Accra

Date Night in Accra: New Loves, New Locations!

As a follow up to our Ten Places to Eat: First and Second Date Style, we asked Lydia Elim, of Lydia Loves Good Food (LLGF) fame to guest write a post about some really great places to eat in Accra. Given her experiences roaming about the city finding the best (and worst) Accra has to offer, we figured she would be perfect for giving us the scoop around town. We know that the holidays are prime time for rekindling old flames and meeting new ones. Nothing like a Christmas chill up to bring two wandering souls together under the mistletoe  next to the kebab table. So this is dedicated to the abaa fresh love birds about town. Go and spend your money… and your Christmas cheer, and tell us what you think!


Date night in Accra

Happy New Year to you and yours! So my friends asked me to write a blog post for them on good spots to eat at in Accra. Unfortunately, the Christmas spirit has hit me hard and I’ve been a lazy bum. It’s a known fact that a lot of relationships are birthed during the Christmas season, and I know you lovebirds need places to go eat. So if that relationship continued on into the New Year, congrats! Keep it going strong by checking out some of the restaurants listed below. But don’t worry singletons, you can also enjoy these restaurants with your friends and family! No matter your budget, you should be able to find something to enjoy!

Now THAT is a breakfast of champions. #hearty

Now THAT is a breakfast of champions. #hearty

Bosphorous-Turkish Food: Breakfast

Turkish breakfast? Yup! I was pleasantly surprised at how good the breakfast was, and how reasonably priced it was as well. I couldn’t even finish everything! It’s definitely a nice spot to go to if you want to do a relaxing breakfast or brunch over the weekend. Sleep in, get some good food, go home and sleep some more…now that’s my kind of weekend! Amma: I have not had this meal, but what is appealing is that its perfect for girlfriends who like picking off of plates ahem.guilty.ahem. There is so much to go around, it looks like a breakfast tapa plate. It’s also a good mix of English and American with a smattering of Ottoman delight… love!

Screenshot 2015-01-07 02.31.10Burger and Relish: Burgers

As soon as the owner came by to tell us his experience making such burgers in France, I knew I could expect some kind of European twist. Whether you’re a carnivore, a vegetarian, a pescetarian or a vegan, you can be sure to get something you like. Oh my! And the onion rings! I’m almost tempted to say I loved them more than the burgers. They’re. Fried. To. Perfection. Make sure you get a side of those too. Trust me, our onion breath will be forgivable!

Apple Goodness!

Bistro 22: Bistro Food

Who doesn’t love a good bistro?

Good food.

Good ambiance.

Good music.

This place definitely has all three of these. My favourite? The apple crumble. I wanted more. Actually, I just might go back there this week just for that! Amma: I should also add that the service is probably the best you will get at a restaurant that isn’t a high priced hotel. And that says a lot since service is generally about as elusive as the end to our dumsor issues  missing in action in Accra. The fact that the food is good feels like icing on the cake, and good service and good food always make for great accessories to good company.

D-Den: Nigerian Food

When I was traveling to Lagos often for work some years back, I would also be sure to get some Eba and Egusi. I always loved that dish, and it’s the one dish I’m sure to get when I go to a Nigerian Restaurant. While it’s not easy getting very good food in the East Legon Area, this place is quite good. Warning: If you’re on a lunch date, pre-order your food or you’ll be waiting a while! The good thing about this place is it’s also a lounge, so you can have a drink before going into the restaurant.

Coco Lounge: Various

Wanna dress up? Look cute in that little black dress? Wanna look ever-so-dapper in your evening suit? Want somewhere nice and quick to eat before the next part of your date…at a lounge, perhaps? If so, you should start your night out at Coco Lounge. The good service and light meals mean you won’t be too exhausted and full and you’ll be able to hit the town afterwards!

Screenshot 2015-01-07 02.41.58 Orient Health and Wellness: Thai Food

A few new Thai restaurants have popped up in the past couple of years, but this one is still my favourite. You will most definitely love their Phad Thai, and pretty much anything else you order. I’ve never heard anyone say they didn’t enjoy the food they ate from here! You just can’t get better Thai food in Accra, but if you just so happen to fine one, do let me know. And hey, you could even get a massage pour-deux before your meal. Amma: It always saddens my soul when I go to a Thai spot that does not serve Thai Iced Tea. This is one such spot. Nevertheless, the food is good and well priced, so for all of the complaining I would like to do, I think the food more than makes up for it. But if you could whisper in their ears, anyone out there, let them know.. Thai Iced Tea… would be the cherry on a very delectable cake. 

