To Bee Honest…
Sometimes comedy is simply the only defense against the small and large absurdities of life, even 45. Sometime this year I had an encounter at which I could only laugh, but it also made me realise that maybe, just maybe, I might have been maybe a wee bit too harsh in judging a significant portion of Nigerian men. Let me explain.
Once in a time long long long ago, I took myself to the gym in search of beach body things. I was pumped, this was it! I was going to start my 30th year with the best body ever! It was almost the end of my workout and I was in beast mode on the elliptical when I noticed a middle-aged gentleman get on the elliptical besides me. “Him again”, I thought to myself, I clearly remembered him from previous morning gym visits. One incident involved a drawn out conversation between him and his cronies about how I looked like Rihanna, another incident was a long speech about the necessity of speaking Dutch if I was to continue living in the Netherlands. Needless to say my encounters with him were always memorable, although I was never quite sure if he realised if I was “me” each time.
This time would probably be different, I thought, he didn’t appear to be paying any attention to me and I was almost done. Success! I had hit my calorie burned goal and I could get off this road to nowhere machine. Like any responsible gym goer I headed off to grab some tissues and disinfectant to wipe down the elliptical. I am sure you can see where this is going. While carefully wiping down my machine I noticed my gentleman friend was speaking to me. As a proud recent graduate of the A1 Dutch class (the class in which you learn to say good morning and buy bread) I was eager to show that my Dutch understanding was superb.Therefore, I did not immediately ask for a translation but after he repeated himself twice in Dutch I had to give up and ask for English. With a wide smile on his face he happily complied, “I said you will make a good housewife someday.” As with all such moments in my life, words abandoned me, I gave a little huffing, gasping, giggle and got the heck out of there.
Unfortunately, none of my Dutch friends has been able to provide any evidence that he meant anything but what he said. So it appears I will have to take him at his words. I am yet to figure out what where the prerequisites for this Bachelor’s degree in Housewifery I had completed. I have absolutely no problems with women choosing to be housewives/homemakers, I simply know it’s not the life for me. I would have expected such a comment in Nigeria and in particular from Nigerian men. It has been my experience that when I am in Nigeria, I am continuously on the marriage audition stage with every action or word being measured by “which man would want to marry you if you…?” or the more positive slant of “my son/brother must marry you oh!” I think my shock originated from the fact that I did not expect to hear such in the Netherlands and at the gym nonetheless. So Nigerian men (the ones I judge), I apologise. There apparently are many others in the world who share similar traits, more’s the pity 🙂
My fundamental question remains, why did I get this housewife stamp of approval? I could have understood him saying, “very responsible/nice/rule abiding/OCD of you to wipe down the machine.” Housewife though! Guess I never will have an answer unless one of you can supply it…For now it’s gone into my treasure trove of memories that make me chuckle and shake my head.