Poles Apart

by Vera Ezimora

Have you ever had a phone conversation with a man you have never met, but whose voice you find irresistible? Even when he says a word as simple as “Hmm,” (which technically isn’t even a word), you simply cannot get enough of it. Everything about his voice is fascinating. You cannot quite place your finger on it, but you know that you do not mind hearing his voice right before you sleep and hearing it again as soon as you wake up. His voice is just … just so entrancing. Have you ever had a man with that kind of voice talk to you? I have.

Is it not simply amazing when you see a man who is as fine as fine could ever get? White dentures, no bournvita stains. He has that Colgate smile. His hair is cut low and neat like a military man. He looks darn good, and he knows it too. Everyday you see him, he looks like he is wearing his best outfit. He looks so good that you have sometimes forgotten yourself in the process of watching him. Everything about him betrays his opulence. My God, he is scrumptious. He walks the walk, but does he talk the talk? Certainly, a man like this must have that captivating voice, right? Eager to know, you approach him and strike a casual conversation with him. You say – more like ask, “It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?”

He looks at you, smiles that expensive smile, and says, “Oh yes, it’s a beaurriful day.” Not wanting to believe you heard what you just heard, you ask him, “What did you say?” With confidence and a million dollar smile, he repeats, “I said it’s a beaurriful day.” But how could such an epitome of visual perfection pronounce beautiful as beaurriful? Surely, it must not have been him. Unfortunately, it was indeed him. Apparently, a person’s looks can be poles apart from the words that exit his mouth. Not wanting to believe he is as dumb as he sounds, you continue the conversation, hoping it will get better.

Did he just ask you if you are Yoruba or Igbo after you told him you are from Ondo State? Yes.

Did he just ask you if you were born in London or in UK? Yes.

Did he just tell you he needs a glass of ‘warer?’ Yes.

And yes, he just said the humidity is hot.

Do not tell me I am the only one who has experienced this.

It feels a lot better when you see a guy who is forgettable. He looks like an average Joe, nothing special. But the moment he opens his mouth, you need not wonder just how high his IQ is. He speaks English like he invented the language. Who knew that English could make you feel all girly inside? He makes you feel like enrolling in English 101 again. Who cares if you are a grad student?

When the case is reversed and you see a good-looking man who looks like he just stepped out of the cover of a GQ magazine, the last thing you want is for him to sound like an Onitsha trader, throwing in at least one ‘nna men’ in every statement he makes. You cannot help but wonder how such a man got into such clothes. It is a mystery, I know.

Of course, this problem does not discriminate against any gender. Men are just as susceptible to having the shocker of their lives. As a man, you may see a woman whom you swear is Halle Berry’s twin. Her hair is beautiful. Her skin is flawless; she looks like Mac used her face to create ‘pancake’ for women. She’s got the high cheek bones, the hypnotizing eyes, the small waist, big hips, powerful ass, and of course, kissable lips and touchable tits (excuse my French, but I needed to rhyme).

So you take her along with you as your date to your ex’s wedding. You need to show your ex that you have moved on, and are now with someone more beautiful. You are now with someone who beats her hands down. In the reception hall, women stare at your date; men gawk at her. In fact, you could swear you saw your ex, the bride, rolling her eyes at her. Amongst the other women, your date looks like a rose in a field of green grass. Men seem to be quietly begging you to tell them the koko – how did you win this chic over? You are the man. She’s perfect. You’re perfect. Life is perfect. You smile the smile of a confident, self-assured man. Only winners can smile that type of smile. And you are a winner, right?

Dinner comes along. Your mouth drops open and hangs open for an uncalculated amount of time.

Is that your date licking – more like sucking – the egwusi soup off her fingers? Yes.

Is she doing it with all the sound effects too? Yes.

Is that your ex, the bride laughing at your date? Yes.

Did she just stain your white tuxedo shirt with soup? Yes.

Is she chewing (and sucking) that meatless bone? Yes.

Did she just hit the bone on the ceramic plate to force out everything inside the bone? Yes.

In public? Yes.

Are all eyes on you? Oh, yessss.

Thus goes the cycle of life: everyone is missing something. The good-looking man and sharp dresser does not have the voice. The man with the voice looks like a village headmaster. What is a girl to do? Of course, there is always that guy who has both the looks and the voice, but he has no words. He’s a beautiful man with a beautiful voice and ugly words. Well, the words themselves are not ugly; it is the sound of them that is ugly.