Cuzzy Bro’s: Burgers

I remember the first time I had a burger from here, and I’m sure that memory will stay with me for a very long time. They have so many burger options, both gourmet and not, I really do want to go back and try every single one of them. Even the burger cynics will enjoy these! You can even play a game of pool while on your date. Everyone loves an amusing date, it makes it more enjoyable. Amma: This list is an awesome update to our initial post on ten places to eat in Accra. I am especially excited that Lydia took the time for this guest post because she offers great candid no nonsense in your face details via her blog and Instagram on her eating experiences.  Plus anyone who takes the time to rate the elements of their experience, has the type of detail I am looking for when trying to figure out where to eat. My favorite review is the Cuzzy Bro’s one… because she used “love” exactly 4 times and this is the required number necessary to compel me to try a burger in Ghana (I usually hate them here). So my next visit to Cuzzy Bro’s must include a burger, by hook or crook.  I have to say that Bistro22 is hands down my favorite on the list (though my financially fit in 2015 goals will likely limit my trips there…) but their service, and that artichoke dip are just heavenly. Lastly, along with her great reviews, Lydia also includes some poignant and insightful relationship advice such as the gems below… lol!

Screenshot 2015-01-07 02.48.56

poignant.

Screenshot 2015-01-07 02.50.49

insightful.

Let us know if there are other places to consider and visit Lydia’s blog to get the deets on what is delectable and del-eat-able (that started out more clever then it ended… just roll with it… lol!) around these parts. Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

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Act Like a Lady Think Like a Ghanaman

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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. Click on the link below to see the post. Enjoy!

The post has been moved to their new site: http://yesiyesighana.com/act-like-a-lady-think-like-a-ghanaman/

Clash of the Titans (Response to “The Ultimate Dating Advice: Seek Ye First”)

photo (7)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?

Apparently so…

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:

“Creepsicle much?!

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”

He continues…

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‘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’

Ah…

hmmm…

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’

Oh.

Smh.

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:

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QUESTION!

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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.

kisseddatingPerhaps 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?

**name changed.

The Ultimate Dating Advice in Accra: Seek Ye First.

Couple announcements before I begin:

  • 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 unnamed (1)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…”

I digress.

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.

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KWASIASEM means stupid in Akan Twi.

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…

It’s quite 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):

KOFI.

“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.

KWAME.

“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”

Duly noted.

KWESI.

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.

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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…**”

No One is Entitled to a Relationship [Response to Afua’s ‘Plight of the Single Returnee Women’]

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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

Hmmmm.

Well.

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.

I can even cook a decent meal (if I am forced to do so)

perfect

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 seedon’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.

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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.

Ok, Afua?

okay

The Plight of the Single Returnee Woman [Dedicated to Komla Dumor]

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Some of you may or may not know that on Saturday we lost a great journalist, Komla Dumor. Komla was most recently a presenter on BBC’s World News and Focus on Africa, however most Ghanaians remember him as host of the Super Morning Show on JoyFM (a popular radio station in Ghana). Komla was host of the show for many years before he left for the BBC in 2006. He was a breath of fresh air when it came to journalism about the continent (not shying away from asking tough questions, but also bringing a balanced story about the triumphs and tragedies of Mama Africa); and he was a symbol of hard work and dedication to one’s craft- and I’m not just saying these things because he was also a fellow alum of the Harvard Kennedy School! Apart from Kofi Annan, I cannot think of a better ‘ambassador’ for Ghana in the last few years. If you haven’t seen Komla’s TEDtalk on Telling the African Story, I would encourage you to take a few moments to watch it.

I know you’re probably wondering what the passing of a journalist has to do with this blog. Well, about a week and a half ago Amma and I had a discussion with Komla on twitter. We discussed (along with several other people) the plight of educated African women and how challenging it is to find an African man to date and marry. I told Komla that I was working on this precise blog, and he told me to forward it to him once I had finished writing it. Though I cannot do so anymore, I will dedicate this blog to him. R.I.P. Komla.

Komlar-Dumor

I’ve included snippets of our twitter discussion below. If you want to see our full interactions on the topic please visit here, and scroll to Jan 7th.

– – –

I wrote a blog back in August, and for reasons unknown I didn’t post it. It was a self-pity blog, and I knew it. A couple (brief) moments of Woe Is Me, which I (knew I) didn’t need to share with our readers. Amma also agreed: “OMG Afua, PLEASE don’t post that!”  Yes, thank God for co-writers/editors.

