Don’t Buy Her A Gift…

gift

According to the movies and stories passed down over the decades, courtship in Africa, specifically Nigeria was rather a funny and awkward exercise; one that still influences how relationships pan out in present day society. In those days when a man became of age and his elders deemed it time for him to get married, he would be ‘let loose’ on the community to scout for a suitable maiden to wife.

Now, what made a maiden suitable you ask?

  • A broadened hip believed to make childbirth easier and also strong enough to ‘back’ the child when it cries.
  • An ample bosom to nurse a child.
  • A thin waist line to showcase an hourglass figure (they loved their amazons)
  • A good stock line to ensure children had no evil traits likely to rear up its ugly head.
  • And let’s not forget, the gift of preparing and serving meals in a manner that would rival Nigella Lawson.
  • Throw in a pretty face and the said scout had reached utopia.

Basically, he went about the process with the mannerism of a prospective buyer at a cattle market. And when our scout spots the right maiden does he personally take her a gift or try to interact with her? No. He interacts extensively with her family, including distant relatives, but rarely spends any quality time getting to know her as a person.  He bestows gifts on her parents, her relatives as a token of his interest. Any gift that makes it to the bride is delivered by a relative, not directly by our scout.

The maiden is seen as something you acquired after making a reasonable offer by way of a gift. There was no need to appeal to her emotions; it was more or less a business transaction.

Fast forward to present day society, not much has changed. Man still hasn’t mastered the act of gift giving without strings as a sign of intimacy and friendship.

Our modern day checklist will look something like this:

  • Does she have a job, is she hard-working?
  • Is she devoid of illness (this includes her bloodlines)?
  • Is she well known in the community? Hmm, this might be a sign that she flirts.
  • Is she prayerful? I have gathered a lot of demons and I need a stand by the exorcist.

And the list continues.

History has made it almost impossible for men to approach gift giving from any other angle other than as an investment that indirectly benefits him.

He gave gifts to her father, he got her. Business deal sealed and delivered.

However, today the woman has a choice and sadly that has thrown a spanner in the investment wheel of many scouts. Some have invested and lost heavily; some have played cautiously and still ended up cheated.

sheldon-cooper-quote

I know some of you are thinking, but we should invest in the ones we love. Absolutely true, however, investments are expected to yield returns; gifts are designed to please the recipient. A gift performs well under the atmosphere of love; selfishness on either side turns a gift into an investment tool for manipulation. Expecting to receive sexual favours or commitments because you gave a gift is totally opposed to the true meaning of gift giving.

 Most people give gifts to children simply to make them smile; to let them know you thought of them and you love them. If the lady in your life does not stir your feelings on gift giving the way a child would then I don’t think you should be together. Begrudging your partner a gift for any other reason other than you can’t afford or it feels inappropriate at the moment, is an indication that you evaluate your relationships based on what you expect in return from it.

Gift: something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation.

Don’t buy her a gift this valentine because you see her as a potential ‘cow’ or ‘investment’ ready to yield an emotional, physical or spiritual bounty. Buy her a gift because she’s the girl who makes the sun feel brighter when she looks at you. Buy her a gift because your relationship is worth investing everything good into including gifts. Buy her a gift because you love her and respect her needs as a person.

Funny thing is when a girl senses she has your heart the benefits just keep giving ♥

 


 

Chioma is an avid reader and a non-biased writer. She writes to explore and change outlooks to life, while mothering and maintaining balance wherever she calls home. Visit her blogLifehomeandaway

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Love Is An Algebraic Expression

algebraGuest post by Mynd

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Journey to self

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“Self-acceptance and self-knowing are deeply interconnected. To truly know something about yourself, you must accept it. Even things about yourself that you most deeply want to change must first be accepted – even embraced. Self-transformation is always preceded by self-acceptance.” – David G. Benner (The Gift of Being Yourself)

When P asked that I told him something about me that no one else knew, I froze. There are a hundred things people don’t know about me seeing as I am a reticent being by nature, never particularly willing to share myself completely with anyone. I’ve often been forced to wonder if I’ll make a decent lover or wife. Maybe I will, when I find a good reason to trust another man with myself. Or maybe I won’t. It’s is after all said that the heart of a woman is an ocean of secrets.

Either ways, there are two major reasons I don’t feel compelled to reveal my feelings to others: the first is that the more people know, the more vulnerable you become. The other being the fear of being misunderstood and judged. You see, I have stumbled too many times in search of my identity. I have discovered hidden perks that would make my folks and friends cringe inwardly. But right beside that quirky and perky female is the tolerant and compassionate one people are accustomed to.

