Dear RR Family,
ITS OUR BLOGIVERSARY!!
Last week we celebrated one full year of funny, open and honest posts on love and relationships.
This has been a really exciting journey. There were some strange moments… like when guys would ask whether they would be featured in a post
(while on a date) and then there were the hilarious ones, like when y’all got super engrossed in a post and went HAM on the facebook comments. Even though I don’t get super excited about anniversaries and things of the like (in spite of my love for love), Afua was adamant about a celebration— and I am glad she insisted. Nothing like a whole 365 days passing to really make you reflect on the ups and downs. Especially those moments writing posts and wondering… wait, am I saying too much? I wonder who is going to be offended or scared off by this? I wonder who is going to insult us for this? Or dismiss us…
I wonder if my
ex soul mate is reading this… and shaking his head.
To commemorate this occasion, we are presenting the five most read posts of the year…
In the blogosphere… you vote with your mouse, and clicks tell everything… what are those lyrics again? “women lie, men lie, numbers don’t lie” (
except in economics or statistics or general research when they are being manufactured to fit a specific narrative… or you know, Wall Street.— sorry nerd moment)
Buuuuuut before we get to that, we have a very special announcement!
The time has come where we shed our old skins and put on something… more… profesh!
We are working on a number of new things for the site and the first thing we have done is…
CHANGE THE URL!
For all of you who’ve been a bit confused about the Love.African! vs. Rambling Roommates title and web address… fear no more.
All of the posts can be found at www.ramblingroommates.com
<<doooooing a happy dance across your screen and moonwalking right back across, while afua stares in utter confusion>>
Ok, now on to the FIVE MOST READ POSTS (in descending order)
This hilarious post written by Afua, talks a little bit about how to avoid meeting guys who have already shown their general uselessness in the dating scene. I remember so many side conversations coming out of this post because people were either a) really entertained or b) really worried for Afua’s dating life. In the post, we got to meet some caricatures in the form of Kofi, Kwame and Kwesi who were guys who had been around the scene… and by around… I mean, around. This is why one must seek first abi… tis better to get wise counsel than to embark on an ignorant journey (I think this is in the Bible… or something 0.O). I also remember this post helped to explain some of the differences between ‘Western’ dating and ‘Ghanaian’ dating, which was pretty clutch given the fact that this is a dating blog and yet dating in Ghana means sleeping with… strange. In my response, I was able to talk about one male readers response to Afua’s experience. Eye opening… (y’all should check it out if you haven’t).
Everyone has received that death threatening text message at the crack of dawn from your ex’s current beau who has somehow realized that their lover… had a past… that actually included… other women… Right?
Well… some of us have. More specifically, this post is a
scathing response to receiving that said text message. Nothing gets under my skin like misappropriated emotion and unjust– nay, undue hardship and drama. There was a little controversy over this post because of the reference to the girl as ‘basic’. Whole entire conversations were had across the internet space about whether or not it was fair for us to characterize her as such, and whether we were being classist— people… people…PEOPLE! We are missing the whole ENTIRE point of this: Don’t. Threaten. My. Life.
But then there was the other point.. of why afua’s ex felt it necessary to maintain any type of relationship with her when he had clearly moved on and married. Definitely check out the post and read my response where I question whether or not Afua was in the wrong for responding to and maintaining any sort of communication at all with her ex when they both had clearly moved on.
This post was TOO much fun to write. Especially because it’s always great reliving eating experiences. We have it in our plans to do another one… for food… or maybe get-aways… there is just SO much exploring to do in Accra– and Ghana (although this Cedi depreciation won’t let me be great, smh!). Maybe we will do a list on great places to go with your ever devaluing cedis… nothing like a little recession to re-engineer eating priorities… Kenkey and fish, anyone?
At any rate, there were a good variety of choices from sushi to Spanish to traditional food. A number of people noted the list wasn’t exhaustive… and that’s what happens when you limit yourself to only 10, shesshh. But shiver not… keep your eyes on this space, for more shall flow from henceforth.
This one was a very heart wrenching piece because, for one, it was released following the death of Komla Dumor… who we had been recently engaging with on the twitters. Someone we believed might provide some really great commentary to add to our blog. Unfortunately, his only feature was in a tribute but we are so happy to be spawns of his legacy. To be part of the crop of content coming out of Africa that shows the dynamic and multifaceted nature of the continent and the many countries, ethnicities and experiences therein. In carrying on the spirit, Afua wrote an excellent piece about her anxieties celebrating her almost-in-my-thirties (but not really *side-eye*) birthday.
Let me just say… homegirl was feeling some type of waaaaay. Some might say bitter… others might say she was keeping it real. For it to have been the second most read post of the year, clearly it resonated with a number of people in various ways. When I read it… it rung of entitlement, which I had to address in my response.
In either case, I know we have all felt that way. Where we go on facebook and people are loving up on someone or you go to an instagram that’s actually a shared account by a couple (yes… I have seen this -_-) and you think… as much of a hater as I am being right now, I so want this… why don’t I have this!? WHY! WHYYYYYYYY!??!?!
So yeah… it was a ‘keeping it real moment’ that I think we all have felt at one point or another… still waiting to post my own nauseating pictures though… God? You hear that? Hmmk…
And last, but certainLLLLYY not LEAST…
We’re going to take a mental pause for this post.
Ok, and we’re back. Woooo, afua this post though. Talk about baring your soul, girl. And y’all must have felt the exact same way I did, because not only was this post the highest viewed since the beginning of RR, it was the highest single day viewed post in the history of this blog (that includes way back when it was love.african!). Sound the applause!
I think for me, one thing I have learned over the last year… in my journey with myself and my God, is to trust my intuition. Whether you acknowledge what it is or the source of it, one thing is true… you are rarely wrong about those inclinations. If something doesn’t feel right… nine times out of ten, there’s probably something wrong. And even if whatever it is isn’t deal breaker wrong, its definitely worth not ignoring… and of equal importance,
if you believe your friends to be observant, useful individuals and they have told you a bajillion times that this guy is useless then you should probably listen the bajillion and oneth time take heed from trusted friends.
