Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

What Lessons Can We Learn From Anna Nicole Smith’s Life?

February 19, 2017

Last week was ten years since Anna died. I guess if you’re still news worthy ten years after your death you are a cultural icon. There were stories all over the internet about her daughter and how she is doing now. Larry Birkhead the baby daddy and caregiver made a few tasteful appearances and interviews. Nothing overtly exploitative even though we all know he must have been paid. He kept on saying that Dannielynn was not inheriting any millions and that it wasn’t Anna’s estate supporting them. He said it often enough for me to doubt him. When asked how he made a living Larry said he earned money through photography and ‘flipping houses.’

Anna did not die without assets and her assets have been quietly going up for sale over the past few years. Her LA house was sold, as were some of her personal effects and memorabilia. Dannielynn remains her only heir. Her second husband Howard Marshall gave her quite a few gifts including jewellery and art work. Just before she died she was reportedly paid $1 Million for footage of her birth and an exclusive interview with Howard K Stern her lawyer and best friend.

I’m not sure if I care, I’m only commenting because Larry made so much effort to deny he is profiteering from her estate. I guess like Anna he is intent on proving that he is not a gold digger. Does that phrase even apply to men?

Anyway I was intrigued and dug into the story a bit more than I did when it was breaking. I first became aware of Anna as the new Guess? jeans girl back in 1993. She was beautiful and she was being hyped  as the new plus size super model wanna-be. As a young woman obsessed with her weight and resentful of the super thin models that bombarded me every time I opened Vogue and Cosmopolitan, Anna was a refreshing image. It was refreshing when media hyped larger models Cindy, Linda Evangelista and Naomi. Come to think about it this hyping of plus size models is becoming kinda of tired. They have been touting bigger models since the 1990’s and still present them as a new trend. So how long before its accepted as main stream?

anna0

I was only vaguely aware of her return to the spotlight as the Trimspa spokesperson. It was a story about a woman losing weight after all, like all women that obsess about their weight those kind of stories tend to catch our attention. It wasn’t until she got pregnant and ran off to the Bahamas that I really started to pay attention and followed the story till she died.  But not so much that I can remember where I was when her death was announced on 8 February 2007.

As the drama played out and videos started emerging of her obviously medicated and frequently  incoherent my knee jerk reaction was that Howard K. Stern was an evil Svengali manipulating her. And when she finally died, 5 short months after the death of her son and the birth of her daughter, it became just another tragic footnote in celebrity history.

“Don’t make me trade one baby for another” she reportedly said.

A lot has been written about Anna Nicole. In my quest for a new angle I watched a documentary by Lisa Ling on ‘Sugaring.’ Sugaring is where younger women hook up with older men with the understanding that the men take care of the women financially. Dr. Phil asked them “Are you hookers?”

“No more than a woman that chooses to be a full time homemaker financially dependent on her husband” one of the women replies.

Lisa Ling keeps suggesting that the women are cheating at life by trying to ‘skip some steps’ or taking a short cut. She looks at them bemused throughout the documentary.

“I pay for myself, I always go Dutch” she says. I cringe for a second. I don’t. Especially not if I’m invited out.

Growing up in Nigeria it was accepted that men invite a woman out  and pay. Mostly because women didn’t just go out on their own anyway, unless they were ‘working girls’ and charged at the end of the night. It wasn’t till the 90’s that a new breed of financially independent middle class women started going out with the ‘girls’  and each girl paid for herself.

It would seem a bit cliche to rant about an invisible patriarchy that limits a woman’s opportunities for self actualisation. Or to point out the obvious differences in mind set and access to available opportunities for poor vs. rich and educated vs. uneducated and rural vs. urban women.

In my digging around I come across ‘White Trash Nation’  a 1994 New Yorker cover story by J. Friend. “Welcome to the age of white trash” he wrote. Anna’s picture accompanied the cover headline. The article is uncanny in its prescience. Reading it I realise that Trump is the new White Trash Hero. And deja vu, in a 20/20 show they dredge up an early quote from Anna admiring Trump and suggesting he become president and make her his First Lady. Knowing Trump Anna wouldn’t have been his style. He likes ‘classier’ women – European women.