There are a few things that I hate to be labeled in life; other than being labeled as the type of woman who can’t cook/won’t take care of her man and home/ won’t be a good mother / and someone who has high standards, what I think I hate most to be labeled is ‘the angry single black female (blogger)’. I hate this label so much that I often censor posts about my relationship status and other topics that might make me come across as angry/bitter or having an attitude problem. At the very least, I DO NOT post things like the blog I wrote back in August. However, I stumbled across this blog over the holidays and re-read it, and Amma and I came to an agreement that perhaps we COULD share the blog (that was written in a momentary lapse of judgement that does not in any shape, fashion or form portray my general positive/all smiles outlook on life and love) and discuss it, because there are a number of interesting things that arise from it. What I discuss in the post is the plight of most some single returnee women, and I’ve come to the realization that whether I discuss it or not the world (and you our readers) have already formed opinions of women like Amma and I… So chale, #girlsabr3 paa… I’m posting and we’re going to discuss it. Medase [which means Thank you in Akan twi]. Enjoy the read!

What’s Dating like in Accra?

It’s a plane, it’s a bird, no it’s thirty I see on the horizon.

Le sigh. It’s my birthday. And though I am not 30 yet, I’ve now reached the humble age of being just as close to 30 as I am to 25.

One inch closer to 30, and one step deeper into the bottomless pit of harassment from everyone I know about marriage:

‘What about that one guy from…’  Nope.

‘Or that guy at church that…’  Notta.

‘Or the one friend which…’  Never.

‘Well, I swore that you had that one that…’  Well, you swore wrong.

Usually a cloud of silence looms following the above, and then comes: ‘Well how come [you’re single]?’ Though I’ve never understood this question in the past, it’s irritation increases to new bounds with age. As if picking a man occurs on my Sunday grocery run, where he’s sitting on aisle 9 between the milk and cheese. What this question is really meant to do is to provide agreement to an unstated yet painfully obvious statement: ‘It’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with you, Afua’. It’s usually here that I’ll indulge in the conversation for the sake of the other party, because obviously the conversation is not meant for me, but for their confirmation that there still exists some order in the world: ‘You know, next time you go to The Lord in prayer, please do bare me up‘ / ‘In your next round of fasting, remember me kra… For I know it’ll come, he’s on his way, in due time’ *rolling eyes*.

In these types of conversations, the grande crescendo takes place with the full on questioning of how I stack up (compared to other ladies who are in relationships and/or are married already): but are you cooking for them? Are you dangling that feminist thing in front of them or talking too much? And then the icing on the cake is the definitive statement that the other party is not worried about me: ‘Because beh you’re pretty, and smart and not crazy, so most definitely you’ll find someone.’ Depending on the audience, I either stand with an innocent smile to join in their dumbfoundedness, feign state my confidence that I am indeed not worried because at any moment in time I could meet the man of my dreams, or unleash my semi-feminist attack that men don’t necessarily want these things they have listed out/ these things don’t mean anything these days because look at all the amazing beautiful smart black single women around the world *shrug*. The latter happens less, and usually only towards family to put the fear of God in them…

A couple weeks ago, a group of six of my girlfriends had a lunch to celebrate the return of one of our dear friends. A couple hours and a couple bottles of wine later came the dreaded discussion, the topic we love to hate, The Inevitable:

“Lay it on me girls, what am I really in for now that I’m back?”

Five of the six present are for all intents and purposes single, including the recent returnee herself. The one who isn’t, is dating a black American living in Ghana.

“Well,” One starts: “Hoes be killing the game.” I laugh, but she is dead serious.

Another chimes in: “If they’re not into their careers and still sowing their wild oats and surveying their options, they’re with some hoe, some white girl (white includes everything non-black in this case), or they’re douchey and not what you want. The few that are wifed up already with sensible girls hold down the rest.”

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After a few more comments of a similar nature, the guest of honor brings it home: “So essentially our men don’t want ‘us’. Great. Welcome ‘home’.” – And by ‘us’, we mean our prototype:  Ghanaian, but not. Feminist, but not. And definitely Too-Known. It was interesting to then collectively list out all the women killing the game in ‘our’ own country: the born and bred Ghanaian, the basic chick, the hoe, and the foreigner… hell, the foreigner is even killing the game from outside Ghana we conclude. From here we list out the number of guys we know that have met their significant others outside Ghana and have brought them back to the country to live with them. Let me interject here that the recent returnee’s own brother is seriously dating a ‘white’ girl who he has moved to Ghana. [SPOILER ALERT: Since the writing of this blog in August, the serious girlfriend has now become his fiancee].