In my own similar situation, I was always of the mind that they didn’t see the person that I saw…
Or they didn’t understand the relationship we had...
Or they weren’t there for the day-to-day, in-and-out, minute-by-minute moments and that’s why they were trippin’.
Do you see how I sounded like a woman in a battered relationship though? I mean… if the guy does not have ONE cheerleader in your camp, I mean… well… come on! My favorite lesson for this one is about the fight. If a guy wants you… he’ll fight for you, no two ways about it. And even if for a minute there may be some doubts, inevitably there comes a time where people have to make a balls to the wall decision about going H.A.M for you or going home… and if he’s not going HAM— then you need to go home.
Words to live by, lol!
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So readers… we want to give you all a big big THANK YOU! for reading, following, subscribing, posting on social media, commenting and just generally being supportive of the journey. While our writing is largely about telling our story, we are so happy that many of you see yourselves in the events that unfold, and we are grateful for your continued support.
Please do follow us on the twitters… and subscribe to the blog (hint: the button’s on the side at the top)…
Tell us which of the posts was your favorite and why? We want to hear from you….! And because we want all readers to get kicks from your comments, please comment ON the blog and not our facebook walls, if possible (don’t be shy now!). LURV Y’all!
By now, most of us have seen and heard about the latest series, “An African City” (shouts to Nicole Amartefio for bringing us this one!)… If you have not watched it then
shame on you SPOILER ALERT, because in this post we wanted to give our take on the show. Why? Well… because they are telling our whole lives on TV this is essentially the story of five women newly repatriated to Ghana from various parts of the western world, and we thought it was somehow relevant to our own lives. In their journey toward love the show is filled with characters of varying sensibilities that navigate through everything from getting sex toys cleared from customs to explaining to MP’s that anyone (including “clean looking girls”) can contract HIV/AIDS. There are funny moments, such as Makena always getting her period when she meets this fine, chocolatey man (see God speaking to her and she won’t listen? Nawa ooooo) … and there are the more emotional, girl-I-can-relate moments like when you bump into your ex with his new girlfriend and you are trying to decide which of you is cuter funnier better. Plus the outfits… GOOD GAWWWWD! hahaha… I mean, I just want everything I see all at once… they should totally do some kind of raffle to get all of the outfits from season 1, I’d enter… as long as it was rigged. #ghanaelectionsstyle #pinkslipsandall #Ghanataughtme LOL!
Moving on though…
I can totally relate to hanging with the girls at the gym or at some restaurant laughing and being generally frivolous. Apart from the daddys-got-connections-and-we-are-super-rich, I think most people can at least relate to having girls with whom you enjoy their company and have generally inappropriate conversation. I have heard a lot of critique about the relat-ability of the show to which I say pish posh. Can you relate to Kerry Washington in Scandal? Or Sansa in Game of Thrones? Or Joan in Girlfriends? The shows we love touch us, not necessarily because the characters or stories are themselves ‘relatable’, but because we identify with certain emotions and we are compelled by the story lines…
and that’s the greater point.
That maybe folks aren’t moved by the storyline or the emotion of the characters. I think when people say they can’t relate, they are either offended at the way returnee women are being displayed (see this Yesi Yesi Parody piece for more funny commentary) or, as stated before, are longing for more depth in the story.
I fall in the second boat.
I (mostly) love the show, but I am more excited to see what Season 2 has in store. I think most people are waiting in anticipation for something a little more meaty. Given the end of the first season, here are a few things I am looking forward to seeing in the next season.
The thing about the characters is… at this point they are caricatures. Each of them fit neatly into a box. There’s the super christian one, the hyper sexual one, the ‘down-for-the-people” one… and I would just love a greater exploration of who they are as women. Their complexities. I think that would help us better understand their love lives, and it gives us another dimension. For example, Ngozi is a vegan in Ghana. Please… tell me… what. does.she.eat!? It would be fun to see her struggle bus through Max Mart or Makola trying to buy vegan foods or the scene where she invites folks over to dinner and everyone is like “Ermm… we don’t want to eat like rabbits” or “If I wanted to eat beans and leaves, I’d join the Rastas at Tawala” or some rendition of this since we know how vegan-phobe us Ghanaian folk can be (special shout to my vegan friend who is forever “enlightening” us.) Or even the main character and Segun… that is obviously a Nigerian name and she is obviously Ghanaian. The discussion on inter-tribal or intra- African relationships would be something fun to layer on there. I mean I know these are like 15 minute episodes but… can a sista dream? All in all…I think they have set the stage for us… I think we all love Sade and I want to better understand how she became so logical and rational and black and white about all her opinions (there has to be a story there… there’s always a story). I would also like to know more about the sugar daddy she has that she secretly wishes would take her seriously (from Episode 2). There are a number of black web series’ like That Guy and Awkward Black Girl that manage to use 8- 10 minutes really well to offer you depth of character without making it super complicated or deep. I think An African City could also join those ranks.
More Nuance on Returnee Living
I liked that they tried to hit on issues of the returnee experience such as buying an apartment, clearing things at the port and how horrible the customer service is (seems like Zainab can never get her water done right). I think there is a lot of room to grow from there. For example, Zainab works for herself. That is probably RIFE with interesting stories like trying to register a business or engage government institutions in any meaningful way. Or trying to hire employees who do shady things or just are not up to the task you have set out for them. Or… following Ngozi to church, there are so many interesting things to be said and documented about sexuality and the hyper christian experience. There are so many ways to explore love and returnee living and I would like to see some of these there too.
