Author Archives: Rambling Roommates
Soooooo… we didn’t win. Tear. If you recall, we were nominated for Best Blog for Ghana’s 2014 Social Media Awards, but unfortunately we didn’t win. I know you’re wondering who on earth could have possibly beaten us…?
We are too. But it was the lovely ladies over at AdventuresFrom (the bedrooms of African women). We have nothing but love and mad respect for our big sisters in the blogosphere, so we say a HUGE CONGRATS to them!!!! Y’all have stepped up the game in (female) African blogging, and give a great platform for women to openly share whats on their hearts and minds regarding sex and sexual health.
The Social Media Awards Ceremony was held at the end of Ghana’s Blog Camp event held a couple weeks ago in Accra . Despite not winning, we did have a blast leading the Blogging 101 breakout session and interviewing people for Google’s youtube corner. I’ve included some pics below of the event, and a highlight video at the end of the blog.
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Ok. It’s time for a short blog now.
When we started RR, I made the decision that whenever Amma and I engaged in a back and forth, I wouldn’t respond to Amma’s reply if I had started the discussion… trust me, this has been no small task, especially when Amma likes to bust out diagrams of the highest inaccuracy. BUT I’m going to break my rule today, and say a few words in relation to something she said in her last post:
Who says we all want to get married in the first place?
Sigh… I love my feminists, I do. In most circles, I am considered one of their strongest advocates, allies, and yes even, leaders…. so my next few statements might actually come as a shock to some. I’m sorry in advance. :)
The feminist movement is not old enough for people to be tooting around that ‘not
all a critical mass of women want to get married’. This seems to have become a default response in the never ending discussion of what women should do (career v. family) and when they should do it; it’s become a defense mechanism of sorts… from what?, only God knows I do not quite know. But it’s as if the admission of wanting to be committed to someone (gasp, someone with 1 Y and 1 X chromosome) is some sign of weakness… or contrary to the movement. In any case, as it stands now what we’re seeing is a delay of marriage rather than an outright abolishment of it. Delaying marriage to do other things such as make a name for yourself in your career, do you as a single person for a while or whore around make like you’re a man with no emotional attachment to sex, is not a complete abolishment of marriage. Until data proves otherwise, you won’t be able to convince me that the majority of single, never been married women at 45 wouldn’t prefer to be a long term committed partnership, you just can’t**. You can’t because as much as some in the movement want to yell, kick and scream… there is biology/ human nature at play here… something one cannot fight (regardless of whether you believe in Adam and Eve or evolution). For the majority of feminists screaming this message of ‘we all don’t want to get married’, these women are a. still young enough to be able to eventually say yes to a lifetime partnership if they choose (ie. in their mid to late 30′s) b. screaming these statements as hypotheticals with one or two examples of ‘people they know who are happily single and never been married at 45, c. jaded about marriage because of what they’ve seen in the media and in their own lives, d. think ‘feminists’ wanting marriage have been somehow brain washed by religion or society, or e. just plain outliers.
I feel a little passionate about the above, because I’ve seen a trend of some feminists demonizing the desire of would be fellow feminists to get married (particularly before a certain age). But to me, feminism and marriage are not mutually exclusive. More so, the choice to get married (and whenever you want to) is fully in line with the spirit of feminism: the ability to choose (and do) what is best for you without hindrance due to your gender (even if that means cutting short your promising Fortune 500 CFO path to have … babies).
There will always be women (scabs, as Amma puts it) stopping female collusion from being great. They, in all their awesomeness and glory, will never be thinking about nobody’s desire to get married as they try to get theirs by sleeping around, and
feigning saying that their end goal is never to be married. However, my question is, ‘are these women singing the same song at 40, 45, 50?’ How many heterosexual 40/50 year old single, never been married (or in a long term partnership) women do you know that are happy as a clam saying they’re glad they never got married or into a long term partnership?
And that’s my point. Thus far, the majority of women eventually come around to the idea of ‘settling down’.
Alright, I’m done.
I must conclude by saying that I do recognize that a lot of people have a very messed up view of marriage, either from their own parents or others; I’m not going to sit and pretend that the baby boomer generation didn’t systematically suck at being able to choose one person to be with for their adult life, to love, sacrifice for, cherish, and be faithful to for better or worse in sickness and in health, BUT that doesn’t mean the fundamentals of being committed to one individual should be thrown out with the bathwater. I know I’m probably not the best person to speak to this because I have a great view of marriage – my parents have been happily married for 30 yrs, and I can’t think of many divorces in my extended family- yet still, removing me from the equation as the messenger, just because people suck at marriage doesn’t mean the institution in and of itself sucks. And neither does the fundamental idea of loving one person for life, and longing for companionship and partnership with them.
**so we’re clear: notice I said, “never been.” Those who have, and no longer want to be again are a different story. And even for these, let’s also make a distinction between regret of being committed to the wrong person versus saying you wish you never entered into marriage or a long term partnership (and don’t want to engage that type of relationship again).
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Highlights from the #BlogCamp14 event, our session made a cameo @ 4:10-4:47
We love the ‘shout-out’ we got on YesiYesi Ghana’s blog. If you’ve never visited the site before, it’s Ghana’s first online satirical/spoof news site that covers politics, business, technology, entertainment, science, health and media…. and now love. :) If you can recall our post on ‘The Ultimate Dating Advice in Accra‘, then you’ll definitely catch our ‘shout-outs’ in their post. Enjoy!
Originally posted on YesiYesi Ghana:
Steve Harvey, the American actor and comedian, is publishing a sequel to his best-selling book, Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man. YesiYesi gathers Harvey’s new book, Act Like a Lady Think Like a Ghanaman, will be out on sale in the coming weeks.
The author revealed that he wrote the book to help Ghanaian women to understand Ghanaian men. “Ghanaian women are in most cases extremely gracious and pleasant, but recent posts on my Twitter and Facebook timelines seems to suggest that most of these women are feeling rather disappointed, disenfranchised, and disillusioned in their failing or failed relationships.”
