New year- No expectations

It’s raining outside; unsteady drops spraying my window pane as I write this. It’s calming in an eery sort of way. Diverts my attention from my orchestra of worries to something beyond me, outside my control, unleashed from the heavens. I remember when I was in Nigeria, I used to dance in the rain. The rain was my friend and I was a spirit child. Dipping in and out of the drops, body licked and thrown by the forces. It was invigorating, cleansing, something I was born to do. I let my tongue hang out and accepted the salty presents, offered by the sky. They tasted of the morning dew that settled on the tips of the restless grass, and the soil that my toes loved to squeeze and release till I couldn’t tell where my body ended and the earth began. Each drop was a different flavour, a story of its journey through the earth. I felt wicked tip-toeing back into the house, my wrapper and shirt clinging tightly to reveal the outline of my perky bosom, and hips rounded from pounded yam and every other delicacy I could savour before my return home. God spoke to me through his messengers the wind and the rain, and now lying here my fingertips brushing against the keys, something in my spirit tells me he is trying to again.

Today is the 1st January.  The beginning of great things to come. This year will be one of prosperity they said, the year that everything will fall into place. We held hands at the 12pm countdown, and this prayer was prayed over a  group of strangers-of different shades, from different backgrounds but joined by a mutual friend, and a need to shed the weight and disappointment of last year by drinking and gyrating into the next. As I held the hand of the girl next to me, I felt her grip tighten, her eyes behind large circular glasses had shrunken to tight slits, flickering sporadically as she prayed hard. I hunched my shoulders and closed my eyes but my mind was astray, sucked into a pool thoughts of how I was in exactly the same position last year; frenzied and praying earnestly for a change in fortune. My mouth felt dry. I wanted to withdraw my hands, throw them up in the air and let rip the laughter brewing in my belly. It was an angry laughter that swirled violently, making me sway back and forth from my heels to my toes.

I still feel that nauseating flutter in my belly but it’s branched out now, like a weed knotting itself in my shoulders. It tugs on me regularly; a festering bitterness that I can’t be rid of. Why? Because 2015 was meant to be my year of good fortune. The year I would meet me my mysterious dark-haired prince with long eloquent fingers to cradle my chin as he smothered me with wicked kisses, dark eyes that would melt like butter in my mouth whenever he looked at me, and a heart that would seek and protect mine earnestly till death do us part. Now 2016 has come and I find myself rolling my eyes at impassioned prophesies of prosperity, progress and blah blah blah.

Rather than calling on God and expecting him to whirl his hands together in a blaze of blinding fire and conjure my hearts desires, I think I’m going to decide to not expect anything. To let life pave my path.

Ce qui sera sera. Whatever will be will be.

2016 you will be what you want to be! as for me I will be a spirit child, untamed and care-free.  I wish you all the best of luck in your strivings for prosperity. As for me you’ll find me hiding in the shadows, the crater of the moon, or maybe the rays of sunlight that dance around your room.  

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Amazing

I am not perfect. Far from it. When you prayed for your Eve, I bet you didn’t expect that she would be like me. Kind of lazy, and Stubborn as a piece of meat that just won’t go down despite your relentless chewing. Sometimes I fight with you. For no good reason but to massage that ego of mine. That ego that yearns to dominate, laughs at the ludicrous concept of submissiveness, and rolls it’s eyes at the demand of an apology.

I’m difficult. I know. They’ve all told me that before. Right before they throw that last pitying look and wash their hands of me for the last time.

But not you. You’ve stayed. Endured. Encouraged. Thank you for loving me for me. For not dwelling on my flaws and pinpointing imperfections. For reminding me every day that I’m amazing, beautiful, incomparable. Today you held me, brushed my tears away with those soft warm lips and pressed your cheek against mine. “Even diamonds go through a process before they shine” you breathed, and then squeezed me, so tight. I didn’t want you to let go. I never want you to let go. You stun me with your generosity. The Christ-likeness in your mere humanity.  I love you. So grateful for you. So blessed by you.

You’re amazing. Man of mine you’re amazing. And every day I thank God for sending you my way.

