It does not happen in Lagos everyday like it does in other parts of the world, where it is perfectly normal if a lady makes the first move. Imagine yourself: a full-blooded man, endowed with natural predatory capacity having a lady sidle up to you with fluttering eyelids, a coy smile and with that abi-you-no-wan-pound-yam-kind-of-look. Well, let me take that back, my mistake. Yes those kinds of things are said to happen at Allen Avenue and all other ‘juicy’ spots in Victoria Island and Surulere, but that is not the kind that I mean. The ones that take place at Allen Avenue, Surulere in this wise are the money-for-hand-back-na-ground type. Those are not the type I’m talking about. I refer to the ones that have to do with really good people (not like the ungood ones at Allen) genuinely interested in establishing lasting relationships with guys of their fancy.
The reason why it is considered a ‘forward’ and less than dignified a thing for a lady to make the first move here is that there are a lot of socio-cultural factors. Apart from the so-called natural expectation that it is the man that should take the lead, matters are really compounded for those who tinker with making that move because the conservatively born-and-bred in Nigeria have internalized that concept: the concept that making that move makes them cheap indeed and irresponsible. Sometimes too in our religious institutions and from our villages, ladies are admonished that they must wait, be passive, even when it is obvious that they are beginning to lose that shine that attracts the opposite sex to them. The matter always assumes an uncomfortable dimension whenever I think of a lady becoming passive in our community where the ladies are said to be more than the guys in a ration of5 – 1. Hear that amebo, Shakespeare: Nature has endowed every woman with just about enough beauty to find a husband. I guess he was talking about the demure and the coy of his time that got inspiration from their Virgin Queen Elizabeth, who even never got married. I should like Shakespeare to know that our girl-children grow up so fast today that they have swelled the population of the marriageable and hookable so much that the competition now to find a good man today is a keen one. These girl-children being much more daring and warm and full and filled with the adventurous spirit of Christopher Columbus are making the business of passivity really unprofitable. Therefore, rather than be ‘cheap’ or ‘forward’ or irresponsible by firing the first romantic shot, I think the methods in place now to get attention are beginning to be a drastic departure from what we know of the famous passivity of the African woman. At least I know two of the ways. One (which I find a little incongruously offensive) is the tendency to be a little too undressed. Not to blame them too much really. Like I said above, the competition is getting keener and the trend with modern clothes is the ‘revelatory tendency’, where we are allowed to get a preview of both the Oshodi Oke and Isale from the way the clothes hug the body. And talk of getting a preview; I guess it is because it is common knowledge that any man is a sucker for a (let me use Chris Okotie’s words) ‘woman’s mammary glands and the rotundity of their undulating derriere’.
The other ‘method’ (and this, pardon me, I find ingeniously effective) is the internet, thanking God for Emeagwali. Take it from me, that about seventy percent of the local girls you find at the local cyber café are either actively involved in chatting guys up; about two percent involved in one form of academic or business activity and the rest accomplices of the yahoo-yahoo boys. Well, the other two are not the focus here but the first. Of course, with the horde of girls suffering from what Angela has dubbed rostinus blastomia (she mean say them dey roast, no man) you can imagine the relief it brings to be able to fire that first romantic shot at your man with the help of that robot as your front, maintaining the decorum that society has imposed on you as a woman. I don’t see anything too wrong in firing your shot via the internet particularly when you take a lot of factors into consideration including some that I highlighted above. Yes, some say it has its drawbacks and hazards but what is it that we do in this sweet life of ours that has no drawbacks and pitfalls? They say that if a man gets his lady via the internet na sign of weakness and that if a woman does so, it is a signal of desperation. But tell me, if a woman finds love via desperate methods, shebi she found love didn’t she? And the ‘weak’ guy who exposes his inability to woo a lady but sends an email instead and triggers some romantic energy, what shall we say about him?
At first I was taken aback when I got hit by one of those shots. And true to that inherently masculine ego that is our lot, I felt that the lady must be cheap, really cheap to have fired that all most important shot that gets fired by us. That was until I met her in person and I changed my mind. For a woman of her caliber and position to have fired that kind of shot, it is either she was desperate or daring or strong or modern in outlook. It was much later I discovered it was for all of the above reasons but it was too late. I was naïve. I did not handle the thing maturely. And I flunked. But not this time, I assure you. One of such shots has just been fired by one that is seemingly very friendly, homely, an intellectual, dark and about five feet – six. Speaks well and is a Christian. I no go slack this time.