In his book, Harvey argues that for the relationship to work, the Ghanaian woman needs to fully understand the Ghanaian man. He believes “that a clear-eyed, knowing approach to dealing with Ghanaian men on their terms, on their turf, in their way, can, in turn, get Ghanaian women exactly…
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This is Amma’s response to The Economics of Sex: The Game Has Changed [Part 1]
. . .
Let’s go all the way back…
Who says we all want to get married in the first place?
I studied labor relations in college (random… I know) and if there is ONE thing we came out of there knowing and understanding, it is the economic and social power of a scab. Scabs are the people who, in the midst of a protest, will continue to work or continue to offer the service being scaled back for the sake of a greater good. They are the undermining, no-good, back stabbing son of guns who can single-handedly prevent the greater good.
They often suffer ‘mysterious’ tragic ends.
They had it coming.
So what does this have to do with economics of sex? Well… the collusion bit of course. The problem is, as you rightly asserted in your synopsis of the movie, aside from birth control there are also shifts in societal norms that have de-valued marriage or long term commitment and have made sex an end in and of itself.
Back in the day, women got married for plenty of reasons:
- Economic stability- since the man was the sole breadwinner
- Societal pressure- giving birth to a royal lineage, marrying up, being offered in a business transaction between two powerful families… I mean, just generally being used as collateral
- Puritanical Conceptions of family- the idea that a family is only valid if there is a mother, father (who are married and at least the woman is faithful) two children and a pet
- Religious reasons- Christianity required it of any sexual encounter
Today we are seeing that less people are ‘religious’, more women are breadwinners, society is opening up to alternative family relationships (two dads anyone?) and thanks to Sheryl Sandberg, we are leaning in and there is no pressure to be a great mom and great wife, just a great women in the boardroom. Women today aren’t dainty little princesses waiting in purity for their handsome princes to come slay dragons and win their hand. Some of them are wearing heavy armor, getting out into the war zones and looking for an occasional good time between battles. Whether we blame feminism or hip hop… or just blame the devil, one thing is true… these messages have resonated with a number of women, most of whom would be scabs in that remedy of collusion.
There are women who do not want a committed relationship… they do not want to make sex a premium. They want it to be as easy to come by as birth control is in Ghana. They want it subsidized almost… some even want to make profit from it (and I am not even talking about our girlfriends in Cantonments… did you see episode two of ‘An African City’?!). I mean if women see sex as a currency to gain things like apartments, cars, Louis Vuitton bags…
deputy ministerial positions, then well, who’s going to give that up so that all you commitment-loving, old- fashioned, socially brainwashed anti-feminist women can get married?! You see how this is a dilemma?
So then the real answer here comes from the male side.
The pressure should not fall solely on the woman to revalue sex as something worthy of a long term committed relationship. Guys are culpable to. They need to stand up and be counted. They also need to hold a higher standard for sex. It’s funny that Afua says men will spend the better part of their youth philandering with the scabs, only to come back in hot pursuit of a women they deem ‘wifeable’… someone who seems pristine but is willing to go ham in the bedroom. Something about a lady in the streets and a freak in the sheets… they want the seemingly good girls once they have been bad boys all up and through town. How nice… really. I mean would it be so difficult to say, I also value sex… *shrugs* I guess it is according to the video makers.
But honestly, I have actually met a number of guys like this. I remember a guy I knew in grad school who had only been with two girls. I was really shocked. I mean here he was, good looking, tall, well educated, charismatic… not even particularly religious but he just couldn’t find value in ravaging through the women that were THROWING themselves in his direction. In his case, he had heightened the value of sex and was also being a gatekeeper of commitment, because he was also not into just dating for giggles. I mean, I was truly in awe. And yes… yes… this is because I
have had(?)-ish low expectations of men when it came to sex. As the video points out, men can dissociate sex from romance and love and passion and all the things that make women like Olivia in Scandal seem like a victim of ardor instead of a confused two- timing side chick with an almost insatiable sexual appetite— but I digress. Because I think men can engage in sexual activities with women they have no real interest in more often than women, I assume that because they can they do. However I am finding, more and more, that this is not necessarily always the case and maybe it’s really just Hollywood that has us fooled. Or maybe I am just meeting really great guys. At any rate, men can and do have the power to also raise the value of sex and restore it to the confines of a committed relationship. The real collusion here is between men and women…
And it’s not just men in their old age… a lot of the behavior we see comes from the nurture of our own parenting. I know in the Ghanaian context, I had a conversation with a women in her 40′s who explained that for ‘big’ men here to be faithful to their wives was a symbol of their homosexuality. That a man that is successful should have a sexual appetite bigger than one woman, and any woman that cannot stand this should not aspire to marry into that kind of success. And I mean, with mothers like these— who needs enemies?! There is therefore a role for men, especially fathers, to play in shaping the psyche of acceptable male behavior as it relates to holding a higher standard of intimacy. I came across this letter written from a father to his son about the only reason someone should get married, and in the preamble it said:
Before we talk about sex, though, I want to talk about marriage. Not because I’ll shun you or shame you if you don’t put them in that order — although I hope you will — but because I believe the only good reason to get married will bring clarity to every other aspect of your life, including sex.
You’ll have to read the entire piece for the reason but suffice it to say, this is a man willing to place a higher value on sex and to instill that into his son. Do you think his son will be traipsing around feeling like he should sow his wild oats before getting married? ME thinks not. And it had nothing to do with women holding hands at Independence Square in solidarity— but everything to do with a sort of brotherhood— an order of males seeking nothing less than commitment and sacrifice before engaging in this form of intimacy.
The economist in me is also thinking the issue may be the age old microeconomic problem of imperfect information. Maybe we are all just hiding behind these false pretenses where girls are giving it up because they think it’s what guys want, and guys are taking it because they think here are these free, liberated women who are exploring their sexuality and pushing the boundaries of social conformity— who wants to be the patriarch to re-institute all of the oppressive rhetoric women fought so hard against in the ’60’s? So then the men just sort of give in too, and then everyone is playing this game of ampe where you are so distracted by the clapping, you don’t even know that you are all on the same foot. Madness!
