Author: Rambling Roommates

On Why You Should Change for Your Man

photo (1)“Don’t let anyone change you”

“Your partner should love you for who you are… as you are…”

“You can’t enter into a relationship with the idea of changing your partner… if you can’t love them as they are, then you don’t deserve them forever”

Raise your hand if you have heard one or more of these before…

I certainly have. It’s easy to believe that change, when explicitly requested in a relationship, can be bad. Often this conclusion is a result of deciding that when change is requested, nay, required, it is somehow an attack on who you are as a person— like a direct hit to your identity. Then the idea of changing at the request of someone who should love you as you are, feels contrived… almost like “Was this your plan all along? To woo me and then force me to transform to suit your fancy”?!?!

But sometimes changing for your partner… and for the health of your relationship is good.

Let’s look at Ginuwine.

As he said back in the day… even though he may be on TV, he is in fact the same ol’ G.  Fast forward to 2014, him and his wife are fighting on instagram as he foolishly posted a picture of their daughter with a caption implying she was a stripper— or whatever. I mean, I wonder how much Sole was telling him, “Babe, you actually can not be the same ol’ G… you should find a new G status to acquire that includes not being so faded on television that you are slurring your words in a live performance.” Perhaps if Ginuwine was a new Ol’ G, his marriage would be in a better place (and even maybe his career). ginuwine

Perhaps that example is egregious… because he should obviously change for his own good. But so… is that the standard? If your partner requires certain changes of you before you can move along in the relationship, is it ok as long as these changes are constructive? What if they seem constructive to your partner but may not be to you (as in, they are not destructive but you don’t find them particularly valuable)? Is it unfair of you to acquiesce and are you doomed to a life of sadness if you do? Will all your friends judge you and say you’re whipped?

I remember casually dating a guy in college that had been a childhood frenemy (I hated him until I was like 18… on everything, I wished death upon his life twice.) The fact that we were even casually dating was a feat. He was very headstrong, and I was very dogged in my beliefs, but we somehow clicked. I remember we had this long conversation about trust and what it means to really be vulnerable and show affection. He would always say that I was so hard. I thought I was doing really well with my smiley faces and the fact that I made a lot of time to talk to him. Over time, I became increasingly comfortable with him but I was still guarded. When it came time to go back to school, I told him straight up that I knew that this relationship was going to wither into the wind because we were in different time zones (Cali love #noTuPac) and he was a guy… so… we shouldn’t fool ourselves. He said we should just see what happens, and stay connected. I obliged. We tried to stay in contact but the time zone difference was killing us softly. I knew this would happen. I remember telling him that I knew this would happen. Even though we knew the time zone factor was an issue, he said it came back to me being an ice queen “hard”:

“You can’t ever just say how you feel Amma. If you miss me, tell  me you miss me. Don’t be afraid to be affectionate. I mean yeah, we always seem to be busy but you’re just not vulnerable”

“How can I be vulnerable when you are never around!?” I thought… crying on the inside but maintaining my nonplussed attitude on the outside. If he couldn’t handle my love…well… then… good riddance.

Fast forward ten years later, and in a number of relationships I have received a similar critique. It could be the case that I just attract these really soft, romantic types that do not reflect the archetype of the hard, emotionless African man I understood. Or it could be that I was in fact an African man Ice Queen. Upon realizing that the latter was closer to the truth (though the former is not mutually exclusive), I decided maybe I should try something different. Maybe I should change.

Here’s the thing… none of my friends take issue with my “lack of affection”— neither do any of my family members. They all love me as I am, and completely accept the way I show love (read: smiley faces and acts of service). Any changes I would make, therefore, in my propensity to show affection, would be at the strict request of the person I was dating. Thus: I would, in fact, be changing, for my man. Setting pride and ego aside and looking at this as purely wanting to make sure the person I am with is happy, one would be hard-pressed to find fault with my actions. Furthermore, these changes do not make me less “me”… in the ways that people know my character and general sensibilities. Yet, talking to friends about it… even in the abstract is often met with hesitance. “If you start now, will it ever end… what else will you have to change… blah blah blah”…

Most people understand that change is inevitable.

No one really expects to be the same ol’ G forever… but I think people take issue with the change being done for someone else, as opposed to for yourself. But what is really wrong with that? Am I less independent? less intelligent? less— anything because of it? And if the changes don’t make me unhappy (though… a bit… uncomfortable in the short term— open affection takes getting used to, I am fighting years of desensitization, allow!), isn’t it worth the effort?

