Author Archives: Rambling Roommates

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

guest-blogger

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?’

Hedging: Play Now, Pay Later

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“To protect (one’s investment or an investor) against loss by making balancing or compensating contracts or transactions.”

According to my Mac Spotlight dictionary.

A coward who’s scared to make a permanent decision on a woman.

According to Afua’s dictionary.

.

Let’s get into this a little, because it’s one of the most annoying things known to a Woman. So… you meet a guy, he’s chill… hence why y’all start Chilling. And then in some distant, not-so distant future you find out: he’s definitely wifed up. And NOT in the sense that he’s actually said the I-do’s, but that he is near-married, near-engaged, near-co-habitating… near-COMMITTED (however you want to package it). So then the questions start flying, “Why in God’s name was he hanging out with me, with no mention of his “wifey”? ” Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

Hedging. 

The art of protecting your prized asset (your arse heart) from an investment you’re not 100% sure will produce the future returns you once calculated thought. The art of diversifying your portfolio to see whether higher returns can be made elsewhere… because any half brain could tell you that going all in on something you’re not 100% sure of is just plain stupid, right?. . . Have you heard of counting your chickens before they hatch? (Usually in reference to a woman eagerly awaiting a proposal, which may or may not ever come). Well hedging is in essence not counting anything… at all.

I’ve heard enough stories of hedging now to know it like better than the back of my hand:

  • boy meets girl (or girls), who he is attracted to. Girl(s) could be new, girl(s) could be old, it’s equal opportunity.
  • boy begins to implicitly or explicitly, or both-ly (?), make moves. ie. inappropriate behavior for someone in a “committed” relationship. This can vary in degree, from acting oblivious or nonchalant about his current relationship’s future… to making propositions such as, “hey, how come you’ve never thought about us being together; we’d make a good pair.” … to outright physical cheating. Note: in all this, boy can disclose or conceal his current relationship, this is also equal opportunity.
  • boy then comes to his senses. And… full stop.

A rather predictable fable, no?

So what makes hedging different from cheating? I’m glad you asked. The important distinction between hedging and mere cheating is that we’re not talking about people who have been dating some few months to maybe a year or two. We’re talking about people who are going on damn near 10yrs (lol naw, but more like anything over 2-3yrs). When generally it’s time to start making moves towards a forever-type situation. For hedging to take place, it must be preceded by movement towards a deeper level of commitment.

girls abr3

GIrls are tired of relationship wahala

Interestingly, (as noted in my neatly bulleted synopsis) what I’ve seen from men who engage in hedging is that they end up marrying wifey anyways. Therefore, it all becomes just a lot of wahala to make them feel more confident in the decision their actions have basically already made- – please ask yourself, what have the last 5years been about then? If that 20% of her that you’re not sure of really makes you want to step out, but that 80% kept you in for 6yrs… chale chale girls abr3 paa**. This thing is just a waste of everyone involved’s time.

I’m guessing another question on your mind is: what happens on wifey’s end? …Welt, let’s first make the assumption that wifey actually knows hedging is upon her (sadly, for some women this is a big assumption… And understandably – I’ve been with you for five years, why wouldn’t I be secure in what we have?). So assuming she actually knows, then perhaps she weathers the storm and banks on the fact that her asset can keep the investor committed, or at the very least fend off other attractive investments long enough for the investor to surrender to come to his senses. Or perhaps she does some hedging herself, to hedge against the hedging… <?> dear God, my head actually hurts thinking about this. Really, I just don’t get it. After a said amount of time, haven’t y’all made a decision? You’re telling me in year 3, year 4… year 8 maybe, y’all didn’t stop to think ‘wait, why are we doing this again?’ Whatever happened to road maps before a journey begins? Or a compass even? *sigh*

I think my frustration lies in the fact that I’ve seen a few too many hedging situations of late. Maybe it’s always been there, and now I’m just at the age where those around me are the one’s actually involved in it. I know life blogger-image--1298430667is complicated- obviously it’s not a small task to have to pick someone to spend the rest of your life with, however to me… I think we get too hung up on the picking part sometimes. When the foundational things are solidified and you’ve picked (judging by your actions of being with this person for 10yrs already), then it shouldn’t be much to take that leap to the next level, no? Perhaps if we were less worried about the picking part, about getting someone who ticks more boxes than the last, about hedging against the hedging, then we could work on the stuff that actually matters… you know, the real hard work that comes afterwards (which will happen regardless of who the woman is). That daily grind of sacrificing oneself for another individual, which will still take place whether it’s Jackie from school or Abena from the next cubicle. I mean at some point you just pick. No hedging, no temporary backing out, and for God’s sake no hedging against the hedging. You just make a decision, and stick with it. *shrug*

**Girls are tired (of relationship wahala)

Engaged.

