Thursday, 30 August 2007

On……the pursuit of a penis: An Atutu™ guide to getting the man of your dreams

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of sound mind, must be in want of a good man. I don’t care how indie you are or how career focused your life is, if you are a woman reading this, your entire wellbeing and outlook will be immeasurably bettered by the love of a good man. Note the adjective - good. This is not interchangeable with the word - Any. Many women are unable to distinguish between GOODman and ANYman. Another day I will write about the difference. For today’s lesson this is a step by step guide to finding and keeping that special someone. If you have achieved the finding part you can go straight to Holding on.

This part is called Not Looking

I believe it was the legendary Professor Peller who said “the more you see the less you understand”. The same underlying principle can be applied when seeking a partner. The more you actively seek a man, the greater the likelihood that your pursuit will be a fruitless one.

Some of my female friends are like “Ah Atutu come and find me husband now” I’m like I wasn’t aware you lost one to begin with. Have you checked behind the sofa? Under the stairs nko? So, no, don’t look. Glam up. Watch TV. Blog. Go to school. Go to work. Do everything except be on the lookout and be amazed by unexpected attention you will receive from somewhere. The woman who gets on best with men is the one who knows best how to get on without them.

I’ll tell you two places where you won’t find GOODman – weddings and nightclubs. The kind you will find at the former like to pose like they are all that, the kind you find at the latter just want to gbensh (which is cool if you are looking for ANYman).

This part is called the first date

You need to make a good impression. Smile. Laugh at his useless jokes, even the ones you have heard before. You need your laugh to be a demure one, practice into a Dictaphone if necessary. Watch loads of 50s movies and mimic the way women laughed in them. Save your belly laugh with the pig snort until such a time when you are on more familiar terms. Don’t talk about what you don’t know. Find out his favourite sports team but don’t pretend to support them too.

Under NO circumstances will you open leg at this point.

This part is called being yourself

By now you have passed the initial hurdles and can start to expose yourself a bit more. There is a limit to how much of you a guy really wants to know. Do NOT, as one girl who I had gone out on just two dates with did, come into the bathroom when I’m taking a shower and proceed to start shitting right there and then. I promise you a man can easily go through life without wondering what his wife’s shit smells like. You must retain an air of mystery.

Oh yeah and if you have false teeth, remove them only at night AFTER your bobo has slept. This will form the foundation of a very successful relationship. This will also ensure that he does not freak out and start pouring holy water on you when he sees you minus teeth for the first time.

Sex is permissible at this stage. You must, however, bring your A game and give him something that will make him come back for more. You need to perfect at least one party trick. If you perform this party trick and his toes don’t curl then you have failed miserably. It doesn’t have to be anything freaky; you don’t have to master the Kama sutra. Just being a darn good kisser can be enough. Explore his body and find out, through trial, how he gets his kicks.

This part is called Holding On

You must always try and keep your man guessing. Be unpredictable. Be irrational sometimes. It is a woman’s prerogative. The moment you start becoming over accommodating, over understanding then Mr. Man will start to take the piss. It is our nature. We will stop trying that extra bit harder and making that extra effort. If we forget an anniversary or birthday, you must let us know that it is NOT cool. You don’t have to go all crazy and shit, but be sure to get your point across.

Trust in a relationship is over rated. One can always recognize women who trust their husbands; they look so thoroughly unhappy. I’m not saying you should ransack his pockets every night but a healthy level of suspicion will go far in any relationship.

The final part, and it’s a goodun, is called Happily ever after

The cardinal rule here is the more you seem to obey, the more you rule. Women are fussier than men. They like things the way they like things. Our needs are fairly basic, food, sex and sports. If you try to over assert yourself, we will rebel. Yes, even if there is no worthy cause. We will try to stamp our masculinity all over the relationship and the war of the sexes goes to Def-CON 5. The most successful relationships are the ones where the man is living under the illusion that he is running things. These ingénues make sheep of their men at the same time telling them that they are lions with wills of iron.

Arguments will happen but be fair and attempt to stick to the situ at hand. A lover’s tiff is merely the renewal of love so make sure that insults are never exchanged. The abuses will be harder to shake off in the make up sex that will ensue. Unless, of course, you are into that sort of thing. Which is fine. Really.

Love is the one thing that can be divided endlessly and still not diminish. So remember to save a little bit for yourself. If you don’t get your happily ever after, and not everyone will, it is the small love you reserved for yourself that will allow you to start rebuilding.