So how do we tear the veil of confusion? Communication. This guy blogger has made it very clear, and very public that he stands on the side of valuing sex in long term relationship. Perhaps if we were all this transparent, we could sift through the hay and find the needle in the stack.
Look… all I am saying is, as long as men hold low value for sex, there will always be scabs wiling to undermine the female sex revolution… but if men were to themselves, maintain a higher standard, then the scabs become obsolete and there is now a better situation for everyone involved. Even if everyone doesn’t want to get married, or people are delaying marriage for one reason or the other, there should still be a proportionate cohort of women AND men who are willing to raise the standard… for the love of humanity (hahaha!)
Do you think women need to work together to restore sex to its place of commitment or is that more of a conversation between men and women where men also assume some of the responsibility? Sound Off!
BUT DON’T WAIT ANOTHER DAY… :)
You would have to be living under a rock to not have seen The Economics of Sex vid on some timeline, tweet, or status update in the last few weeks. I’ve included the vid below. It’s only ten minutes, but I know y’all won’t watch (…I do look at our blog stats), so I’ve given you the run down of the main points:
- Pop culture says everyone around you is enjoying casual sex; elite culture insists that women and men are exactly the same in this regard, however “On average, men have a higher sex drive than women… On average, men initiate sex more than women, they’re more sexually permissive than women, and they connect sex to romance less often than women… Women on the other hand are likely to have sex for reasons beyond pleasure: to express and receive love, to strengthen commitment, affirm desirability and for relationship security” …it just is what it is.
- Women are the gatekeepers to sex, and men are the gatekeepers to commitment.
- If we look at this purely in economic terms, if sex is ‘her’ resource, how does a woman price sex? A few drinks and compliments?
A month3 months of dates? A lifetime promise of commitment?… The pricing of sex isn’t in a vacuum, because the market value of sex is part of a social system of exchange – ie. what others are buying and selling sex for has an influence on your individual price.
- In the world of simple supply and demand, when supply is high prices drop, but when something is hard to find, people will pay a premium for it. And men these days know that the market value of sex has decreased.
- There has been a splitting of the female mating market (those looking for sex vs those looking for marriage), largely as a result of the pill [I'm adding in my own bit here and saying also because of society, condoms, media, etc.]
- So what does this mean for women:
- Women get to be selective for SHORT-TERM sexual relationships – because the supply of men (wanting Short Term sexual encounters) outnumbers their women counterparts. [To see this displayed in all it's glory, all you need to do is go to any bar on a Friday night]
- However, the reverse is true when women want to settle down.
. . .
I’ve always said I’m an economist at heart… somewhat. That’s why when something is explained to me in economic terms, I get it.
I get that you can have casual sex with women who like having casual sex AND with women who think it’ll make you wife them, AND THEN when you’re done
making enough money, getting to that certain position in your career, growing up, sowing your wild oats, there will still be the ‘good ones’ out there waiting to be wifed.
I get that you have lowered your standards, because women have lowered theirs.
I get that whenever you choose to get married, as long as it’s not after the age of
50 70, there will always be droves of women willing and able to take up that burden privilege.
…I get it
…I got it
So what do ‘we’ (women wanting commitment before the clock strikes menopause) do in this case? How do we circumvent the game, and swing things back (even just a lil bit) in our favor?…inquiring minds wants to know.
I’m going to briefly describe what the vid says is the way women can gain back power. However, I want to make a quick note that after Amma responds to this later this week, we will also have a male guest post on the subject matter (whoop whoop testosterone… yes we’ve heard your
nagging, cries, complaints constructive feedback) :)
So how does the vid say women can gain back the power? Drum Roll pleaseeeee…
BY STICKING TOGETHER.
Somewhat of a kumbaya/ yaya sisterhood of sorts. But that’s as simple as it gets. Women no longer have each others backs in the mating market… now they’re each others competition. And in order to get the attention of men, women appeal to what they believe men want, sex.
I was in Lagos last week and a group of ladies and I were talking about the male market, when one summed up the group’s sentiments quite simply: ‘no one wants to truly commit anymore.’ This was a group of Americans AND African women, mind you. As I sat there, I kept thinking ‘are women asking men to though (by their words AND actions)?’ According to the Economics of Sex, men aren’t actually afraid of commitment *cue shock and awe*, rather they tend to behave as well or as poorly as the women in their lives permit. [please read that over. again. let it resonate]. Thus, economists have concluded that collusion – women working together – would be the most rational way to elevate the market value of sex. If women demanded a higher market price in exchange for sex, we would be seeing:
1. more impressive woo’ing efforts
2. greater male investment
3. longer relationships
4. fewer pre-martial partners
5. shorter co-habitation, and
6. more marriages
A woman’s power in this economy is to know what she wants in a relationship and signal it clearly …but none of this seems to be happening, so for now the economics of contemporary sexual relationships favors men and what they want, even as what they bring to the table diminishes.
As this commentary on the video put it, “Sex is her resource. She decides when it happens, in a consensual relationship… The pressure to have sex weighs from all sides, when at the end of the day, she holds the power. “If girls did actually come to realize that they’re “in the driver’s seat when it comes to sex (and if sisterhood really were powerful), they could change the market entirely, having sex only when they were ready and only when they saw a serious commitment on the part of their partner.”
So, we ask…Given that we can’t make it mandatory for women to sit through a ‘ya ya sisterhood’ sex-ed course in
high school, middle school, elementary school, pre-k, how do we get this message of holding men accountable and looking out for your fellow sister across….?
My guess is as good as yours. But I’ve found that talking about it, and actually living it out is a good start… *shrug*
Also, don’t forget to VOTE for RR for Best Blog for the 2014 Ghana Blogging Social Media Awards: Instructions are HERE!
Excuse us if our EXCITEMENT is oozing onto your well ironed shirt. It is with GREAT honor thay we announce that
RamblingRoommates (Love.African!) has been nominated for ‘Best Blog’ for this year’s Blogging Ghana Social Media Awards…
Since our change over from Bandeka’s official blog almost a year ago, we’ve had a blast writing about the ups and downs of love, life and the pursuit of marital bliss in Ghana, and it’s great to know that people are enjoying our ramblings! Win or lose, it’s nice to be acknowledged.
