Month: November 2011

Warning: Beauty Fades, But A Woman Who Can Cook Lasts Forever

As part of Bandeka’s PillowTalk feature, late last week we began featuring answers to the question, “Is it better for the relationship if your wife handles the household chores?” So I thought I would revisit the topic again – for those of you who haven’t been following my blog for long, I addressed this issue a few weeks ago in ‘What A Black Woman Has To Say About Submission, You Might Be Surprise‘. In the clip that I featured for that post, Shanel Cooper advised ladies that the best thing for their relationship is to assume the traditional roles of cooking, cleaning, and taking care of their man and home.

It would seem that this is a reoccurring sentiment from both sexes. In this BellaNaija article*, the same message is articulated by an African man: Women need to have an “appreciable level of domesticity.” Although things have changed since the ‘Stone Age’, and women do aspire to greater things outside of the home, the author TJ O’Karo says, “the truth [is] that women are supposed to be quite proficient [at cooking, supervising the home, raising kids, etc.].” To illustrate his point, he describes one scenario where this became an issue. I’ve paraphrased his account, and included my personal comments in bold:

Following NYSC**, one of the prettiest girls at camp moved into a house with me and a few friends from camp. An arrangement was made that everyone would contribute to food, and that the women would cookI may be the only one to think that this arrangement was sexist. But in any case, this was their arrangement. The housemates discovered that the belle of the house couldn’t cook, and as a consequence of this, she lost her status among the men in the house. “The guys who were initially wowed by her beauty and charm, gradually began to gravitate towards the more domestic women in the house!” Before you make any quick judgments, the author also mentions that it wasn’t just about cooking, the belle also didn’t take care of her room, living area, the kitchen, and the guys, etc. Why she would need to take care of the latter is a little beyond me, but point taken- she was an untidy person. Eventually, the belle began to lose her swagger and confidence, which led to her change of heart: “she began to see reason as to why men would prefer domestically capable women and she began to put in an effort and changed.”

So are women supposed to balance work/school, social functions, friends, and taking care of their man and home (or the things “they are supposed to be naturally good at”? ERRR YES! They’re supposed to be Super Women, the author says. It just is what it is, [African] men REQUIRE their woman to perform traditional roles at home- and shockingly, the “extras” are just that, extras: a welcomed part of the package, but as an addition. <- TJ O’Karo’s words, not mine. [But note, men will still cheat on a super woman for no reason…but I digress]

If you haven’t checked out Bandeka.com recently, do so and view the responses that we have received from men. I’ve now highlighted three similar opinions, but am I overstating this pattern?  Is a woman’s worth in a relationship really tied to her ability to cook and clean? Have we moved away from non-traditional roles in the household? And did this idea ever really take root in African households? Can someone make a strong argument that women shouldn’t assume the role of ‘running the house’- however this is defined?

Mr. O’Karo ends his article by saying, “a woman who isn’t domestic is like a man who can’t earn a living! A woman’s looks, charm, intelligence, and money can only take her so far with men; the same way a man’s looks and charm can only take him so far with a woman without any real source of income.” Something to think about.

*If page doesn’t open, refresh.

**National Youth Service Corps – Three week orientation for recent Nigerian graduates before they begin their one  year of national service.

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Poll [Results] Wednesday – 11/23/2011

If You Want To Be Married By A Certain Age, Is It Better To Be Alone Or Settle?*

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*The original poll was posted on October 28th, 2011: https://loveafrican.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/is-it-better-to-be-alone-or-to-settle/

The closeness of this poll prompts me to tip the scale. SETTLE, I say! SETTLE! Well really, Lori Gottlieb says so in her ‘Marry Him!‘ article. Gottlieb, a single (and never been married) 40-year old woman presents some good arguments for why women should settle in her piece.

Gottlieb begins her article by explaining that she hasn’t always been a proponent of settling, however now at 40, her views have changed: marrying mr. good enough is a viable option if “you’re looking for a stable reliable life companion.” She claims that the idea of settling is uncomfortable because people have developed the belief that a good romantic relationship is what makes a good marriage (and that there must be some divine spark). However, “once you’re married, it’s not about whom you want to go on vacation with; it’s about whom you want to run a household with.” She then likens marriage to a pragmatic partnership: “Marriage isn’t a passion-fest; it’s more like a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business.” Interesting analogy. To Gottlieb, her own interactions with her married friends only confirm this, because even though her friends complain about their marriages, they would rather feel alone in a marriage than to actually BE alone.