All in all… I am happy with the changes I have made. Aside from making the other person in the relationship happy, there are also spillover effects for other relationships with friends and family. At the end of the day…I just cannot be the Ginuwine to someone’s Sole… it could never be me, me, me (*cue track*)

What are your thoughts? Should you change for your partner? Is changing for your partner a slippery slope? 

Why Did you Let me Date Him?

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I love this meme. It epitomizes the phase of life my contemporaries find themselves in now, and me too. It’s not like the days of old our yester-years (ok maybe like 5yrs ago… or hell, like 2yrs ago) where being with someone or NOT being with someone had less no dire consequences… Ok maybe not dire, but the opportunity cost wasn’t as high. Now, the opportunity cost of being with someone or not being with something seems colossal. Let’s listen in on my conversation with a close friend earlier this month, it helps illustrate the point:

Friend: “It doesn’t seem like it’s working out [with Billy**].”

Friend: (A description of inconsequential and consequential traits and characteristics not fully appreciated in the beginning of dating bliss… Of which I shall skip, because they frankly have no bearing to the premise of this post).

Af: (Interjection of empathetic “Oh, really’s”, “Oh. I’m sorry,” “Yea?” “Uh hmm”)

Friend: “Why’d you let me date him, Afua?”

Af: “Excuse me, come again…?”

Friend: “You’re supposed to be my friend, you should have said something. Now I’m turning 30 and I have wasted the last 2 years.”

Af: [Thought: well that escalated real quick… But I’ll indulge in your slightly irrational line of thinking]

“Welt, let’s see… You said you liked him and he was a good fit. You also gave an extensive list as to why the aforementioned was true. You said you did background checks (with friends and people who knew him). How was I supposed to know he was going to do bait and switch on you? I don’t know him from Adam nor do I hang out with you and him together, so what exactly was I supposed to do? Where was I supposed to get this epiphany from, especially when your behavior hasn’t changed negatively.”

Friend: (A bunch of other highly whiny-like statements and accusations of my blame in the situation… For the most part I tune out)

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Le sigh

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BUT…It did get me thinking, what should be one’s participation in your friends relationship(s)?

meme2Because I do this blog, folks like to talk to me (and I like to use their lives as content lol ;) ). However, I’ve become less than enthused about shelling out ‘advice’ for a number of reasons… one.) you never really know both sides; two.) life is already too complicated for me to be rendering out advice on a situation that is not mine; three.) me, myself, I’m not even dating, remember?…so what am I going to say? I mean in instances of extreme behavior, like domestic violence, extreme unhappiness, sure I’ll say something directly… But other than that, it’s meh… keep your thoughts to yourself. With cheating situations, if you’re not my good friend, ya I’ll look at you and feel sorry for you, but I will keep it moving.

We are the sum of our decisions… And just like I told my friend at the end of the conversation, life is about the decisions we make and the consequences that result from them; for the things that happen to us that we cannot control, we control how we react and respond to them. Irrespective of what our friends say or don’t say, there’s personal responsibility for the lives we lead…

Is that mean? What do you do with your friends? Do you find yourself meddling more or less as you grow older?

**Names obviously changed.

Leading Lady vs. Best Friend: The Art of Not Dating, and Still Coming up on Top.

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“This is not a hard one to figure out. Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.”**

Great quote from one of my favorite movies, The Holiday. Not too much explanation is needed, but in essence the girl likes a friend of hers and is running around doing ‘best friend- like’ duties in hopes that he will see how amazing she is, but she never gets the leading lady status.

So Amma wrote a piece some time ago, which essentially discussed kissing dating goodbye and becoming friends with people (in the hopes that one of the friendships develops further). It was an eye opening piece, and something I’ve naturally kind of taken up. Truth be told, the traditional ‘American’ style of dating here has been a. exhausting and b. not fruitful. Not to mention it inadvertently makes people Ghanaians think you’re a whore. Not my words, but many, many, many other people’s. So naturally I’ve just pretty much migrated to not dating. At first it was something kind of strange to admit, however outside of a couple random first “dates” here and there, not dating has now become a comfortable norm for me. It makes life actually quite simpler, and if you recall, the simple life was all I was looking for this year. In general, not dating boils down to being friends with people and not having pressure (to be or do something after X number of rendezvouses). Although I’m not at the next stage yet, the belief is that in time someone will think that within our friendship ‘I’d make a good life partner for them’. It’s been a personal choice to go down this route, and I’m not saying it’s for everyone. But I told you about the jungle, right? You got folks out here denying your relation- situation-ship with them, faking the relevance you are to them, trivializing your feelings for them and their feelings for you, hedging against wifey with you, cheating on their girlfriends with you, and all other sorts of cowardice behavior, so it would seem that friendship is the safest only route to go in the beginning of getting to know someone.