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aaa ya, not me. I know that’s what you were thinking, given my silence for the last few months. But no, the title refers to my friend’s ex.

You know that‘ ex, the one you always thought may would come back. That one that you can’t really put your finger on why ya’ll didn’t get your act together (simultaneously). The one that captured your heart and then went on to capture and permanently lock down another’s. Ya that one. He got engaged not too long ago and I had the privilege of producing the evidence.

. . .

“Afua, you up?”

{…I was, because somehow the wee hours of the morning are my friends}

“Si.”

“I just found out that XXXX is engaged. Can you stalk his Facebook page for me? I unfriended him.”

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{…hmmm… It’s in moments like these that one must assess your level of love for your friend. On one hand, you’re her ride or die… doing anything she would have need of you to do; on the other hand, you’re. her. ride. or. die., which calls for making tough decisions about things that could possibly bring her more harm than good}.

“Hun, you sure about this? I mean there is a reason you unfriended him, right?”

“I know, I just want to see what folks are saying and what the ring looks like.”

{Now that just sounds like cruel and unusual punishment to me, but let’s be honest… i get it. I’ll most likely be in the exact same position within a year or so, and I know the fight of wanting to not want to know is a losing battle. Given the question of how I would want a friend to handle the situation for me, the answer was very simple…}

“Fine, here you go.”

What followed next was a flurry of screenshots of congratulatory messages; twin statuses professing love for ‘the only being in the world to fully understand me and love me like I deserve’, and him liking it so much that he “put a ring on it”…paired with a gazillion nods of approval. You know the drill.

“I hope it rains on their wedding day.”

My reaction on the other end, a childish smile marred by a cloud of silence… Some things just don’t need a response.

.

 

.

 

.

“You okay?”

“…ya, I think.”

“I mean I knew it was coming, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t just a slight bit hurt. I just thought…  “

. . .

She didn’t need to finish the thought, because I knew.

I think what’s worse than not being with an ex anymore, is seeing them (seemingly) happily moved on while you haven’t quite yet. When no amounts of “You’re amazingIt’s his lossYou’ll find anotherThere’s a reason for everythingHe wasn’t the one for you” can mask the pain of flat out rejection. He didn’t pick you. Even if it was a blessing in disguise (even if you don’t want him anymore). It. still. sucks. that. he. didn’t. pick. you.

If you can remember this post some time back, specifically the article All the Single Ladies. There’s a story the author retells about her ex, which used to send shock waves to my system:

“After the worst of our breakup, we eventually found our way to a friendship so deep and sustaining that several years ago, when he got engaged, his fiancée suggested that I help him buy his wedding suit. As he and I toured through Manhattan’s men’s-wear ateliers, we enjoyed explaining to the confused tailors and salesclerks that no, no, we weren’t getting married. Isn’t life funny that way?

Wedding shopping? Really? Hmm… so how can one get from praying for rain to that Things_Finger_Pointing_UP?

Perhaps I’ll discuss that in another blog at a later date… But for now, I’ll say this- I know my friend well, and I know she’ll be fine. There will be a time when the hurt is gone hurts less and the ‘what ifs’ subside. The key is getting to a place where you recognize that even being single trumps being with someone that you’re not supposed to be with. And if there are regrets, it’s about accepting things (because sometimes you’ll never really know if you chose the right path), and learning from the situation and moving forward… in any way you can (even if that means deleting him from social media).

- – -

Just in case you were wondering- Regarding my last post: I never called. He did, eventually. Just not in time for my interest to still be intact.

I’m not the most traditional girl, but… (First date protocol)

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I went on a date recently. It was one of those good ones, you know where you have good superficial (enough) banter that is still character revealing. A drink or two in a relaxed atmosphere… chill times all around.