Rest assured, it wasn’t an all male bashing session that followed, but it was funny to have things come full circle in my mind, because when I moved to Ghana from South Africa a little over a year ago (save a 3month dip out/dip in), I had a long conversation with an earlier returnee and fellow love/sex blogger, Nana Darkoa, who flat out told me: ‘Afua, there are no eligible men in Ghana… For your purposes, those men are all married.’ And then here I am a year later co-signing to a similar message to another returnee. Hmm. At the time I moved from S.A, I was less worried about this because I thought I was in a progressing situation, but a year later… a few abysmal first dates (actually a little more than a few), a lot of new ‘friends’, and a few okay guys… singledom still looms. Although I don’t think Nana’s assessment of Ghana is entirely correct, I do see her point. Even while at lunch my group of girlfriends tried to come up with five names of returnee women who had come to Ghana single and met men that they were now happily married to. Five. That’s less than 1 person per attendee (note that we disregarded women who ‘knew the guy in primary school’ or ‘the guy was a family friend’). Needless to say, we couldn’t come up with five women. Sigh.

The truth is I know why I’m single,  it’s quite simple actually: I haven’t found anything that has stuck [on both sides]. The reasons that follow really are inconsequential because they vary from guy to guy (so contrary to popular assumption, it isn’t about having high standards). I am of the belief that when it’s supposed to stick it will, even if that means that this happens on the other side of 30, to the horror and chagrin of my relatives… when it’s supposed to stick, it will. So until then, another year, another step into the bottomless pit.

Happy birthday to me.

– – –

Ya, I wrote that. *shrug* Don’t judge me.

So it’s six months later, how do I feel about this post and the things that I said in it. I won’t spend too much time here, because this blog is just a conversation starter to the general topic of ‘Dating in Accra as a Returnee’. However, I will say this: my situation may not have changed in the last six months, but my attitude definitely has. I’m in a place of ‘Whether or not my situation changes, I do not want to get tied up in knots about things (or allow others to tie me up in knots about them).’ I have life and health, I have great family and friends, and I like my job. I like where I am in life… I’m growing and learning a lot about myself, and until a man comes alongside me to join me on this ride, I should not be downcast and distraught.

Amma, thoughts?

Read Amma’s Response: No One is Entitled to a Relationship

Tis the Season: What to get your Guy for Christmas

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AMMA

It’s the holiday season… and the spirit of giving is upon us. I for one, know this can be a supremely stressful time for buying gifts… especially buying for guys. I feel like the world wants us to believe they are super simple and that meeting basic needs will prove satisfying enough for the holidays— not the case when you are dating a man whose fashion sense precedes him… or who insists he wants nothing (because he already has… everything.)

So in these harrowing moments, when your back is against the wall— what does one give to one’s man that is not insulting but won’t break the pocket (see Kim Kardashian’s gift to Kanye… #girlsabr3)

Here is what we believe to be suitable gifts from the heart that are genuine and will remind him daily of what an insanely awesome girl you are  and if he were to ever leave or forsake you it would be God’s wrath and not yours he should be worried about. Sorry. Crazy Person Moment.

1. Signature Apparel

So I dated a guy who dressed super well. Better than I did. I can admit this now.

Buying him things was like torture.

However, I figured out that if I got him something that no one else could get him but was essentially exactly like everything else in his closet, I would be #winning in the gift giving department.

I really like Ohema Ohene’s line of clothing items (and they’ve recently opened a shop in East Legon!—no they did not ask for an endorsement—yes I am doing this from my heart). There are some really bold pieces but also more subtle ones for those guys that don’t want to say much with what they’re wearing— that sort of casual appeal that we have all come to know and love.

CARDIINSTBLK

work and play come together effortlessly!

Afua: I won’t lie, I’m not so sure how much this is my cup of tea nor the type of guy I’m into’s either, BUT if this is your man’s swag, definitely run with it.

2. Tech— Accessories.

Look… I haven’t yet reached the Michelle O. level of dropping thousands of dollars on the newest Bose speakers, but I can definitely get you a boss iPad cover that lets all your friends, family and enemies know that you mean business. This is especially clutch because everyone else sees how great you are and it’s important during the season of giving that you spread your cheer (and style savvy) to all of his compatriots.

Plus, it’s actually handy.

(These could totally be made in Bolga… and then inscribed!)

Afua: I really like Amma’s idea of personalizing gifts. I once got a guy a money clip with his initials engraved on it… and I definitely came up on top that year. I am also a fan of patronizing the north of Ghana, so this gift idea is winning all around. 