All of these nuggets are not worth a damn until you learn how to distinguish your feelings between need, lust, like or love. I will paraphrase Judith Viorist who has provided one of the most succinct explanations I have read.
Love is the same as like except you feel sexier.
And more romantic.
And also more annoyed when he talks with his mouth full.
And you also resent it more when he interrupts you.
And you also respect him less when he shows any weakness.
And furthermore, when you ask him to pick you up at the airport and he tells you he can’t do it because he’s busy, it’s only when you love him that you hate him.

Friday, 17 August 2007

On......boarding school days

“Atutu” said my mother “it is time”

I languished in the bathtub for a little while longer, knowing that my love affair with clean, running water was about to be brought to a halt. It was time to go back to boarding house.

I contemplated the three hour journey that lay ahead of me and contrasted it to the same ruminations I had twelve months ago before my first year in secondary school. Where there had once been hope and a sense of adventure, there now lay dread in their wake. The only strand of salvation that availed itself to me was the fact that I was no longer the most junior of junior students. Anyone who has gone to a federal school will tell you that your JS1 year is the single most painful, humiliating and downright depressing twelve months that you will experience during the course of your natural life. In fact, a year that consists of a job loss, house eviction and divorce would pale in comparison next to it. I thanked God that at least in JS2 I can now begin inflicting the same sort of misery that I suffered in my first year.

The three hour drive was scarcely long enough. I made a last ditch attempt to feign an ailment of some sort. I spent the majority of the drive racking my brain for any kind of disease that would force the immediate curtailment of the journey. Trypanosomiasis? White malaria? Yellow Fever nko? There had to be something I could convincingly pull off I thought. By the time I settled on kwashiorkor of the brain, we had already reached the gates of hell. The most depressing thing about those gates is that once they were closed, you knew that for the next three months your ass belonged to Federal.

I had arrived just in time for dining hall and, this being the first day, supper was going to be a particular treat. For starters we had entrée of nada with cream of zilch. The main course was a particular favourite; weevils and stones with a small side order of beans. This was garnished with three small black organic substances which, at some stage of their gestation, were known as ‘plantains’

I found the evening’s dinner far too rich for my palate so it meant a trip to Blockys (Bloh-KEES) Island had to be arranged. Blockys Island was an area about 100 metres or so from Dodan Barracks (the dormitory) and was a playground for amoeba, maggots, bacteria and just about any other microscopic organism you can think of. It also had a part time job as a toilet. In my first term, I refused to shit for one week in protest of the sanitary conditions. By third term, I was not just shitting there but I was on a first name basis with all the maggots living in Blockys. The flies did not move when you swatted them, they just perched there and stared back at you. I still grieve to this day over Okoro, my favourite pet maggot, who died in the second term after consuming Senior Okechuckwus shit.

The seniors – CHAI!! - the seniors. They owned the school. Once upon a time, Federal had been run by the principal and head teachers. When incidents of teacher beating started becoming rife, the shift in power became very apparent. Now the teachers just taught, packed their bags and ran to hide in their homes. There was one senior in particular, Senior Nwokedi, who was like Abacha before even Abacha himself. The guy was evil personified. There is no doubt in my mind that had he lived in the Western world, he would have been withdrawn from all educational establishments and evaluated for psychological purposes. He was the kind of guy that would rip off a pigeons head just to watch how it died. As you can imagine we juniors were often the target of his sadism. I will never forget the three boys that he locked inside Blockys island for four hours forcing them to clean the place with just a bucket of water between them. By the time the boys came out, one had practically passed out from the stench of the place. Despite all of them bathing twice a day thereafter, the smell of faeces lingered on their skin and hair for weeks after.

Then there were the girls – or rather the lack of them since I was at an ‘All boys’. There was, fortunately, an all girl’s catholic school not far from us. Every day the girls would pass by the main gate on their way to Mass. If you timed it well you could catch the girls for a chat on their daily sojourn. The older you got, the more confident you became in arranging dates with some of the babes. There was no local shopping mall or cinema nearby so your date consisted of eating groundnut and mango under the evening sky. Sometimes you would rain insults at some of the girls as they were passing by; “Your small breast like five kobo groundnut” “Your scatter-scatter teet like machine gun bullet” – and so forth. It was just good banter and usually the girls gave as good as they got -“Your small prick like James Bond rifle” but one particular day we picked on the wrong girl to fuck with. I don’t know if she was on her period or just having a bad day but before we knew what was happening the girl had scaled our fence and was in hot pursuit of me and three others. She caught two of us and delivered the kind of beating that even an angry mother would struggle to replicate. She later became known as ‘Flo-Jo the husband beater’. Don’t let anyone tell you different, FGC girls were the hardest of a hard bunch.

