Month: September 2014

Hedging: Play Now, Pay Later

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“To protect (one’s investment or an investor) against loss by making balancing or compensating contracts or transactions.”

According to my Mac Spotlight dictionary.

A coward who’s scared to make a permanent decision on a woman.

According to Afua’s dictionary.

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Let’s get into this a little, because it’s one of the most annoying things known to a Woman. So… you meet a guy, he’s chill… hence why y’all start Chilling. And then in some distant, not-so distant future you find out: he’s definitely wifed up. And NOT in the sense that he’s actually said the I-do’s, but that he is near-married, near-engaged, near-co-habitating… near-COMMITTED (however you want to package it). So then the questions start flying, “Why in God’s name was he hanging out with me, with no mention of his “wifey”? ” Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

Hedging. 

The art of protecting your prized asset (your arse heart) from an investment you’re not 100% sure will produce the future returns you once calculated thought. The art of diversifying your portfolio to see whether higher returns can be made elsewhere… because any half brain could tell you that going all in on something you’re not 100% sure of is just plain stupid, right?. . . Have you heard of counting your chickens before they hatch? (Usually in reference to a woman eagerly awaiting a proposal, which may or may not ever come). Well hedging is in essence not counting anything… at all.

I’ve heard enough stories of hedging now to know it like better than the back of my hand:

  • boy meets girl (or girls), who he is attracted to. Girl(s) could be new, girl(s) could be old, it’s equal opportunity.
  • boy begins to implicitly or explicitly, or both-ly (?), make moves. ie. inappropriate behavior for someone in a “committed” relationship. This can vary in degree, from acting oblivious or nonchalant about his current relationship’s future… to making propositions such as, “hey, how come you’ve never thought about us being together; we’d make a good pair.” … to outright physical cheating. Note: in all this, boy can disclose or conceal his current relationship, this is also equal opportunity.
  • boy then comes to his senses. And… full stop.

A rather predictable fable, no?

So what makes hedging different from cheating? I’m glad you asked. The important distinction between hedging and mere cheating is that we’re not talking about people who have been dating some few months to maybe a year or two. We’re talking about people who are going on damn near 10yrs (lol naw, but more like anything over 2-3yrs). When generally it’s time to start making moves towards a forever-type situation. For hedging to take place, it must be preceded by movement towards a deeper level of commitment.

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GIrls are tired of relationship wahala

Interestingly, (as noted in my neatly bulleted synopsis) what I’ve seen from men who engage in hedging is that they end up marrying wifey anyways. Therefore, it all becomes just a lot of wahala to make them feel more confident in the decision their actions have basically already made- – please ask yourself, what have the last 5years been about then? If that 20% of her that you’re not sure of really makes you want to step out, but that 80% kept you in for 6yrs… chale chale girls abr3 paa**. This thing is just a waste of everyone involved’s time.

I’m guessing another question on your mind is: what happens on wifey’s end? …Welt, let’s first make the assumption that wifey actually knows hedging is upon her (sadly, for some women this is a big assumption… And understandably – I’ve been with you for five years, why wouldn’t I be secure in what we have?). So assuming she actually knows, then perhaps she weathers the storm and banks on the fact that her asset can keep the investor committed, or at the very least fend off other attractive investments long enough for the investor to surrender to come to his senses. Or perhaps she does some hedging herself, to hedge against the hedging… <?> dear God, my head actually hurts thinking about this. Really, I just don’t get it. After a said amount of time, haven’t y’all made a decision? You’re telling me in year 3, year 4… year 8 maybe, y’all didn’t stop to think ‘wait, why are we doing this again?’ Whatever happened to road maps before a journey begins? Or a compass even? *sigh*

I think my frustration lies in the fact that I’ve seen a few too many hedging situations of late. Maybe it’s always been there, and now I’m just at the age where those around me are the one’s actually involved in it. I know life blogger-image--1298430667is complicated- obviously it’s not a small task to have to pick someone to spend the rest of your life with, however to me… I think we get too hung up on the picking part sometimes. When the foundational things are solidified and you’ve picked (judging by your actions of being with this person for 10yrs already), then it shouldn’t be much to take that leap to the next level, no? Perhaps if we were less worried about the picking part, about getting someone who ticks more boxes than the last, about hedging against the hedging, then we could work on the stuff that actually matters… you know, the real hard work that comes afterwards (which will happen regardless of who the woman is). That daily grind of sacrificing oneself for another individual, which will still take place whether it’s Jackie from school or Abena from the next cubicle. I mean at some point you just pick. No hedging, no temporary backing out, and for God’s sake no hedging against the hedging. You just make a decision, and stick with it. *shrug*

**Girls are tired (of relationship wahala)

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Engaged.