Here is a detailed list of how one is to go about voting:
1. Think about all the ways in which this blog has made you laugh… made you pontificate…
made you angry or just simply made your day
2. Head over to http://www.blogcampghana.com/voting/ and enter your email address (just to ensure you don’t vote twice)
3. Find ‘loveafrican.wordpress.com’ under the ‘Best Blog’ Category (Question #1). *NOTE, you do not have to vote for all the other categories in order to submit your vote!!*
4. Share this photo below on the facebooks or twitter and tag your friends with the url to vote too! :-)
Voting ends March 28th, 2014. Thanks!
Lots and lots of love,
A week after Afua’s post, I received a call from a guy friend who had a very interesting theory about our Accra experiences. He essentially said we were going about the dating thing completely the wrong way. I chuckled… naturally that would be the response, because what? were we supposed to just sit in our rooms, twiddle our thumbs and hope for our
6’2″ King to come riding into our living rooms in the latest BMW and just swoop us up?
According to Yaw**, ‘dating’ as we have defined it on our blog is largely a Western concept, and the willingness to go on these dates without any pretext is usually a signal for.. well… sex. He said:
‘Ghanaian guys… we don’t just approach women to go out, unless all we want is to
bed them. If you are really serious about a girl, you just watch and wait’
So I reply:
You mean you’re just sort of hanging on the periphery taking notes and deciding if and when to approach? How can you even know someone if not by first letting them know your intentions and then getting to know them over live music at Afrikikos… or something equally nice (and relatively expensive… after all if you approached her, she must be worth the change, no?)
Plus, it also means that you thought Afua recounting her dates was some sort of morse code for her announcing some of her sexual escapades… which is a big false. Hmpf. (Afua knows I would judge her otherwise). No… No… When we mean dates… we mean it in the normal way… as in sitting down, talking, laughing, sharing important details about favorite colors and travel experiences… you know… very ‘When Harry Met Sally’… except without all of the melodrama. Just a good time with a potentially good person”
‘Your kind of dating is full of fronting. Questions and answers. Makeup and good behavior. You’re not being real. When you don’t make your interest known and you just watch how the person is socially, at church and in various settings… and get to know them as a friend. It’s more authentic’
That makes a lot of sense actually.
Then he ends with this:
‘Plus, there’s no pressure and we can go around *dating* girls who we won’t wife… before we finally settle down with the girl we were eyeing years before’
I can’t say I hate that idea. Afua always laughs at me because in my fairytale life, I’d just happen to fall in love with my best friend who would declare his love for me right after he lands into millions and is ready to give me the wedding on the moon he believes I deserve *deep sigh*… aside from just general visions of grandeur, Afua points out that we are too old to be making ‘best friends’ and that the best way is to go out on dates and hang out with guys until we find one we really click with. This all makes sense because we hear of perfect strangers becoming the perfect lovers and having the perfect homes… but the stories that generally endear us… the ones that pull at our heart strings and challenge our tear ducts to burst— are the ones where there is less… well… calculation. Where I (sorta) believe in ‘meet boy, become BFF’s, trip and fall in love’… Afua is more the ‘meet boy, fall in love while striving to develop a deep friendship’.
So here lies the dilemma. We all want to feel like there is a guy out there that can see us for us and will love us first from a distance… and then sweep us off of our feet in romance. But the busyness of our lives— work, Bible studies, girls night out, the radio show on YFM every Sunday evening at 9pm (shameless plug…. whatever… I don’t care. I don’t care. ha!) — makes it almost impossible to even have those kinds of fantasies. So naturally, we have evolved socially to accept that instead of our parents arranging our marriages, we arrange them ourselves through a series of one-on-one encounters meant to weed out the useless ones and isolate the ones that would be worthwhile. The ones we could fall in love with while developing a deep friendship over time. And while there is a diversity of dating styles and definitions (as Afua pointed out), the premise is pretty much the same: Meet. Eat. Repeat— or don’t if you’re weird or similar in anyway to Afua’s Kofi, Kwame, or Kwesi. In either case… falling in love has to at least start with an orchestrated meeting of two people who have expressed an interest beyond general acquaintance.
This seems immediately simple and obvious to us, but there seems to be a completely different thing happening on this side of the world and it’s so obvious considering Afua’s point about guys marrying old high school sweethearts or university crushes 5 years after having run around messing about with every other girl… aka dating: There’s a bit of a disconnect.
It sounds almost like dating is some glorified version of prostitution and that money and time spent are used as barter for sex and sexual favors. Furthermore, going on these dates (with someone who you are not already actually ‘dating’— the irony!) is a signal that you are not actually looking for a serious relationship. **shockface** What spirit of confusion!?
So I have some questions:
- If I am serious about being in a committed relationship, but I do not have ties to any highschool or university in Ghana… and my life doesn’t allow for me to sit around and wait idly for someone to stalk me… then how does one actually date someone long term without going on dates with relatively perfect strangers?
- And if I follow Afua’s advice, and have someone vetted before agreeing to go on a date with them, does that necessarily mean that they are not interested in anything long term, but are rather looking to get to know me— in the very Biblical sense?
- Should I just assume that if I am asked on a date, then those guys’ relationship goals are not aligned with mine and that I should actually focus (or not focus) on all the ‘male friends’ who have actually made no advances at all?!
This is really and truly a strange phenomenon… it’s almost circular in logic and impossible to break… it doesn’t. actually. make. sense. But on some level… it’s sort of alluring (strange… I know). It’s almost a game of hide and seek… but with adults. So here I am back and forth in my mind between thinking the Ghana Guy way is a bit off, but then sort of intriguing, when I have a thought: Maybe it’s time to try something new.