Garri – almighty garri. It was classified as contraband but people still found a way to smuggle it in. If you had garri to trade then you were the Bill Gates of Dodan Barracks. Even a half cup of garri could fetch as much as two of those Kellogs variety packs that ajebota children used to bring. If it was famine period then the going exchange rate was three Kellogs variety packs. People used garri for everything; they smoked it, sipped it, drank it, ate it – anything you can think of. They made garri burgers, garri sandwiches, garri cakes and even garri stew.

Every night was fight night. We invented pay-per-view. If you could afford the gate fee of NIDO milk or Cabin biscuit then that was as good as a Visa or Mastercard. The gladiators were randomly picked juniors who had no option but to fight against each other or risk the wrath of the seniors. It was pugilism at its worst and I regret to say that witnessing a fellow junior’s head been pummelled in form part of my best memories of boarding house. Then one day it was my turn and they put me against one boy whose nickname was kpako. He was a junior like me but I suspect even some of the seniors feared him. The events of the brushing are a haze but all I know is that I woke up in sick bay the next morning. My mother arrived in the afternoon and swore to the principal that her son would never come back to this school of vagabonds. Despite my pain I managed a smile because that word always conjured up memories of Josco, the vagabond of Eko bridge, from Basi and company.

I was transferred to one Ajebota school in Lagos and it made me laugh that there I was one of the hardest boys in school. I often wonder what became of some of those boys from back in the day. I don’t imagine that they will be on Hi-5 or Facebook anytime soon. Looking back it wasn’t really that bad and if anything instilled some character in me. Unfortunately I still cringe when somebody mentions kpako. It just brings back too many memories.

Thursday, 9 August 2007 the love of two young people missed road

Theirs was a love that had existed since their childhood. As far back as she could remember, Kunle Odemuyiwa had always been there for her. They were both products of broken homes and Kunle was the one male figure that she had as a role model. After Kunle's father absconded, he was sent to a boarding school and she saw him infrequently. Her adoration never waned. The holidays were spent almost entirely with each other and they would spend several hours playing, fighting and talking. He always seemed very assured and this only added to the high esteem in which she placed him.

Their relationship had not been without tribulations along the way. The dynamics of their association undulated with time as two young people came to terms with their feelings for each other and the new sensations that arrived with each metamorphosis.

The love affair proper had begun in their early teens and it was kept quiet for fear of the unwelcome scrutiny. The first time they had sex was a culmination of several failed attempts in which trepidation, shame and nerves had hitherto combined to ruin the occasion. Here were two young people, barely a year apart, who were going through the entire gamut of emotions of the adolescent who has yet to experience sexual intercourse. The first time, as is usually the case, had been no less clumsy and awkward than their earlier attempts. Kunle laboured long and hard before judging the exact location of the desired orifice. Even then, the job was barely half done. His next task was insertion; and he had to do this with the right amount of force to penetrate yet avoid hurting either of them in the process. She, as ever, lay in rigid silence, offering neither encouragement nor dissuasion. The truth be told, she could have lived to her end of days without yearning for the physical consummation of their relationship. On each failed occasion, it had been Kunle's hormonal urges that instigated the attempt. Loving him too much, she had been only too willing to relinquish to him her most sacred of treasures. She secretly abhorred the idea of sex. She considered herself abnormal for feeling this way and her silence was an apology of sorts.

There would be many more sexual encounters but they felt no less illicit and unnatural to her. Their relationship suffered as a result of this. The openness and joy they shared as children had been replaced by hollowness and muted exchanges. By the time Kunle had started university, they were hardly on speaking terms. They avoided each other and spent very little time in each other’s company.

Her mother died shortly after she started university and Kunle attended the funeral. She was happy to see him and they both cried in each other’s arms. The awkwardness of the past few years temporarily lifted by the tragic event. Kunle introduced her to his girlfriend and they promised to stay in touch. They did not.

Many years passed and she was now in her late twenties and a married woman. Her and her husband, Alan, had just bought a house and he was in the attic storing up the miscellany of her old apartment. He descended with a tattered looking photo album which he had bookmarked in the middle with his index finger.
“Look what I found love. An old album of yours”

“My goodness I honestly thought I had left that in Nigeria. They are mostly old pics Alan.”

“Excellent! Now I can find out more about the life that you never talk about”

“I like this picture here, looks like some sort of birthday party. Is that your mum on the right?”

“Yes o! I still can’t believe that you never met my mum. She would have really liked you even though you are an oyinbo pepper”

“How about this brooding looking chap on the left next to you?”

“Oh that’s just Kunle”

“Kunle? Hmm....don’t think you ever mentioned him. Childhood friend?”

“No. Kunle is my senior brother”

This is loosely based on a story I know to be true. Names and events have obviously been altered. I did not remember it until a ridiculous article I read a few months ago. It is, arguably, the last great taboo but how long before laws are being passed to make it acceptable? I fear o.