Don’t get it twisted

This phrase tends to fight its way past my lips whenever a guy winds me up to the point of no return, saying something that has my eyes rolling and neck gyrating manically like a possessed voodoo Queen. I feel like this has been happening way too often. Not because this is my typical dramatic reaction to every dubious statement that’s thrown my way, but because lately I have been drowning in so much crap, this being the verbal trash spewing forth from the lips of that otherworldly species known as men. I find myself regularly dousing my face in splashes of cold water, as if confirmation that the crap I had just heard was real. I mean, did he really just say that to me? And is this really what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life? A lifetime of biting my tongue as he says and does the most unreasonable of things?

Sitting at the café, watching the passers-by swarm around us, I decided that I had agreed to this date for 2 reasons:

1) To size up this handsome guy sitting across from me. He was casually rocking some pastel-coloured chinos and a salmon V-neck. Good dress sense, check, plus he seemed attentive. His chocolate brown eyes steadfastly remained on mine throughout the conversation. They didn’t even stray when that petite Jamaican chick with the disproportionately large ass swaggered past, though I noticed she swayed significantly slower to give him a good eye full. Keep it moving hoe! But definitely big check

2) To reveal to him a little bit about myself. Just enough for him to get a good idea of our compatibility but holding back just enough to leave him with that tinge of curiosity; that yearning to run home and scan the web for the destination of our next hook up.

30 minutes into our conversation and I was pleased. The hot chocolate danced in my belly, spurring a warming sensation that sprouted up and out, culminating in a pleasant tingle at the tips of my fingers. I looked at them, wondering if this was a sign from God, spurring me on to touch the hands of my fated husband? Ok, maybe a bit far-fetched, but that pleasant feeling had me feeling mighty daring so I decided to go with it. 45 minutes into the conversation, I am gazing into his eyes, my fingers snugly intertwined between his and my mind deeply engrossed in our conversation.  I am mesmerized by his intellect. The way his words slid of his tongue so effortlessly, giving me a glimpse into his limitless knowledge. Hidden between the facts were a few hopeful statements where he talked about settling down and starting a family. I had to look away; the intensity of his gaze as he said those things made my cheeks flushed. I didn’t want to hint that at that exact moment in time I was feeling exactly what he was feeling; that we potentially could be a match made in heaven.

Oh how that heaven swiftly turned to hell when I decided to ask him a few questions. Find out if this man and I were really meant to be. His responses hit me like the blow from a heavy weight boxer. I found my head reeling. And this dear ladies and gentleman is when I decided to generously untwist the twisted notions that this poor male had in is head about relationships:

  1. Sex before marriage is compulsory: Personally I think this is completely at the discretion of the individual. Each to their own. The only thing I don’t agree with is when the man believes that because you are in a relationship he is entitled to your goods. I recently talked to a guy that described girls that decide to remain celibate in their relationship as selfish, because they force their men into celibacy. What kind of twisted world are we living in that women do not have the right to keep themselves?
  2. Being your girlfriend/wife is interchangeable with your house maid: Even if you do ask me the question ‘can you cook?’ and I confirm that yes I can. It does in no way mean that I will now become your personal chef. Yes, every now and then if I have the time I will cook you meals. Not because I have to but because I love you and want to take care of you. But long gone are the days where men are the sole providers in the house hold, so if I am lugging my ass out of bed every morning and going to work to provide for our family too, then I suggest that you purchase a cook book and a masculine vacuum cleaner because I will not be the only one to cook and clean up in this hizzouse!
  3. Just because your past girls have put up with it that I will: Too many times I have been told in that whiny and somewhat condescending tone ‘well my ex-girlfriend never had a problem with it’. Please, if you miss your relationship with your ex so much  go and find her and resume your dysfunctional relationship because I don’t have time for little boys that are always referring to their past. I am a growing woman so I have got to keep it moving forwards, not backwards thanks. Too many guys are used to behaving foolishly (e.g. not following through with promises, sexual promiscuity, being disrespectful etc.) and not suffering the repercussions because females in their past have kissed their asses, and failed to flag up serious flaws that need addressing. So when a no-nonsense woman comes into the picture they start cowering and complaining. Make up your mind: Do you want a woman that adores you but isn’t afraid to flag up your flaws to sculpt you into the amazing man she knows you can be? Or do you want a chick that Is going to bark ‘yes’ robotically in response to everything you say, whilst secretly thinking you’re a complete and utter douchebag? Choose.
  4. Marriage is not a 2 way decision: Guys are getting too cocky. I guess they can smell the pungent odour of women ripe for marriage in the air so they use it as leverage in relationships, holding it above a woman’s head like teasing a dog desperate for a treat.  The man that I marry needs to realise that I said yes when he donned that ring on my finger because I want to marry him and because he wants to marry me. It is a mutual agreement. In no way is it a privilege for a man to agree to marry a woman. In fact a woman enhances and upgrades a man’s life so really he should be seeing her acceptance to marry him as a blessing. Please recognise that I will continue to live life with our without your last name thanks.
  5. That you can buy my love: ‘I would take her out shopping’; that was the response I received from one of my male friends when I asked him what he would do if he really messed up with his woman. Why are men so confused? This might work on some women but men need to realise that most women of this day and age can pay their own way, so buying them this or that won’t better your situation. Try writing her a poem, taking her to a sentimental destination or even making a gift yourself, something to reignite feelings of your love. Maybe then maybe will she be able to give you her whole heart.
  6. That all women are players, juggling a million men at one time:  Don’t get me wrong. If we are not in a relationship then in no way am I obligated to cut off all other guys and commit to you completely. But if we are courting, I like you, and am blatantly investing a lot of time to get to know you, why assume that every time my phone vibrates it’s from another guy? I have been asked so many times now by my potential suitor ‘oh so that other guy is calling you again right?’ that it is now laughable. He doesn’t believe that it is any of my numerous girlfriends, who grossly outnumber my male friends by like 10:1, so I just go with it. Let him believe what he wants to believe. Personally I think guys like the idea because they want to know that the chick they are courting isn’t desperate and has other options, so if it does work out they feel it hasn’t been forced but developed completely organically. She chose him.

