By Funke Egbemode
It is beautiful to be loved and pampered, spoilt with gifts and attention. We just celebrated Valentine’s Day and I think love is in the air, still. So, did you get a dozen roses, purple prose, candle-lit dinner and ended up on a rose petal strewn bed in a scented room? Ah, I won’t go beyond there. Savor it all. For many women, it’s a once-in-a- year treat. For most, it’s a non-event. Some men are just dry from here to Sokoto. They don’t even compliment their wives, which is the easiest arm of romance. They don’t buy the occasional suya on their way home or offer to take madam out to dinner once in a while so she can enjoy someone else’s cooking. No. it’s just ’where-is-my-food?’ and ‘is-the-table-set? all year round. How sad and boring! You would think that men would grab every February 14 with both hands and do something special for their women, their relationships but no, they have loads of reasons why they can’t do simple soft stuff to make their partners feel on top of the world just once a year.
‘What’s special about February 14?’
Sweetie, would you prefer February 15?
‘Valentine is alien to our culture.’
Cool, pick another day and fill it with roses.
‘Roses are not our thing?’
Pray tell, what’s our thing?
‘So, a man who is not romantic is a bad man?
Nicely put, dear. A man who forgets all about romance as soon as his woman says ‘yes’ to him is bad, boring, a bully too. Yeah. I will think of more adjectives later. If you did not do something special for or with your woman on February 14, I’m scoring you an F. You may re-sit this course on any day of your choice in the next two weeks to redeem what’s left of your reputation in the Relationship Department. I have spoken!
Now, to the business of the day.
Women like to be loved. Men like to own. There is a thin line between being loved and being owned. Men do not joke with their women, whether wife or side chick. A friend of mine put it like this; greedy men are stingy. Meaning; men who want other men’s women do not want other men to want their women. Greedy and stingy, you must agree. Very protective of their territory too, that’s men for you. Not that being territorial is bad in itself, it’s just that a woman should not be so befuddled by love and gifts that she forgets herself and let her life become another person’s property. Don’t misquote me, I‘m all for submission to one’s husband and treating him with respect. Some men, like Abraham in the Bible, should even be addressed as lord. Sincerely, I know men who are that precious. But I still insist that a woman should not lose herself, her personality, who she is, because a man is all over her. It can be fatal. And anyway, good men do not absorb their women, they nurture them so they can enjoy the fruits of their labour and I‘m not talking about the fruits they grab with both hands when no one is looking or behind closed doors.
Nicely put, dear. A man who forgets all about romance as soon as his woman says ‘yes’ to him is bad, boring, a bully too. Yeah. I will think of more adjectives later. If you did not do something special for or with your woman on February 14, I’m scoring you an F. You may re-sit this course on any day of your choice in the next two weeks to redeem what’s left of your reputation in the Relationship Department. I have spoken
I know you know a woman or have heard the story of women who suddenly find themselves moving from wealthy or comfortable lifestyles to poverty all because their husbands died. Tales of stranded widows are everywhere. Widows whose husbands pampered. One day they are queens, ladies of the manor, the next they are bewildered widows with blood-thirsty in-laws baying at their doors and wicked business partners chasing them in their dreams. Because of properties, estates tied up in legalese, encumbered by bank loans or outright absence of a Will. I am sure you have heard stories of widows who had to withdraw their children from schools abroad or move from five-star residential areas to near slums all because they forgot themselves in the laps of luxury. Their husbands provided everything from school fees to spa tickets and holidays abroad. They were wives whose most tasking duties was to groom themselves to an inch of their lives. Well-manicured and pedicured lives. No jobs. No passive or active income. Mr husband assured them he was working hard for his family or making too much money for his wife to be bossed around by another man. Sweet as that sounds, tomorrow is not promised and every woman, every smart woman who loves her man must know that and protect her family because you see, even good men die unannounced and are buried with their good intentions. In other words, it is possible for a wealthy man to die suddenly and after that, reality, stark, harsh reality sets in for his pampered widow.
We all pray for men who are prosperous and properly raised, men who know the true definition of manhood and how to be real heads of their homes. Girl, when God blesses you with a man like that, the only way to be ungrateful to God is to unscrew your head and forget yourself. If, as you read this, you are a blessed wife of a blessed man, 5-star full-time housewife, get off your fancy butt and get a life. If ‘Chief’ does not want you to work in another man’s office or stress yourself going to a shop, it’s fine. Buy properties and sell. Call an investment banker to advise you on passive income. Buy gold, diamonds and keep in bank vaults. If you are stranded after seeing all that wealth you are sitting on right now, who will you blame? If you suddenly lose your cover and you can’t afford a lawyer and your children have to suffer the indignities of losing a whole academic year because you couldn’t pick their bills, it will be because you were a property, owned, maybe loved but still owned.
For the side chicks, the girlfriends, I’ll tell you Kiki’s story. Pretty, shapely Kiki met one of those money-miss-road half-educated Yoruba men who treated her like a beautiful acquisition. She was a business development executive in a bank when they met. Alhaji must have felt on top of the world that a girl with two university degrees would look his way much less accept to be his woman. He fawned and fussed over her. He bought her a nice SUV and got her a tastefully furnished apartment in a choice part of the city. He even got her a driver. For three years, Kiki was ‘Orente’, Alhaji’s favourite. She basked in her nice life. But she knew she had no intention of becoming Alhaji’s third wife. She secretly started seeing a younger man with whom she planned to settle down. Alhaji heard of Kiki’s ‘unfaithfulness’ and in a fit of rage repossessed her SUV in the office. She simply got to the car park and found a goon who asked her to take her personal effects from the car because Alhaji had instructed him to take the car to his office. The car was registered in Alhaji’s name. Kiki’s greatest shock was when she got home and all the locks had been changed. There was also a man at the gate with instructions that she would be needing alternative accommodation. It took passionate entreaties for Alhaji to even allow Kiki pack her clothes and other very personal effects. The house lease agreement was also in Alhaji’s name. Carless and homeless Kiki had to start from the scratch. The embarrassment, the rumours, the trauma led to her seeking a transfer from the Ibadan branch of her bank.
Do all side chicks hear me loud and clear? If you did not, I’ll break it down. Do not let a man buy or lease a house for you in his own name or in his company name. Do not let him buy a car for you in any name except yours. If he’s big and rich enough to want you to be his kept woman, he should release funds for you to buy whatever you want, please. If he wants to set up a business for you, let the money go into your account, otherwise one angry day, he will lock up your business premises just for hugging an old school mate.
A man has the right to want to love and own you. You owe yourself a duty to draw a clear line of demarcation between being owned and being loved.