However, when I didn’t hear from the guy within a few days I casually logged it under the ‘that’s life’ pile. It was cool, there was no harm done; I had a good time and if he didn’t want anything else, it is what it is.

But what is it exactly? Because I thought things went a certain way…

I shared the experience with a close friend in passing:

Me (AE): “I mean I’m not the most experienced dater, but I think I know when I’m on a date and the both of us are having a mutually good time.”

Friend (FD): “Did you call him?”

AE: ” I’m not your most traditional girl in any sense of the word, but there are some things related to the first date that must be on the man, I think. Following up initially after the date is one of them, no?”

Couple enjoying dinnerF1: “Honestly, I don’t see what’s wrong with calling him. It doesn’t even have to be a call, could be a text message to him to remind him that he has something there… and that you’re interested.”

AE: “I did the follow up thanks text saying that I had a nice time. Isn’t that enough?”

F1: “No. I’m referring to a day or two after. There’s no rule anywhere that says he has to call first. And Afua, strong woman like you, you’re not empowered enough to call him, that’s odd. “

AE: “No, there isn’t a rule. But I think at the beginning of something, a man should set the tone. If I can’t even get a call after the first date, then that initial drive to be with me isn’t there. A guy doesn’t need reminding that I’m ‘there’ within a few days of a date.”

F1: “Well maybe he read your interest in him wrong. If you’re wondering why he hasn’t called, it means you wanted him to call, which means you’re interested. So call him and keep it light. You have nothing to lose.”

Hmmm… food. for. thought.

So RR should I have called? Are my arbitrary rules stopping me from being great?

- – -

Find out what happened at the end of this post

Guest Post from a Male Reader: My Introduction to the Returnee Woman (and some words of advice) – Pt. 1

FaviconBig-300x300Let me start by expressing my previous profound ignorance about the whole returnee demographic. Maybe I need to get out more, but to be honest, I hadn’t really given much thought to the ‘plight’ of the Ghanaian who was in cultural limbo. I only vaguely thought about returnees once, when I read an interview featuring  Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond.  She is the author of the Simon and Schuster published “The Powder Necklace”, a novel loosely based on the time her parents uprooted her from her New York existence straight into the unforgiving boarding school system of Ghana. Even with that, she left Ghana soon after that. Little did I know there was an entire thriving community of returnees in Ghana (vibrant and distinctive enough to be considered as their own ethnic group, if YesiYesi is to be taken seriously).

That all changed when I stumbled across Love African, scratch that, Rambling Roommates. Stumbled is not the accurate term here, because the blog was introduced to me by Amma via email. She found me through my blog Life in Kumasi.  Yeah, so I guess it’s beginning to make sense to you how I was so clueless about returnees, being a Siano** and all. Here’s the thing – I do know a few people who lived a while in the US or UK or U-name-it. Case in point, my three best friends all spent the better parts of their childhood in England, Canada and Germany respectively. But I don’t think they quite earn the returnee tag because they came back before they, you know, went over to the dark side (just kidding, indulge me). Then there’s my cousin, who was in Accra for like a week. I guess she would qualify as a returnee, if she had stayed. Then there’s my other cousin who came back from the US after about 10 years. Still, not quite a returnee in my estimation because he was already a teenager when he and the family moved over to the Land of the Brave. Or maybe he is, I don’t know. I’m no expert on this returnee thing. I hadn’t even heard the term before I read Rambling Roommates. And yes, even though I’m a verified Siano, that is surprising, because I happen to know many, many words.

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In a strange concatenation of events, I found out about An African City, courtesy Leila Djansi, soon after finding out about returnees. Does that ever happen to you? You spend your entire life not knowing about something, then in a space of like a week, you discover it from 3 or 4 different places independently? This swell storm of events led me to ask: Is there really a dating problem for returnee women? From watching the show and reading Rambling Roommates, it seems to me that at least some of these perceived problems are easily solved. In An African City, the women give the impression they’re looking for love, but we see them to be mostly more interested in sex. Everyone knows when you’re pursuing sex, you tend more toward variety but when you’re pursuing love, you move closer to exclusivity. So if you’re changing guys every so often, but in the meantime you say you’re waiting for the one, then I don’t really get that.