So these are just some points that I wanted to clarify for the guys out there who seem to harbour some deluded ideas of what relationships should be like. If your girl all of a sudden looks like she is having a seizure; her eyes rolling to the back of her head as her neck swivels uncontrollably then you best believe you must have got it twisted.

The Dilemma

So yesterday was my friend’s birthday. Whenever I see this cute little thing I can’t help but to be overwhelmed with fond memories of our school days. Us wobbling around on our stools in the science lab, struggling to stay awake as our teacher droned on and on about cells, plants and everything other thing in life that a 17 year old just doesn’t give a dilly-damn about! We had plans then. Plans of breaking out of that tiresome girl’s school and conquering the world! University was going to be our first stop. There we would party hard by night, sleep by day, and study in the frantic 5 hour period before exams. We always planned on meeting our significant others there; Mouth-wateringly handsome men that would bowl us over with their chivalry, good looks and infectious personalities. From there we would get amazing jobs. The sort of jobs where you would mix with nothing but the most elite graduates, be offered countless amazing international opportunities, and get paid so well that checking price tags would be a pointless thing of the past.

Oh youth- How I adore thee!! We were so happy, so hopeful, so lost in our limitless imaginations. Then reality dawned on us like a weighty fog- Creeping ever so slowly, till our hopes and dreams were stifled and choked. Completely suffocated. Now driving down this windy road with my beautiful buddy by my side, I couldn’t help but let slip that nagging question that built an air of contemplative silence, “What happened to us?”. She looked ahead through the crystal clear windscreen at the frenzied passers-by. Her eyes eerily still as if looking off into a far distance, probing through the years. After a few moments, as if waking from a trance, they flicked back to me as she answered “I guess things just got real”. That provoked a response, and from there we talked, and talked and talked until we reached the quirky African joint her birthday was to be held.

She talked about her boyfriend: A nice guy that had pursued her relentlessly because he knew in his mind that this woman was his Eve. Initially she was reluctant, since nursing a broken heart and a quarrelsome mind (let’s just say men in the past had not been so kind), but still he pursued, and with such a determined spirit that she couldn’t help but develop a subtle intrigue which continued to grow the more she got to know him. It turns out that this guy was one of the kindest and most selfless men that she had ever met, hence why they are now in a relationship. He didn’t fulfil her usual criteria for what she wanted in a partner, but there was something about him that she just couldn’t deny. He loved her, and he wasn’t afraid to show it. She knew that he wasn’t the wealthiest of men that could take her on 5* luxurious holidays and casually spray her with £50 notes, neither was he the most intellectual of men, engaging in furious stimulating debates that left her brain pulsating from an onslaught of knowledge, but she knew that he was hers. A loving and loyal man that would do anything just to make her happy. “I guess that’s good enough” she reasoned, although a subtle undertone in her quavering voice hinted some doubt “I am just being realistic”. Ideally every woman wants a man with a loving and loyal character, but to what extent is that enough?

