I recall an intense debate I had with a few Nigerian guy friends about how fickle a lot of Nigerian girls are becoming. “They carry around designer bags without even knowing who designed them!” one of my friends exclaimed in irritation “if you can’t buy them a $500 Gucci bag they won’t date you. Abeg joh I can’t deal with Nigerian women!” I waved my hand in the air and gave a silent hallelujah as I brought to mind a few friends of mine who had sold out to the ‘Sugar Daddy’ mentality, in order to afford the luxury of sun glasses bigger than their faces. How proud I was not to be counted in that number.
Over the weekend however something changed, drastically. I became baptized into the “New Boyfriend, New Shoe” church. The one that preaches the doctrine of ‘Louboutins’ before ‘Love’, and ‘Lace-Up Boots’ before you ‘Look For Me’. But this conversion was not one without fire, in Nigerian terms, it pained me plenty. It was a slow transition that occurred upon my realization of a shameful double standard that still riddles the Nigerian mentality. Alas, I discovered that we still lived in the age of the “I am the man, and I can do what I want” school of thought.
I’ve attended numerous parties with Nigerian boys, friends and acquaintances alike. I see them pre- game hours before, and hear their plans to ‘corner’ females other than the ones they are in relationships with, just for fun. “My girl better not show up tonight mehn, I’ve set some heavy P[arolls]!” they say, while shaking hands like members of some twisted political party congratulating each other on achieving absolutely nothing. People are under the assumption that because I’m usually an active member of conversations I miss out on half the discussion itself; this could not be further from the truth. As a writer I am constantly character assessing, personality identifying, and most importantly conversation recording; I hear it all and I remember it all, in scary detail. However, until this past weekend this double standard was one I was willing to ignore as it didn’t affect my personal well being. I was content with wishing my male comrades bon voyage on their conquests and retiring to my room to make love to my Kindle.
Spring came around this year suddenly and with full force like a bad flu. No seriously, I was struck with a bad flu, and once the weekend came around pretty much bed ridden for a whole two days. It was while in bed, unable to go anywhere or have any fun, that my passion for shopping and shoes was reignited, and thoughts of romance took the back seat. Everyone who knows me knows I adore my boyfriend, it’s as clear as a bee sting to the forehead. However my Blackberry (which I’m still yet to trade in for a Droid despite numerous threats to my friends list) was as silent as hill, from Friday night to Sunday evening. You see, I have no recollection whatsoever of what our current disagreement was about this time, but I knew it couldn’t be anything so important that his vex would surpass my flu. DSW and ASOS became my lovers; Guess and Steve Madden became my friends. The longer my significant other kept an ice-box where his heart used to be, the stronger my feelings for Steve grew. Alas, by Sunday evening, retail therapy had cured me and I was back on my feet (true story).
Once I had packed my ‘portmanteau’ and was dispatched back to illadelphia, I was met with caring questions from concerned friends. One recurring question was “how’s the boyfriend?” In all honesty, the first name that came to my mind was Steve Madden. He had been there for me when I’d run out of tissues with which to blow my nose, and my body refused to maintain a reasonable temperature. He was the first one that came to mind. A few guy friends however rose to the defense of my doting boyfriend person. “He’s a man joh!” they said vehemently. “You want him to be calling you every five minutes because of cold, did you die? No! So free the guy.” Logic compelled me to argue some simple facts with them, of course I didn’t expect anyone to call me every five minutes, not even your friendly neighborhood telemarketer. However, it would have been nice if he could rent a uhaul to hold his ego (which can be a turn on when used in the Beyonce context) and text to find out if I’d run out of Kleenex.
The point is Steve Madden stepped up to the plate and took care of me. He gave me a mental foot rub that soothed me so sweetly I didn’t notice funds seeping from my bank account, and I realized females of the “New Boyfriend, New Shoe’ church are judged ever so wrongly. We only find in material things what we lack in relationships. It’s not that we can’t purchase these items of hearts desires ourselves, no! *In the voice of honorable Patrick*. In fact, part of the reason Nigerian boys complain is because they can’t afford to constantly spend money on their women paying for the services of Mr. Madden, as the women do themselves. Although I plan to go back to attending my regular church next Sunday, and I know this lapse in my boyfriends judgment (if I still have a boyfriend after this article) was only a glitch in our perfect system, I go back with a deeper understanding of the material demands females make of men. Simply stated, if you did your job right as a significant other we wouldn’t bother so much about material things. But in the mean time, as you’re there setting ‘P’ and what not, please pick up a pair of pink pumps from DSW. If women are expected to put up with the philandering of men, then men should equally be prepared to meet the demands of women. No?
Back to shoe shopping I go.