It’s funny that diversity is usually associated with tokenism and usually means adding the occasional person of color for visual effect. In this case, I just think not everyone needs to have gone to an ivy league or be highly connected. It would be great for us to get a better breadth of people, activities, sites and sounds in the country. After all, with all the exposure they have gotten, people are getting a glimpse of a Ghana many people did not even believe existed (yes, I get messages on facebook about how people had no idea <insert something human and ordinary> was in Africa). Trust me…
the hood is watchin’— I mean, people are taking note. I am hoping there will be a little more breadth. Though I understand that this was a pilot season, limited funding, limited sponsorships, limited time (heard they filmed the entire season in 6 weeks— amazing!). So now that the ball is rolling (and the money is maybe flowing), lets get a little more! A trip to Takoradi? A visit to a cyto school (doesn’t Zainab work at an NGO… why is she living so high and mighty while I struggle bus.. I am not jealous… I am just saying… but I may be a little jealous though…)? It would be really cool to have an episode with Kalybos (the only boss with one ‘s’— duh!) trying to hit on them and they return his genuine interest with general disgust— as returnee girls tend to do when, say, the occasional kebab seller asks for your number (because is he going to call you on his Nokia? and meet you at the trotro station? and take you to a ‘spot’ for malt and kebabs?! … chale, boys abr3 ampa— just ask Kalybos!) Pluuuuus.. I am going to need for their lights to go off in one episode… just one. It’s the right thing to do. I am not saying they should do a poverty tour, or put tro-tro mates in there for good measure… I am just saying, find creative ways to highlight the diverse array of imagery that is here in Ghana.
All in all, An African City is a breath of fresh air, precisely because it’s different from the mainstream everyday of what we see and experience on television here in Ghana— and really in the world. They are appealing to the modern, urban chic young, ambitious afropolitan woman of this century, and so while you’ll have to excuse the general pomposity of it all, you do have to embrace the fun and free spirit of the characters. I love where it’s going and I can’t wait for season 2!
Have you been watching the show? What are your favorite parts and what would you change? Sound Off!
An African City: Episode 1- The Return
I’ve generally been a late adopter of things… I was probably the last of my friends to switch from a flip phone to a blackberry, likewise one of the last to get an iPhone. I’m only now jumping into the yoga phenomenon, and I just decided to give this natural hair thing a real try (yay for transition period… I think lol :) ). Thus, it wouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s taken me this long to fully embrace vulnerability.
Over the last year or so, I can proudly say that I’ve been working on my ability to be vulnerable with people that I care about. It’s been a rocky road, but I’ve thankfully seen concrete progress. It hasn’t always felt good, but it’s definitely been good for me.
I used to have a real issue with being vulnerable. If you recall I wrote about this briefly HERE as a response to one of my favorite guest pieces on the blog, by Eli Tetteh (HERE). I know that fundamentally the issue stood with me seeing it as a sign of weakness. Let’s pause for a sec, because there might be some questions as to the relevance of this post to our generally fun happy-go-lucky dating stories. Welt, 1. I think the topic is important- because, just like it was for me, a lack of vulnerability can lead to the downfall of some of our most intimate relationships. And 2. It’s my blog and
I get to write whatever I want this is somewhat therapeutic for me.
In any case, over the last year, I’ve made a conscious effort to come clean to myself, my God, my close friends and other relationships more than I have ever done so in the past. This has included opening up about my fears, insecurities, and failures to close friends; telling someone that I loved them for a long time although I knew he never shared the same feelings for me (and knowing the admission meant closure of a chapter in my life); and yes, even becoming way more open on this little ol’ platform right chere through pieces like this, this, this, and who could forget this. The consequences of doing these things, I will tell you have not always been as I would have liked, BUT I’ve learned a lot more about myself in how I love others and how others love me… more than if I had never opened up. I’ve learned that there is no intimacy without risk (intimacy… … into me see… … see into me). There’s no seeing into me, all of me, without risk. I’ve learned that we tend to fear vulnerability, not realizing that without it our hearts aren’t able to fully love… For if we cannot open ourselves up, we can’t appreciate the wonders of what is inside (BOTH good and bad). And this also has ripple effects on our relationships.
I’ve also learned a lot about the power of vulnerability to take relationships to a new level, and to also sift out relationships that are not meant for you. I’ve learned that people need to earn the right for me to be vulnerable with them (spiritually, emotionally, and physically)… because any time you give up power, you have to trust the person you’re giving power to. I’ve also learned that just because someone earns that right for me to be vulnerable with them, doesn’t mean they are necessarily able to handle the weight of my vulnerability.
I know I am saying ‘learned’ for all these things, but the truth is that I am still ‘learning’.
So again, why am I writing this? It’s mostly because I know I’m not alone. And I want to pass on the message… Being scared of rejection and failure because of vulnerability is in essence being scared of love. True love. You cannot separate the two. I’ve included below a Ted talk on the Power of Vulnerability by Brenin Brown (BB). It’s a really powerful video on how to have a correct view on vulnerability and how being vulnerable is the only way to fully love and be loved for your authentic self. If you’re on any kind of journey of self development or exploring why certain relationships aren’t working, I’d encourage you to watch the vid.
I jotted some notes while watching the video (for those that do not have time to watch):
- It takes courage to show your imperfections.
- Authenticity produces connection.
- When BB observed people in her study who were vulnerable, she saw that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful (which is sometimes contrary to what we tell ourselves: “what makes me vulnerable makes me ‘ugly’ “)
- Vulnerability is at the core of shame, fear and our struggle for worthiness (to be loved), but it’s also the birth place of joy, creativity, belonging and love.
- You can’t selectively numb the ‘bad emotions’, without numbing the good emotions… Letting yourself experience emotions such as fear, shame, vulnerability allows you to better experience emotions such as joy, peace, love.
- Lastly, and this isn’t directly from the vid, but my big takeaway this year is:
Vulnerability is not weakness. It’s a sign of strength.
Amma? Readers? Thoughts? What’d you think of the video and how does it relate to your personal life?