Perhaps it’s time we *dead* the dating thing and do the whole ‘bff’s until we say otherwise’— thing. A bit risky since a) neither of us did university or high school here and b) this would mean that we have to wait 5 yrs for some guy to stalk us and fall in love with us from a distance. Remember in high school, during youth group everyone was ‘encouraged’ to read the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye which essentially pushes this idea of friendship and courtship and group outings… maybe they were onto something. Or maybe that’s what all the Ghanaian youths were reading while we were away watching movies like The Titanic and hoping that we would find a Leo to our Kate Blanchett. I blame Western media. I also, digress.
*le sigh* All in all… it feels like most of us, in Ghana at least, want to be in serious long term committed relationships with people who we trust and whose character we can vouch for… but the means of getting here seem to be different enough that there is a bit of a mismatch and we end up disillusioned about the guys we have come to encounter in our time being in Ghana. There is a clash… of GARGANTUAN proportion… and yet all we want to do is be in love.
I need to hear from the fellas on this one… is Yaw** right and does this effectively mean we need to kill our dating life in favor of the carefree, watch-us-from-a-distance life?
Are we going about this all wrong?
It’s as if we heard you before you even said it:
“We want to see new selfies of you guys.” ‘We want to see y’all on camera rambling about love, dating, sex, marriage’… So, that’s exactly what we did… kinda.
Last week, RR were panelists for the AdventuresFrom Google Hangout discussion on the ‘Metamorphosis of Love’. It was fun times, so checker out below. Perhaps in the future we’ll do vblogs of just the two of us :)
We’ve done you a solid and shown the moments when we chimed into the discussions, just in case you don’t have time to watch the full hour sesh, you can click on the times below.
. . .
Introductions of RR and other panelists: 0:00 – 2:13
“A woman’s taste buds change every five years” – RR discussing their definition of love and how it has evolved 2:15- 5:45
Compromising for love – RR discussing what kind of compromises they have made in the past and generally what kind of compromises they would make for love 12:00 – 15:42
Sex Sex Sex – RR discussing whether there can be love without sex 25:34 – 28:43
What are you looking for in the future? RR discussing what they would like to say of love when they’re 80 and looking back on their lives 38:42 – 42:41
Shout it out from the Mountain top! – What RR wants to be able to yell from the mountain top about love 54:00 – 55:27
**We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming in honor of Valentine’s Day. Amma will post a response to Afua’s Ultimate Dating Advice next week, but in the meantime we’re doing a special Love Languages post for all the lovebirds!**
. . .
“Cedrick, what are you getting your girlfriend for Vals day?”
“Hmm… Amma… I don’t even know. She is not the kind who likes flowers and so on… what do you think?”
“Oh… I don’t know. I never really celebrate Valentine’s Day. I don’t see how it would be really different from any other day. Are we going to have a different conversation from the ones we normally have at dinner? Am I going to love you more for buying me chocolates and flowers (though I do love flowers… mother was a florist, what can I say).
Are you going to use this as a day to present me with tickets to go waste my life away at a fancy resort in Jamaica?! I mean… I don’t get it.”
“Eish…. Amma Noo Noo… haha! It’s just something nice to do… and since she is back in town I want to make it special, but I don’t know what she would like.”
“Well, what’s her love language?”
Can you imagine being in a relationship with someone and neither of you speak the same language? Talk about communication problems. If you are not aware, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five love languages that we all speak. These five languages are how we like for love to be expressed to us. The languages are:
- Physical Touch- as in, *cue Mariah Carey’s ‘Touch My Body‘*
- Gifts- as in, ‘I love you so much, I bought you this new Kia Sorrento babe’
- Words of Affirmation- as in, Kendrick Lamar rapping ‘She Needs Me‘ to me (as I imagine he shall in the near future): “She go to work, she go to school, her body smooth, no tattoos
Type of girl that’ll make your mother feel comfortable
My pops love her too, she’s compatible, she’s independent
She handle her business, she believe in God and no other religions
She’s never in competition, when it comes to her friends, she’s dependable
She set her own trends, a confidant, a mediator, so sweet, every flavor
Just a conversation with her doing you a favor, look at her hips, I want to be her pager
Conservative, affirmative, actually she relaxing in sweats and bobby pins
The beauty of her, a blind man can see, a true queen and she needs me”
- Acts of Service- as in, ‘Whoa Amma, I see that you are out here working so hard… you should take a day off while I cook, clean and give you a full body massage— just cuz’
- Quality Time- as in, ‘Yeah I know that this Tottenham game is the difference between champions league and… well… not-champions-league, but it’s cool. I will miss the game AND post game commentary so we can take a walk along the beach
while I listen to you go on about nothing really.‘
So after I convinced my colleague Cedrick to take the love languages quiz, I decided… it’s been a while, let me see what my love languages are. I think the great thing about little tid bits like this is that you get the right vocabulary to talk about your emotions. You also understand how, if for example your main languages are gifts and services but your partner is always just affirming you with little notes and showing you PDA, things can get a bit frustrating. So this Vals day, Afua and I thought it appropriate to highlight the love languages.
I was not surprised at all when I took the quiz and discovered my love languages… Here are mine:
So my number one is Acts of Service and my number two is Quality Time… and at the very VERY bottom is Physical Touch (which makes ALL the sense in the world since I believe(d) that kissing guys would ultimately lead to my death (again… immigrant parents… anti-afro-american rhetoric… blah blah blah). This would also explain a lot about my general reaction to GH guys
heckling me on the street screaming words of affirmation to get my attention—not. my. thing. This would also explain why I am generally most impressed with acts of sacrifice, since I think this shows above all that you value me enough to put things that are important to you aside. Ultimately, this explains why ‘traditional’ Valentine fair of gifts and hallmark cards are definitely not my thing. Either way, knowing this kind of information is a great way to save money and stress when considering Val’s day gifts… Maybe it is the traditional route of sending her flowers and gifts… but maybe its putting on an apron and getting down in the kitchen. Maybe it’s both at the same time… maybe it’s none.
After taking the quiz for myself, I naturally had to get all my ladies to take the quiz. I initially thought Afua’s would be physical touch and gifts…
I. Was. Wrong.
She was wrong.
