, bring him back to Jesus - now that's he's your husband, it's your responsibility to see that he makes it to heaven.

To be fair, Nigerian girls aren't much better either, these days. The country is facing a moral crisis and the future mothers of the nation are getting sucked into this ethical black hole. If they're not marrying for money, they're numb to the immorality of men and, indeed, encourage the underhanded behaviors that take place in the dark of night (or the light of day, depending on schedules and the degree of callousness). Why else would it be all right for a man to employ, for the lack of a better word, confusing methods to approach a young lady? Because in Nigeria these days, men no longer deem it necessary to look you in the eye or even talk to you directly when they want to get you in bed. Like blind cave-dwelling bats, all they need to do now is register your feminine form with their (uncanny) radar before they swoop in for the sex. They toss a flippant greeting in your general direction, then walk right past you and send their personal assistant back to get you. Not your number - you. This happened to me too. Apparently, he thought I was playing hard to get because I kept rejecting his third-party advances. Eventually, when the PA approached me for the fourth time, a nearby security guard took it upon himself to get rid of him and warn me that "these men are touts". But clearly, more than a few Nigerian girls respond positively to these inane gestures - insulting gestures, actually - or the men would not continue to behave thusly. So what does this say about our people? A mass Christian movement, hours spent in communication with God, a culture that supposedly does not support such loose behavior, and still this is what we are?

Methinks I'd rather die than marry that, if I must marry at all.
What say you?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Online De-Registration

I've been on this Naija binge for days. I'm talking: Naija music, Naija movies, Naija dance, Naija politics, Naija thoughts. I think I'm making up for the fact that the whole world (my whole world) is going to Nigeria this Xmas and I feel like the only person who will not be engaging in all the crazy fun that is Christmas in Naija. But, just in case I was forgetting that my country is not necessarily all fun and games, the universe decided to get my cousin to send me the following email and remind me to thank my stars that I'm staying on this side of the Atlantic this year.

My favorite girl goes to ABU in Zaria, the bedrock of education in northern Nigeria...or perhaps it once was and no longer is. Either way, the university seems to be trying to find a way to revamp its image, like the sixty-year-old man who buys a toy sports car, dyes his hair a darker shade, and tries to get a sexy young thang "on bed" (a hilarious stolen excerpt borrowed from one of those Naija movies I've been digesting lately). And this is what they have done.

ABU has decided to join the rest of the nation, join the rest of the world and it chose to begin with online registration. and there ain't nuthin mo' to say!!! cuz, i'm sure you can imagine. though even your imagination is nothing as crazy as what I am going through. first, I am not a computer/internet/anything-remotely-technical guru, so my terminology may (may?...WILL!) leave a lot to be desired, but in 2 mins i'll try to give you the lowdown

1. the site(?) is still being designed, so you can't edit your info if its been wrongly entered into theUni's (
2. you apply for accomodation and get it in hostels that dont exist
3. you are allocated a room which mysteriously becomes another room once you log in again
4. a room of two may be allocated to 4 differentpeople
5. there's no way of telling what courses are core and which ones are electives

and the coup de grace (in my opinion) to the whole ABU catching up with the 20th century in the 21st is this...

6. you ask for help from staff - both academic and non-academic - and no one has a clue.

The poor things. And I don't mean just the students - this has to be torture for everyone concerned, including the incompetent techies who obviously lied about their qualifications in order to land this 'contract'. 2007 is going to be the beginning of a great semester for the good people at ABU!

I still feel like I'm missing out on Nigeria sha. This is the first Christmas I've spent in Yankee since 2000! This BLOWS!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

E Gba Mi O!

