Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Daddy's Little Girl

Just in case you are experiencing Deja vu.....
I posted this yesterday and then I took it down. But then I didnt want to start censoring what I could and couldn't blog about so, here we are again.

I had dinner at my parents' house last month. Every time I go there it is so awkward and the long silences serve as painful reminder of a relationship that is still in shreds. I called my brother as I got to the station, just to make sure he was already there, I didn't want to be the first one. He wasn't there so I spent an hour in a coffee shop pretending to read a book. Is this how bad things are, that I would rather spend an hour doing nothing than to be alone with my parents?

So we are having dinner and no one is saying anything. To an outsider looking in, we might as well have been four strangers at a table. All our unresolved issues sat firmly in our stomachs constipating us, making conversation stilted and uncomfortable. The juice tasted sickly sweet in my mouth and I wished I was drinking Bourbon. Finally, after the 2 minutes silence that seemed like an hour, Tokunbo bit the bullet and started the conversation.

Tokunbo: Mum this food is amazing, I miss your cooking
Dad: Well, if you were seeing a decent Nigerian girl she would be able to cook for you, by the way how is that your white girlfriend.
They never asked how is your girlfriend, it was always "that your white girlfriend"
Toks: Actually Meg is an amazing cook, in fact...
Dad cuts in: You know your cousin Angela is getting married next month? On the 24th, I expect you both to be there.
I check my blackberry: I cant make it, I am out of the country
Dad: Where are you going?
Me: Abu Dhabi
Dad: Business?
Me: Potentially, So Angela's getting married eh? I bet Aunty Dupe is in her element planning this wedding
Dad: What do you mean potentially, it is either business or it isn't
Me: I have been offered a job, double what I am earning, the chance to help create something. Its a good offer, I have a meeting with ....
Dad: So you didn't think you should discuss it with us first.

At this point I look at my dad, and I wondered how we got here. I used to be daddy's little girl. I never did anything without his approval... until Seun. And now, when I looked at him, I felt resentment wash over me. Discuss what with who? I am a grown ass woman, I no longer live under your roof, I was about to say as much and then I caught my mothers eyes, silently pleading with me, begging me to keep up this charade of happy families.

Every time I am summoned to this house, I feel resentment. This is my home and this is my family. The bible teaches us to forgive and forget but how can I forgive these people who promised to love me unconditionally and then when I needed them the most, turned their back on me.

I remember breaking my leg when I was 12, I had fallen down a set of stairs and my dad came rushing. When I was screaming blue murder in pain, I caught the tears in my father's eyes and for a second the pain was gone. Its the only time I have ever seen my father cry.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Schindler’s List

When Schindler wrote his list, every name on it signified life. Every ink stained signature meant that someone would live, even if it was just for another day. I write about a different sort of list. When I was a little younger, a little foolish and a lot naive, I and a few of my friends would engage in an annual list writing ceremony, No joke oh! We would gather at someone’s house, drink some alcohol and then proceed with our ritual. What was this list? It was the list of men that we had been with. Names, situation that led to the event, how we felt after (emotionally oh! all you carnally minded people!). This was a deep ritual, definitely not for the faint hearted. Seun if you are reading this; Jo ma ka eleyi

Usually the actual writing took only a few minutes as it was only adding to names already on the list. It was the aftermath that was time and emotionally consuming. For some of us it was quicker than most, those who had boyfriends or who just hadn’t had sex with anyone new in the last year didn’t take too long. Then there were those of us who had a few additions on the list, there was a lot of contemplating, soul searching and finally (or at least I hope) moving on.

But there was one, every year it was the same song and dance. She cried more than all the rest of us combined, added more names to her list, made new resolves, but yet we were still there, one year on doing the same song and dance. This particular girl is very close to my heart. She gives without expecting something in return, she has a heart of gold but she was looking too hard for love and she was looking in the wrong places. It was always the same.

The first phone call: Oh I met a guy; he is so sweet and kind, not like all the rest blah blah blah

The second phone call: Oh we had sex, he was so gentle and then he held me after and blah blah blah

And then it starts to unravel: I don’t know, I tried to call him but there was no reply and he has blah blah blah

It was always the same pattern. The thing is this girl is gorgeous, not pretty but “stop and turn around for a second look” gorgeous and she is kind. So sometimes it baffled me. Then one day during the course of the song and dance, the “I met a guy” became I met your cousin. I was kinda apprehensive, I didn’t want my cousin to be one of the names she would have to cry about in a few months so I called him and I warned him seriously. But the song was still sung and the dance was still danced.

I later asked my cousin why and he said that what strikes you the most about her wasn’t her beauty or her good nature but the desperation; a very ugly feature (his word not mine). How could I respect a girl that was so desperate to be loved that she didn’t even respect herself? I didn’t have an answer to his question. But my heart was breaking for my friend. I told her that she could never be happy with any man because she was looking for him to justify her existence and not complete it. Learn to be happy alone.