They, like me, realize that marriage ultimately isn’t about cosmic connection—it’s about how having a teammate, even if he’s not the love of your life, is better than not having one at all.

It’s better to have that decent guy to take out the trash and provide a second income, which allows you to spend more time with your kids instead of working 60hrs a week to support a family by yourself (Gottlieb recently had a child through a sperm donor). To her, marriage should be similar to the roles depicted by the TV characters Will and Grace…

” What I long for in a marriage is that sense of having a partner in crime. Someone who knows your day-to-day trivia. Someone who both calls you on your [BS] and puts up with your quirks”…so what if Will was gay and his relationship with Grace was platonic.

Gottlieb notes that settling is mostly a women’s issue, because men settle less and, when they do, they are less bothered by the idea. Gottlieb’s own guy friend justified marrying a quote unquote bland wife who is a good mom (but someone he shares little connection with) by saying: “I think one-stop shopping is overrated. I get passion at my office with my work, or with my friends that I sometimes call or chat with—it’s not the same, and, boy, it would be exciting to have it with my spouse. But I spend more time with people at my office than I do with my spouse.” …Interesting. I’m not sure how I would feel if my spouse honestly felt that way about me. What about you?

I don’t agree with everything Gottlieb is saying, particularly because she speaks of marriage primarily in the context of having children (and not all marriages include children), but I do agree that ‘settling’ gets a bad rap mostly because it is defined incorrectly. Really in the end, “Everyone settles to some degree. You might as well settle pragmatically.”

So for the 54% of you who answered ‘be alone’, does this change your mind? Is marriage really like a game of musical chairs like Gottlieb says— do you have to take a seat, any seat, just so you’re not left standing alone?

[POLL] Cheating: Does The ‘How’ Make A Difference?

It seems so appropriate for Bandeka to showcase ‘Why Men Cheat?’ on PillowTalk this week. If you haven’t already, MAKE SURE TO GO TO THE SITE (www.bandeka.com) and check out some of the honest responses we received from men over the last month.

I saw two stories yesterday that were really interesting. First, Demi Moore is divorcing Ashton Kutcher after allegations of cheating. Ashton continues to maintain his innocence, but I wonder whether cheating is defined the same between the two parties. Not saying that this is the case here, but sometimes men and women have different definitions of cheating.

The second story that I saw was Shaq discussing his infidelity during his marriage to Shaunie O’Neil. The two were married for seven years, and in regards to his cheating he said:

 “In my mind, I never did it disrespectfully…”

This goes right back to my post earlier this week. Is there a respectful way to cheat? What is it about the way in which someone cheats that makes it better or worse? I really want to know what you all think. Take our poll below!

UPDATE: Not that I have anything against Kat Von D, but I wanted to make a quick observation from this article about cheating. For those of you that don’t know, Kat Von D recently broke off her engagement to Jesse James (previously married to Sandra Bullock, and cheated on her too). This article talks about Kat’s realization that some men won’t ever change (James allegedly cheated on Von D with 19 women). And to put it in her words:

“There was a time when I was confident and excited at proving the world wrong, because I believed so deeply in people’s ability to change for the better.”

Perhaps HIS is an example of cheating disrespectfully????

ALSO, If you have yet to see Bandeka’s feature on CP-Africa this week- check it out, retweet it, and share it with your facebook friends! http://www.cp-africa.com/2011/11/17/invitation-only-dating-by-bandeka-com-talking-with-co-founder-tunde-kehinde/


Why Do Men Cheat?

Why not just break up with me? Why would you rather cheat? These are all too common cheating questions for women. So Bandeka is tackling this very issue for you THIS WEEK. Using our PillowTalk feature, we at Bandeka have spent the past month gathering honest responses from men to answer some of the burning questions we have received from women, and now we’re ready to share them with our members! I spent some time in my last post talking about the importance of having honest men in your life to tell you the truth about your relationship issues. However, not every woman has this (some don’t have these kind of men in their lives and some don’t use them for advice). So particularly for YOU, we at Bandeka have come to the rescue! MAKE SURE to check out the results of our first question on cheating at www.bandeka.com this THURSDAY!!! Two things I can guarantee you: you won’t like all the answers, BUT you will get some understanding into the mind of (most) men.