I don't know why I keep doing this to myself. I have been in school for an unmentionable number of years, and I still cannot bring myself to stop procrastinating on my work. I have to complete a thirty-page paper by tomorrow morning. When did I start? Yesterday morning! Actually, I started last week Saturday, but in three days I only wrote 2 pages, so that doesn't count. I inevitably start doing very ridiculous things in an attempt to buy myself time. For example, I decided not to shower yesterday; I told myself that I could not afford to lose the 20 minutes it would take me to shower, apply lotion and get back in my bathrobe. Then I proceeded to spend an hour watching Roseanne. After I nearly suffocated from my own stench after I woke up this morning, I decided not to repeat that mistake. (I'm kidding; I never smell that bad. But this needs some drama, so I figured, why not?)

Anyway, so here I sit, wailing about the fact that, after donkey's years of experience and tons of papers under my belt, I am still scrambling frantically to finish within 2 days something that I had three months to work on. I need deliverance (as Mrs. Attabo of Victory House hostel used to tell me whenever I broke curfew or told a small fib, because she was convinced that I was possessed by Satan).

Pray for me, somebody. After this, I have to cram about eight or ten Yoruba proverbs for Friday afternoon, and then re-write this paper in order to re-submit it to another professor for another class by next Thursday because I didn't have time to research two separate topics. Am I a crook, or am I a crook? Peace.

Monday, December 04, 2006

5 Random/Weird Things about Kulutempa

I'm doing this for you, Overwhelmed. Let's not make the tagging a habit, eh? Abi, should I be careful about mentioning your name sef, before you wash me in acid like that pregnant Jamo woman ;-)? That sh*t was funny. Anyway, on to the task at hand.

1. When I was about seven or eight, I started to count in groups of three, which led me to develop a habit that currently irritates the piss out of me, but which I cannot stop. I look at tiles (ceiling tiles, linoleum tiles, mosaic tiles...whatever) and group them into a 3x3 square. Then I turn the square diagonally, and this - in my mind - forms a tiger's face. Top square/diamond: top of the head. Next two squares: eyes. Next 3 squares: nose and jowls of the beast (or something). Next 2 squares: cheeks of the tiger, where the whiskers would go. Last square: bottom of the mouth. I need help with this one, clearly.

2. I do not like to see disabled people when I'm eating. This person could actually look quite normal, but once I realize they are disabled in any way - obesity, autism, dyslexia (ok, I'm kidding about that last one) - it messes up my appetite.

3. Now that I've had my navel pierced for 4 years, I no longer like the way it looks without the jewelry. I think it makes me look round-bellied without it. Which leads me to point 3.5, which is that I really don't ever want to be pregnant. Ever. In 2002, a friend and I decided we would develop the WOW, the Womb on Wheels, so as to circumvent all the crap that comes with pregnancy. It's in development.

4. When I was a kid, I used to torment my little sister by telling her that the six children our mother bore were divided into two teams: The Fairs and The Darks. Being that I'm "fair" and she's dark, we were on separate teams. These teams didn't do or mean a damn thing, but it really freaked her out that we would have to be separate and I sadly relished working her up. I'm sorry, Adz; I love you as much as if you were on my team :-). That being said, each "fair" person's arch nemesis in life is someone on the dark team, and vice versa...prophecy, anyone?

4.5. I love dimples. During my pre-pubescent years, I started trying to create a dimple in my own cheek, and have managed to force a pretty permanent crease in the region that pops up sometimes if I smile just right. Now, every now and again, someone will say to me "Oh, I didn't notice you had a dimple!" and I will cock my head slightly, nod, smile and say, "Yeah, it's just a little one. It runs in the family."

5. I only really love one child in the whole world, and I compare every single baby I come across to him. I never admit that anyone else could be cuter, smarter, more fun, or more well-behaved than he, even his own sibling. This might be a problem as my own niece grows up, but whatever. I love my boy.

Gay UK Flight Attendant Commercial

This commercial is so great! As the folks on Google said, you gotta love the Brits for taking risks.

UPDATE: Gotten a couple of complaints about the video, and it turns out that you need to have Google Video downloaded on your hard drive in order to watch it. So I decided to cut out the middle man and send you here to watch it. But come back and tell me what you think!