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The whole point is that we all have a spectrum of behavior, and in some regard character is revealed in friendship- when y’all are not officially together- in ways that can be hard to see when one is trying to ‘impress’ the other within X amount of dates. Spending time with someone in a group or exclusively, in a platonic nature, helps you better sift out whether the guy is one of the players or even worse, one of the bad ones masquerading as a good guy… and these latter seem to exist far more than one would think. The whole process involves your own deductive reasoning and also questioning other people about the guy’s past, which can help in establishing patterns of behavior. However that being said, just like any plan of action, no strategy is fool proof. People can still get duped, there can be a lot of miscommunication, and time can still be wasted when you’re “non-dating”. So there are still strategies one should must adopt when one is a ‘non’ dater (particularly if you start preferring one friend’s company over others). In my brief time as a non-dater, there are a few things I’ve picked up on (through experience, but also through the mouths of men themselves). I think these are good food for thought if you’re still trying to come up on top as a non-dater:

  • Just like in dating, for non-dating to materialize into something long term, the guy must actually still want you and believe you’re the cat’s meow; the guy must still pursue you (after you’ve established you’d be open to being pursued). If this doesn’t occur, what will happen is y’all will just be acting like best buds only. You will be running around doing bestie-type duties and one day he’ll show up with his leading lady. Don’t play, it happens, so you need to strategize. I understand that it’s a buyers market in Ghana globally, and it probably will continue to be for the foreseeable future the entire life of my potential child-bearing age. But just like in dating, in non-dating you don’t want to chase a man down into being with you.
  • I know your initial relationship is that of frienship, and nothing more. BUT you need to still make him treat you like a lady- still allow him to pay when y’all hang out (it doesn’t have to be every time); don’t talk about other guys with them as if he’s one of your girlfriends… just don’t; don’t emasculate, belittle, or treat him with disrespect… one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my adult years is how fragile a man’s egos is… respect. is. everything. Also, don’t hang out with him and his buddies all the time – men rarely wife ‘one of the homies’. In essence, what you want to do as a friend is to still have a healthy distance, so he can see you as a woman that he could date/ wife/ whatever.
  • In regards to making your feelings known, this can be tricky. Some folks say flirting is ample, and if he doesn’t pick up on it, then it’s not on his mind. However, some folks say you can actually say something. It’s funny, 40-days-datingbecause the majority of the former advice comes from women, and the latter comes from men. I think one needs to gauge your individual relationship and situation here. However of late, I am of the latter camp: I don’t think there is anything wrong with notifying the person of your openness to something further. This, at the very least, removes any miscommunication and the other person can’t ever claim that ‘they didn’t know’. After that, the ball is in his court to move. A lot of men just can’t pick up on non-verbal cues… especially if yall have been just friends. Notifying him of your feelings should be done strategically though, and you have to ready for any outcome: whether he’s interested, not, or needs time. Make sure you figure out how you will behave given any of the outcomes, because the last thing you want is a ruined friendship because you’ve gone and made things awkward.

So what do y’all think? Is non-dating actually better or worse? Are there strategies you can suggest to not get trapped in the best friend bucket?

Random Bonus: I saw this clip of two friends who tried to date for 40days. I don’t know where I was last year, but apparently it was all the craze. SPOILER ALERT: It didn’t work out for them, however it was fascinating reading their daily blog HERE. The thing is a great friendship doesn’t automatically equate to a good romantic relationship… for various reasons. The two of you may not want the same things in life… one of you might not be ready for the work it takes (to love) – which was the case here… or just plainly, one of you may not have romantic feelings for the other. However, it never hurts to try, right?…

** It’s completely cliche, it’s a chick flick, and… welt, it’s got jude law… but, it’s a great movie. Check out the scene (start at 1:05):

Guest Post: Nah Hun, We’re Going Dutch! Treat Her Like a Lady: Part III

guestblog

We’re really guest posting things out, eh? We must say thank you to our guest bloggers for making this space more interactive lately!