That is a topic we deliberated till our mouths grew dry, unquenchable by no number of drinks. Personally I feel like it isn’t. I don’t know if it is my upbringing or just my inbuilt persona, but I have never really been attracted to the typically sexy or handsome men that other women are drawn to, or the wealthy men with high-flying jobs and flashy cars, instead I seem to be attracted to geeks. Diamonds in the rough. The sort of men that have that understated beauty and mental dexterity that a superficial woman could never appreciate. Why? Only God knows. I guess you could liken it to what Olanna sees in Odenigbo in ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’. Yes he has great character, but there is also so much more to him. I don’t know if it’s just me but there’s something so sexy about an intellectual man. A man that inspires you and you can learn from, yet doesn’t father or patronise you. Instead he sees your pricelessness and admires your unique strengths. That is the sort of man that I am seeking. Not the ready-made millionaire, but the fresh intellectual with limitless potential, an unstoppable drive and a promising future. A man that excites and ignites a fire within me, always keeping me on my toes and moving forward. But am I being too unrealistic in my expectations? Should I just be content with the simple man that loves and treats me well?

Lately I have been questioning my expectations because I met an amazing guy. A true sweetheart. This man had an abundance of love of attention that he was all too willing to shower upon me. When I looked into his eyes I could just see him being an attentive and doting father, and an incomparable lover. The sort of man that any woman would be proud to call hers. But for some reason, whether right or wrong I just wasn’t drawn to him. I felt no magnetic force pulling us together. Yes we laughed, we joked, and we had fun. But fun is all it was and will ever be. And for that reason our encounter left me feeling a tad perturbed.

The women in my life have always encouraged me to want a man not for his looks, or money but for his flawless character. A man that would stand by me through thick and thin; even when it’s my time of the month and I am ranting and raving like a possessed mad woman, he still stays by my side, nodding and smiling patiently to appease his queen. Lord knows that to have such a man would be a blessing, but is it wrong that I want more?

In this time of unspeakable good-man-drought. I find myself feeling a tad selfish for wanting more. Choosing to be with a man just because he treats you well isn’t settling, is it? Or is it just being realistic? Supposing I found a man that had the traits that I seek, such as intellect, ambition and a heart of gold. Am I being realistic in thinking that we could ever live happily ever after?

Something that my friend said to me really got me thinking. She explained that she had just got back from a work-related outing, where she mixed with several of the senior executives of the organisation. She was surprised at how lewd and flirtatious several of the men were. Although they were dressed so smartly in crisp suits and designer-wear their actions on the contrary were animalistic and wanton. Their wedding bands in no way restricting their reckless behaviour. One could only wonder whether their wives were at home waiting for them; cooking, cleaning and blissfully unaware that their hard-working husbands were hard, and working on women outside of the workplace, or whether these wives were fully aware of their partner’s promiscuous ways but had grown hardened to the sad reality that having a successful man means having an unfaithful one.

As she described her experience I couldn’t help but wonder ‘what happened to these men?’ I am sure that for them to undertake such high-flying senior executive roles, they would have to possess some of the traits that I admire in a man such as intellect and ambition, but whether they ever possessed a good and loving character is questionable. Is it possible that they channelled so much of their energy into intellect and ambition, that it compromised their initially good character, resulting in these barbaric and adulterous ways? And if that is the case, maybe my friend is right, and it is more realistic to just decide upon a man with outstanding character, or is this settling?

I know we all have our preferences; maybe it is intellect, ambition, status or physical attractiveness, and although painful one thing we just have to accept is that life and people are ever-changing like the turning tide. And if we choose partners that possess these alluring characteristics then our eyes need to be open to the fact that they could easily change, plus there are consequences; an attractive physical partner is likely to have endless admirers, similarly to one of high social status, or with a flourishing career, therefore they are going to be exposed to people and situations that will test your relationship to its fullest. Every relationship experiences its temptations, but suppose that this is more likely for those certain people with countless alluring characteristics, then maybe the wisest or should I say the safest thing to do would be to choose the man with just the flawless character because at least you know that this is enduring and through the trying times he will make loving you his priority. But why play it safe? Love itself is a risk. What do you think?