The parallels between her and Melania can’t be ignored.

melania_-_copie_2

Both from small town lower class families, both turned to ‘modelling’ to get out, both took off their clothes for money and both married rich older men that they met through their work. The comparison ends there. Melania is European and Anna is ‘white trash’ a racial slur used to describe poor white Americans that were ‘poor as slaves’ and lacked ‘social grace.’ In Europe ‘white trash’ or the most economically disadvantaged whites are the gypsies or the Roma as they are called now. Demonised, excluded, discriminated, rejected.

Anna met Marshall her second husband and ‘never danced again’. ‘My husband threw money at me’ she infamously said. ‘Its very expensive being me.’ And she didn’t curb her hard partying jet setting lifestyle after she married him. Melania on the other hand played hard to get, was discreet, financially prudent and convinced Donald that she was immune to poaching. In an interview with Larry King shortly after their wedding in 2007 Donald very proudly announced that Melania is like the  fortress in Song of Solomon. Powerful men like that kind of thing, its probably one reason Donald would never have considered marrying Anna. She was too available.

Anna was actually the more successful of the two in their chosen career. She made the cover of Playboy, was Playmate of the Year and landed a multimillion dollar ad campaign and even appeared in a couple of movies before her hard partying ways crashed her career almost as soon as it took off. She also seemed to think she could have her cake and eat it; marry Marshall and claim half his estate without actually cohabiting with him.

anna-nicole-smith-full-nude-and-best-cleavage-for-playboy-2hq

Watching Melania I can’t help think she played her cards well. She never contradicts Donald, doesn’t nag, massages his ego and infantalises him. ‘My boys’ she calls him and her son Barron. Its like watching Carla coo at Nicholas. It’s weird to watch. Beautiful women confidently and brazenly patronising powerful men. It’s like watching public sex, too intimate and uncomfortable.  A display of power, a challenge to all those morality stories about the evils of leveraging your feminine charms in relationships with powerful men and the world. And a validation of all those other stories about ‘bottom power.’

I think a lot of violence against women might be fuelled by suppressed male rage against this reported male powerlessness and vulnerability to female sexuality. Even Anna’s second husband Howard Marshall is quoted as saying that a man in love does stupid things. Adam, Samson and Julius Caesar might agree. And while Anna may not have seen any better options for upward mobility she doesn’t strike me like a victim as some people would like to portray her. No more than Melania is a victim. These are women that made choices and exercised agency.  We all have to face the choices we make.

When I left my first husband and became a single mom in the city of Lagos in the late 1980’s I was about Anna’s age. But I was also a graduate. I came to Lagos to study for the Nigerian Bar exam and never went back to the village I spent the past ten years in. I never overcame my personal values against transactional sex of any kind.  This often brought me into conflict with female members of my clan who considered male patronage (of the financial kind) just one more perk of being a pretty woman and what a waste of pretty and yellow if you didn’t cash in on it.

“I won’t look this way forever” one of the young women tells Lisa Ling. The young women all express sentiments I heard often growing up in the village.

“Why waste your time on a poor, abusive and inexperienced boy who will not appreciate you or treat you well, when you can be with an older richer man who will take care of you and spoil you?”

In Lagos I declined offers to be a cocktail hostess, the fourth wife to a 70 year old polygamous millionaire with a penchant for ‘half castes’, some bad-o’s mistress and the Venus De Milo campaign girl. Venus De Milo was the biggest skin lightening  brand in Nigeria at the time and the Venus De Milo girl was bigger than Miss. Nigeria. I declined the campaign offer because the fee wasn’t big enough, not because I had anything against modelling.

“What do I care about the fee?  I’d do it for the exposure” one of the strippers Anna worked with in Houston said about after Anna’s Playboy and Guess campaign appearances. The fee I was offered for the Venus de Milo campaign felt inadequate for the massive exposure it would have brought. I wasn’t looking for a husband or a sugar daddy, I wanted to be a successful lawyer. I wanted to be appreciated and respected for my mind. I was excoriated by friends and family.