So if you can remember, I wrote a post about ‘Being a Lady’ and how I have to begin seeing myself as one and allowing guys to treat me as one. In a response to what I wrote, Amma’s boyfriend wrote a guest post for us, which was quite an eye opener for me… if you haven’t read it yet, I would take a look HERE.  Now for Part III of our mini series on chivalry, another guy that I referenced in my original post has graciously written an almost contrasting opinion piece to Amma’s boyfriend. Definitely gives me something else to think about.

Enjoy! And let us know what you think about the post. 


Afua says to treat her like a lady.

I agree; treat her like an intelligent, independent lady. So that means split the bill with her on general principle—unless certain conditions are present.

Apparently the idea of a man splitting the bill is quite an affront to many Ghanaian women. I apologize if I’ve offended in the past. I’ve learned my lesson. After many-a-date without happy endings, I have learned.

But my dating world spans, indeed, the world, so things are different…and different and different and different. Complicated, I would say. I pay; she pays; each pays; I pay the meal, she pays the desert; I the meal, she the tip; she the meal, I the drinks; and every combination you can imagine. I’ve even had an inelegant occasion where I was going to pay—honest!—but I had left my wallet so she paid (and perhaps wonders to this day if that’s just my hustle). On another occasion, I offered to buy a plane ticket and she canceled the trip at the suggestion (through my gesture) that she couldn’t buy her own (she wasn’t Ghanaian, of course).

If you’re thinking I’m revealing too active a dating life with all these combinations, don’t. I don’t do dates per se, you see.  When I go out with a woman, we’re going as two friends or potential friends. If the ending retroactively confers a date status on said outing, great.  As you might imagine, I’ve been on many dates when I didn’t even recognize I was on a date and probably broke all the rules. So I shall henceforth use “encounter” to cover all these, well, encounters.

With all these combinations and complications—you’re probably already thinking this guy is bad news—what are his rules?

imagesIn essence, I’m an advocate and practitioner of women’s equality in all ways: equal salary, domestic chores, everything. I can also be hopelessly cerebral, and no one has convinced me just yet why it should be any different with the restaurant tab. Why the man has to pay by default.

To be clear, I do it happily most of the time, but only if I can justify it. The idea of paying for a professional, income-earning woman on an encounter when she’s got her own makes no sense to me. For me, it’s like showing off. It’s like I’m saying I have money and you don’t, you know, like you’re the weaker vessel or something.

There are, however, some conditions under which my paying makes sense to me:

  1. I initiated that we go to that particular place (Some Ghanaian women will pester you to take them out and then go on to suggest [insert name of a fancy restaurant])
  2. I know for a fact that it will be significantly more of a financial stretch for her than it will be for me. Say, she’s a student, new entrepreneur, unemployed. (Even then, I know women who would still prefer to pay for themselves as an assertion of their independence.)
  3. It is culturally accepted that the man pay (to the extent that she might not even carry enough money on her).

If none of the conditions above exist, we’re going Dutch, baby. It’s not personal. It’s logical. I can’t forget a trip I took with a woman who created a Google Docs spreadsheets of expenses before we started, diligently updated the spreadsheet throughout the trip, and sent me my balance upon return. Now, *that* was a turn on.

But here’s the good news if you’re a woman looking to be “treated like a lady”: Some guys will pay on the first date and gradually go Dutch on subsequent dates. I’m the opposite. Even if I go Dutch on the first “encounter,” once it retroactively becomes a date, I become inclined to pay for subsequent outings depending on the relationship and relative financial situations. Even if she’s in better financial situation than I, I will buy gifts. Of course if we progress to having a joint account, then it’s coming from the joint account except for special occasions.

So you might pay for the first meal, but I could buy the house. Fair deal, no?

I write at a time when one of Ghana’s most prominent preachers has warned Ghanaian women that they’ll burn in hell with their beauty and brains unless they humble themselves and get a man. So, ladies – I’m here to save you. You don’t have to humble yourself before me, and you won’t go to hell either. Just get the check. I won’t be offended.

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What does offend me is when people (men and women) are unreasonable or ungrateful. Even in Ghana where I pay most of the time (see 3rd condition above), some women take it for granted and make unreasonable requests. One theory I’ve heard is that when a girl meets a boy, she’s never sure how long it will last, so she’s got to make him prepay his tax: real estate tax (rent), education fund, and (if the man is a politician) cars and trips to Dubai.

Another argument I’ve heard is that the man should always pay because he wants something from the woman.  Now, that’s logic I can appreciate. So, let’s talk.


hmmm hmmm and hmmm. Thoughts, RR? Kinda takes one back to this scene from An African City, doesn’t it?…

An African City: Episode 2: Sexual Real Estate 7:24-10:20 

Date Night in Accra: New Loves, New Locations!