A wolf in sheep’s clothing

Lord he is a Christian! His husky voice reverberates above the choir’s as he sings the church hymns, his arms sway loosely in the air like he’s being carried along by the spirit; his skin radiates and glows just like a flawless Angel. Dude might as well be clothed in white and wearing a halo.

For many people religion is an important part of life, thus understandably when it comes to relationships they tend to seek a religious partner, assuming that because this person is religious they will be ‘good’ and carry along with them several godly traits. This is a common misconception that way too many people have, thus when they meet a man or woman that claims that they are a Christian (or other religion) they are so bedazzled and excited by this concept of their partner being religious that they overlook fundamental signs; things that could tell you whether this person is actually the right person to be in a relationship with.

Godliness has always been a trait at the forefront of my list of what I really desire in a man, but more and more I am realizing that this isn’t something that is determined by whether one claims to be religious or not. To me a godly man is someone that possesses traits like being kind, meek, humble, generous etc., whether he makes a conscious effort to or not, someone that behaves like-Christ. And if he really is a Christian then this isn’t something he should be declaring over the mountains, instead naturally it should show in the way he treats you.

Personally, I know that I want to marry a Christian because I want a man that is prayerful in the good times and the bad, will encourage and inspire me to grow in faith, and will strive to raise Children in a godly way, nevertheless I am overtly aware of how for many people religion can be a blinding factor, thus am determined to make sure that it isn’t for me.

The reason I feel this way is because I have come across so many situations where people have entered into serious relationships with self-proclaimed Christians who have beaten them down both mentally and physically. In one case the woman decided to flee from the relationship, ultimately marrying a Non-Christian who contrary to her previous lover, treated her like the queen she was; showing her so much kindness, love, care, generosity and respect that her past pains were nursed away. In my opinion, he was an example of a godly man, although he wasn’t a Christian he was strong in integrity, and showed love and kindness to others in abundance. At the same time, I have encountered Christian men that have left me feeling dubious and shaken, praying to God for a discerning spirit because some people are truly not what they seem:

I remember once I met this guy at university. He was a postgraduate that had newly arrived from Nigeria, looking all preppy and clean cut in his cute V neck jumper and designer boat shoes. He looked so innocent with those big brown eyes against caramel colored skin. We started conversing and not too far into the conversation he had the nerve to ask me “are you really a good girl or do you just say that you are a good girl?” – Now this had me raising an eyebrow, what cheek! Not only was he questioning my morality in a condescending tone may I add, but he didn’t even have the manners to look at me when he was talking; his eyes were too busy chasing after every single girl that walked past. Don’t get me wrong, I was not his wifey, didn’t expect any sort of commitment or his undivided attention all day every day, but if you are having a conversation with me the least I deserve is some eye contact and your immediate attention. As I watched him I couldn’t help but laugh inwardly, this ‘holier than thou’ dude was acting like a downright creep!!! Already I was plotting my means for escape. When I told him to keep his googly eyes in his head he made some smug comment about me fancying him or something, Looord! Proud much???

As the conversation continued he talked, or should I say boasted about his avid involvement in the church. By then my mind had already started drifting; I was too busy thinking about what time Cost-Cutter was closing and how I needed to buy some Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream before the sale ended, but then something else he said snatched back my attention and had alarm bells ringing in my head, something about how he used to beat up homosexuals within an inch of their lives with his church friends,ermmmm crazy much???

Basically from that short conversation, other than the fact that this guy was outright psychotic! I was able to deduce that he was not the sort of guy I would want to be friends with, let alone date. I could already picture what a relationship with him would be like. I imagined that he would be the sort of man to zealously contribute to the church, gaining the respect and admiration of those around him, but then this same supposedly God-fearing man would sneak around with multiple women at night, and then be overly critical and accusing of his wife when he returned home. He would be possessive, always wanting to be in control of where she goes, who she sees, what she does, and what she wears, claiming that everything is ungodly and ultimately resorting to mental and physical abuse to assert his authority. I felt such pity for the woman that would fall into his trap.