I tried to talk to my oldest aunt about love once. She was unable to grasp the very western concept. Women married for security, not love. Another aunt regularly and vocally upbraided me for ‘giving it up for free.’

“Since you’re giving it up at least get paid for it’ she always said. ‘Free’ sex was the height of irresponsible. And inconsiderate. “After fucking all those men you expect me to give you money?” she asked her daughter. And once her daughter became sexually active she never gave her another kobo. Her daughter made her proud eventually. I’ll never forget the last time I saw my aunt. She took delight in recounting for me all the things her daughter, who eventually became the not so young fourth or fifth wife of a rich polygamous Nigerian man, had bought for her.

“Two freezers, two refrigerators, a generator, a pick up, a washing machine.”

My aunt owned a beer parlour.

The marriage didn’t last.

“At least she got a lot out of it before it collapsed. What did you get out of your own marriage? Foolish girl.”

It wasn’t that a man was a woman’s only opportunity to a better life. Rather it was the waste of a good opportunity by a beautiful woman. You could fry chicken and flip burgers for minimum wage all your life or you could land yourself a rich boyfriend, sugar daddy or husband and live easy. What’s love got to do with it?  Or appearances?

While Anna’s and Melania’s rags to riches stories are cliche they might not draw the same criticism in Nigeria they do in the west. In Nigeria they might be seen as symbols of feminine success. It’s Anna’s hard partying ogbanje lifestyle that forms a cautionary moral lesson for women in Nigeria and Africa. Melania on the other hand is, for a certain type of woman, the epitome of how to do it right. Get the man, and keep your head down.

Ask Bianca Onu Ojukwu, Halima Diende Fernandez, Shola Okoya, and Frances Iwuanynwu or even Emir Sanusi’s new teenage wife.

😉

6f5c5f8422c9d4979392bb373271835e

Sunday Inspiration

April 24, 2016

“My castle is impenetrable but I do not lock the front door. I leave my table and put down my pen and look out my window. And I can feel you coming to me. I wish to breathe silent words into your ears that convey something of my understanding that life is short and precious and I intend to benefit all of society, and that I require a match, a princess, a fellow troublemaker with whom to make love and mischief.”  Waylon Lewis, Things I Would Like To Do With You 

 

DSC01320

Peterhof Palace Photo Lesley Agams

Sometime Beer Parlour Gist Makes Total Sense

May 21, 2015

THE BOY IS MINE BY KENYAN ARTIST MICHEL SOI

I was in a beer parlour enjoying agidi and goat pepper soup with some young friends and the conversion turned to marriage and relationships. The young men talked about what they want from a relationship.

Two of the  gentlemen agreed that a woman checking up on them, snooping through their phones and wanting to know where they been or how come they are late was important to them. One said he will suspect his woman if she doesn’t. Checking up on them is part of how they experience the love.

They also agreed that there is the other type of man that will and bark and growl at a woman for being snoopy if she makes the mistake of nuzzling his neck while he is reading a text message. Her protestations to the contrary will be dismissed as he aggressively protects his territory.

They said that those type of men are not transparent because they’re are hiding stuff. I asked them if they thought that maybe people just had different boundary tolerance. They agreed that some people are just more comfortable with intimacy than others. And some folks absolutely crave it.

Understand your own intimacy needs before you decide on a relationship. If you are affectionate and need intimacy you will experience constant rejection if you are in a relationship with someone who feels stifled or oppressed if you call him more than once a week.

And if you are the type that can’t stand having someone underfoot all the time don’t go getting involved with someone that needs constant attention. Understand your needs. Everyone has a someone that meets their needs.

I know a mature Nigerian woman who has a long distance relationship with a married man in the US. She says they speak once or twice a week and see on holidays and during the summer. It suits her, she is happy with it. It works for both of them.  I know another women whose husband won’t let her go to the market unescorted. She loves it!

