To Be or Not to Be

So before I try to flesh out my thoughts to make sense into this blog post I feel like I have to put in a disclaimer that this is not a self deprecating or factual post but just an honest post of my thoughts.

If you are an unmarried, boyfriend-less Nigerian woman in her 20's or 30's you have to know that when one other is gathered with you the talk of marriage/men/dating will come up at some point or the other. I was talking to a guy friend of mine the other day and naturally the talk of my single-dom comes up (honestly, when people ask you that question of why you are single, how are you supposed to answer? Will you ask yourself out? Do people will boyfriends/husbands into their lives?). Anyways the convo continues and at some point I tell my friend that honestly, if I am being honest I feel like me being myself/who I am is cockblocking me from Nigerian men. He asks me to explain and I am like I really don't think I am what Nigerian men want. See let me explain, of course I don't mean all Nigerian men but I think Nigerian men like "meek" women lol. You know the ones that are ladies, don't curse, aren't dancing like crazed person on the dance floor, completely okay with serving their man know, wifely people. So my friend in question begins to protest and say it is not true and I presented him with a scenario at a recent social event we were both at. I asked him if he was considering me as wifey and he saw me then, would he still consider me and he said he wouldn't. I was like my point exactly.

Which brings me to my post title. What's a girl to do? Pretend and be what you think they want or be yourself? I have had people advise me (yes all based in nigeria) on not showing myself to a guy 100% but instead to be what they want or that places me in the best position and show your true self slowly in the hopes that by then you'll be in and it would be too late to back out. See to me that just sounds silly and sounds like a set up but you will be amazed how many people believe in that. A friend of mine said she has tried the being herself route and felt she was judged and those days are long over. She's putting her best foot forward. I dunno man, I just can't subscribe to that idea. I can see why some people would though. I mean you have men who have ideologies like there are certain sexual acts they can't do to their wives and mother of their children because it is disrespectful. It also reminded me of Obinze's wife in "Americanah". He admitted that he wasn't exactly excited by her like he was with Ifemelu but she was "a good wife" but then he loved Ifemelu because she wasn't apologetic for who she was and was herself. It's like this thing in their brain that the mother of your child can't be a fun exciting woman or a fun exciting woman is "trouble".

I did do a random poll and asked a bunch of guy friends if they'd rather a woman show herself slowly haha 100% as expected said they'd rather she's up front and it would be stupid to be deceptive. On the flip side of it all, I have heard of some people who switched it up and got the MRS degree but I don't know if they are happily married. Oh one more thing to add -  I also group women into two - the simples and the complicateds. The simples have no wahala, they meet a guy he's a good guy they get along and dassit. The complicateds are usually looking for more. What that more is, its not defined but they want the clicking, the connection, is he into xyz, should be able to handle himself in social and professional settings and just a whole bunch more that just makes it complicated. Honestly, I always harp on about how there is no science to this thing because most of the stories I have heard the man met the woman and "just knew" that this was the woman they wanted to marry, without knowing all about them yet. I think having that "just knowing" feeling allows them to be up to handle whatever baggage you come with. A friend of mine said she does believe that there are people out there that can accept women like "us" but you just have to be more patient and I am going with that. Besides, if all else fails, woman shall not live by just Nigerian men alone.

Yall have anything to add on this?


Anonymous said…
You've said a lot here ... and I can relate to much of it. Take it from me, a Nigerian American with a lot of American qualities who struggled with the "I don't have the qualities" these guys are looking for syndrome. Picture this, a classy looking yet southern hip hop listening, sharp mouthed, sometimes back-out, mid drift rocking so and so looking to date and marry an average Nigerian male. When I say average, I mean one that can bring on a heightened level of culture to the relationship and ultimately to my future children. I always showed who I was 100% of the time ... primarily because its too much work to subdue the real you. Those who do it, carry on, you have skills! That said, my deviation from what is seen as wifely was my attractant. For whatever reason, men scream and shout that they are looking for a Mother Theresa natured babe but those babes DO NOT attract as many suitors as the "colorful" ones do. I don't have the science to back it up but experience, mine and others support it. Your decision to be patient for the one that accepts all of Taynement is the way forward. No need to become someone you don't recognize in the name of MRS; it just leads to stress and results in BS.

Having said all of the above, I found that a natural mellowing of my more fiery attributes occurred over time. I can't say that it was because of my husband because he is a dynamic character as well. But for the sake of argument, lets say it was due to marriage; the fact still remains, we got where we are being who we are ... quirky, eccentric, and charismatic. So fuhhhhhhh what you've heard. LOL
Berry Dakara said…
of course I don't mean all Nigerian men

woman shall not live by just Nigerian men alone

YES and YES.

I understand what you mean. Believe me, for the looongest time, I wondered if something was wrong with me. I was good enough to play with, but nobody was ready to wife me. In retrospect, I thank God none of them did, because I don't know if they would have been patient enough to "handle me." I think it takes a special man to be able to understand and appreciate our "colorfulness." Even some of Cakes' friends have said that I talk a lot, I'm too dramatic, I ask too many questions, this or that and I just know that they would be the type of guys who would have tried to "tame" me.

I do think however, that over time, the colorfulness moves from a bright/neon/painful-to-look-at tone to a pastel or even deep tone. Gerrit?
mizchif said…
Fun and exciting woman + dirty prostitute = village bicycle = cum receptacle #science Can't believe you didn't know this.

It's interesting how many people subscribe to this whole not showing the real you style of meandering your way to the Mrs cup. Just sounds stressful.
But i will sha admit that i'm learning to keep certain opinions to myself sha since i've been in naij.
Was having a similar conversation with a much older guy friend of mine and he warned/begged me to try changing myself on account of trying to fit what i think men want because there is some guy out there who will appreciate me as is.
So i'm over here waiting.
mizchif said…
Also i wish, wish, WISH i was one of the simple ones.
Like i look at some couples and i just know the thought process was:
Guy- She's a fine young girl, from a good home, i know she's a good girl, she can keep the home well and she's even a graduate.

Girl- He's very comfortable, his buisness is doing well, i know he will most likely be able to provide enough to keep me and the children we will have comfortable. He doesn't seem violent, plus my parents have checked out his people and they check out.

Parents meet, fix wedding dates.

*Appends signature*
TheRustGeek said…
Have to agree with your friend that there are (Nigerian) men out there who are a lot more accepting of quirks of character than is typical. I'd like to think I know quite a few, unfortunately they do come with their own quirks too!

Having said that, I do see the point of putting a best (or better foot forward), seeing that as humans, we (both guys and girls) 'thin-slice' people all the time and may rule them out without getting to know the diamond beneath the external roughness. The reasonableness or stupidity of the things we measure people against is another matter all together.

Guess as single people searching we've got to decide what parts of our character are absolutely us and which we can't tone down versus those which are nice to haves and can ditch... Some would consider that self improvement...

My two cents!
Anonymous said…
"100% as expected said they'd rather she's up front and it would be stupid to be deceptive."

LIESSSSSSSSS!!! confused muthas!!

Fools so confused they got women running around like headless chickens confused as hell. mschew.

who the hell knows colorful and the not so colorful...them full ground.
Original Mgbeke said…
I find that some of these guys (and I personally know 2) want those meek "dry babes" and after marriage they are crying about how she's so boring and has no oomph etc etc. My friend said that he appreciates a woman with "swag" and personality, and I was like amen to that. If a guy wants black and white, good for him. There's plenty guys out there who appreciate color and want to have fun with a significant other though. Continue to exercise patience.

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