One of the co-founders of Bandeka is currently reading ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and he sent me an intriguing snippet from the book:

“I can’t go back to his house aunty”

“I am not asking you to go back to his house.  I said you will go back to Nsukka.  Do you not have your own flat and your own job?  Odenigbo has done what all men do and inserted his penis in the first hole he could find when you were away.  Does that mean somebody died?”

Olanna had stopped fanning herself and could feel the sweaty wetness on her scalp.

“When your uncle first married me, I worried because I thought those other women outside would come and displace me from my home.  I now know nothing he does will make my life change.  My life will change only if I want it to change.”

“What are you saying, Aunty?”

“He is very careful now, since he realized that I am no longer afraid.  I have told him that if he brings disgrace to me in any way, I will cut off that snake between his legs.”

Aunty Ifeka went back to her stirring, and Olanna’s image of their marriage began to come apart at the seams.

“You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man.  Do you hear me?” Aunty Ifeka said.  “Your life belongs to you and you alone”

There are so many things I cannot begin to comprehend about this exchange, however no matter how dumbfounded I am by this idea of condoned (habitual) cheating, it’s a reality the some people have to face. What I think I am most intrigued and disturbed about is the encouragement of a family member to stay in a relationship where this is taking place. It could be my naiveté, but should the way in which a man cheats matter? And can any woman really claim that their man “respects” them just because he’s not cheating out in the open?

Thoughts?? I’m also wondering whether this is something that is unique to the African culture, or whether all cultures deal with this dilemma?

In the near future we will be showcasing additional answers to burning questions from women, including:

  • What do men look for in a wifey?
  • Why would a black man prefer to date a non-black woman?
  • Do men expect a certain level of domestication?

If you have any burning questions, please use our PillowTalk feature and ask us ANYTHING. Or you can send us an email at talktous@bandeka.com.

Why Women Should Listen To The Advice of Men

We have some really interesting features coming up on www.bandeka.com, and I would encourage you to email us at talktous@bandeka.com if you’re currently not on the site. This weekend I was having a chat with the co-founders of Bandeka and they were telling me how frustrating it is when women ask for relationship advice, but then don’t believe them when they tell them the honest truth. A common exchange being: “Well, how do you know? He’s different…” “….aaaa, I know. I’M A GUY!” I think it’s true that a lot of women don’t take advice from men in their lives, because honestly the truth hurts. Women like to think their situation is different, but men think very similarly, and unfortunately “he’s different” is rarely the case. When I look back at times when I was confused about a guy or situation, the majority of the time consultation with a guy friend ended up being spot on (whether I listened or not).

In this Clutch article, the author Felicia Pride writes about receiving advice from her dad about why her most recent relationship just fizzled – and particularly why this scenario keeps repeating itself.

“For the first time in my 30+ years, I asked my father for advice about relationships, and gasp, men. Call me desperate. I was. But I figured, after 64 years on the planet, he knew something about what makes his kind tick. And well, we’ve developed a relationship over the years where sugarcoating is unnecessary. I knew he was going to give it to me straight.

His advice is probably spot on with what most men would say to a woman in Felicia’s situation:

Act like you don’t give a sh*t.

Felicia’s response is also spot on with how most women in her situation would react:

“That’s not how I am,” I pleaded with my father. “If I like someone, I like him. I don’t want to play games.”

The next sequence of events may differ from woman to woman, but I would bet Felicia’s first reaction is also spot on with most women in her situation:

1. Originally, I dismissed my father’s advice. 2. Until, as part of an attempt to demystify my love life, I asked my ex-boyfriend why he broke up with me: “You were too accessible,” he said… 3. I took in his words. Listened. No judgment. Just tried to learn.

Since then, Felicia has gone against her instincts and taken the advice of her father to become less available in her dating life: “I [call] back when I [call] back. I [respond] to texts when I [get] around to it. I [hang] out with guys occasionally, when the mood [hits].” And according to her, “As much as I hate to admit this, there [is] a power in it all. I [am] in control of my feelings instead of the other way around.”

So are you going to start taking the advice of the men in your life? Make sure to check out www.bandeka.com! We are going to start addressing some of your burning relationship questions, bandeka-style 🙂