As a follow up to our Ten Places to Eat: First and Second Date Style, we asked Lydia Elim, of Lydia Loves Good Food (LLGF) fame to guest write a post about some really great places to eat in Accra. Given her experiences roaming about the city finding the best (and worst) Accra has to offer, we figured she would be perfect for giving us the scoop around town. We know that the holidays are prime time for rekindling old flames and meeting new ones. Nothing like a Christmas chill up to bring two wandering souls together under the mistletoe  next to the kebab table. So this is dedicated to the abaa fresh love birds about town. Go and spend your money… and your Christmas cheer, and tell us what you think!


Date night in Accra

Happy New Year to you and yours! So my friends asked me to write a blog post for them on good spots to eat at in Accra. Unfortunately, the Christmas spirit has hit me hard and I’ve been a lazy bum. It’s a known fact that a lot of relationships are birthed during the Christmas season, and I know you lovebirds need places to go eat. So if that relationship continued on into the New Year, congrats! Keep it going strong by checking out some of the restaurants listed below. But don’t worry singletons, you can also enjoy these restaurants with your friends and family! No matter your budget, you should be able to find something to enjoy!

Now THAT is a breakfast of champions. #hearty

Now THAT is a breakfast of champions. #hearty

Bosphorous-Turkish Food: Breakfast

Turkish breakfast? Yup! I was pleasantly surprised at how good the breakfast was, and how reasonably priced it was as well. I couldn’t even finish everything! It’s definitely a nice spot to go to if you want to do a relaxing breakfast or brunch over the weekend. Sleep in, get some good food, go home and sleep some more…now that’s my kind of weekend! Amma: I have not had this meal, but what is appealing is that its perfect for girlfriends who like picking off of plates ahem.guilty.ahem. There is so much to go around, it looks like a breakfast tapa plate. It’s also a good mix of English and American with a smattering of Ottoman delight… love!

Screenshot 2015-01-07 02.31.10Burger and Relish: Burgers

As soon as the owner came by to tell us his experience making such burgers in France, I knew I could expect some kind of European twist. Whether you’re a carnivore, a vegetarian, a pescetarian or a vegan, you can be sure to get something you like. Oh my! And the onion rings! I’m almost tempted to say I loved them more than the burgers. They’re. Fried. To. Perfection. Make sure you get a side of those too. Trust me, our onion breath will be forgivable!

Apple Goodness!

Bistro 22: Bistro Food

Who doesn’t love a good bistro?

Good food.

Good ambiance.

Good music.

This place definitely has all three of these. My favourite? The apple crumble. I wanted more. Actually, I just might go back there this week just for that! Amma: I should also add that the service is probably the best you will get at a restaurant that isn’t a high priced hotel. And that says a lot since service is generally about as elusive as the end to our dumsor issues  missing in action in Accra. The fact that the food is good feels like icing on the cake, and good service and good food always make for great accessories to good company.

D-Den: Nigerian Food

When I was traveling to Lagos often for work some years back, I would also be sure to get some Eba and Egusi. I always loved that dish, and it’s the one dish I’m sure to get when I go to a Nigerian Restaurant. While it’s not easy getting very good food in the East Legon Area, this place is quite good. Warning: If you’re on a lunch date, pre-order your food or you’ll be waiting a while! The good thing about this place is it’s also a lounge, so you can have a drink before going into the restaurant.

Coco Lounge: Various

Wanna dress up? Look cute in that little black dress? Wanna look ever-so-dapper in your evening suit? Want somewhere nice and quick to eat before the next part of your date…at a lounge, perhaps? If so, you should start your night out at Coco Lounge. The good service and light meals mean you won’t be too exhausted and full and you’ll be able to hit the town afterwards!

Screenshot 2015-01-07 02.41.58 Orient Health and Wellness: Thai Food

A few new Thai restaurants have popped up in the past couple of years, but this one is still my favourite. You will most definitely love their Phad Thai, and pretty much anything else you order. I’ve never heard anyone say they didn’t enjoy the food they ate from here! You just can’t get better Thai food in Accra, but if you just so happen to fine one, do let me know. And hey, you could even get a massage pour-deux before your meal. Amma: It always saddens my soul when I go to a Thai spot that does not serve Thai Iced Tea. This is one such spot. Nevertheless, the food is good and well priced, so for all of the complaining I would like to do, I think the food more than makes up for it. But if you could whisper in their ears, anyone out there, let them know.. Thai Iced Tea… would be the cherry on a very delectable cake. 