And then there’s Ngozi. In the show, she abstains from sex, and she seems to be really trying to find someone to settle down with. But if anything, she’s more unsuccessful than the others. In the first episode, she said she dated a man for a month, and the whole time the man never mentioned he was married. I think one solution for Ngozi-related dating problems is getting help from the local talent. Obviously I’ve heard of non-returnee Ghanaian women who have dated married men, but it’s not so often I hear about them dating a married man without knowing his marital status (though, of course, it does happen). There are signs that would be obvious to the indigenous Ghanaian woman that a returnee woman might be oblivious to. Having female friends who know the Ghanaian system is an indispensable resource for a returnee lady. But women, who are infamous for being catty with each other (no chauvinism intended), sometimes find it hard to get along. And it appears to me the returnee woman is no different. However, if there really is such a dating problem, I don’t see a better solution than having a close friend who has been on the ground here all the time you have been away. Ngozi could sure use one.

1461855_263166813837840_380498752_nTo conclude, I hope to meet and interact more with returnees from here on out. I’ll probably have to make sure I get a Harvard degree in the meantime, though, so I’ll fit in better. All I’ve got is a KNUST*** education. Was that a low blow? Nah, I don’t think so.

**Siano means Kumasi (or someone who comes from Kumasi)

***KNUST: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (located in Kumasi)

Repost: Family demands 100 gallons of petrol as bride price for daughter

If you are not already following YesiYesi Ghana, you are truly missing out on some great comedic gems. Given the general gray state of the nation, it’s always great to have a laugh once in a while. This is not the first time that YesiYesi has been featured on our blog. They wrote a really fun parody called “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Ghanaman” which followed Afua’s post about some of her God Awful weirdo strange run-ins with Ghanaian guys. Here is another parody post inspired by a recent post about the impact of Ghana’s economy on our love lives. As the post and this parody rightly portray, girls AND boys abr3 and no one can afford love anymore.

Enjoy!


“In the Ghanaian tradition as with many other African, Asian and some eastern European traditions, a groom is required to pay a bride price to the family of his bride as a show of his commitment and ability to financially support his prospective wife. Centuries ago, the bride price was quoted in gold, land, cows, tubers of yam and pots of palm wine. In recent times the price has been demanded in money, cloths and bottles of gin and schnapps. Evidently, bride prices are demanded in items that are of high value in the prevailing economic circumstance.

One family is reportedly asking a 27 year old Ghanaian man to cough up 100 gallons of petrol if he is to be given the green light to marry their daughter. Kofi Ghanaba, a university graduate working for a bank in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, has confirmed the family of his girlfriend is demanding 100 gallons of petrol as bride price. “I have been with her for a while now, we are very much in love so we wanted to do the right thing and get married. Tradition requires that I pay a dowry to her family. When I received the list from her father, I was expecting the usual items; ring, cloths, money and bottles of gin and schnapps. To my surprise, there was only one item on the list. Just one! I smiled to myself. But before long, my smile had turned into wailing. 100 gallons of petrol is what they wanted and it wasn’t just any type of petrol, they demanded Shell V-Power,” revealed the dejected man.

A spokesman for the girlfriend’s family explained that the demand for 100 gallons of fuel is not just a sign of the ever increasing value of fuel due to the recurring shortages, but also a test to determine if Kofi can adequately take care of their daughter. “If he loves our daughter he wouldn’t mind queuing for days to buy the gallons of fuel we require.” The spokesman argued that their request is no different from what happened centuries ago when young men had to spend years growing crops and raising animals to be able to pay the bride price for the girl of their dreams.

With fuel prices up by 53% since the beginning of the year, Kofi’s shrewdness will be put to test, according to the family spokesman. “With the frequent increases in fuel prices, will he decide to buy now or wait and see if prices drop? His decision will give us an insight into how well he will manage his home in the future.” The demand for 100 gallons will also test Kofi’s physical strength. “It will require great physical strength to carry 100 gallons, and we will be looking to see how Kofi fares on that.”

With the worsening economic situation, Kofi Ghanaba is not just feeling the pinch in his pocket but also in his heart as he battles to marry the girl of his dreams.”