Just from talking and analyzing his body language I recognized that he was:

1) Condescending and boastful– a good Christian should not be quick to judge or make himself seem superior to others
2) Accusative– People that are quick to throw around accusations tend to be hiding something themselves and projecting their own insecurities onto others
3) An eccentric– He used the label of being a Christian to justify his aggressive and abusive behavior. Yes homosexuality is wrong but when did Jesus ever beat anyone up to the point of death?
4)Disrespectful towards women– Not only was he undressing every female that walked by with his eyes, but he didn’t even have enough respect for me to try hiding it! It was like he felt entitled to it. Proud creep!

Christian or no Christian, these are things that I noticed, and it’s about time people start opening their eyes and noticing the same. Funnily enough, a girlfriend of mine also knew the dude and verified that he was a strange individual, so I guess my sixth sense detected something.

Ultimately both men and women tend to be blinded by certain superficial traits, whether that be the person’s religious status, their wealth or attractiveness. It is okay to be attracted to these things but just make sure that they do not distract you from what really matters in a partner, the person’s heart- hehehe I know it’s cheesy but it’s so true! Some men disguise themselves as Christians so that they can reel in good godly women who they then marry, and whilst these women are busy performing their wifely duties they go on with their wayward ways, knowing that these women are trapped in the marriage and will endure hell before it ends.

Similarly, some women appear to be ideal; gorgeous whilst also God-fearing, but one thing one should always do is ‘shine your eyes’. Think about all of their traits: How does this person deal with difficult situations? How do they relate to other people? How would they behave if you were not able to shower them with money and regular gifts yet still showed them love?

That last question is particularly for the guys, especially with the growing culture of superficial women and gold-diggers. If your man or woman still shows you love in the hardest of times then you know that you have got something good. Small signs can go a long way so keep an eye out for those wolves in sheep’s clothing.

To be or not to be in a relationship

Confused and frustrated. Those 2 words best describe how I am feeling at this exact moment. I watched an episode of ‘Being Mary Jane’, a series that depicts the struggles of a Black American woman in her home, career and love life. To say that I am addicted would be an understatement. I am well and truly hooked; not only because I can identify with some of struggles that she faces as a young, single black woman, but the fact that it flags up some fundamental issues when it comes to relationships, ultimately leading you to puzzle over the question: Why do relationships have to be so complicated?

I have always been someone to love being in a relationship. I love the feeling of companionship that comes with it. The feeling of being loved wholeheartedly by someone, and giving that love back ten-fold, completely and selflessly. It is indescribable; fills your heart with so much joy that your chest can barely contain it. I know I definitely want to feel that way about somebody again. And I want it to be mutual and reciprocal, with them loving me with an equal or even greater intensity than I do them. But one thing I must admit is that, I’m scared. I am just so scared of being in a relationship. They are often romanticized, and society constantly makes you feel like if you are not in one then you are really missing out. This is understandable because they can be amazing! But at the same time they come with so much pressure, and it’s this pressure that I am not too sure I can stand.

Even before you start dating there is a slight pressure for you to be the sort of woman a man would want. With this in mind, I don’t mean drastically changing your appearance and pretending to be something that you completely are not, but I mean doing subtle things like spending 5 minutes scrutinizing a text because you don’t want to sound too forward, or give the impression that you are too available but at the same time too independent. People are always saying that you should never act like you are too interested, and that you should play a few games, make the guy chase you. It might sound silly but it seems most guys respond more positively to this sort of childish behaviour, which is sad because it leaves the down-to-earth, hopelessly romantic females contemplating acting like an indifferent diva just to gain the guys attention. Even in the most understated of ways, the idea of being in a relationship already changes who you are from the very beginning, so the question you really need to ask yourself is ‘Is it worth it?’

Right now I am going through a phase where I am not necessarily looking to be in a full blown relationship, but I am definitely keeping an eye out for that guy that I could possibly be in one with. Befriend him. Get to know him, and then possibly take it to that next level. But even the idea of ascending to that next level is scary. I definitely would not say that I am a commitment-phobe, but I believe that everybody should approach the idea of being in a relationship with caution. Why do I feel this way? Because relationships are hard work. Not only do you invest your time, emotions, money and sometimes your body, but you invest your hopes and dreams of the future. In my opinion, for me to do this I need to be completely sure that the man in question is worthy of all of this effort and that the relationship has long-term potential, and could potentially result in marriage.