Cuzzy Bro’s: Burgers

I remember the first time I had a burger from here, and I’m sure that memory will stay with me for a very long time. They have so many burger options, both gourmet and not, I really do want to go back and try every single one of them. Even the burger cynics will enjoy these! You can even play a game of pool while on your date. Everyone loves an amusing date, it makes it more enjoyable. Amma: This list is an awesome update to our initial post on ten places to eat in Accra. I am especially excited that Lydia took the time for this guest post because she offers great candid no nonsense in your face details via her blog and Instagram on her eating experiences.  Plus anyone who takes the time to rate the elements of their experience, has the type of detail I am looking for when trying to figure out where to eat. My favorite review is the Cuzzy Bro’s one… because she used “love” exactly 4 times and this is the required number necessary to compel me to try a burger in Ghana (I usually hate them here). So my next visit to Cuzzy Bro’s must include a burger, by hook or crook.  I have to say that Bistro22 is hands down my favorite on the list (though my financially fit in 2015 goals will likely limit my trips there…) but their service, and that artichoke dip are just heavenly. Lastly, along with her great reviews, Lydia also includes some poignant and insightful relationship advice such as the gems below… lol!

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poignant.

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insightful.

Let us know if there are other places to consider and visit Lydia’s blog to get the deets on what is delectable and del-eat-able (that started out more clever then it ended… just roll with it… lol!) around these parts. Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Male Guest Post: Treat Her Like A Lady, Part II. Whoop Whoop!

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We beg, we plead, and y’all treat us like chopped liver. But one guy loves us! :) Well really he loves one of us a lot more than the other, however I can get past this given that he’s provided us with a guest post! I’m a little too excited that Amma’s (other) dearest has written a response to my post on chivalry. If you recall, my dinner with him starred in the piece, so when I sent him the post to read he replied to me with the following (and said I could post it on RR). I believe God will richly bless him for this, hehe :) So calling on all other men who want God’s rich blessings (and Afua and Amma’s unwavering love)… we would really like for you to write for us. As much as we like to hear ourselves ramble, if you can’t tell by now we are also about learning! Honest. And if for nothing else, we our readers want to know what men think too.

In any case, here’s our male perspective.

.   .   .

Well, that was swanky darling… and not that this is totally a response to what you wrote, but it made me think of the following…

I actually think I take issue with this the “African way” or “American way” when it comes to simple chivalry (chivalry of course being the code by which any gentleman lives by). It’s almost like how you are explaining this quasi-struggle of being a lady, there is too a quasi-struggle going on in the malesphere as well. Both these struggles have men confused about how to treat a lady.

I was genuinely confused when you asked me about the check, not really insulted because you didn’t know who I was or anything, but two things happened: one, you made it seem like American men weren’t up to par of the gentleman and two, that I didn’t know how to be one. Again, you didn’t much know me, but it was odd nonetheless. But chale it no be your fault at all. Men don’t even know themselves what it means to be a man, let alone a gentleman. I’m not exactly sure what happened or how things got like this, but if I had to guess, one thing could be that with the advent of the “witty feminist leaning- 21st century”, men became confused about their responsibilities. Some are perhaps nervous about being chauvinistic and assuming they would/should automatically pick up the check.

e44ebe8adc571f199e566dad68ac77b5To be honest, I cannot feign to tell you about what it means to be a lady. I do know that I am a bit confused about how it is you all want to be perceived and frankly this is a sort of “societal correction” that is long overdue, I’ll let you handle that. Though I would say, why do y’all see fit to have your cake and eat it too? This is neither here nor there, my main thing is this: I would say [to you] do not let you being a lady get in the way of us being gentlemen. I would then say to us, not to let you being a lady get in the way of us being gentlemen. Naturally, people like Ammy Amma would ask, “Well what does it even really mean to be a gentlemen?” To which I’d respond, “Ah, my dearest Ammy, I’m so glad you asked…”

It matters not where you are from nor what tribe you belong to, what religion you ascribe to, it matters not your party affiliation or how you put on your pants. The individual man has been vastly diminished and thinks now that simply growing up without any principles, values or guidance is enough for one to be called a man. The lore is gone. Men have forgotten decorum and conduct. We’ve forgotten that the last stop in our evolution is not to be merely a man, we forgot that we are to evolve into the gentleman/chevalier.

