I don tire for all these my African brothers sef! .You can hardly click on any African website that deal with social issues these days and not read about the “Scarcity of good African wife material” or articles about the good old days when African women were non-argumentative, non-assertive, didn’t know the difference between their rights or “left”, and definitely no nonsensical talk about feminism…not all these half-baked women you get these days whose eyes don open so tay one finger no fit enter their yansh. I keep telling these men, they simply are not looking in the right places. Good African women abound. They are plentiful, and simply waiting to be taken. My friend Victor has convinced me.
Let me tell you about Victor:My friend is a very wise man, we both hail from Nigeria. He did the thing most modern, sophisticated African men are too arrogant to do these days,he took the road less traveled in this our post millennium era to find himself a very good African – in this case – Naija wife, it was a drastic one, but it worked. A few years back, he was bombarded left, right and center from home with queries about why he’s still not married as he was inching close to 40. Out of obvious jealousy, his step-mom even questioned his masculinity. He finally confided in his mom that he’s having serious problems finding a good Naija wife abroad. You see, he complained to her that the choices available to him are all these Nigerian-American girls who have “grown wings”, and unless his mom wants him to end up in a mental institution should she advocate he marry one of these good for nothing corrupt women of no virtue who as much as look him in the eye when he speaks to them. He pleaded that he’s in desperate need of divine and maternal assistance in these matters. You bet, his momsie was more than up to the task, before you could say “daughter-in-law”…she had arranged a young virginal nubile maiden within one month of this request .At first, Victor was a bit wary upon meeting her, y’see, there were a few minor, okay, majorproblems that seemed to initially really bother him, but he has since adapted quite well, and I must say, by his own account, they are blissfully married.
The first indication that she might be having just a bit of problem adjusting to her new environment started the very next morning after her arrival. She hung over the balcony and spat the residue of her chewing stick unto the balcony of the apartment beneath theirs in the luxury high-rise condominium complex where they lived, Victor never noticed this, as he would be long gone to work before she groomed herself. At first, the neighbors below thought the splatters were bird droppings, until one day, it dropped on the head of the girlfriend of the chap who lived downstairs, she looked up, only to see another dose coming from the source. Sorely embarrassed, Victor apologized profusely, and promised his neighbors it will never happen again. But his then new wife just really had a problem chewing stick in a confined space, It just didn’t feel right to her, and she never understood why it was unacceptable behavior. Victor gave up trying. Subsequently, she would aim her projectiles a little further out to miss their neighbors’ balcony and carried on her routine much earlier in the day before anyone woke up.
And then, there’s the coconut oil she insists on rubbing on her body every night after showering. He himself is not unfamiliar with the smell. After all, that was his only source of external skin nourishment even up till his university days. But the smell is hardly an aphrodisiac. She also wears an amulet around her waist to bed every night which really is a hindrance to you know what. That is the only point on which she puts her foot down to disobey him. Even his own mother would not hear of it. There were a few other charms she brought from Nigeria, she chews on some, spits some out and rubs it on her forehead and in between her breasts. My friend doesn’t want to be misunderstood, he clearly believes in native medicine despite his medical training, he just wonders what else she might be putting in the food she feeds him.
Then, one day, a few weeks after her arrival, she was getting antsy and bored as she had no friends, and she also wanted to impress and surprise her husband to show him how industrious she could be. So for weeks, she plotted in secrecy how she was going to start a business to supplement his income though it wasn’t needed. Lo and behold, this fateful morning, Victor got a call from the police station. She has set up an open wood fire at the corner of 5th and Broadway, a busy intersection to fry and sell puff-puff and buns. And because it was sweltering in the summer, she only had her wrapper tied around her chest, she was pleasantly surprised when a crowd started to gather around, she thought for sure she was attracting quite a customer base even though the first round of fried dough wasn’t done yet. Then she was at a loss when sirens started blasting, and a few men jumped from a red truck to douse out the fire and people were pointing at her and dragging her away. Trust my girl, she wasn’t going to abandon her puff-puff without a struggle, she had put so much effort orchestrating this whole thing, and simply minding her business, couldn’t understand what all the commotion was about. Then came the cops. So she started responding in her native tongue because she assumed somehow the lone black cop among them will surely understand her.The police thought she was a mental ward escapee, especially when she untied the end of her wrapper, where a business card belonging to apsychiatrichospital was neatly folded.Victor explained in English that she was his patient and that he has everything under control. She was released to his custody. Since then, he made her promise never ever to leave the house or embark on any money making venture without first consulting with him…but he truly loved her for her effort. How could he get mad? He has seen what his peers married to all these so called Americanized aje-butter Naija girls have to deal with. If this is the worse case scenario, bring it on, he’s willing to sacrifice his dignity sometimes, and maybe a little lie here and there. He got her pregnant the following month.