Then there is a whole school of western biased thought that insists on autonomy (don’t read my phone no matter what) and honesty (I shouldn’t have to snoop through your phone, I trust you)

There is no one-size-fits-all, there is only what works for you. You have to understand your needs and have a relationship with yourself to get there.

From the Elysium Chronicles – The Evolution of My Feminism

October 18, 2013

I’ve spent my entire adult life trying to change my corner of the world.  I’ve only seen it change for the worse.  I cannot change the world. I can only change myself. And I cannot change the world with other people’s money either. Unless I want to change it in their image and likeness and right now I don’t like their image and likeness.  Still that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do. Change the world with other people’s money.

I am a libertarian and a laissez faire capitalist. I believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am also an empathetic and compassionate person. More than anything else in the world I love people, I love being with people, hearing their stories and sharing their lives. I believe all men and women were born equal and have the right to be free of coercion, slavery and repression.

I believe that our freedom and happiness are also personal responsibilities. I do not believe in welfare government or a paternalistic government that takes care of people from cradle to grave. I believe all people, male and female can be what they want to be and who they want to be and must be self-sufficient. I also believe that this right ends where that of the other person begins. I believe communities have the right to self-determination.

I believe that justice is the highest good and injustice the highest evil. I believe hypocrisy to be the only sin and honesty the only virtue. When injustice and hypocrisy are condoned by society we have an evil kingdom. Where the community condones and abets injustice and hypocrisy we have an evil community.  The few with power have appropriated our rights and told us it is a social contract.

My ancestors lived on their land for centuries, then one day the Federal Government of Nigeria wrote a piece of literature and said all land and everything on it and underneath it belongs to them.  They also had the fire power to make it so. My ancestors, the people whose blood flows through my veins knew no one owns the land. The land owns the people. The people are tied to the land; the land is not tied to the people. Does the federal government now own us too? Are we now slaves that must buy back our freedom?

Do not tell me what to do, tell me what you will do. Do not tell me who to be, tell me who you are and I will tell you my story too. Perhaps we will recognize ourselves, perhaps not. I will not and do not want to tell you what to do. All I ask is that you respect my declared boundaries. I will respect yours. If you breach my boundaries I will let you know, let me know yours.  Quietly, respectfully, there really is no need to shout. I can hear you. I will listen to you if you listen to me. Respect my right to self-determination.

In the kingdom of my African ancestors where I come from all people male and female were born equally vulnerable and dependent on those that were here before them. You thanked your mother for not killing you when you were born, for not dropping you on your head, for nurturing you instead of wringing your neck because really you were at her mercy and she was here before you. As you grew your drive, talents, skills, intelligence and your audacity determined your rank in the pecking order. Even women and girls. It was a meritocracy albeit a brutal meritocracy.

If you were strong you were hailed, if you were weak you were jeered, whether male or female. Strength and weakness had peculiar attributes, peculiar to a forest dwelling people.  Strength was the power, will and mind to compete as ruthlessly as necessary to come first. There was no empathy for the weak and those that came last. It was said that was their chi, their fate, their destiny, their personal God.  I learnt love from my Mother.

What does love then mean to me? It’s not that wave of emotion I feel when I look at something or someone, that’s endorphins or dopamine.  It will pass.  It’s not even what I feel for my children, I adore my kids. Most of us do. Literally setting them up as little idols and demi-gods we either worship or brutalize into submission. That’s an emotion. Love like my friend always says is a verb.

Love is what you do and it acts honestly and justly. Honestly, I should have made my adult children move out long ago, instead I subsidized them for  as long as I could. I hope they haven’t become lazy and complacent as a result.  After all I was younger than them now when I moved out on my own, the economy was just as bad then to hear my father say it. There would be no injustice, they are adults and supposed to be self-reliant whatever the environmental conditions.

My adoration of them said “Oh no, the big bad world is too dangerous, come let me protect you”. Lolo Ahunwa would slap me upside the head.  The male ancestors would say disdainfully “Leave her she’s a woman” to explain my sentimentality.  I’m glad I did it eventually without much of the conflict I sometimes witness in other families. I know they’ll be al-right just like I was. I instilled them with all my values.