Point blank, one is a gentlemen by conduct. It isn’t some mystic right that belonged solely to King Arthurs and French nobility. It is Being-a-gentlemanlearned. The decline is so persistent because, well, we know little about how to be gentleman anymore. It isn’t rocket science sef. Be gentle, seek to know, be helpful, have a calm disposition and be slow to excitement. Take care of yourself and your belongings. This will in turn help you to take care of a lady and perhaps one day your dog and family. Have manners, and give up foul language. Behave when outside of the bedroom (and sometimes the bathroom). Though this is not all it comes down to, remember to always, absolutely always, do what you can (even if they provoke you, which they will do and do as much as they can) to always make a woman feel like a lady. It was a woman who reared you into this world. To every woman you owe some semblance of courtesy. You might even say that the gentleman is the only one that can make a women feel like a lady.

.  .  .

So I’ll end by saying a few things. First, Amma’s he’s a keeper.. yes. lol – but she already knows how i feel. So moving along to some quotables and my responses:

  • “You made it seem like American men weren’t up to par of the gentleman and two that I didn’t know how to be one.” – I humbly apologize to you, friend and all American men who I’ve unintentionally insulted by assuming you don’t know how to be a gentleman. I never saw things this way at all.
  • “I would say [to you] do not let you being a lady get in the way of us being gentlemen. I would then say to us, not to let you being a lady get in the way of us being gentlemen. – So in essence, I should go on being a lady regardless of a man’s actions? Not sure how this works to be honest though…
  • Point blank, one is a gentlemen by conduct. It isn’t some mystic right that belonged solely to King Arthurs and French nobility. It is learned. – So does that mean a lady can teach a man in his adult years?
  • It isn’t rocket science sef. Be gentle, seek to know, be helpful, have a calm disposition and be slow to excitement. Take care of yourself and your belongings. This will in turn help you to take care of a lady and perhaps one day your dog and family. Have manners, and give up foul language. Behave when outside of the bedroom (and sometimes the bathroom). -Noted.
  • To every woman you owe some semblance of courtesy. – I love this.
  • You might even say that the gentleman is the only one that can make a women feel like a lady.< THIS. RIGHT. CHERE. So, to be a lady a woman has to be treated like one, and it is not any man who knows how to do that (it is a gentleman that does). Interesting. I’ll say, when a man treats me like a lady, I do feel more like one… if that makes sense

Thanks for the male perspective, friend!

Reactions, RR?

Treat Her Like A Lady: Chivalry isn’t dead, but am I killing it slowly?

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As I mature, I am finding that there are some things that I need to be deliberate about doing and being, and sometimes this means proactively (re)teaching myself to…well… do and be. One of these such things is ‘Being a Lady’.

Yes, you read right.

For the most part, I think I can safely assume that it is pressed upon most women, myself included, that a man will only treat you how you carry yourself. And it’s not that I’ve ever carried myself UN-lady like, but I have never proactively embraced the title. I don’t think I’m alone in this quasi-struggle either. I am a woman. Yes. I am a female. Yes. I am a lady. Hmm…sure?

Last week, Amma’s boyfriend took me to dinner (Amma, you like that ;) ). When the check came, he confidently reached for the bill while I turned around to grab my purse – this was my first time meeting him and I didn’t want to assume anything. As I reached for my credit card, I made a light joke about whether we were going to do this ‘the African way’ or ‘the American way.‘ Given that he had already put his card in the sleeve and on the edge of the table by the time I turned around, I already knew what way we were doing this; however, for kicks I wanted to continue the conversation (for all I knew it could have been an opportunity to write a blog  a learning moment for me). Interestingly, Amma’s boyfriend was visibly confused at my query when I posed it, so I elaborated… ‘You know the African way means a man pays and the American way connotes ‘splitting the check’. My assumption here was that his confusion lay with which definition was being assigned to which label. However, the look of confusion still lingered on his face following my explanation, so this is where I became confused… that is until he calmly explained to me,

‘Afua, there’s only one way, and that is the gentleman way. The gentleman way, my friend, transcends culture and continents.’

Boom.

Well looky there, my new friend taking me to school.

So of course I had to relay this information back to Amma. ‘Your dude’s correct, abi.’ As we spoke about the incident, I openly told her that even though tumblr_lxha9imnHz1r91fqbo1_500we attribute paying as a cultural norm for African men, in Ghana I don’t assume a man will pay (outside of a first date situation), to which she responded… ‘Really? Ghana has spoiled me, I always assume a man will pay. I don’t even pretend to reach for my wallet anymore. If I even think that there may be a slight hint of ‘American-style’ behavior, I will literally shame you into paying [because you will actually have to open your mouth and say something to get me to contribute].