On the one rare occasion that he ever got seriously upset with her to the point of hitting her, it was because she told him she would like to try something else business-wise, as the puff-puff venture did not work. She is very good at braiding hair, and she had heard before leaving Nigeria that a lot of African women make money braiding hair in America. He was furious!. Is she lacking in anything?, isn’t he providing enough for her?, and more importantly and most aggravating is the fact that such a venture would involve her being in contact with a lot ofwomen, especially African American women and God forbid, some rabid feminist Naija women! Didn’t she remember the conversation they had about this before she left home?. Is she out of her mind?! He promised himself never to hit her again. I mean, where in the world these days will one find a dutiful and obedient wife?. She never contradicts him, and hardly ever looks him in the eye when he speaks. If anything, that is one thing he’s grateful he has learnt in America, not for the fear that she would ever report him to the authorities, that is simply impossible, but he doesn’t want to hurt her again. He truly loves this woman.
Y’see, before Victor’s wife left Nigeria, a family meeting was called in the Village involving hers and his’, and Victor himself was conferenced in on the meeting via GSM. It was drummed into her head that a huge opportunity is being presented to her right here, and it is her choice to either make the most of it or blow it, in which case, she will be repatriated to the village on a one way ticket. Certain rules were laid down. First, she cannot have any female friends unless previously approved by her husband, not even in church and certainly not educated Naija women!. She cannot watch Oprah or Dr.Phil on television, even though she doesn’t speak English or has any idea who these people were, so, she simply decided she wasn’t going to watch TV period. She cannot dial 911 on the phone under any circumstances. She is not allowed on the internet, even though she has absolutely no idea what it is, so, she simply decided that was one rule not even worth remembering. As soon as she arrives, she must hand over her passport to her husband. She must never bring up the issue of going to school with him. She should remember the daughter of who she is and so on and so forth. And boy, did she remember. The rest of her domestic duties didn’t even have to be spelt to her, she knew those in her DNA. She committed all of these other strange sounding ones that going to America would present to mind, and she has so far not disappointed her family or her husband.
Shortly before the birth of their first child, Victor had arranged for his aging mother to come down for a few months to initiate his wife into motherhood and assist with child care. Unbeknown to him, his wife had been secretly complaining to his mother that the pounded yam tasted like paper, and that her son is not eating well at all. So they both connived to solve the problem, knowing Victor would probably disagree. He woke up to the sound of mortar and pestle at 5:00am the morning after his mother arrived from Nigeria. And then, there was the case with animal control. A few months after his second child was born, Victor decided it was time he moved his family to the suburbs and out of the 2 bedroom condo they presently live in. It was a very nice piece of property, a 6-bedroom mansion he plans on filling up with male children… nestled in a gated subdivision just on the outskirts of the metro. Only God knows where she found them. She had about a dozen of them on the paved driveway. She was throwing them some grains of maize and they were skittering about and making such a ruckus in the otherwise dead-quiet development. Some of the neighborhood children who had never seen a live one before had gathered around to watch in amazement and asking her if they could pet them, and what were their names. A nosey neighbor had called animal control about the strange woman a few houses from hers with wild animals running up and about in the neighborhood.His wife was only trying to surprise him with chicken that tasted like chicken when he got home from work. Poor Victor. He’s so patient.