Have you ever heard a sexy, baritone voice that sounds like he just erupted from the village square? He’s got the voice, but no words. What a waste! Even when he is speaking English, he still sounds like he is speaking Yoruba. All the words that start with ‘h’ (like house, horse, etc) have somehow managed to exit his mouth without the ‘h,’ so they now sound like ‘ouse’ and ‘orse’. Instead, he has decided to put the ‘h’ in front of every word that starts with a vowel. He pronounces ‘earring’ as ‘hearring,’ which now makes it sound like ‘hearing.’ As you can imagine, this can complicate things tremendously, especially for those who are not aware of what is going on. It is fair to say that the ‘h’ has been lost in transition. The Igbo ones, on the other hand, are very good at changing the pronunciation and syllables of words. ‘Make’ is often pronounced as ‘mek,’ and ‘did’ is often pronounced as ‘didi.’

Countless disappointments have thought me to expect nothing. Not having any expectation means not having to deal with any disappointment that is likely to follow through. I should say, however that I would rather hear a beautiful voice and be disappointed by the look than see a beautiful man and be disappointed by his voice. Somehow, it is easier to get over the look. As people begin to grow on you, they begin to look good. And it makes a lot of sense because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This explains why no one ever thinks that his or friend is not good-looking. But how does one begin to fall in love with a voice that is sure to send him/her to an early grave? Well, either an early grave or prison – for killing the owner of the annoying voice.

If you ask me, I would say this is just one of God’s many ways of being funny. The man’s sense of humor is uncanny. I have never met anyone quite like Him. I maintain that He is the funniest Man ever. No one else in history has set a judgment date that everyone must attend, and yet refused to tell anyone the date. Simply amazing, I tell you.

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Jibril Sado April 1, 2009 - 1:32 pm

Veeeeeraaa! It seems you may well be the only one who can look me in the eye and, with all seriousness, say to me “you look worse than Shrek does” and I will still roll on the floor laughing. This piece is vintage Vera. Don’t mind Kazima and his gang jare, just fire on.

nelson January 17, 2009 - 10:18 am

vera,vera vera i cannot stop reading those magnificent words coming out from the bottom of your beautiful heart.

You are what i would refer to as beauty with brains.and please i still cant figure out your pics on your webpage.i want to see your beautiful face.

Kazima Karanja August 7, 2008 - 1:04 pm

Hi Vera

I am waiting for a response!!!!

afro August 7, 2008 - 3:17 am

Well said Kazima.

Ola. August 6, 2008 - 7:36 pm

Couldn’t agree more with Kazima .. but still it’s a very funny article..

Ola. August 6, 2008 - 7:34 pm

You are funny.. but quit picking on yorubas.. lol.. I’ve heard lots of igbo and calabar accents that are just as funny. anyways, English is not thier native tongue. I think it’s all colomentality when we judge people for having an accents. but I guess I’m a hypocrite.. I wouldn’t date a guy with a heavy accent either.. and it’s not just because of the accent straight out (yes it is. :o) ) it’s because it’s a symptom of a greater problem – WE are not compatible.

Kazima Karanja August 6, 2008 - 1:07 pm


I have a question for you. Why are you judging men based on their accent? What does an accent have to do with someone’s intellect?

Everyone has an accent – The British have an accent (They are the creators of the English language), the french, the portugese, the spanairds and I can go on and on.

What you are failing to realize is that English is the second language of most Nigerians. We speak English using the accent of our native languages.

A well dressed and groomed Nigerian man speaking very good english isn’t better than a Chinese or French man that has an accent and can’t communicate properly in the english language.

Do you prefer a Nigerian man to be more fluent in English but yet can’t communicate well with you in your native Igbo language ( I am assuming that you are Igbo)?

I am very sure you will prefer that.

This is what I call linguistic superiority and unfortunately it’s an inferiority complex that most Africans have towards European languages. We have replaced our native languages with European languages.

Muyiwa August 5, 2008 - 9:35 pm

nice article, but ‘egusi’ is spelt without a ‘w’ 🙂

Rosie August 5, 2008 - 7:12 pm

Verastic! You go kill me oh! I always knew God had a sense of humor. There is no cinderella. There is no prince on (yes) a white horse riding toward you, hair flapping in the wind, big bright smile and a face that belongs in the pages of GQ. Nada. But we can all settle on Shrek, abi?

Ololawola August 4, 2008 - 3:02 am

Omigosh, i just fainted from Laughter. Vera u are quite a character. I know what you mean about the bad speech, i cant get past it either. lol.


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