I am feeling like a list is in order… and of late, I have been gushing over some of my favorite local designers who have recently released their newest lines. As an ode to local fashion… and of course, to love, I thought… lets put together a list of 5 great outfits to just ‘throw’ on for a date (and/or outing where there will likely be fine men nearby… say… the next Oil and Gas Conference? Polo Club? Ghana Music Awards, mayhaps? ha!).
At any rate, these are just some of the looks I found, and their appropriate venue… however there are soo many really cool things out there. I tried to keep it to things I’d actually wear and not things that look good on a runway or a glossy magazine, but not in real life. Look through… oooh and aaaahh… then check out the surprise at the end, just for OUR readers— because we LURVE you! <3
1. Saturday Brunch- Crop Top by B’Venaj
Let’s say he suggests something light, like breakfast… at Starbites (nom!)
You definitely don’t want to look like you rolled out of bed, but you surely don’t want something super glam.
Think fun and chic.
You want something that’s casual and could be dressed up or down depending on what could likely happen later. I just love the simplicity of the look by B’Venaj. The crop top made from African prints gives a lot of fun and the pants seem comfortable without showing too much of the goods. I probably would not wear this with a pump, maybe a wedge or pretty flats.
2. After Work Dinner- Volume Skirt by Charlotte Prive
My favorite part of this look is the skirt. It just adds the right pop of color, making it appropriate for work and play. Although— maybe you should be weary of taking my advice on work appropriate attire. I am of the mind that as long as you are getting your job done, what you wear is of little consequence.
Nevertheless, for those women who want to break the blue/black/grey mold of corporate life, this skirt, by Charlotte Prive, is super feminine while still saying ‘I can Lean In too’.. plus it transitions really well to a place like Afrikiko on a Thursday night for some live music and jams. The top is also by Charlotte and I love it because it could just as easily be worn with dark denim and those same fabulous heels.
I am also a big fan of the clutch by Poqua Poqu as it is a great accessory to transition the outfit from day to night. I think this sends a message to your guy that you are cute and classy. What man could resist a second date?
3. Day Trip to Aburi Gardens- Wrap Dress by Ajepomaa
DVF should look out, there’s a new wrap dress connoisseur in town! Imagine a 2 hour drive out to the mountains for some great scenery, a little relaxation and a lot of good conversation. This wrap dress is the perfect conversation starter as it’s colorful and loud enough to evoke the question, “Wow… where did you get that?” I love that this is dressy casual, and draws attention without giving the guy all the goods at once (maybe a little boob action, but definitely no booty). That’s clutch.
#classynottrashy #cantgivethemallatonce #heinoushashtagging
4. Afternoon in Ada- Romper
Here is a simple piece that could be worn for an afternoon on the beach. Everyone knows that
black women don’t swim sometimes the beach is less about engaging the waters, and more about relaxing near them and just enjoying the breeze and the comfort.
If you are just going for a lazy day on the beach, this piece is a really cute way to achieve that. I am personally a fan of the cloth lining, which adds a little bit of design without overpowering the piece.
This onesie/romper/jumper by Aya Morrison is a great color for the weather here and for our skin tones. It may make going to the bathroom really annoying… but you are on a date, so you will probably be on your best behavior anyway. *no bathroom breaks* duh.
5. Award Night- Two Piece by Pistis
Let’s imagine a world where you were dating… say… John Dumelo. Or— Idris Elba.
I mean… could you really just roll into the situation wearing any old thing?
I think not!
Here is an option for a
grand red carpet entrance date night… that’s a bit more, hollywood ghallywood if you will. Now I know.. you may be saying, what is the likelihood that little old me ends up at a red carpet affair with those guys, but I mean… anything is possible.
Plus I just LOVE this dress. That’s really just the point. The high waist.. mermaid… crop top… kente collabo is like Manifest and A.B. Crentsil coming together to make a hit. So naturally I had to find a way to feature it…. the dress that is.
BONUS- Lace Peplum Shift Dress by Stylista
So I thought I would throw this one in for good measure, on the date/ monumental moment where you are accompanying your S.O. to church and will likely meet all the homies, family and frenemies. I love this because it’s white which is really clean, has really nice accents and manages to incorporate color in a very subtle way… plus the finishing is so on point (but Stylista is good for that so… it’s to be expected).
Everyone will see that you are a classy woman with impeccable taste (in both clothing and men… of course). I have also fallen deeply in love with scaffolding of late, and I appreciate that detailing at the bottom.
What’s even more fun is you can wear any color shoe and jewelry combination to dress it up. All in all, the church date is probably one you’ll go on a lot here in Ghana, where a purported 77% of the nation professes Christianity. The least you can be is prepared to make a lasting impression.
There’s a brunch sale happening May 11th at Charlotte in East Legon with up to 40% off some of their items.
Our readers get an additional 10% off when you spend 100GHC or more. So mention that you saw the ad here and you get your hands on some great styles at a fraction of the cost. With all the great pieces… we know you’ll thank us later. And your date will too. :)
What are your favorite looks when headed out for a date? Let us know in the comments!
Soooooo… we didn’t win. Tear. If you recall, we were nominated for Best Blog for Ghana’s 2014 Social Media Awards, but unfortunately we didn’t win. I know you’re wondering who on earth could have possibly beaten us…?
We are too. But it was the lovely ladies over at AdventuresFrom (the bedrooms of African women). We have nothing but love and mad respect for our big sisters in the blogosphere, so we say a HUGE CONGRATS to them!!!! Y’all have stepped up the game in (female) African blogging, and give a great platform for women to openly share whats on their hearts and minds regarding sex and sexual health.
The Social Media Awards Ceremony was held at the end of Ghana’s Blog Camp event held a couple weeks ago in Accra . Despite not winning, we did have a blast leading the Blogging 101 breakout session and interviewing people for Google’s youtube corner. I’ve included some pics below of the event, and a highlight video at the end of the blog.