I’ve been a little late to this Love Languages movement. Although I briefly touched on it in a previous post, I never really understood the five distinct languages and had not taken the quiz to understand which were mine until Amma sent me the link. My results were weird (see below), not because my number 1-4 were all clustered within a point of each other, but because they left #5 all by her lonesome self…
If you talk to my parents about when I was a baby, they will tell you I was
a little odd: ‘She could talk plenty and just surprise you with the things that came out of her mouth, and everything she did she liked to do it for herself’. I was the child that never cried for attention or to be held…. I didn’t want you to help me, because I could do it by myself. I didn’t need to be entertained as I would camp out in my crib and just be chilling with myself. Fast forward some 25 years later, and you’ll notice that nothing really has changed I am still not one that needs to be touched to express love and affection. If you really know me, you know this (clearly Amma, we’re drifting). Everything (else) communicates ‘I love you’ to me far above physical touch. And let me chime in here what I mean by physical touch before people start picking up things that I HAVEN’T put down. The physical touch I’m referring to includes things like holding hands, rubbing my lower back, arms around my waist, arms around my shoulder – *these* types of physical touch don’t really sit well with my soul as much as they just irritate it. I guess this is just how the good Lord saw fit to create me (note that my sister, who is 18 months older than me and was brought up in the same household as me, is not like this at all – so this isn’t a product of my upbringing).
I think on some level we all sort of ‘know’ our love languages. I remember when I lived in Italy, I used to see couples holding hands while dining at a restaurant and would think it was so strange, like ‘why do I have to hold your hand while we’re eating… I don’t get it…’ I would much rather hear you say how much I mean to you, and that you think the world of me, or that you’re really proud of me than be sitting there acquiring sweaty palms under the dining table. On the other side of things, I also ‘know’ that when someone I love says something really hurtful to me, it’s equally earth-shattering… but in a bad way. So this test didn’t necessarily say anything new to me, but like Amma said, it does put some vocabulary to it all. Although I knew Physical Touch would be last for me, I think what was traumatic wasn’t that it was indeed ranked last, but that it scored zero. Now I know I’m definitely an anomaly not only for women, but for Africans and for the general planet as a whole, thus I am aware that I’m going to have to make
a lot of sacrifices and compromises when I settle down – Self awareness is the first step, right? (I just pray to God that my man’s #1 love language is not Physical Touch… because that will be problematic).
So for this valentine’s day, we want our readers to make sure they are speaking the same language as their significant others. Even if you (THINK you) know your love language (and your partner’s), it’s still a good exercise for the both of you to take the free quiz online (if you don’t have time to read the book) to understand what love really means to the both of you. Armed with this information, both of you will have a better idea of how to display affection in a way the other one can actually feel.
Here’s the link to the QUIZ >> 5lovelanguagesquiz
Share YOUR Love Language with us in the comments section! Or give us a story of when you were mismatched in love languages with your partner.
…and of course, we must say:
. . .
Like we promised, here’s information on the AdventuresFrom Google hangout that RR is participating in on Friday. If you can’t watch live, we’ll put a link up to the session next week.
Join our ‘Metamorphosis of Love’ hangout on Valentine’s Day
Friday, 14th February at 17:00 GMT.
The topic to be discussed is the metamorphosis of love or its perception from the African woman’s context. What were you taught about love as a young woman, and how did those concepts change if at all in various stages of life and with different experiences?
Facilitator – Malaka (Ghana/US)
Her fab guests are:
Tosinger (Nigeria/US) Listen to her music via http://www.afrodreaming.com/home.html
Rambling Roomates (Ghana) Read their blog http://loveafrican.wordpress.com/
Tiffany (South Africa/Kenya) Check out the site she curates http://holaafrica.org/tag/holaa/
Ngosa (Zambia)Visit her blog http://mwanabaafrika.blogspot.com/
This hangout will be streamed live via this link with a recording available after the hangout via the same link. If you are on twitter follow the live tweets via @adventurefrom with the hashtag #AdSex
- Nana Darkoa wrote a blog on Why African Women are Choosing to be Single and gave a shout out to me and RR. It’s an interesting piece, so go take a look.
- Amma and I will be participating in an AdventuresFrom google hangout this month, which will cover the topic: ‘What does love look like?’ We’ll give you more details closer to the date.
I’ve decided to put a soundtrack to this post, because it seemed highly appropriate. So heads up, there are bursts of dance breaks to GrandMaster Flash ‘The Message’ throughout this post. Accra may not be the jungle that NYC was in the 80′s, but sometimes it sure as hell feels like it :)
Ok, that’s it. Let’s begin.
I made a new friend at the beginning of this year and when we first became intimate (which for female friendships means we began discussing our ‘men situations’), she was astonished at my dating past in Ghana. Her exact words being, “OMG, you date a lot.” I don’t, to be honest, but I do have a few colorful stories from dates I have been on in this humble city, which in turn solicits such a response from people… or makes it appear that I do date a lot. So this is the inspiration behind this blog. Additionally, I did say in a previous post that we were going to have a series of conversations about dating in Accra, so here goes…
Because a number of guys I’ve been on dates with have come to know about my blog, I don’t want to
expose them for their low down dirty ways put their business out like that slash people have actually flat out told me, “I don’t want to appear in your blog.” Ugh, fine! Why are you so sensitive? lol. I kid. Anyhoo, because I don’t want to be dubbed undateable in this dear city, before I give you a little taste of what I’ve been up against for the past year and a half, I will make a PSA that names have been changed in this post and I’ve changed up/ cut short some scenarios to save people some face, but still give you a flavor of the jungle that’s out here.
**Dance Break**: “It’s like a jungle sometimes… It makes me wonder how I keep from going under… Going under…”
Ok, let’s start with Kofi*. Kofi and I knew each other through a few mutual friends. We exchanged numbers at some party after I came back from a temporary stint outside the country: “Oh, you’re back in the country, we should hang out.” After a couple weeks of superficial whatsapp messages and insignificant calls, we decided to see each other out. The majority of the evening was uneventful, so let’s skip to the end of the night where Kofi has kindly asked me to perform fellatio on him… Yes, you’re reading that correctly. Perform. Needless to say, I’ve stopped talking to him on all accounts that require more than a ‘Hi’ in public.