Know Your Status

We came across this HILARIOUS video that is warning women to understand their lane in relationships so that they can… well… stay in it. We could write a long diatribe on just how horrible it all is really that there aren’t more openly communicative people on the earth… But we’ll save that for another day, it’s friday.

Instead, here’s a video for your comedic pleasure:

So ladies, know your status… And no we don’t mean sexual health (though this is obviously of great importance)… We mean the status of your relationship. Because nothing sucks more than having girlfriend expectations when you are really just a side chick… Friend with benefits… Or, the unfortunate, smash and dash.

#teamtheonlydashyouwilldoiswithsalt

#teamloveonlymeorleaveallofme

#couldneverbethestalkergirlinthecommercialthough

#knowyourstatusoryouwillgetburned #dazall #wharrrelse

#heinoushashtagging

Happy (Red) Friday!

She No Want Ferrari: Impact of Forex on Love and Dating

occupyBefore I begin this post, and especially because it deals with the economy, I want to give a major shout out to the #OccupyFlagstaffHouse team that worked in collaboration with Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance and other citizen groups. Whether you were there in presence or in spirit, the fact that so many people were talking about it shows that there is definitely appetite for this sort of activism. The entire protest was organized in under 5 days, and there was a lot of (healthy) back and forth about demands, expectations and next steps. If you visit the facebook page, you will find a full copy of the petition but I also pretty much summed up the demands in 5 simple points on my own development and policy blog (ahem.shameless.plug.ahem). In any case, we are awaiting a response but in the interim, do make sure to sign the petition, agitate MP’s however you can (I’d say use twitter and direct it to Hanna Tetteh), and keep abreast of what’s happening (Constitution is under review, and there is plenty wahala around it, did you know? chale… ) so that the next march (should it come to that) will be even greater. The onus is not on those ‘protester types’, the onus is on us ALL! (you see what I did there… I should be a rapper, ha!)

At any rate, on to the post…


photo (1)

Cause e want e my love o She no want designer She no want ferrari She say na my love o You belong to me And i belong to her o

Prolific words sung by Davido… Unfortunately… these words have not been said in Ghana since… well… the cedi rate was 1 to 1! I was having a very interesting conversation with my taxi driver the other day. He was telling me how difficult the economic situation was for him. I really felt bad. The truth is, when trotro’s raise fares, they do so in unison and there is standardization more or less so everyone must oblige. But with (car) dropping, people will sort of haggle at the same old price, as if the cedi isn’t deep diving into oblivion… and if the taxi driver won’t take them, they just wait for someone who will.

Sucks.

But then he went on this diatribe about how he has had to adjust his lifestyle… most specifically, his ability to date. I found this fascinating. According to him, because he is not able to give a girl chop money, and pay for her to get her hair done, or to buy transport or even credit, he feels unfit to enter a monogamous relationship. He was explaining to me how painful it is to ‘invest’ so much in a woman, only for her to tell you she doesn’t want to marry you but would rather be with someone else. I said, ‘oh ho… but what about the investment of love… I mean it was at least worth it then, no?” He looked at me… laughed… and then said, “Well.. I would have been better off buying land”

Ouch.

Land over love, eh? But I get his point. One point the driver kept making that really resonated with me was about how dating/courtship looks so much like marriage these days… that there is almost no point in getting married at all. He was saying, ‘If my money is your money and our bodies are at each others disposal.. then what are we really rushing to the altar for?’ He even talked about how he recently took a vow of celibacy and was mocked by his ex-girlfriend for being less than a man for wanting to wait…

wonders.

never.

cease.

So how is the forex rate impacting dating and love? For one, its quantifying it. Instead of looking at a mutually beneficial relationship that is about building a life and leaving a legacy… it sounds, more or less, like a contractual relationship based on barter and quid pro quo. Tres unfortunate for a romanticist like myself. I want rainbow and unicorns and flowers and all the warm fuzzies that love is supposed to bring. But the economy is intimidating folks out of pursuing relationships, and it’s jading men who automatically assume that I am impressed by a Porsche Cayenne.