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Ok. It’s time for a short blog now.
When we started RR, I made the decision that whenever Amma and I engaged in a back and forth, I wouldn’t respond to Amma’s reply if I had started the discussion… trust me, this has been no small task, especially when Amma likes to bust out diagrams of the highest inaccuracy. BUT I’m going to break my rule today, and say a few words in relation to something she said in her last post:
Who says we all want to get married in the first place?
Sigh… I love my feminists, I do. In most circles, I am considered one of their strongest advocates, allies, and yes even, leaders…. so my next few statements might actually come as a shock to some. I’m sorry in advance. :)
The feminist movement is not old enough for people to be tooting around that ‘not
all a critical mass of women want to get married’. This seems to have become a default response in the never ending discussion of what women should do (career v. family) and when they should do it; it’s become a defense mechanism of sorts… from what?, only God knows I do not quite know. But it’s as if the admission of wanting to be committed to someone (gasp, someone with 1 Y and 1 X chromosome) is some sign of weakness… or contrary to the movement. In any case, as it stands now what we’re seeing is a delay of marriage rather than an outright abolishment of it. Delaying marriage to do other things such as make a name for yourself in your career, do you as a single person for a while or whore around make like you’re a man with no emotional attachment to sex, is not a complete abolishment of marriage. Until data proves otherwise, you won’t be able to convince me that the majority of single, never been married women at 45 wouldn’t prefer to be a long term committed partnership, you just can’t**. You can’t because as much as some in the movement want to yell, kick and scream… there is biology/ human nature at play here… something one cannot fight (regardless of whether you believe in Adam and Eve or evolution). For the majority of feminists screaming this message of ‘we all don’t want to get married’, these women are a. still young enough to be able to eventually say yes to a lifetime partnership if they choose (ie. in their mid to late 30’s) b. screaming these statements as hypotheticals with one or two examples of ‘people they know who are happily single and never been married at 45, c. jaded about marriage because of what they’ve seen in the media and in their own lives, d. think ‘feminists’ wanting marriage have been somehow brain washed by religion or society, or e. just plain outliers.
I feel a little passionate about the above, because I’ve seen a trend of some feminists demonizing the desire of would be fellow feminists to get married (particularly before a certain age). But to me, feminism and marriage are not mutually exclusive. More so, the choice to get married (and whenever you want to) is fully in line with the spirit of feminism: the ability to choose (and do) what is best for you without hindrance due to your gender (even if that means cutting short your promising Fortune 500 CFO path to have … babies).
There will always be women (scabs, as Amma puts it) stopping female collusion from being great. They, in all their awesomeness and glory, will never be thinking about nobody’s desire to get married as they try to get theirs by sleeping around, and
feigning saying that their end goal is never to be married. However, my question is, ‘are these women singing the same song at 40, 45, 50?’ How many heterosexual 40/50 year old single, never been married (or in a long term partnership) women do you know that are happy as a clam saying they’re glad they never got married or into a long term partnership?
And that’s my point. Thus far, the majority of women eventually come around to the idea of ‘settling down’.
Alright, I’m done.
I must conclude by saying that I do recognize that a lot of people have a very messed up view of marriage, either from their own parents or others; I’m not going to sit and pretend that the baby boomer generation didn’t systematically suck at being able to choose one person to be with for their adult life, to love, sacrifice for, cherish, and be faithful to for better or worse in sickness and in health, BUT that doesn’t mean the fundamentals of being committed to one individual should be thrown out with the bathwater. I know I’m probably not the best person to speak to this because I have a great view of marriage – my parents have been happily married for 30 yrs, and I can’t think of many divorces in my extended family- yet still, removing me from the equation as the messenger, just because people suck at marriage doesn’t mean the institution in and of itself sucks. And neither does the fundamental idea of loving one person for life, and longing for companionship and partnership with them.
**so we’re clear: notice I said, “never been.” Those who have, and no longer want to be again are a different story. And even for these, let’s also make a distinction between regret of being committed to the wrong person versus saying you wish you never entered into marriage or a long term partnership (and don’t want to engage that type of relationship again).
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Highlights from the #BlogCamp14 event, our session made a cameo @ 4:10-4:47
We love the ‘shout-out’ we got on YesiYesi Ghana’s blog. If you’ve never visited the site before, it’s Ghana’s first online satirical/spoof news site that covers politics, business, technology, entertainment, science, health and media…. and now love. :) If you can recall our post on ‘The Ultimate Dating Advice in Accra‘, then you’ll definitely catch our ‘shout-outs’ in their post. Click on the link below to see the post. Enjoy!
The post has been moved to their new site: http://yesiyesighana.com/act-like-a-lady-think-like-a-ghanaman/
This is Amma’s response to The Economics of Sex: The Game Has Changed [Part 1]
. . .
Let’s go all the way back…
Who says we all want to get married in the first place?
I studied labor relations in college (random… I know) and if there is ONE thing we came out of there knowing and understanding, it is the economic and social power of a scab. Scabs are the people who, in the midst of a protest, will continue to work or continue to offer the service being scaled back for the sake of a greater good. They are the undermining, no-good, back stabbing son of guns who can single-handedly prevent the greater good.
They often suffer ‘mysterious’ tragic ends.
They had it coming.
So what does this have to do with economics of sex? Well… the collusion bit of course. The problem is, as you rightly asserted in your synopsis of the movie, aside from birth control there are also shifts in societal norms that have de-valued marriage or long term commitment and have made sex an end in and of itself.