Saa**, is that how women are rolling these days? Shaming men into chivalry? Hmm… But then what’s wrong with me… Why am I not demanding/expecting such behavior AND why isn’t chivalry the default behavior for guys towards me?

The more I thought through this, the more I saw things as a self fulfilling prophesy. Cyclical behavior which begins and ends with me expecting men not to pay (somewhere in between is me giving off an aura of ‘I’ll pay for {take care of} myself, because God forbid you thought I was ‘one of those girls’).

Sadly, this isn’t a new thing for me. I have a distinct memory of getting on a campus bus during my second year of college, and it was packed. When I got on the bus, a guy friend of mine was seated and asked if I wanted his seat. I said no [in some witty feminist leaning- 21st century I don’t need a man kinda way]. The experience is quite etched in my memory, not because of the utterly horrified ‘I feel so sorry for you (and your way of thinking)’ look my friend gave me, but because to this very day I don’t fully understand why I said no. I really don’t. < So then this is the part I play in the cyclical behavior. But there’s more…

Within the last year, I went to dinner with a guy friend and I remember when I inquired why we were splitting the check when he invited me to dinner, he said: ‘Afua, you make more than me and you’re not one of those girls that cares about these things’ < Here we see another component of the circle… really one that isn’t even initiated by me.

Another male friend this year had the courtesy to ask me, ‘Afua, would you be offended if I paid?’ Noting that he didn’t want to assume I was a certain type of girl [one who likes to pay] and unintentionally offend me by paying. But if this guy had to ask, then there must be a look, an attitude, an aura that I am putting out which makes a man’s default with me be: ‘she likes to fly solo’. <This is probably the last in the construction of the never ending circle.

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Amma and I at AIM last year

So around and around the merry-go-round we go. My behavior> ‘His’ behavior> My attitude/aura (and what I believe should be). And there are many more stories to fill in this cycle.

But let’s forget about how much I make and my educational attainment for a second, because these things have no bearing on the definition of a lady. Ie. I know women who I went to grad school with who earn circles around me that I can emphatically say [a majority of] men would never allow them to pay for themselves. So clearly this is a much larger issue being represented through a small gesture of settling a check. Even for women who seemingly have ‘it’ all (whatever all means), there are men that view them in a different light than they view me. It’s a mindset difference of ‘I deserve to be treated like a lady’…. and  just because I can take care of myself doesn’t mean you should allow me to.

Case in pt: I ran my first half marathon at the end of September (whoop whoop) and something new to the Accra International Marathon (AIM) this year was bicycle escorts from the accra cyclist club. There weren’t enough cyclists to escort every half and full marathon runner, however somehow I received a personal escort for essentially the entire route. When the escort first came alongside me, instead of initially seeing it as a blessing, I went into my feelings: “Why are you cycling next to me? Aren’t there other runners you can escort- What you think I need an escort? I don’t look like a runner or that I can finish the race? Urgh.” Ya, I never said I was rational. In any case, I didn’t say anything and kept running. A quarter of the race in, he became my silent safety blanket- shielding me from (ignorant) drivers who didn’t want to stick to the inner lane, riding ahead of me on curves that had dangerous blind spots and telling me to run closer to the edge when appropriate. There was a time when he had to briefly leave my side and attend to an injured runner, and the whole time he was gone all I kept thinking was, ‘Blankie come back!’ lol ;) I do not know how I would have fared without him on the course, but what I do know is that it would not have been as smooth of a ride. Thus, being capable of taking care of myself on the course or paying the bill isn’t the point. For me, the real lesson here is letting go of control and allowing someone to take care of you. And this is mutual in a relationship, I’m just talking from the woman’s side (which happens to manifest itself in being treated like a lady).

Like I said earlier, men treat you like you carry yourself and how you demand to be treated. So this is more than the (fake) grab of the check or credit card, or the shaming of a man into paying, this is really what me, Afua is demanding/expecting and what I’m (re)teaching myself to receive graciously when it is given. We all know it’s a continual work in progress for me. But small small, I’ll get there. When he offers me that seat on the bus, I’ll take it now; when he wants to open the door or walk on the outside of me, I’ll allow it abi; when the cyclist wants to escort me, and me alone, I sure as hell won’t fight it … … externally. :)

** Ghanaian slang for ‘is that so?’