Recently, quite a lot of people I know seem to want to marry me off and I do not know why.
I have been accused of being no different from my Igbo brothers, waiting to turn forty-something before snatching up an ‘innocent’ twenty-something year old to wife; some say I have the George Clooney complex – chronic bachelorhood. I have even started claiming TuBaba as my role model, just to humour them; then there are those who know nothing about me, but are quick to conclude that my problem is that I want a ‘perfect’ woman.
Who does that?!
I don’t mean who talks about, and tries to live people’s lives o. Those abound aplenty. I mean who spends their life waiting for a perfect person? Surely not I. Heck, I am not perfect either.
Proud, opinionated, flirty, flighty, sarcastic. These are some of the nicer words that have been used to describe my flaws.
I once had a specification, a mental picture of my ideal woman.
#She would be fine
She had to be a looker; even better if she was a stunner! In my twenty-one year old society where women were to be seen and not heard, that was key.
Beyond aesthetics, was procreation. Hopefully our kids would favour her looks.
#She would be articulate
Where it is generally agreed that men are attracted by what they see, my brain begs to differ. While I am not particularly exceptionally brilliant, I crave the occasional intelligent conversation.
#She would have a sense of humour
Imagine telling a joke to your partner, and then explaining the joke to them because they did not get it first time.
#She would be a fairly good cook and be sexually compatible with me
My appetite is healthy, though I prefer to feed in little doses. I do not feed just to feed, it has to be enjoyed all round. And it doesn’t always have to be a thoroughly planned gourmet feast; the occasional impulse feeding keeps everything fresh.
#She would be organised, and know how to keep house
I am organised in my scattered way, and know how a well-kept house looked. Not looking for a house help, just someone to occasionally pick up after me.
#She would be independent
True, I would be the man of the house, but all decisions would not necessarily pass through me.
#She would be appreciative of the little things
Life rarely happens all at once. Neither do I. She had to take what I had to give at the time and be willing to grow with me from there.
#She would be Catholic
My life’s experiences over time, however, have coloured this monochromatic picture of the ideal. I have come to learn that these things do not play out in black and white, but that there is a whole spectrum of colours in-between – not to mention the shades of grey.
While a lot of things have changed, not a lot has really changed.
I once fell in love with a voice. I used to hear it over the radio, and purposed to meet and woo the said voice. I eventually got introduced to the owner of the voice, and even though the person introducing us pointed at her when he said her name, I still looked beyond her in the hope that the owner of the voice somehow was lurking behind her in a room that clearly contained only three people: me, her and the hook up guy. My initial dismay at her looks gave way when her lips parted and she said “Nice to meet you”.
Frankly, she was not ugly or unfine, just not as fine as my mental picture of her. We got talking and four hours later I was reluctant to leave. By that time, I was not thinking looks anymore. We have been friends now over ten years and, when my friends who are meeting her for the first time say how she was not particularly pretty, I look at them and think that they need to have their eyes checked!
I have also met very beautiful girls. Drop dead gorgeous divas so fine, I get heart palpitations just from thinking of ‘stepping up’ to them. Then they open their mouths and speak, and it is all downhill from there. The ‘beauty’ jumps out the window.
My girlfriend at one time had a lot of wonderful qualities, but then she had a mind like a cash register. She was not overly materialistic, but she could look at a gift and put a monetary tag to it. I could see a key ring, or fridge magnet with something witty on it and think to buy it for her; or a costume jewellery, but she would pass it through her ‘retinal scan’. What was worse, I would know.
One time I was at a Rotary convention and I bought her a brooch I really liked. It was blue and shaped like a swan with tiny clear stones for its plumage and a torquoise stone for its eye – it was cast in profile. When I returned from the convention, we went to the movies and I asked her what she thought of swans. “Stuck up,” came her reply. I spent the minutes before the movie trying to say how graceful, elegant and beautiful I thought they were, to which I got a scoff and a “huh?”
In the cinema, I put the brooch in her popcorn when she wasn’t looking, in the hope of surprising her. She eventually found it and said to me, “Look what I found in my popcorn. I think it belongs to one of the girls at the concession stand. Let’s sue them.”
Up until this moment I had a smile on my face waiting for her recognition of what it was and making the connection. “It even looks cheap.” Those words wiped the smile from my face and the mirth from my heart.
Let us just say I never again bought her anything she did not personally select herself.
Another girl I dated was a good house-keeper and cook. What’s more, she did these things willingly and as a matter of course. With her I knew the kids would be raised right. Something like the upbringing Mama gave me, maybe not with the brain-resetting slap Mama has become famous for, but then that is why God created me.
Thing was, we did not share that many interests together. Where I wanted Movie Magic, she was crazy for Africa Magic. So a dual view decoder would take care of that, but on her birthday that year she was at mine and I was playing a lot of mellow tunes that evening to set the mood for what I had planned. It was either Jeremih’s “Birthday sex”, or Slim’s “Heels on” or R. Kelly’s “Sweet tooth” (I forget which) that was playing off my brother’s laptop when I went into the kitchen to serve a dinner I had prepared – complete with cake and her carefully wrapped gift – when she closed the playlist and instead played D’banj’s “Igwe” which was followed by “Olorun ma je”!
My point is, I have met a lot of different girls with different mixes of my desired qualities, but never one with all of them.
People have thrown the 80-20 theory at me, and I have continuously batted that out of the park.
First question is whose 80%? Then there is the question of arranging the qualities in order of importance from top to bottom. Now if a girl scores 80%, but failed your top 20%; and another girl scores 60%, and failed your bottom 40%, whose percentile works better for you?
So no, I am not looking for a perfect 10. I am just looking for a package that rouses a certain feeling in me. My friends have written this off as chasing the impossible dream, but unfortunately for them, I have actually felt it twice before! Differently yes, but it was there all the same.
PS: That feeling is called love. All those qualities: looks, brains, outlook on life, sense of humour, faith, sex, genes, they are mere words until they are cloaked by love. That then will be the total package not because it is a complete package, but because love shores up their short comings and mellows their excesses, and believe me, you are better off waiting for your TTP no matter how long it takes, than sell yourself short.
PPS: This is not a Want Ad.