Back in the day, women got married for plenty of reasons:
- Economic stability- since the man was the sole breadwinner
- Societal pressure- giving birth to a royal lineage, marrying up, being offered in a business transaction between two powerful families… I mean, just generally being used as collateral
- Puritanical Conceptions of family- the idea that a family is only valid if there is a mother, father (who are married and at least the woman is faithful) two children and a pet
- Religious reasons- Christianity required it of any sexual encounter
Today we are seeing that less people are ‘religious’, more women are breadwinners, society is opening up to alternative family relationships (two dads anyone?) and thanks to Sheryl Sandberg, we are leaning in and there is no pressure to be a great mom and great wife, just a great women in the boardroom. Women today aren’t dainty little princesses waiting in purity for their handsome princes to come slay dragons and win their hand. Some of them are wearing heavy armor, getting out into the war zones and looking for an occasional good time between battles. Whether we blame feminism or hip hop… or just blame the devil, one thing is true… these messages have resonated with a number of women, most of whom would be scabs in that remedy of collusion.
There are women who do not want a committed relationship… they do not want to make sex a premium. They want it to be as easy to come by as birth control is in Ghana. They want it subsidized almost… some even want to make profit from it (and I am not even talking about our girlfriends in Cantonments… did you see episode two of ‘An African City’?!). I mean if women see sex as a currency to gain things like apartments, cars, Louis Vuitton bags…
deputy ministerial positions, then well, who’s going to give that up so that all you commitment-loving, old- fashioned, socially brainwashed anti-feminist women can get married?! You see how this is a dilemma?
So then the real answer here comes from the male side.
The pressure should not fall solely on the woman to revalue sex as something worthy of a long term committed relationship. Guys are culpable to. They need to stand up and be counted. They also need to hold a higher standard for sex. It’s funny that Afua says men will spend the better part of their youth philandering with the scabs, only to come back in hot pursuit of a women they deem ‘wifeable’… someone who seems pristine but is willing to go ham in the bedroom. Something about a lady in the streets and a freak in the sheets… they want the seemingly good girls once they have been bad boys all up and through town. How nice… really. I mean would it be so difficult to say, I also value sex… *shrugs* I guess it is according to the video makers.
But honestly, I have actually met a number of guys like this. I remember a guy I knew in grad school who had only been with two girls. I was really shocked. I mean here he was, good looking, tall, well educated, charismatic… not even particularly religious but he just couldn’t find value in ravaging through the women that were THROWING themselves in his direction. In his case, he had heightened the value of sex and was also being a gatekeeper of commitment, because he was also not into just dating for giggles. I mean, I was truly in awe. And yes… yes… this is because I
have had(?)-ish low expectations of men when it came to sex. As the video points out, men can dissociate sex from romance and love and passion and all the things that make women like Olivia in Scandal seem like a victim of ardor instead of a confused two- timing side chick with an almost insatiable sexual appetite— but I digress. Because I think men can engage in sexual activities with women they have no real interest in more often than women, I assume that because they can they do. However I am finding, more and more, that this is not necessarily always the case and maybe it’s really just Hollywood that has us fooled. Or maybe I am just meeting really great guys. At any rate, men can and do have the power to also raise the value of sex and restore it to the confines of a committed relationship. The real collusion here is between men and women…
And it’s not just men in their old age… a lot of the behavior we see comes from the nurture of our own parenting. I know in the Ghanaian context, I had a conversation with a women in her 40’s who explained that for ‘big’ men here to be faithful to their wives was a symbol of their homosexuality. That a man that is successful should have a sexual appetite bigger than one woman, and any woman that cannot stand this should not aspire to marry into that kind of success. And I mean, with mothers like these— who needs enemies?! There is therefore a role for men, especially fathers, to play in shaping the psyche of acceptable male behavior as it relates to holding a higher standard of intimacy. I came across this letter written from a father to his son about the only reason someone should get married, and in the preamble it said:
Before we talk about sex, though, I want to talk about marriage. Not because I’ll shun you or shame you if you don’t put them in that order — although I hope you will — but because I believe the only good reason to get married will bring clarity to every other aspect of your life, including sex.
You’ll have to read the entire piece for the reason but suffice it to say, this is a man willing to place a higher value on sex and to instill that into his son. Do you think his son will be traipsing around feeling like he should sow his wild oats before getting married? ME thinks not. And it had nothing to do with women holding hands at Independence Square in solidarity— but everything to do with a sort of brotherhood— an order of males seeking nothing less than commitment and sacrifice before engaging in this form of intimacy.
The economist in me is also thinking the issue may be the age old microeconomic problem of imperfect information. Maybe we are all just hiding behind these false pretenses where girls are giving it up because they think it’s what guys want, and guys are taking it because they think here are these free, liberated women who are exploring their sexuality and pushing the boundaries of social conformity— who wants to be the patriarch to re-institute all of the oppressive rhetoric women fought so hard against in the ’60’s? So then the men just sort of give in too, and then everyone is playing this game of ampe where you are so distracted by the clapping, you don’t even know that you are all on the same foot. Madness!
So how do we tear the veil of confusion? Communication. This guy blogger has made it very clear, and very public that he stands on the side of valuing sex in long term relationship. Perhaps if we were all this transparent, we could sift through the hay and find the needle in the stack.
Look… all I am saying is, as long as men hold low value for sex, there will always be scabs wiling to undermine the female sex revolution… but if men were to themselves, maintain a higher standard, then the scabs become obsolete and there is now a better situation for everyone involved. Even if everyone doesn’t want to get married, or people are delaying marriage for one reason or the other, there should still be a proportionate cohort of women AND men who are willing to raise the standard… for the love of humanity (hahaha!)
Do you think women need to work together to restore sex to its place of commitment or is that more of a conversation between men and women where men also assume some of the responsibility? Sound Off!
BUT DON’T WAIT ANOTHER DAY… :)
You would have to be living under a rock to not have seen The Economics of Sex vid on some timeline, tweet, or status update in the last few weeks. I’ve included the vid below. It’s only ten minutes, but I know y’all won’t watch (…I do look at our blog stats), so I’ve given you the run down of the main points:
- Pop culture says everyone around you is enjoying casual sex; elite culture insists that women and men are exactly the same in this regard, however “On average, men have a higher sex drive than women… On average, men initiate sex more than women, they’re more sexually permissive than women, and they connect sex to romance less often than women… Women on the other hand are likely to have sex for reasons beyond pleasure: to express and receive love, to strengthen commitment, affirm desirability and for relationship security” …it just is what it is.