I feel sad when I hear about women in dysfunctional relationships where the man abuses them mentally and physically, has affairs, and ultimately damages their self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. A lot of women enter into or stay in such relationships because they feel that the man is going to change, that they would never be able to find anything better, or they rationalize that maybe they are the problem and the reason for his bad behavior. Understandably, many women are determined to stick through their relationships even when the times are bad, and I mean really bad, but I think that it is important and healthy to take some time and evaluate your relationship, ask yourself some important questions: Is this the sort of man that I want to be in a relationship with? Do I like the person that I am turning out to be? Ultimately, if not then maybe this relationship is not and has never been right for you.

This piece isn’t to discourage people that want to enter into relationships, but it is just to encourage women to be patient and really take the time to think before you choose to make that man your official boyfriend or husband, before you become that desperate woman seeking advice to resolve endless relationship problems.

Take some time to consider these points if you are contemplating becoming his woman:

Make Sure You Know Yourself: I know that my future husband has to be godly, kind, and have the silliest sense of humor. Why? because that’s what makes me happy and something that I cannot do without. What must you have in a man? Do not settle for anything less.

Establish Yourself Spiritually: Religion can really guide you in terms of how to conduct yourself in a relationship; how to treat others and knowing how you should be treated. A godly woman knows her self-worth and the worth of others. Open up to him about your beliefs. A man that will respect you, is morally attuned to you, and strives to build a relationship with you with God at the forefront is definitely a keeper.

You Have To Be Emotionally Mature: Relationships are exhausting. You need to have that emotional maturity to be able to compromise, forgive and work through hard times. Bob Marley wisely said “The truth is everyone is going to hurt you. You just have to find the ones worth suffering for”, thus on entering into a relationship you should be prepared to face hard times, just make sure that without a doubt the man in question is worth it. It’s also important that you hold yourself in high esteem and have a healthy perception of yourself, so if you ever do have to walk away from a dysfunctional relationship or endure through difficult circumstances then your dignity is always intact.

Be Independent- It commands respect: It helps to enter into a relationship knowing that if you wanted to you could leave at your own accord. Strive for personal progression and successes, so that no man would ever be able to take you for granted or use his money or power as leverage. Let him know that you have your own friends, career and interests, and although he is an important part of your life, without him your world will keep on spinning, so he best work hard at staying in it.

Learn More About Him: I know sometimes it’s tempting to snatch that man off the market because he seems to have several of the traits countless women are looking for (e.g handsome, educated, wealthy, god-fearing etc). But really take that time to get to know him. Show him your strengths and weaknesses, and likewise evaluate his. If you can be completely free around him, joke with and confide in him like you’re best friends, then with time it may develop into something more. If he treats you like an invaluable treasure as your friend, then only God knows how amazing your relationship could be as lovers.

I want to leave you with this scenario in mind (taken from ‘Being Mary Jane’): A married woman is confronted by her husband’s mistress about their affair, although deeply hurt, in response she says “I am going to count my blessings that it wasn’t something much worse”. She knew that when she married this man she made a commitment, and whether rightly or not she was determined to fight for their relationship. What I am trying to communicate is that relationships are hard. I know that there is a lot of pressure for women to be in relationships, but we must be patient, take our time and make sure that he is the one.

Because once you are married or in a committed relationship you may have to endure some hardships you never contemplated in your wildest dreams. Just make sure that you are ready.

The dos and donts of love in the club

I recently went to a party with a girlfriend of mine. We are both single, thus we were dressed with the idea that we could potentially meet some nice guys in mind; modest yet alluring. When we entered, the room was sparsely occupied with some black guys standing around conversing. We sat down by a nearby table and before we even started talking were joined by a white guy who attempted to make some pointless chit-chat.

What he said was not at all interesting, but what did catch my attention was the confidence with which he made some of his statements, one clearly being that “I love black women”. I watched bemusedly as he rambled on and on about how black women are so attractive, ultimately ending with him offering to buy us some drinks. Although I was not in the least impressed with his futile efforts of making interesting conversation, I did respect the fact that this guy had even tried- I mean, here was a guy who knew what he wanted and had straight up gone for it, despite the fact that he was a minority white guy at a predominantly black party.