For years I thought the latter persona a more acceptable version of me and inadvertently repressed the former. Can’t confess it was healthy. Sometimes an emotional outburst reflects itself in very crazy ways most people can’t relate with. It was widely assumed that I was most surely facing an identity crisis. I believed that for a while, until I realized they were all wrong. I wasn’t facing an identity crisis, I was learning more about what was in me.

The more I explored my mind, the more I discovered more colors and shades. The more curious I became of my environment, the more I understood that I could be both the quiet pool and the raging ocean. When I began to embrace my numerous personality traits–both those I loved and what I so desperately wished wasn’t mine, the better my relationship with myself and others got. Oh, they aren’t any less surprised by something new, but they’ve stopped thinking something’s wrong with me.

Today I am learning to hone my strengths, and manage my weaknesses–not shy away from them or pretend they don’t exist. I am learning to assess my blueprint and decide how to project this to the world, to create a healthy balance of sort with myself. Most importantly, I understand that to know love, I must first learn to love me–all of me; this way I can also learn to love others and all their different hues, and give those who want to, a chance to love me too.

“Being loved for our best selves is something we should rejoice at, but being loved for our very worst is a joy that reaches to the innermost parts of hearts, healing us, blessing us, and providing us with the strength we need to live a full and beautiful life.” – J.Soriano

Unrepentantly Human

There comes a time in our lives when we realise we owe some people an unreserved apology; I have reached that point. An apology not for a conventional wrong doing, but for it’s less thought-of, unconventional twin. I have expected so much from certain people, idolised–hero worship if you like–and placed them on the pedestal of perfection. I have thought them more than they truly are. I have stood in awe of them, showered them with lovve and affection due to gods. I have loved selfishly.

Our lives are so intertwined that we do not always know where one ends and the other begins. We feel a sense of responsibility for one another.  As parents, we feel responsible for our children. As older sibling, for our younger ones. As the head of states, for the citizens. As citizens, for our neighbours. As celebtities, for our fans. Teachers, for our students. Pastors, priests, for the church.
However, we do not always realise if we are at the receiving end, how difficult it is to be the giver. We feel disappointed, betrayed, lose interest and become judgemental when we receive anything less than perfect behaviour from others.

But at our very core, we are all the same. We all have good days and bad days. Dreams, fear, hopes. Joy and tears; strengths and weaknesses. We bleed when we fall. Break when bent. Snap when stretched beyong limit. Prone to make mistakes.  We are imperfect.

People are only as extraordinary as they can successfully mask their ordinary selves.

So I have been tried and found guilty of being unthoughtful about your needs. Hence forth,  you are allowed to take a break off that pedestal. Take a walk. Breathe in the air. Smell the flowers. Soak in the sun. Indulge.  Be inappropriate. Live. Most importantly,  step back up at your own convenience.

I may never be for you what you represent to me, but I can promise to be understanding when you slip; to give you a second and third chance, because in the end, we have been made to complement one another but at our very core, we will always remain one thing: human, and will everybody else.

Love is hardwork

image

That one moment in your life when you realise you’ve just met that one person you want to spend the rest of your life with. The rush of emotions; the initial confusion, trying to come to terms with the sudden realisation or make it go away. That feeling of breathlessness when the object is near. The air cracks and sizzles–chemistry. The invasion of your mind, when it’s away. When you think you just saw it up ahead, or smelled it’s perfume by the roadside….it’s everywhere and nowhere.The hard thump of your heart against your ribs, and the mad dash of racing pulse. The stone at the pit of your stomach…or are those butterflies? Leaving you tongue tied when you really must say something.  Heightened emotions–everything matters so long it comes from it.
That helpless feeling when you realise you can’t walk away. It’s real when you can’t walk away, they say.
You get used to it. You accept it. You’re in–hook, line, and sinker. The whole 360 degrees.

But it isn’t rosy. It’s only as perfect as when you are together, and you must work to stay together. One day, all that breathlessness goes away. You must learn to coexist in the same space. Accomodate quirky habits. Fight. Make up. And they get more frequent–the cycle. You want to go away. End it. But you don’t. You fell for a package, and so you fight for a package. You fan the embers periodically. Build a flame. Revel in it.

But it grows old. It grows cold.

Someday you settle for comfort outside passion–or the next best thing. The deafening silence that screams a thousand words. That hums in the day and whispers at night of spoken promises of long ago to old weary bones. The cycle continues.

Then into the darkness you ask, ‘why?’
And the silence whispers, ‘because love is hardwork.’