- Women are the gatekeepers to sex, and men are the gatekeepers to commitment.
- If we look at this purely in economic terms, if sex is ‘her’ resource, how does a woman price sex? A few drinks and compliments?
A month3 months of dates? A lifetime promise of commitment?… The pricing of sex isn’t in a vacuum, because the market value of sex is part of a social system of exchange – ie. what others are buying and selling sex for has an influence on your individual price.
- In the world of simple supply and demand, when supply is high prices drop, but when something is hard to find, people will pay a premium for it. And men these days know that the market value of sex has decreased.
- There has been a splitting of the female mating market (those looking for sex vs those looking for marriage), largely as a result of the pill [I'm adding in my own bit here and saying also because of society, condoms, media, etc.]
- So what does this mean for women:
- Women get to be selective for SHORT-TERM sexual relationships – because the supply of men (wanting Short Term sexual encounters) outnumbers their women counterparts. [To see this displayed in all it's glory, all you need to do is go to any bar on a Friday night]
- However, the reverse is true when women want to settle down.
. . .
I’ve always said I’m an economist at heart… somewhat. That’s why when something is explained to me in economic terms, I get it.
I get that you can have casual sex with women who like having casual sex AND with women who think it’ll make you wife them, AND THEN when you’re done
making enough money, getting to that certain position in your career, growing up, sowing your wild oats, there will still be the ‘good ones’ out there waiting to be wifed.
I get that you have lowered your standards, because women have lowered theirs.
I get that whenever you choose to get married, as long as it’s not after the age of
50 70, there will always be droves of women willing and able to take up that burden privilege.
…I get it
…I got it
So what do ‘we’ (women wanting commitment before the clock strikes menopause) do in this case? How do we circumvent the game, and swing things back (even just a lil bit) in our favor?…inquiring minds wants to know.
I’m going to briefly describe what the vid says is the way women can gain back power. However, I want to make a quick note that after Amma responds to this later this week, we will also have a male guest post on the subject matter (whoop whoop testosterone… yes we’ve heard your
nagging, cries, complaints constructive feedback) :)
So how does the vid say women can gain back the power? Drum Roll pleaseeeee…
BY STICKING TOGETHER.
Somewhat of a kumbaya/ yaya sisterhood of sorts. But that’s as simple as it gets. Women no longer have each others backs in the mating market… now they’re each others competition. And in order to get the attention of men, women appeal to what they believe men want, sex.
I was in Lagos last week and a group of ladies and I were talking about the male market, when one summed up the group’s sentiments quite simply: ‘no one wants to truly commit anymore.’ This was a group of Americans AND African women, mind you. As I sat there, I kept thinking ‘are women asking men to though (by their words AND actions)?’ According to the Economics of Sex, men aren’t actually afraid of commitment *cue shock and awe*, rather they tend to behave as well or as poorly as the women in their lives permit. [please read that over. again. let it resonate]. Thus, economists have concluded that collusion – women working together – would be the most rational way to elevate the market value of sex. If women demanded a higher market price in exchange for sex, we would be seeing:
1. more impressive woo’ing efforts
2. greater male investment
3. longer relationships
4. fewer pre-martial partners
5. shorter co-habitation, and
6. more marriages
A woman’s power in this economy is to know what she wants in a relationship and signal it clearly …but none of this seems to be happening, so for now the economics of contemporary sexual relationships favors men and what they want, even as what they bring to the table diminishes.
As this commentary on the video put it, “Sex is her resource. She decides when it happens, in a consensual relationship… The pressure to have sex weighs from all sides, when at the end of the day, she holds the power. “If girls did actually come to realize that they’re “in the driver’s seat when it comes to sex (and if sisterhood really were powerful), they could change the market entirely, having sex only when they were ready and only when they saw a serious commitment on the part of their partner.”
So, we ask…Given that we can’t make it mandatory for women to sit through a ‘ya ya sisterhood’ sex-ed course in
high school, middle school, elementary school, pre-k, how do we get this message of holding men accountable and looking out for your fellow sister across….?
My guess is as good as yours. But I’ve found that talking about it, and actually living it out is a good start… *shrug*
Also, don’t forget to VOTE for RR for Best Blog for the 2014 Ghana Blogging Social Media Awards: Instructions are HERE!
Excuse us if our EXCITEMENT is oozing onto your well ironed shirt. It is with GREAT honor thay we announce that
RamblingRoommates (Love.African!) has been nominated for ‘Best Blog’ for this year’s Blogging Ghana Social Media Awards…
Since our change over from Bandeka’s official blog almost a year ago, we’ve had a blast writing about the ups and downs of love, life and the pursuit of marital bliss in Ghana, and it’s great to know that people are enjoying our ramblings! Win or lose, it’s nice to be acknowledged.
Here is a detailed list of how one is to go about voting:
1. Think about all the ways in which this blog has made you laugh… made you pontificate…
made you angry or just simply made your day
2. Head over to http://www.blogcampghana.com/voting/ and enter your email address (just to ensure you don’t vote twice)
3. Find ‘loveafrican.wordpress.com’ under the ‘Best Blog’ Category (Question #1). *NOTE, you do not have to vote for all the other categories in order to submit your vote!!*
4. Share this photo below on the facebooks or twitter and tag your friends with the url to vote too! :-)
Voting ends March 28th, 2014. Thanks!
Lots and lots of love,
A week after Afua’s post, I received a call from a guy friend who had a very interesting theory about our Accra experiences. He essentially said we were going about the dating thing completely the wrong way. I chuckled… naturally that would be the response, because what? were we supposed to just sit in our rooms, twiddle our thumbs and hope for our
6’2″ King to come riding into our living rooms in the latest BMW and just swoop us up?