3. Musical Compilation

This might sound a bit cheesy, but I once did a nice little compilation of songs that were meaningful in our relationship and it was a hit. Now I am NOT suggesting this gift be given as a standalone… as the sentimentality of it won’t compensate for it being sort of cheap and seemingly ad- hoc… but it’s a great complimentary gift. And there are so many cute little ways to package it now.

music is the language of love they say…

Afua: Personally I don’t see the problem with this being a standalone gift… it sure is better than just a ‘cake’ to me, *shrug*

AFUA

When Amma told me she wanted to do a holiday special on what to get your man for the holidays, I thought it was so appropriate. In our (Ghanaian) culture, where an appropriate present for your man on his birthday is a cake, I often wonder if women get creative with their gift giving, because there are some neat things out there… things you can really dress up or make as chill as you want, depending on the message you want to send.

First things, first. Kaftan.

kaftanAmma and I share many similarities in life, but our love for men in Kaftan stands above all most others.  I’m not one to call myself a fashionista, nor do I fuss about my any man’s clothing, but there is absolutely nothing like a man in Kaftan. Nothing. The way God designed our traditional dress to bring out all the qualities of sexiness, swag, masculinity (indeed everything a woman needs to feel about her man), it’s absolutely mind boggling. Kaftan has the ability to upgrade any man’s status instantaneously- Amma’s words, which I totally agree with. Long sleeve, short sleeve, shirt-level, knee-length or to the ankle, royal blue, grey, gold, take your pick… and don’t let it be white…wooowee *le sigh* Ok, I’m done. 🙂 Now that I’ve clearly stated how this gift is obviously for my benefit, let’s get into how it is a suitable gift for your man. It’s practical: other than men needing clothes, it is a great outfit for weddings, parties, and even everyday wear (you can get away with a lot). And he’ll definitely be getting some love action from you, if you’re anything like us.

Something I just thought of that would be really sexy would be if you engrave a naughty cute little message on the inside of the shirt or trousers… this is the beauty of getting something made in Ghana, you can be creative… 🙂

Amma: AGREED! *swoooon* Honestly, in the hierarchy of men’s apparel… white tee and cargo at number 4, suit and tie at number 3 and kaftans tied at number 1… 

2. Krachi Bowties.1016226_484262954987086_1398472065_n

It’s interesting how they say a well tailored suit to a woman is as lingerie to a man, but my next pick is just one aspect of the suit: The bowtie. I don’t think this is something that Amma vibes with as much as I do, however I like a man in a bowtie, and if your man is that kind of man that rocks bowties, do it! It’s a clean simple gift, and we’ve found some 8ad770ac987211e2984822000a1f9707_7really nice ones at Krachi, a local company just taking off which makes local print (and other patterned) bowties. The company is just about to launch a new line of bowties so watch out for that!

Amma: I am not one for recommending neck wear for guys, largely because I think it’s really easy and sort of unexciting. But I love Krachi ties… so if you are going to make this your move, I’d say make it one that matters by getting something that stands out.


3. A Weekend Gateway

I think more creative gifts like creating a playlist or going on weekend getaways are actually the best types of gifts. Even though women probably prefer these types of gifts more… I’ll admit I once had my guy promise to take me on a weekend trip if I lost a bet we had going… I still think a man would really enjoy you putting together a nice weekend getaway for the two of you- And by putting together, I mean planning, PAYING, driving, etc. I’m not sure what man wouldn’t turn down fine dining… quality time together… and, couple massages. Done. Even though it’s been in small intervals, Ghana has stepped up it’s tourism game; I just returned from a really nice wedding in Aburi, so I can say for a fact that you don’t have to look far for some really nice (long) weekend getaway spots. See some suggestions below!

Hillburi

Beige Village

The Royal Senchi

Sisimbo Beach Resort

Brenu Beach Resort

Sankofa Beach House

Amma: I loved Beige Village… and I definitely think it’s a cool chill spot for guys to get away and hang around without prostitutes and debauchery distractions. Golf… massages… buffet meals and excellent service. Annnnd all the OG’s go out there to relax (there’s this great pic of Amoabeng and co. as a reminder, haha)… so obviously their spirit of OGness will rub off on him. Honestly… everyone wins!

Clearly this list isn’t exhaustive, similar to our date spots in Accra post (look out for part 2 of that soon btw!), however this is a decent list to get you coming out on top this gift-giving season. So a Merry Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours, and we’ll see you in the new year for more ramblings!