Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Baggage

He: "This week will be really busy for me. The girls are returning to school and I want to do some catching up with the little guy." 
She: "Does this mean I don't get to see you at all?" 

We're having our regular Monday brunch at my favorite café and I greet his announcement with a frown and a pretty pout. He kisses me and presents me with a single rose. It's not enough to pacify me. We barely have enough time together already, he's gone for too long and when I have him he is working so hard, this man of mine.

We met six months ago at a charity event in a friend's art gallery and from that first night he swept me off my feet. He was tall and good-looking, the touch of gray at his temples lending him an air of uniqueness that had all the women ogling him all night. Imagine my surprise when he snagged two glasses of champagne and walked straight towards me with a smile. He was charming and kind and the type of gentleman I had grown up reading about. That he spent the night making love to my mind and only lightly flirting, not in a hurry to cross over any other threshold only made me want him more. We ended the night with a peck (frustrating for me) and I thought I would never see him again.

He sent me flowers every day for the next 14 days, and asked me to dinner on the 15th. Dinner was magical, it was like I had known him forever. For the first time, I had met a man whose intelligence was inspiring instead of intimidating, whose achievements seemed gallant instead of arrogant, and I thought to myself that he was the one. He was smitten too, and even as he hinted that he should not be with me he was never able to hold himself back.

Three months later, he made me cry.

It was raining heavily that night, never a good sign. He was cooking dinner at my place and he was there before I got home from the gallery. He had prepared a rose-scented bath, there were candles everywhere and my heart skipped many times as I contemplated what the evening ahead could be. When he told me his big secret, I thought my heart had stopped altogether. I cried as he held me, even as I tried to hate him. He swore that in spite of it he would never leave, he loved me.

That was the only cloud in our journey. Things are normal now, as normal as can be. As he finished his brunch and rushed off to meet his first clients of the week and live his life away from me, I patted my belly lightly, urging the little one to wait for a more appropriate time to tell 'daddy' the good news. We will be a great family, me and him and our little one. I have learned to accept him and the baggage he came with: a wife, two beautiful daughters and his first son...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Divided

Many of my friends hate each other.
I say this all the time but I think no one believes me. 
I imagine the day I will have a big party, or God forbid my wedding, and they will all have no choice but to be in one room and breathe the same air for an extended period. Can someone spell W-A-R?

Seriously.

 For someone who claims to be shy and introverted, I know people... lots and lots of people who I have crossed paths with and for unique reasons have been part of my life ever since. The big problem is that many of these people are as different as all the hours of the day and all the days of the week, in a nutshell, VERY different. Which makes my life wildly interesting, especially when the conflicts come up...

For example, I have a friend who disdains almost every close male friend I have, romantic interests and platonic friends alike. Her problem with ALL of them, I kid not, is that they are not cool enough. She calls them my 'chewing gum boys'. The first reaction many people have is to ask why I am friends with such a shallow human being, but I can't imagine not being friends with her. She's a honest person and a very good friend. On those days when I want to hide from the truth her voice is loud and clear in my head and her advice is always invaluable. And while I don't agree with her judgement of my friends, I understand her to some extent and as long as those comments about my uncool friends are not disrespectful to me or to them, no harm done.

Or my female friends who hate each other's guts.
 *SIGH*

Sometimes, these divisions are because of things that have happened in the past that genuinely keep people apart. And that is understandable. But it really saddens me when two people who don't know each other or have never even met have preconceived impressions of each other from other people's experiences, because judging people without experiencing them for ourselves is a quick way to cut ourselves off from great relationships and friendships that are just waiting to happen.
And it puts me in an awkward situation sometimes. How do you handle friendships where someone has already judged the other person to be the scum of the earth before they have a chance to meet them, or maybe they don't even wish to know them at all? Do my friends even realize that if I believed everything that everyone said or thought about everyone else I would not even have any friends?

I'm guilty too. I am unfair to some people because of conflicts that have happened between them and others, some things that I know almost nothing about. After my grandfather died last year, I was depressed for a while because I had not had a good relationship with him. I had not spoken to him in over 10 years because of conflicts with other members of my family, conflicts whose details I still do not know today. I learned a lot from that experience as I tried to work through my feelings and regrets at his death. Lately I have decided that everyone deserves their own hearing, so to speak. I will never disrespect a friend(or family member) by willfully doing things that cause them undue distress, but I think it is unhealthy to continue to see others completely through the eyes of others. I know it will be a challenge to always be objective and understanding of others and to keep my convictions from overshadowing my loyalty to my friends. But it's worth a try.