According to Yaw**, ‘dating’ as we have defined it on our blog is largely a Western concept, and the willingness to go on these dates without any pretext is usually a signal for.. well… sex. He said:
‘Ghanaian guys… we don’t just approach women to go out, unless all we want is to
bed them. If you are really serious about a girl, you just watch and wait’
So I reply:
You mean you’re just sort of hanging on the periphery taking notes and deciding if and when to approach? How can you even know someone if not by first letting them know your intentions and then getting to know them over live music at Afrikikos… or something equally nice (and relatively expensive… after all if you approached her, she must be worth the change, no?)
Plus, it also means that you thought Afua recounting her dates was some sort of morse code for her announcing some of her sexual escapades… which is a big false. Hmpf. (Afua knows I would judge her otherwise). No… No… When we mean dates… we mean it in the normal way… as in sitting down, talking, laughing, sharing important details about favorite colors and travel experiences… you know… very ‘When Harry Met Sally’… except without all of the melodrama. Just a good time with a potentially good person”
‘Your kind of dating is full of fronting. Questions and answers. Makeup and good behavior. You’re not being real. When you don’t make your interest known and you just watch how the person is socially, at church and in various settings… and get to know them as a friend. It’s more authentic’
That makes a lot of sense actually.
Then he ends with this:
‘Plus, there’s no pressure and we can go around *dating* girls who we won’t wife… before we finally settle down with the girl we were eyeing years before’
I can’t say I hate that idea. Afua always laughs at me because in my fairytale life, I’d just happen to fall in love with my best friend who would declare his love for me right after he lands into millions and is ready to give me the wedding on the moon he believes I deserve *deep sigh*… aside from just general visions of grandeur, Afua points out that we are too old to be making ‘best friends’ and that the best way is to go out on dates and hang out with guys until we find one we really click with. This all makes sense because we hear of perfect strangers becoming the perfect lovers and having the perfect homes… but the stories that generally endear us… the ones that pull at our heart strings and challenge our tear ducts to burst— are the ones where there is less… well… calculation. Where I (sorta) believe in ‘meet boy, become BFF’s, trip and fall in love’… Afua is more the ‘meet boy, fall in love while striving to develop a deep friendship’.
So here lies the dilemma. We all want to feel like there is a guy out there that can see us for us and will love us first from a distance… and then sweep us off of our feet in romance. But the busyness of our lives— work, Bible studies, girls night out, the radio show on YFM every Sunday evening at 9pm (shameless plug…. whatever… I don’t care. I don’t care. ha!) — makes it almost impossible to even have those kinds of fantasies. So naturally, we have evolved socially to accept that instead of our parents arranging our marriages, we arrange them ourselves through a series of one-on-one encounters meant to weed out the useless ones and isolate the ones that would be worthwhile. The ones we could fall in love with while developing a deep friendship over time. And while there is a diversity of dating styles and definitions (as Afua pointed out), the premise is pretty much the same: Meet. Eat. Repeat— or don’t if you’re weird or similar in anyway to Afua’s Kofi, Kwame, or Kwesi. In either case… falling in love has to at least start with an orchestrated meeting of two people who have expressed an interest beyond general acquaintance.
This seems immediately simple and obvious to us, but there seems to be a completely different thing happening on this side of the world and it’s so obvious considering Afua’s point about guys marrying old high school sweethearts or university crushes 5 years after having run around messing about with every other girl… aka dating: There’s a bit of a disconnect.
It sounds almost like dating is some glorified version of prostitution and that money and time spent are used as barter for sex and sexual favors. Furthermore, going on these dates (with someone who you are not already actually ‘dating’— the irony!) is a signal that you are not actually looking for a serious relationship. **shockface** What spirit of confusion!?
So I have some questions:
- If I am serious about being in a committed relationship, but I do not have ties to any highschool or university in Ghana… and my life doesn’t allow for me to sit around and wait idly for someone to stalk me… then how does one actually date someone long term without going on dates with relatively perfect strangers?
- And if I follow Afua’s advice, and have someone vetted before agreeing to go on a date with them, does that necessarily mean that they are not interested in anything long term, but are rather looking to get to know me— in the very Biblical sense?
- Should I just assume that if I am asked on a date, then those guys’ relationship goals are not aligned with mine and that I should actually focus (or not focus) on all the ‘male friends’ who have actually made no advances at all?!
This is really and truly a strange phenomenon… it’s almost circular in logic and impossible to break… it doesn’t. actually. make. sense. But on some level… it’s sort of alluring (strange… I know). It’s almost a game of hide and seek… but with adults. So here I am back and forth in my mind between thinking the Ghana Guy way is a bit off, but then sort of intriguing, when I have a thought: Maybe it’s time to try something new.
Perhaps it’s time we *dead* the dating thing and do the whole ‘bff’s until we say otherwise’— thing. A bit risky since a) neither of us did university or high school here and b) this would mean that we have to wait 5 yrs for some guy to stalk us and fall in love with us from a distance. Remember in high school, during youth group everyone was ‘encouraged’ to read the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye which essentially pushes this idea of friendship and courtship and group outings… maybe they were onto something. Or maybe that’s what all the Ghanaian youths were reading while we were away watching movies like The Titanic and hoping that we would find a Leo to our Kate Blanchett. I blame Western media. I also, digress.
*le sigh* All in all… it feels like most of us, in Ghana at least, want to be in serious long term committed relationships with people who we trust and whose character we can vouch for… but the means of getting here seem to be different enough that there is a bit of a mismatch and we end up disillusioned about the guys we have come to encounter in our time being in Ghana. There is a clash… of GARGANTUAN proportion… and yet all we want to do is be in love.
I need to hear from the fellas on this one… is Yaw** right and does this effectively mean we need to kill our dating life in favor of the carefree, watch-us-from-a-distance life?
Are we going about this all wrong?