Romantic relationships: Understanding the opposite sex.

Loving couple holdind on the hands and sunset
A couple of weeks ago I lost touch with a friend…a male friend. Of all the problems we had, one seemed to stand out: somehow we (or one of us did) let emotions take centre stage. That single unconscious act alone became the seed that eventually germinated to reproduce many issues that led to our eventual estrangement.

Our ‘break up’ hurt like nothing I had felt before—at first though—not because I was romantically inclined towards him, but because I had come to value our friendship a lot and acted as such. On hindsight I think the ‘act’ bit of my attitude confused the hell out of him.

Men and women it would seem have different ‘processors’, and don’t actually understand each other as well as we love to think– I mean if I had a penny every time I heard a guy say, “You took advantage of my feelings for you”, I’d be a frigging billionaire today.
So in a bid to clear the air and preserve future friendships WITHOUT that tiny organ getting in the way, I’ll attempt to explain why we keep getting our signals all muddled up and royally screwing up every good thing that happens in the form of the opposite sex. Perhaps we’ll reach a compromise eventually and hopefully everyone—men and women—can go home happy.

What does a man see when he approaches a woman?
It’s pretty much straight forward. Our one-track-mind better halves have a lot of difficulty seeing beyond their immediate desires…obviously. To them it’s either what they want or nothing at all. You are either friend material at first glance, or girl friend material. Anything suggestion to the contrary is not welcome, thank you.
Briefly summarized:
Brains+Ass+Boobs+(personality)=Girl friend material.
Brains+Ass+(Boobs)+(personality)=Friend material.
ABSOLUTELY NO MIDDLE GROUND.

What does a woman see when she meets a guy?
Women are unarguably the most complex creatures in God’s green Earth. So how do you figure out what she thinks about you? You can’t. Unless she tells you, reading her body language and speech pattern is absolutely useless (please do not make the mistake of trying this unless you have psychic powers).

There are three reasons a woman will be attracted (not necessarily romantically) to you:
You’re drop dead gorgeous. You’re stinking rich. You’re Einstein smart. OK, maybe not to the extreme like I just suggested, but I believe you get the point (you could however fall in the category of triple threat extraordinaire).

Women unlike men as a general rule don’t start off relationships ‘heart first, head later’. We like to take our time getting to know more about you. More importantly is that you may not ever be lucky enough to grace our ‘potential boyfriend’ list…EVER. But when we like you, well we’ll want to keep you.
Even so, the wait can be tiring seeing as men aren’t the most patient beings around, and women will take twice as much time picking a beau as she would choosing the perfect nail polish.

So while waiting in limbo here are a couple of things you could chew on:
1. You aren’t the only guy who wants her. A girl is allowed to be confused if there are many eligible bachelors seeking out her awesomeness. You observed and found her ‘worthy’ of you, give her time to decide where and how you fit into her life too. Be considerate.

2. While you’re hoping she sees something more special than friendship in you, do remember she will treat you like everybody else she likes. She’ll flirt, place her head on your shoulder, laugh at your jokes, call your mobile phone and spend long hours talking with you, maintain eye contact and smile from across the room. She’ll use phrases like, “you abandoned me” and it still wouldn’t be giving the green light to her. Why? Because that’s how she is with her friends, and right now that’s exactly what you are. Women are more mentally flexible than their male counterpart, which means we can crisscross the line between friend and lover flawlessly while keeping to heart who plays what role to us. Don’t over think things.

3. You may never have her. But really isn’t that what life is all about: chances, risks, frigging probabilities? You may never become anything more than the Bradley Cooper-Mark Zuckerberg-Einstein-like guy who she just likes…as a friend.
So decide if she’s worth having around at all(come on there must be something that made her worth having around in the first place) and if you can stand the impending heart break you just might receive always bearing in mind that to her you are friends first. Be realistic.

That said, since I promised a compromise I’ll deliver. The men are pretty much covered, so ladies:
Men have delicate sensibilities, handle them with kid gloves. Decide if he is worth falling in your boyfriend list(you can achieve this speedily by keeping a checklist of potential boify attributes, unless love happens and you chuck it out the window). If his performance is not satisfactory , let him know. Being friend zoned by a girl you’re literally dying for is as bad as being raped(it is emotional rape). If you think he has a chance with you then let him know, but be sure to tell him he’s got major competition(s) too and could possibly lose(just in case he loves to build sand castles). No matter how difficult it will be, try not to flirt with him. Men can’t always differentiate between green lights and no lights(they aren’t wired that way).

There, case solved.