Toodles

Letting Go of the Alter Ego

"I don't understand you"

He says this with a loving smile on his face so I think it's a good thing. I definitely don't mind being a little mysterious, an enigma that keeps him intrigued and interested. I like to be unpredictable, daring, and I tell myself that this is how I learn myself and get to know me. And for him, it was refreshing. In his words, I am Fun; flirty when it is needed and then blushing shy the next moment, smart and seriously clowning, overly sensual and terribly naive, sometimes all at the same time. And on days like today, it keeps him up at night because the only thing that holds him back is the need to really KNOW me.

I have had several variations of this conversation with friends and lovers over the years. Someone once jokingly created the idea of multiple personalities and I readily embraced it. Finally, an off-hand excuse I could give to anyone who cared enough to scratch beneath the surface to get to the core of the person inside. And this is what they really are, these alter egos: Excuses. 

On one hand, I 'use them' because don't like to explain my actions, especially when I see myself doing it to gain the acceptance of others. Being "the crazy weird one" is like a disclaimer that says "I will do anything at anytime because that is the way I am". And this works almost all the time. On another hand, I think I have successfully created a persona that is more confusing than intriguing, and on the days he says some really hurtful things, and I realize he doesn't know me at all, I begin to question the wisdom of my identity.

I am thinking of putting the alter egos to rest and creating one ME. Enough of the Intellectual and Spiritual One and the Flirty, Funny One and the Modern Ambitious One and the Laid-back and Traditional One... and the others. Maybe it's time to just be one person everyday, no excuses, no apologies... just One


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Isn't she lovely...

Stolen from a friend's twitter feed.... 

How do YOU Ride?

Do you drive that by any chance? Call me!!

A couple of months ago a male friend called me up and said a babe he was talking to asked some weird questions on a date, and the most suspicious question was "What kind of car do you even drive?" Apparently she had never seen his car. He asked me what I thought a question like that meant, and some of the words I remember saying were 'Gold-digger' and 'Run'. And to be honest I blamed him for putting himself in that situation because he does tend to go after them 'high-maintenance' 'eye-chooking' type babes.

Imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago another male friend casually asked me "What do you girls mean when you ask a guy what kind of car he drives?" I had to ask another friend if there's a secret meaning in the 'Language of Women' in that question and she thought it was ridiculous as well. So I told him I thought his new romantic interest was maybe a little bit overly-materialistic and that he needs to really 'get to know her' first, I meant he should bounce, of course. Funny thing is, he swears the girl is really great in all other aspects; and while I don't know him well enough to know the kind of woman he prefers, I think a girl that is so concerned about your machinery should be questioned seriously.

Surprisingly, someone else asked me the same question last night and I started feeling that maybe I'm just a bit too naïve with my Ogbomoso self to understand what is really going on and I wanted to ask everyone else out there...

Women, why is it important to know what car he drives?

In my humble opinion, there is absolutely NOTHING about a man's current choice of transportation that tells you much about what his personality or sometimes even his wallet looks like. Absolutely nothing. 

Let's talk about the money first. Maybe men in Nigeria can be gauged a little in the financial department because Nigerians mostly have to pay cash for their stuff; but add in the fact that some of them picked up one of Daddy's cars from the garage or the fact that some guys who have the cash are not out there buying the flashiest cars, you really cannot judge anything from a man's machine. 

And to my 'Sistas' abroad, especially in the US of A, please shine your eyes methodically. That car that you are so interested in was most likely bought on credit. You need to ask around and realize that the bigger the toy, the more cash he's shelling out to make those car notes and insurance payments (and need I remind you as a financial advisor that this means he has even less cash to spend on you?). Factor in the sad fact that some people make those credit payments ON CREDIT as well, you may just be cozying up to your ticket into the great American Dream Debt Nightmare. And gosh, have you spoken to a man right after he takes his cushy car to those expensive dealership maintenance places?! The price of maintaining some cars once is enough to feed a small clan for a good while. Now don't get me wrong, of course really wealthy guys drive crazy good cars, but just knowing what he drives will certainly not give you a clue.

Now let's talk about personality. When you're trying to get to know a guy and asking those questions on the late night phone calls and the sparkly dates, you want to be able to guess how he will treat YOU if you decide to spend part of your life with him. How exactly does his choice of cars tell you anything about this? What's really going on?

My advice to guys who want peace in their lives: If she is so interested in your material portfolio so early on in a relationship, maybe that's all she's interested in. Not you, just your stuff. So be very well prepared to entertain her very well on that level if you want to keep her. And if you what you are looking for is a woman to care about you for you, ease up on telling us what it is you 'got' on those early dates. You would be surprised how many women are turned off by the unnecessary display of assets...

That said, if you happen to drive that wonderful car up there (paid for in full) and you're not married to Beyoncé, CALL ME!! CALL ME NOW!! Haha!! 
Peace!!