Ladies be like "umm... can you pay my bills, can you pay my automobiles"

Ladies be like “umm… can you pay my bills, can you pay my automobiles”

Look. I no want Ferrari (yet.) I no want designer (right now.)… whatever happened to building something together? And the thing is… if you read many of our posts, you will see that there is a lot of joking and banter about this ‘ideal, made man’. But last weeks post talks about how that can sometimes actually be the compromise for us. And in all honesty, Afua and I aren’t that deluded. All of the wives that we admire, including our mothers, made grave sacrifices for their relationships. In seeing those examples, we definitely know that there is no progress without struggle. We are so here for that… We are down like the economy. Yet, even in this knowledge, we can’t entirely be annoyed at the women jading these men and making them feel like if they are not willing to pay for all your bills, he’s not worthwhile. No really. It’s not their fault.

readytogooutIn a conversation I had recently with a close friend, she was telling me about the difficulty she was having in just saving money. That lately she wasn’t able to go out much, hang out with friends… you know… enjoy her days as a single, beautiful, independent (but not in that annoying, too known, in your face way) woman. It’s unfortunate too… because Ghanaian men are missing out on this great opportunity to interact with her because she has to think twice about using the fuel in her car and about whether she wants to get her hair done, eyebrows done, buy makeup and pay for that mani- pedi to be in top stellar position for such an outing. If a woman has to decide between being social and being broke, well that’s really problematic, don’t you think? And yes, for all you party poopers, we recognize there are deeper issues than being able to afford Marc Jacobs perfume so you can be wined and dined, but focus… this is a representational issue… the point is… we can’t actually afford love anymore. And that’s sad.

All in all, the declining cedi isn’t just a matter of the economy, in this super macro, higher level sense… it’s also a matter of the heart. It has implications on the way we interact and socialize. We are already restructuring our relationships, quantifying their value, weighing them against… say… investing in land. That’s a problem. If the economic sitch doesn’t switch up… no one will get married. ever. Ok… maybe that’s a bit dramatic but you get the point… So here’s some advice for the next protest… if, perhaps, rising fuel costs, erratic electricity, inconsistent supply of water and devaluing currency aren’t enough for you to take the streets. If disappearing money, lying politicians and financial scandal don’t compel you to stand up for your rights… Well be like R. Kelly and… do it for love!

 

banksylove

 

Guest Post: Opportunity Cost in Everything: You’re My Compromise.

Today we have a guest post from someone who has read this blog, been featured many times and identifies closely with our experiences here in Ghana. Some of you may have seen this post last week because I got trigger happy and sent it accidentally published the article. Some of you even made comments. So here we are publishing it again, but this time in the appropriate RR fashion complete with pictures and a fabulous introduction to the insight you will receive from this writing. I am especially intrigued by the way she has clearly flipped all of my dreams upside down by insisting that my ideas of a ‘perfect mate’ are actually the worst of them all. She essentially asks, who would we choose if our choosing were only about making us happy on the inside, and not, say… bringing two families together and providing a financially stable future. I guess all we can ever do is wonder. I hope you enjoy the post, and as always, please leave your comments below so that everyone can see and join the conversation!


 

Guest Post from our Mystery Woman

Guest Post from our Mystery Woman

We all know the old adage borrowed from economics: “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Every decision we make has an opportunity cost, meaning there is value on the decision that was forgone. To put it in simpler terms, assuming the best choice has been made, there is a “cost” incurred by not enjoying the benefit that would be had by taking the second best choice available.  So what if I said that actually, the tall, dark, handsome, six figure guy with the high-powered job and jet set life, was actually not at all the ideal? What if marrying him actually comes at a cost?

Let’s backtrack.

Allow me to introduce myself, I am a close friend of both Afua and Amma, and I have been featured in a number of their stories on this blog (but, wait did I just out my self? *shrugs * ). Although I was born in Ghana, my life history identifies me as a * returnee,* one of those know it all Ghanaians with UK and US degrees who just cant seem to shut up. Fortunately, and unfortunately that’s me – with an Ivy League degree to make matters worse. I am sure it comes as no surprise to anyone, that relationships, love, and marriage are topics that I discuss amongst friends almost daily, after all two of my closest friends do run this blog.  These conversations are always interesting, and usually end up with me “quitting” and declaring a desire to move to the moon, since this planet country cannot seem to accommodate me or my preferences for a mate. But I usually return to my senses following the melodrama, and something profound (I’d like to think) manages to find its way out of my mouth.