The Universe and Nature act love, the oneness of the Universe is love, the interdependence and interaction of each speck in the Universe is love, a dance of love. When there is an imbalance in the Universe love sets it right. For instance I laugh at the arrogance of the climatologists, climate change will not destroy the Earth, it will destroy mankind, the threat to Earth. The Earth will heal in a couple million years, a day in the long history of the Universe.

I don’t believe in any of the Gods you worship because surely ‘God’ is greater than anyone of them and all of them combined.  If there is a God but you know what? It doesn’t matter to me really if there is or isn’t.  It wouldn’t really change who I am and if God is love I have learnt much from my mothers.

This is my feminism.  It is individual and it serves the communal, it is independent and recognizes our interdependence, it is a tough love and it can be cozily sentimental too.  Most of all it is objective, honest, self-reliant and just.

July 21, 2012

What Does a Modern Nigerian Woman Want from a Modern Nigerian Man?

August 27, 2013

Okay no man bashing today, even though sometimes I find it an acceptable and enjoyable past time.  I get it that men sometimes just can’t help themselves; it must be all that testosterone and male privilege. They can be sexist, misogynistic, childish, immature, insensitive, self-centred, irresponsible and downright exasperating. But there are also men who are caring, compassionate, self-aware, intuitive, emotionally intelligent and sensitive. I know both types. But today I shall address the question that has propped up a couple of times since I wrote my last post. What do modern Nigeria women want from the modern Nigerian man?

Decision of a Young Mind by Tolu Aliki

Decision of a Young Mind by Tolu Aliki

Considering that we have careers, earns our own money and  do not see marriage or children as the be all and end all of our existence anymore and some of us even identify as feminist what does this modern Nigerian woman want from a man? Now if it was ten or twenty years ago the answer to the simple question would have been an equally simple – sex, sex, sex and more sex then I would throw in tall, dark and handsome but I have matured as have my views on life so now I know we want a bit more than just good sex (did I say good sex before?).

In addition to good sex we want good manners. We will no longer put up with bad manners in the name of feminism or Nigerian chauvinism. So if you don’t open the door, or let us sit down first or wait for us to extend our hand for a handshake first you will be considered an ill-bred lout. Good manners have nothing to do with whether a woman can open the door for herself or not, it’s just one of those quaint social customs that say your parents made an effort to teach you compassion, empathy, caring and a consideration for other people’s feelings.

Yeah your boyish charms are quite disarming and might get you a date but real women want real men in their lives, not ‘boys’, not even ‘big boys’, hell, especially not ‘big boys’. We want grown ass men who will built grown up adult lives with us, not pie in the sky fantasies. We Nigerian women are strong and fierce and we want strong fierce men to be our partners, not wimps that get sand kicked in their face. We want men who reflect the values we hold dear; hard work, ambition, decisiveness, tenacity, confidence, courage, persistence,  etc. Yes that’s right, we want men that will fight for us and with us because you know what? We’ll fight for you and with you too.

waiting to Share by Tolu Aliki

waiting to Share by Tolu Aliki

We want men with jobs that take their jobs seriously. We don’t want house husbands or gigolos; we want adults not infants as our partners. We would feel cheated if we had to earn all the money and share it with someone whose only contribution to the partnership is sexual availability, child care and domestic work (don’t you?) Only rich white people and religious zealots think parenting or motherhood is an excuse not to work. Every body works in Nigeria unless they are severely disabled or too old and even then they try to make themselves useful. Life in Nigeria is constructed around making child care and work possible. Work is not a right, it is a bloody obligation.

Of course like some men, we would rather not work, we’d much rather live a completely indolent life and still be able to afford nice clothes, good food, a nice place to live, bad habits (like smoking and drinking) and extracurricular activities (like night clubbing and dancing). However, unless you are lucky enough to have a trust fund you work because that’s what adults do to enjoy the lifestyle of their choice unless they prefer to live like a beach bum. We do not want trade-offs that tell us house work is work too and staying at home with the kids is better for them while you take care of us. We are not interested in negotiating those problematic power dynamics with you.