Next we can talk about Kwame*. Who, after helping him with some professional work, decided we got along well enough to ask me out. Cool. We end up at dinner, where in the span of the first 20mins, I was asked: ‘How much I make’ ‘When’s the last time I had sex’ and ‘How many sexual partners have I had’; and the icing on the cake was being told ‘not to take offense to the line of questioning because this is just how he gets to know a girl quickly without BS’. Because #nobodysgottimeforBS. Nope, we certainly do not. You can imagine that my interactions with him subsequently have followed in the same suit as Kofi.
But I must write about Kwesi*, because he is my ultimate favorite. Kwesi met me along with another friend in the same night. Separately, he sparks interest in both of us and proceeds to get some intel on the two of us from a mutual friend. Kwesi then proceeds to go on a date with both of us in the course of about a week. When Kwesi stopped calling after our date and I stopped
caring reaching out after learning about the date he had with my friend (and that he’s a man whore that’ll hook up with pretty much anything with a vag- – -), it was no surprise to find out that he has most recently asked out one of my besties in Accra, who I had introduced him to for a business transaction. #supershady #noshame #youresomessy > Perhaps next time I see him, I should give him your number, Amma? LOL.
Although my engagement with Kwesi only lasted 2.5 weeks, I have stories for days with this one. The sad thing is, I like Kwesi, I
have had no problems with him, he’s super chill and we probably would have been cool friends acquaintances. I actually had a really nice date with him too, but like I told Amma… the issue with him is I didn’t know what was genuine and what was part of the game. Come to find out, it was ALL part of the game. Nana wrote in her piece that if a guy’s into his 30s and not married there’s usually a very good reason why. Kwesi is case in point of this. A leopard rarely changes his spots and a lifetime of gaming women doesn’t stop easily. When I confronted Kwesi about my friend he said to me, ‘but, I thought we were cool, Afua’. << What?… Like are you mental?… My favorite is when men make you feel stupid when they’re doing super shady things. Honestly, don’t men ever get tired of gaming women…
amusing sad that I have these (and more) colorful stories in my dating history. I honestly used to shy away from telling them, because I thought they somehow reflected poorly on me… Like do I smell? How do I keep attracting the Mayor, the Sheriff and the County Judge of Loser-Ville. And all these men are returnees of sorts, seemingly nice wholesome guys upon first interaction with them, and they’re in respectable jobs about their grind. But the superficial is so deceptive, and I’ve come to realize sometimes you can’t help what knocks on the door, but you can definitely decide whether to let them in or even open the door, for that matter.
Dance break: ‘don’t.push.me.cause.I’m.close.to.the.edge.I’m.trying.not.to.lose.my.head’
Thus, my #1 advice to ladies dating in Accra is….
Always Always Always seek counsel first. ALWAYS. And do so with people who have been around for a while; in my case that is NOT my immediate circle of friends who have been here <2yrs. Do background checks with someone who returned to the country at least 5yrs ago. Let’s get a snippet of how my conversation went down with my new fav friend, who’s been here over five years (yes, I felt stupid after our conversation):
“Wow Afua, you got sucked in the Kofi vortex. Please seek me before you do anything stupid again. Do you know how many of my girlfriends he’s casually hooked up with, meanwhile he has Adjoa*, his longtime girlfriend he’s planning to do knocking** for soon.”
Wow. Wow. And Wow. She must be the luckiest girl in the world.
“Oh come on Afua, everyone knows he’s the biggest prick Accra has to offer… Leave him to the foreign girls, who find his ‘I’m such an enlightened African’ act charming”
With Kwesi, my friend couldn’t stop laughing for about five minutes. Like five proper minutes:
“Oh little one, this boy is not serious in life. He’s gonna wake up 45 and still chasing anything with a vag- – -. He is the biggest ladies man ever so what exactly made you think this would be any different with you?’
And when I kept quiet, I definitely got the side eye from her.
Ok some random pondering, I often wonder if guys ever step to their guy friends on behalf of women. As in, ‘hey dude, she’s actually good peoples, don’t mess with her if you’re not interested.’ Just pondering… Do they ever think of their sisters, mothers, best female friends, their sisters-in-law, nieces, best friend’s wives…Like don’t ‘we’ deserve better *shrug* My feeling is no, but I continue…
Given that the number of educated returnee-type 20- and 30-something yr olds is
small minuscule in Accra, if that’s the crowd you’re dating, someone is bound to know the guy’s (or girl’s) background. And for me, as someone who didn’t grow up here and has only been ‘back’ less than two years, seeking counsel is beyond a must, particularly as the goal this year is NOT to have any colorful dating stories: as in I want the most boring dating life this year… the ‘boy meets girl, date, relationship, done’- type boring.
I have other dating tips to keep life moving along nicely in Accra, however these do not supersede rule #1.
Date outside the returnee crowd – this crowd can become an easy go to because you think these guys are more likely to be less traditional when it comes to gender roles and would be more compatible with your life experiences, but all this doesn’t necessarily lead to a good relationship (or a relationship at all).
Try a nice foreigner (who is not looking for a short term (African) good time) - maybe it’s time to try non-Ghanaians, non-Africans… non-Blacks?
Ask friends and (extended) family that YOU TRUST to be on the look out for guys they think would be a good match for you - YOLO. Maybe your cousin’s friend has been eyeing you for a minute, but never thought you were interested; or maybe you’ve always gotten along with your bestie’s older brother. You never know, love could be closer than you thought.
Maybe it’s time to consider the guys you’ve kept in the friendzone - There could be possibilities there if you actually took him out of the friend zone, you know.
You may look at your exes - I know people like to say, ‘don’t look back, there’s nothing good there, always move forward’ etc, but maybe it could be that the timing was off for the two of you back then, and now that you’re in different places in your life, you could make a real go of things.