When-someone-asksSince my return to Ghana I too have had to answer the questions as to why I am not dating.  I usually lash out  reply with some commentary about how single is a “choice” and blah blah, and I too have been asked if perhaps my standards are too high? The latter of these two questions perplexes me for several reasons:

          1. Because you don’t know me or anything about me, except that I am educated and lived abroad most of my life and so decide to assign to me  thoughts based on some appraisal  you made up on your own , oh because “girls like me” are well…all the same: demanding , not submissive or “too know”  and just talkative.
          2. Because your definition of “high” MUST be my definition  as well

Basically, I am a bit sick of the stereotype of being uncompromising and difficult to please just because of certain requirements

The movie titanic is proof that when death is eminent, rich, too known nice guys lose in the end lol!

The movie titanic is proof that when death is eminent, rich, too known nice guys lose in the end lol!

people typically assume I place on men.  I actually believe in many criteria for choosing a mate, I also believe that it depends on the person. But I digress; let’s get back to this “high” standard issue. It seems the Ivy educated, fortune 500 company job having, 3 piece suit wearing type of brother is assumed to be the only standard we speak of when the topic of finding a mate comes up. What if we reconsidered and actually considered this type of brother as not THE standard, but as a compromise. Believe it or not, there are more important things than education, money and influence (gasp), and what if the opportunity cost of having a boardroom brother is you and your children’s happiness. Now don’t get me wrong, I am in no way intimating that every Ivy league board room brother is so into his work that he neglects his family. I am simply suggesting that perhaps boardroom brother, if you are reading this, you might actually be the compromise and not THE STANDARD.

Sometime ago, a friend of mine told me a hilarious sad story about a guy whose wife had left him quite heartlessly. It turns out she never let go of her ex, but she married her husband because quite frankly he was balling. I am not promoting infidelity, but what if she hadn’t compromised to marry a man whom she felt was equally matched in credentials? Because from what I hear, she wept liheartlesske a baby at her wedding, and those weren’t tears of joy ya’ll. She wept because she was denying herself of the benefits of the next best choice. To say the least, she compromised…. She compromised BIG time.

As much as what I am about to say will make me cringe, it must be said: my type may also not be the ultimate.  Sorry Ivy women, but when brothers who we deem as better matched with us go off and marry a “basic” chick perhaps he is not compromising even though that’s what we believe. Maybe, having a great job, and a great education is not the ultimate. Like you haven’t arrived just because your name is followed by numerous consonants.  This idea that a couple can only be designated the title of “power” couple if both of them have crazy “qualifications” to boot is quite artificial not to mention cursory . “Our type” likes to believe that we are at the top of the dating food chain, or at least should be. But if that’s the case why are we still single? (not that I am complaining because the single life is the #bomb #lovingit #gimmecoupleyears). And honestly, I blame my parents for putting that inflated view of myself into my head (actually I blame the whole system for making me feel entitled and myself for believing it of course).

Look, I am no gold digger but... le sigh.

Look, I am no gold digger but… le sigh.

Deep down inside, I want to be with a free spirited Vegan artist who would happily debate the Western aid agenda’s influence on the African woman’s idea of reproductive health, who does not conform to the ideals of modern society. But since I have a certain lifestyle and certain expensive habits, I am willing to forego a little freedom and possibly a version happiness to travel and live comfortably.  I can already hear the comments on being a “gold- digger” and the rest coming my way. But honestly, it is not about digging for gold, it is about security. It is about being comforted to know that finances or the drive that produces healthy finances is not a worry. Everybody thinks it, and I say it. At the end of the day, it is about opportunity cost, you weigh the options, and decide which consequences (good and bad) you are willing to forego and/ or are willing to accept (and that decision is entirely up to you). So however you turn it, “high standards” and all that other stuff we go on and on about is really a compromise we make according to what we deem important. For the fortune 500 brother out there, who may think he’s God’s gift to womanhood owing to his credentials and job, chew on this a bit, because even though society likes to make you feel like you are what every man should aspire to be and every woman should aspire to be with, you may very well be somebody’s compromise.

Signing off…

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