You have to be able to pay your own way most of the time and to help us out some of the time because as Nigerians we know that neither of us can do it alone all of the time and sooner or later you’ll need us to help you out and we’ll remember your generosity or lack of it. Just because some of us identify as feminist doesn’t mean we don’t like help once in awhile or that we can’t help once in awhile we just don’t want to have an adult financially dependent on us. We would start to resent that eventually (even if the sex is great) and treat you with less respect than we should have for a partner, just like you. It’s those problematic power relations, you know, he or she who has the gold…

However, we don’t want to be your equals, you can still pay the rent and school fees (irrespective of how much we each earn) while we’ll buy our own designer hand bags and shoes, as well as tampons and bubble gum. During summer holidays you pay for the airline tickets and the vacation rental, we‘ll handle McDonald’s, ice cream and the movies. We are not ready to go as far as our western feminist sisters and pool our earnings with yours to pay for the rent, mortgage and other big item household bills. We still have a lot of catching up to do.

White men and women frequently discuss who wakes up in the middle of the night when the baby cries. We Nigerian women are kind of possessive after carrying the little bugger for 9 months and bonding while breast feeding and changing diapers so unless we’re knackered when we will kick you out of bed to help us we usually get up because we really cherish those moments. We know junior won’t be a baby forever and we don’t want you getting in the way of our bonding. Time enough for you and him to bond when he’s a teenager.  So if you don’t ask to spend more time with him we won’t insist unless we need you to babysit when we go to the hairdressers or something like that.

House work? Simple; clean up after you, we’ll clean up after ourselves and there’ll be peace. We don’t want men to do our laundry, just do your own because we don’t intend to. Dishes ain’t a problem, wash yours after you eat or stick them in the dishwasher, don’t dump them in the sink and if you cook clean up after yourself, same thing in the bathroom. For the big stuff like vacuuming, spring cleaning, yard and garage clearing we’d rather hire an agency or get someone to come in a couple times a week and you better be ready to pay for half of it unless you want to do all of it.

When we modern women lived on our own we didn’t cook every day so we’re not going to start now just because we’ve moved in with you, we went out and ate quite often too and when you lived on your own you didn’t eat out every day sometimes you cooked. Do not suddenly insist that you are a chief in your village and cannot eat outside. Sometimes we will cook, sometimes you better cook, and sometimes we will go out to dinner. Just like before. Coming to a compromise here really seems like a no brainer.

We also want respect, so no misogynistic jokes ay dinner parties (catered), no cheating with the house girl, no overt or covert flirting with our friends, and the only place and time you are allowed to objectify us is when we are having kinky sex in the privacy of our bedroom. We’ll play French maid, cops and robbers, postman Joe and any other game you can think of. That’ll be your reward for being the man of our dreams. So long as sometimes we get to be postman Joe. 😀

In return you will have a woman that stands by you and with you through all the storms living in Nigeria brings, a trusted ally, an eager cheerleader, a personal shrink, a non-judgmental confidante, an honest advisor and an all-round team player, in short an island of stability in troubled waters. If you don’t forget to reciprocate we won’t either.

Lovers by Tolu Aliki

Lovers by Tolu Aliki

What Every “Modern” Nigerian Man Wants from a “Modern” Nigerian Woman

August 19, 2013

Past few days I’ve been trying to write a post for today on feminism and intersectionality that drew some inspiration from last week’s big twitter debate under the hash tags #solidarityisforwhiteowmen and #blackpowerisforblackmen but that has been on my mind for a while as I have been pondering the nature of exclusion in Nigerian/African feminism. I was determined to write something profound and insightful so I decided to do some background research to lend it the necessary gravitas to be taken seriously.

The quality of the research and writing on African feminism is so high that after four hours poring through several lengthy academic treatises including the African Feminist Charter of Principles and listening to gorgeous young African women propound complicated theories I realized that I might need a PhD to be able to comprehend it all and write anything of great import. The 2000 words I had written seem shallow, ego centric and superficial in comparison. All dis big big grammar sef, how does a working girl compete ehn?