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aaa ya, not me. I know that’s what you were thinking, given my silence for the last few months. But no, the title refers to my friend’s ex.

You know that‘ ex, the one you always thought may would come back. That one that you can’t really put your finger on why ya’ll didn’t get your act together (simultaneously). The one that captured your heart and then went on to capture and permanently lock down another’s. Ya that one. He got engaged not too long ago and I had the privilege of producing the evidence.

. . .

“Afua, you up?”

{…I was, because somehow the wee hours of the morning are my friends}

“Si.”

“I just found out that XXXX is engaged. Can you stalk his Facebook page for me? I unfriended him.”

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{…hmmm… It’s in moments like these that one must assess your level of love for your friend. On one hand, you’re her ride or die… doing anything she would have need of you to do; on the other hand, you’re. her. ride. or. die., which calls for making tough decisions about things that could possibly bring her more harm than good}.

“Hun, you sure about this? I mean there is a reason you unfriended him, right?”

“I know, I just want to see what folks are saying and what the ring looks like.”

{Now that just sounds like cruel and unusual punishment to me, but let’s be honest… i get it. I’ll most likely be in the exact same position within a year or so, and I know the fight of wanting to not want to know is a losing battle. Given the question of how I would want a friend to handle the situation for me, the answer was very simple…}

“Fine, here you go.”

What followed next was a flurry of screenshots of congratulatory messages; twin statuses professing love for ‘the only being in the world to fully understand me and love me like I deserve’, and him liking it so much that he “put a ring on it”…paired with a gazillion nods of approval. You know the drill.

“I hope it rains on their wedding day.”

My reaction on the other end, a childish smile marred by a cloud of silence… Some things just don’t need a response.

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“You okay?”

“…ya, I think.”

“I mean I knew it was coming, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t just a slight bit hurt. I just thought…  ”

. . .

She didn’t need to finish the thought, because I knew.

I think what’s worse than not being with an ex anymore, is seeing them (seemingly) happily moved on while you haven’t quite yet. When no amounts of “You’re amazingIt’s his lossYou’ll find anotherThere’s a reason for everythingHe wasn’t the one for you” can mask the pain of flat out rejection. He didn’t pick you. Even if it was a blessing in disguise (even if you don’t want him anymore). It. still. sucks. that. he. didn’t. pick. you.

If you can remember this post some time back, specifically the article All the Single Ladies. There’s a story the author retells about her ex, which used to send shock waves to my system:

“After the worst of our breakup, we eventually found our way to a friendship so deep and sustaining that several years ago, when he got engaged, his fiancée suggested that I help him buy his wedding suit. As he and I toured through Manhattan’s men’s-wear ateliers, we enjoyed explaining to the confused tailors and salesclerks that no, no, we weren’t getting married. Isn’t life funny that way?

Wedding shopping? Really? Hmm… so how can one get from praying for rain to that Things_Finger_Pointing_UP?

Perhaps I’ll discuss that in another blog at a later date… But for now, I’ll say this- I know my friend well, and I know she’ll be fine. There will be a time when the hurt is gone hurts less and the ‘what ifs’ subside. The key is getting to a place where you recognize that even being single trumps being with someone that you’re not supposed to be with. And if there are regrets, it’s about accepting things (because sometimes you’ll never really know if you chose the right path), and learning from the situation and moving forward… in any way you can (even if that means deleting him from social media).

– – –

Just in case you were wondering- Regarding my last post: I never called. He did, eventually. Just not in time for my interest to still be intact.

I’m not the most traditional girl, but… (First date protocol)

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I went on a date recently. It was one of those good ones, you know where you have good superficial (enough) banter that is still character revealing. A drink or two in a relaxed atmosphere… chill times all around.

However, when I didn’t hear from the guy within a few days I casually logged it under the ‘that’s life’ pile. It was cool, there was no harm done; I had a good time and if he didn’t want anything else, it is what it is.

But what is it exactly? Because I thought things went a certain way…

I shared the experience with a close friend in passing:

Me (AE): “I mean I’m not the most experienced dater, but I think I know when I’m on a date and the both of us are having a mutually good time.”

Friend (FD): “Did you call him?”

AE: ” I’m not your most traditional girl in any sense of the word, but there are some things related to the first date that must be on the man, I think. Following up initially after the date is one of them, no?”

Couple enjoying dinnerF1: “Honestly, I don’t see what’s wrong with calling him. It doesn’t even have to be a call, could be a text message to him to remind him that he has something there… and that you’re interested.”

AE: “I did the follow up thanks text saying that I had a nice time. Isn’t that enough?”