Victor had completed his psychiatry residency at an Ivy-league affiliated teaching hospital in the States, and he had rubbed shoulders and minds with children of affluent Nigerians who wouldn’t even have granted him an audience back in his undergraduate days. Now, he dresses impeccably, plays golf, belongs to a country club, loves his steak medium rare, and he has developed a taste and hobby for rare vintage. He contends that America is certainly a leveler, more so, being in the medical field. As such, when these his yuppie Nigerian doctor friends come calling, he’s had to sometimes hide his wife. But on the occasion that she cannot be scuttled into the bedroom before they arrive unannounced – the way we Naijas are wont to do sometimes, she kneels down fully on her two knees to greet them. This has caused Victor some deep embarrassment, as some of his Nigerian friends make fun of him, and besides, their wives don’t return the favor. He would like them to, but that is another matter entirely. Many though have expressed to him that they do envy him, they are just not sure if they can pull it off themselves, considering their yuppie status and all. On the rare occasion that his casual American acquaintances have happened to meet her, he explains the kneeling gesture away as the way women in the Nigerian culture always greet men, and goes further to say it is similar to a hug or a handshake…. Some of his colleagues at work have even began to wonder whether he’s truly married, because while they all bring their wives to these high brow medical conferences, he’s always having to explain why his wife cannot attend. They’ve never met her in the 5 years or so that he’s been married, not even on any of those all family affair summer picnics.
I know, some people are wondering why doesn’t he just send her to school?, I raised that issue up with him myself before, but you see, as he would say “you all miss the point”.Why spoil a good thing? Why indeed mess up his wife? His marriage? Better she not understand what Oprah or Dr. Phil says should she ever turn the TV on and happen on them. She’s very happy just watching her Nollywood films in her local dialect, and besides, she’s too busy tending their growing brood and managing the home. But more importantly, the whole idea of bringing a good, home grown wife will be defeated. It would have been a wasted effort, what with all the nonsense education can fill a woman’s mind with, worse off, those ones that study nursing. After much debate, I myself was convinced he’s made the right decision.
And for those of you who are quick to judge, please, put a brake on it for a second. Victor in my opinion is a good man, and I truly have a lot of respect for his tremendous courage to stick to his guts when it comes to what he expects of marriage and of his spouse, albeit in what most would consider an unusual coupling. He is loyal, faithful to his wife (at least to the best of my knowledge), and a very a good provider. And there are many out there like him, unfortunately, these men, because of class expectations are marrying the wrong women, and what we see today is chaos in African relationships. They are trying to fit square pegs into round holes, attempting the impossible feat of mixing petrol and water into a perfectly miscible solution . They have these expectations in their minds of a woman who will be modern, yet meet all their primal needs. Times have indeed changed, and our women have all gone “crazy”, but these men are not adapting their expectations to the situation as well as my friend here has proven can be done.
Personally, I’ve not met Victor’s wife, and you’ll soon learn why. But he has nothing but praises for her. He’s a very happy man, and considers himself a very lucky man, something I would have to agree with him on, and rarely, if ever, do both of us agree on any issues with regards to relationships, you see, he considers me to be one of those “evil feminists” who are set on “destroying” Nigerian men and the Nigerian family unit, but then, he and I come from way back when in UI, so he has no choice but to remain friends with me.Other than all of these embarrassments his wife causes him, which are minor irritations really, considering the benefit he reaps, he truly enjoys married life, and would recommend his mode any day to fellow hard looking, stressed out Naija brother frustrated with all these so called modern day Nigerian women who have simply lost their minds asking for equality and what not .As a matter of fact, The last I heard of him,he had started a non profit organization findagoodnaijawife.com for serious Naija men who yearn for the good old days on how to find, marry and adapt their expectations of what makes a good Naija wife in these modern times. I think more modern day African men who wax nostalgic about the good ‘ol days will be wise to heed his counsel. He just might have the answer to their prayers.