Looking around the room I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Black guys scattered around in clusters were throwing inquisitive glances in our direction, probably wondering what on earth this guy was saying to keep us engaged for so long, when really they should have been asking themselves why aren’t we making the effort to go and talk to these girls ourselves? Now believe me, I’m not blowing my trumpet and assuming that these guys were interested. It’s just that several of them gave us that ‘look’ that suggested that there was some sort of attraction, plus throughout the night when things got busy, we were bombarded by so many one can only wonder why they didn’t use their common sense and try to talk to us when we were less occupied.

I left that night feeling confused and maltreated, mulling over several questions in my head. I was hoping that some of you could help me answer them:

1. What is the right way to approach a girl at a party? I am pretty sure I know everything that I would hate for a guy to do, but how could he actually approach me in a way that he’d be warmly received?
2. What are the intentions of guys at parties? Am I too hopeful in thinking that a guy may actually approach me with more respectful intentions than a quick shag?
3. Why do guys no longer put in any effort? Is it because females have lowered their standards to the point that guys have learnt that they don’t need to make any effort to get what they want? Are the guys simply just scared of rejection? Or, do they assume that all girls in the party scene are unserious?

Regardless, men really need to start asking themselves: “do I treat women with the dignity and respect that they deserve?” Similarly, women need to ask themselves, do I conduct myself in a way that warrants respect? I found that the men that did muster the courage to approach me did it in such an abrasive and aggressive way that I literally had to fight my way out of the interactions; on numerous occasions they would throw out their arms like fishing nets and reel me in kicking and screaming. One guy in particular just wouldn’t take no for an answer. He begged and pleaded with me to dance with him, offering to buy me drinks and drop me home (1 hour’s drive) in exchange.

I normally find persistence attractive but this was to such an extreme that it became beyond PATHETIC. Whenever I would try and move away and reconnect with my friend, he would side-step in front of me, grabbing my arm and blocking me like some menacing thug; I had to use great force to pry my arm free from his ruthless grip. This disturbing experience made me want to inform the guys out there about some of the things they just SHOULD NOT do when interacting with girls.

I don’t know if it’s intoxication or excessive testosterone, regardless it is INEXCUSABLE:
– Whispering in her ear – This is way too intimate a thing to be doing to a girl you’ve just met. Only attempt if you are completely sure that she is comfortable with you.

– Firmly grabbing her by the arm or waist – This culture of aggressiveness is NOT cool and needs to stop. A real man wouldn’t dare touch the lady unless it was a gentle tap on the shoulder or you had her permission.

– Sneaking up from behind and grinding against her – This is plain nasty! And kind of perverted.

– Stepping in between her and her friend, blatantly ignoring the fact that another human being is present – This is STANK RUDE!

– Being over-persistent to the point that you are a FREAK STALKER – Learn to take no for an answer, after a while it just gets pathetic.

– Biting your lip and looking the girl up and down – Are you that inexperienced that you have never seen a women before? Or are you hungry and she looks like a piece of meat?

– Asking out both friends in front each other – At least have enough game to try this separately! Amateur.

Similarly, women here are some things that you SHOULD NOT do:

– Let a guy man handle you: You can appear jokey at first but make it known that you will not stand for such nonsense.

– Dress half-naked: I noticed that the girls wearing more clothes actually received more attention than the ones walking around naked.

– Dance like a hooker: Some girl’s hands were on the floor while her ass was high up in the air shaking like it had the fever. Let’s just say that she received attention but not of the good kind :s

– Leave your friend alone: Abandoning your friend in favour to dance with some guy is rude and can be quite upsetting. Friendship comes first so even if you do dance with someone else, make sure your friend isn’t lonely.

– Cling to your man all night if you are with him: One girl couldn’t seem to let her man go! All night she was forcing his arms around her waist and making random displays for attention. He didn’t seem too impressed.

Ladies don’t forget that you were somebody before you met him, so spend some time dancing by yourself and having fun independently – reminds him of the independent spirit he first met, plus it makes you seem less clingy.

Guys, I know approaching a girl can be difficult (especially as some of us do some serious Shakara), but please remember that we are women like your mothers and sisters, and all of us deserve to be appreciated and treated with respect. Girls, we say that we are ladies but do we conduct ourselves like them? Hardcore twerking in the club and dressing like strippers isn’t going to prompt a man to behave like a gentleman. Ultimately, know your worth and settle for nothing less.