I was also disturbed by a more personal incident of an emotional nature. Emotional incidents have a way of disrupting my peace, I’m still learning how to deal with my emotions and get in touch with my feminine side. I’m still way too sensitive most times even if I do make a good show of covering it up with my tough-butter-couldn’t-melt-in-my-feminist-mouth attitude. It’s just my way of coping, I’m damned if I’m going to let anyone see my soft under belly, you know what I mean? Okay, maybe not. Anyway that post will be a bit longer in coming, I need to educate myself a bit more before I make an ass out of myself.

Part of my that piece dealt with an encounter I had with a self-proclaimed male African feminist during the debates. I say self-proclaimed because surely you should wait for people to give you the moniker after you have proven your credentials with words and actions.  Being a skeptic I question the motives of all self-identified feminist men. Are they really willing to question and give up their male privilege or is it just opportunistic grand standing that also lets them cop out of the more demanding aspects of traditional masculinity with a parachute? Really, it’s NOT about understanding theoretical feminism.

This encounter and the incident of an emotional nature led me to wonder just exactly what it is that the modern Nigerian man wants from the modern Nigerian woman. Since my post on feminism and intersectionality is far from ready I would like to share my appropriately shallow, superficial and hopefully humorous thoughts and insights on the matter of the 21st century Nigerian Man. There are two types – the self-proclaimed feminist and the cultural chauvinist but they are really the same; narcissistic, entitled, insensitive, and opportunistic.

The self-proclaimed feminist male can ask you to pay for your dinner or drinks when he takes you out with a straight face, ignore that your nails or hair need fixing and avoid helping you with heavy bags. In return he can safely indulge his love of cooking and obsessive compulsive domesticity without criticism or offers of help from you.  He can also ask you for a loan or financial support when he needs it without narcissistic injury to his ego since he fancies himself a feminist and figures feminism means it’s okay for a man to take money from a woman.

All Nigerian Men want an educated woman. They may say this is because they believe in equality for women but it’s really because they wants to be able to enjoy high quality and varied conversations with you on those nights when they can’t hang out with the boys and when you are on your period and can’t have sex. The Modern Nigerian Man wants you to have a career, not a job, and your own income. He doesn’t want you running to him every time you need to buy tampons or a pack of cigarettes. No, he is too modern to have a dependent or uneducated wife or girlfriend.

His woman has to have a career so that when he eventually starts his own business which every modern Nigerian man dreams of doing you won’t be ‘quitting your job’ but making a ‘career move’. Meanwhile, he will make you the general manager that handles all the administration, logistics and operations that actually make a business successful while he continues to generate the big ideas in the board room.  He will even magnanimously give you a generous package that includes health insurance and benefits, a pension plan and fully paid leave.

Bossing around the staff should fulfill your need to be a feminist warrior if you are one, this is okay so long as you confine it to the appropriate space. At home he wants a woman who will cook for him and help keep house. You don’t necessarily have to be a house bound chattel,so long as you do not start a gender war every time you enter the kitchen or clean. He wants a clean well organized home, as well organized as the filing system in the office you run for him; his shorts, socks and ties lined up according to color, age or whatever other eccentric preference he might have in this regard.

After work he wants you to entertain him with intelligent chit chat and kinky sex when he is feeling in the mood. When he is not in the mood you will know because he will bury his head in his laptop or answer your attempts at conversation with monosyllables. On nights like those it is safe to go out with the girls, he may even drop you off and pick you up if need be. Occasionally he may ask you to accompany him to some office social gathering. He wants you to look your best because he likes women that take care of themselves.

Most of all the modern Nigerian Man has learnt the joys of  companionship and wants your companionship more than anything. If you are away for 12 week on a business course or taking care of your sick mother in the village he will demand you cut your trip short or threaten to go elsewhere to get it and blame you without a hint of irony. Because you see, its really not about you, any woman would do and she doesn’t even have to be Nigerian.