F1: “No. I’m referring to a day or two after. There’s no rule anywhere that says he has to call first. And Afua, strong woman like you, you’re not empowered enough to call him, that’s odd. ”

AE: “No, there isn’t a rule. But I think at the beginning of something, a man should set the tone. If I can’t even get a call after the first date, then that initial drive to be with me isn’t there. A guy doesn’t need reminding that I’m ‘there’ within a few days of a date.”

F1: “Well maybe he read your interest in him wrong. If you’re wondering why he hasn’t called, it means you wanted him to call, which means you’re interested. So call him and keep it light. You have nothing to lose.”

Hmmm… food. for. thought.

So RR should I have called? Are my arbitrary rules stopping me from being great?

– – –

Find out what happened at the end of this post

Guest Post from a Male Reader: My Introduction to the Returnee Woman (and some words of advice) – Pt. 1

FaviconBig-300x300Let me start by expressing my previous profound ignorance about the whole returnee demographic. Maybe I need to get out more, but to be honest, I hadn’t really given much thought to the ‘plight’ of the Ghanaian who was in cultural limbo. I only vaguely thought about returnees once, when I read an interview featuring  Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond.  She is the author of the Simon and Schuster published “The Powder Necklace”, a novel loosely based on the time her parents uprooted her from her New York existence straight into the unforgiving boarding school system of Ghana. Even with that, she left Ghana soon after that. Little did I know there was an entire thriving community of returnees in Ghana (vibrant and distinctive enough to be considered as their own ethnic group, if YesiYesi is to be taken seriously).

That all changed when I stumbled across Love African, scratch that, Rambling Roommates. Stumbled is not the accurate term here, because the blog was introduced to me by Amma via email. She found me through my blog Life in Kumasi.  Yeah, so I guess it’s beginning to make sense to you how I was so clueless about returnees, being a Siano** and all. Here’s the thing – I do know a few people who lived a while in the US or UK or U-name-it. Case in point, my three best friends all spent the better parts of their childhood in England, Canada and Germany respectively. But I don’t think they quite earn the returnee tag because they came back before they, you know, went over to the dark side (just kidding, indulge me). Then there’s my cousin, who was in Accra for like a week. I guess she would qualify as a returnee, if she had stayed. Then there’s my other cousin who came back from the US after about 10 years. Still, not quite a returnee in my estimation because he was already a teenager when he and the family moved over to the Land of the Brave. Or maybe he is, I don’t know. I’m no expert on this returnee thing. I hadn’t even heard the term before I read Rambling Roommates. And yes, even though I’m a verified Siano, that is surprising, because I happen to know many, many words.

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In a strange concatenation of events, I found out about An African City, courtesy Leila Djansi, soon after finding out about returnees. Does that ever happen to you? You spend your entire life not knowing about something, then in a space of like a week, you discover it from 3 or 4 different places independently? This swell storm of events led me to ask: Is there really a dating problem for returnee women? From watching the show and reading Rambling Roommates, it seems to me that at least some of these perceived problems are easily solved. In An African City, the women give the impression they’re looking for love, but we see them to be mostly more interested in sex. Everyone knows when you’re pursuing sex, you tend more toward variety but when you’re pursuing love, you move closer to exclusivity. So if you’re changing guys every so often, but in the meantime you say you’re waiting for the one, then I don’t really get that.

And then there’s Ngozi. In the show, she abstains from sex, and she seems to be really trying to find someone to settle down with. But if anything, she’s more unsuccessful than the others. In the first episode, she said she dated a man for a month, and the whole time the man never mentioned he was married. I think one solution for Ngozi-related dating problems is getting help from the local talent. Obviously I’ve heard of non-returnee Ghanaian women who have dated married men, but it’s not so often I hear about them dating a married man without knowing his marital status (though, of course, it does happen). There are signs that would be obvious to the indigenous Ghanaian woman that a returnee woman might be oblivious to. Having female friends who know the Ghanaian system is an indispensable resource for a returnee lady. But women, who are infamous for being catty with each other (no chauvinism intended), sometimes find it hard to get along. And it appears to me the returnee woman is no different. However, if there really is such a dating problem, I don’t see a better solution than having a close friend who has been on the ground here all the time you have been away. Ngozi could sure use one.

1461855_263166813837840_380498752_nTo conclude, I hope to meet and interact more with returnees from here on out. I’ll probably have to make sure I get a Harvard degree in the meantime, though, so I’ll fit in better. All I’ve got is a KNUST*** education. Was that a low blow? Nah, I don’t think so.

**Siano means Kumasi (or someone who comes from Kumasi)

***KNUST: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (located in Kumasi)