*Not real names, obviously.
** Knocking is the traditional Engagement ceremony in Ghana
See Amma’s response to this post: Clash of the Titans
**Dance Break**: “It’s like a jungle sometimes… It makes me wonder how I keep from going under… Going under…**”
I must say, I am still, even a week after, in total shock and awe. It feels like just yesterday we were sharing witty banter and light exchange. I feel like I was robbed a little. I have heard such great things about Komla Dumor, and he was so accessible. I was just getting to know and become a true fan. And just like that. Gone.
Funnily, we were just talking about his love life… and about his wife who he proudly pronounced was a fellow Harvard grad from Ghana. I cannot even IMAGINE what she is going through right now. My prayers are with her and the rest of the family. The world has lost a renowned journalist, but his family has lost a son, a father and a husband. May he rest in peace and may his family be encouraged in this time. This is a response for which I am certain he would have approved.
This blog is a response to Afua’s blog on the Plight of the Single Returnee Woman:
Ok Afua… tell ‘em why you mad…
You mad, right?
All of us know the value of hard work. When I consider the demographics of our readership, I think we have all generally bought into the ideas of meritocracy (real or perceived). And while I could go on about the fallacy of boot strapism and the social constructs that inhibit true meritocracy… I think we all agree that generally if you work smart, you’ll get the things you deserve. We spend our lives accumulating titles, certificates, and accolades to prove to the world how talented we are. Somehow… these titles don’t earn us the one thing we want: relationship.
I read an article recently entitled 5 Ways Success May Be Hurting Your Love Life. The title itself is like a ‘Boy… BYE!’ type of call and response, but then when I got to the second point, I stopped and thought about it:
2. You may think you’re entitled to love because of your achievements
Apparently, love— like many other realms of life, is the furthest from meritocratic. Take Kanye for example. I mean, this guy is (in my opinion) a lyrical genius. College Dropout was like a rapper’s thesis on critical race theory and marxism (see: Slave Ship). I don’t think Kim K. deserves him. Yes, they are both narcissistic but Kim is generally… well… useless. Like the world isn’t more beautiful, or wise or enlightened because she stepped into it. She’s got many more years though (God willing). Maybe her impact is forthcoming. In either case, it seems a bit unfortunate that for all his genius, he ended up with Kim K. As JayZ would say, ‘I feel bad for you son’. And you might say, but he’s happy. To which I say, nah he’s delirious. Even Barbara Walters agrees. I guess the other lesson you could take is that maybe you can find enduring true love in a hopeless place. *shrugs* For purposes of this post, I will focus on the former. I will say that he (was) a nice, talented guy with great artistry and impeccable taste. He sort of earned someone better, in so far as one can earn someone at all. And I suppose that is just the point. That you can’t.
Similarly, Afua’s rant on the plight of the returnee in Ghana is another picture of a meritocratic dream deferred. That’s why I was concerned for her when she sent it to me… like Girl, you really want to say all that?! Essentially, the narrative here is:
I went to really good schools and I’m super smart.
I have a really good sense of humor.
I’m worldly in all of the ways that matter but I love Jesus and you could take me home to Aunty Martha.
I remember to throw on some mascara from time to time and I’m fun.
It is therefore unfortunate that a woman so well rounded has yet to find a match. I mean, really, where is the justice in the world?! When our parents tell us ‘get good grades, be respectful, love Jesus,
don’t sleep with everything you see, don’t date until you are married…’ aren’t we earning credits towards our future wifey status— among other desirables? I mean it seems to work well for us in work and personal passions. We find that all the goodness about ourselves comes together perfectly to earn us promotions and favor. We see that we make friends relatively easily. We get a chance to sit at the table with the best and brightest. Why can’t this also warrant a (decent) relationship as well?
We are basically saying, we are
perfect above average normal, so why haven’t we found our perfect match?!
Laughable isn’t it?
To say something SO presumptuous.
But why else do we feel we are entitled to a great relationship with an even greater man (preferably tall, dark and ballin’)? It really is about how highly we value ourselves. While there is nothing wrong with knowing your self worth, love is no respecter of persons. That’s what is frustrating about relationships. That there is really no exact science or even art to lasting love. It mostly requires faith. Faith that even if you weren’t as awesome as you are, or in spite of all your supposed awesome-osity, there is no way to circumvent time and circumstance. And that in due season, at the appointed hour, things will come in line.
So yeah, we do throw shade when we see the Honey boo boo’s of the world in happy relationships, while our own team (that’s killing the game in every respect) is single and ready to mingle. It does feel like the universe is out of wack when Halle Berry is still waiting to exhale after 2 marriages and a kid. But love doesn’t see beauty or accomplishment… and the sooner that is internalized, the sooner we can stop having these pity parties and focus on making the most of the single time. Use all your hard earned cred to do something meaningful and in due time… it will happen. One girl wrote:
“I’ve been living like God owes me something. Like He hasn’t held up His end of the deal. He has given me the desire for relationship and marriage, and He just hasn’t followed through.
I’ve been living under the impression that I deserve a relationship.
People talk all the time about pursuing people or things for the wrong reasons, but maybe we pursue God for the wrong reasons. Maybe subconsciously I’ve been treating God like He’s a vending machine. And my pursuit of Him has really been a pursuit of someone else.
Each day is a gift, and I’m not waiting for it to get here. It is present in every moment, and it begins anew daily. “
I think that eloquently sums it all up. To be in the present and allow time to do its work, as we continue being great.
I could go on to further critique Afua’s assumptions about what makes a girl ‘relationship material’ in the first place (being “too known” is a sure fire way to un- earn potential wifey status, just FYI), but that is its own commentary for another day. For now, I think it’s best to understand that relationships are not earned. They are not given to you after you have acquired a specific number of personal attributes. Relationships… much like the Grammy’s, may sometimes go to the seemingly undeserving, but when you get down to it… what does it even mean to ‘deserve’ someone’s loyalty and love? At the end of the day, we spend each day becoming better people and productive for the world, and hopefully… someday someone will be willing to join us for the ride.