So I got another call not too long after my cousin, but it went a different route:

Ist call: I met a guy today; He bugged me so much that I gave him my number. I hope he doesn’t call

2nd call: This guy is sooo persistent; He doesn’t pick up on any of my "I am busy" hints. I will soon have to adopt a more direct approach

3rd call: No, no, I still talk to him, he makes me laugh. I just am not interested in him

4th call: I can’t talk, I am at the cinema with, let’s call him Persistent.

5th call: I can’t talk; I am the theatre with Persistent

12th call: How did I get here? I like this guy

65th call: Persistent asked me to marry him

During this call, you would have expected to hear shrieks and laughter but home girl was sobbing like there was no tomorrow. “I can’t marry him. He doesn't know how many there were before him. Imagine if we bump into a friend of his or worse, a relative who is on my list, then what?” I didn’t know what to say. I knew she wasn’t being paranoid, her list was extensive. Before I could even say anything, someone dragged the phone from my hand.

“You better don’t say anything. Are you stupid? If his friend says he has slept with you, you say “who me, it couldn’t be” Just keep your mouth shut oh, I am going to buy some champagne to celebrate”.

A week later she calls me to let me know that she posted her list to him. I almost choked

“What did he say? I ask

“Nothing, I haven’t heard from him.”

I felt my heart sink and I uttered words which had no conviction, “I am sure he will call. He just needs to process this information and come to terms with it.”

I wanted to call him and beg, on my knees if I had to but I knew my friend wouldn’t thank me for it. It was none of my business.

Two weeks later, he called her and ended their relationship.

Words on a paper can be so powerful.

Words on a paper saved the Jews in Nazi Germany

Words on a paper broke my friend’s heart

This double standard jars me something stupid. When did this transfer of power happen or has it always been that way. While I believe in being held accountable for ones actions, I do not subscribe to this one sided mode of delivering judgement.

If a girl for whatever reason, lapse in judgement, looking for a partner or just plain old choice, has more than a few people on her list, she is a slut but the men are celebrated. A man’s ego will never allow him to maintain objectivity when considering the men that have passed through his woman’s bed.

Bottom line is this; he cannot hang you if you do not give him enough rope and I do not mean be dishonest or withhold information, this is an individual choice. But in a relationship, it is important to maintain a very vivid sense of your self-worth. If you know what you are worth no one will ever be able to tell you different. So if a man comes along and he prices you down; tell him the price he is offering will buy him satin, and to come back when he can afford lace.


My friend is fine, infact she is more than fine. I asked her permission to use this story and she has asked for the following addition:

*Although he ended their relationship, Persistent still called her from time to time looking for "a little tenderness"(which she declined), proving that he is a thoughtless wanker and what she was so heartbroken about infact turned out to be a lucky escape.

*Oh and that my cousin is also a wanker. He has no respect for her because she showed him love, which is totally alien to him because he was raised in the jungle.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

The One Thing That Drives Me Hazy...

Am I or the others crazy?

Woke up Wednesday morning with a smile on my face, the sun was shining and for the first time in a long time, I hadn't snoozed my alarm clock a million times, which meant I could take my time. So I had a spring in my step, the kind that comes from an extra 10 mins in the shower.

As I get in to work, I bump into Hanatu, Hanatu is someone I have known for a very long time. We all have a Hanatu in our lives, you know that friend that tells you the truth especially when it hurts? The friend that'll flirt with your boyfriend if you let her, not because she wants him but because its in her nature. Well that's Hanatu. We ride the lift up together.

Between the ground floor and the 5th, Hanatu had railroaded me into going to an open mic night in Angel later in the evening. A night out with Hanatu always involved some sort of drama and I really could not stomach any drama, but the plan had been made. I got back to work, and awaited my fate.

We were early, the place was virtually empty. We ordered some drinks and found a spot close to the stage. Hanatu set her drink down on a four person table...

"Why are we seating here, are we four people," I asked

"You never know, some cute guys may just be here tonight." she replied.

"So we are saving the seats on the off chance that you see some guy that you think is cute?" I ask

"Precisely", she retorts.

I sigh, knowing Hanatu we will definitely have company tonight.

An hour later and the blooming thing is just starting, I am getting impatient but Hanatu looks calm, expectant. I settle in to enjoy the show. Just as the first over exaggerated reading is finished, I hear a familiar voice, a deep slow almost mocking voice. I turn around, there is Mr Brown and a friend, a male friend.

Hanatu springs into action so fast that I felt the whiplash. "Hi guys, why don't you seat here, we were saving these seast for our girlfriends but they pulled a no show and we are starting to feel guilty for occupying a big table."

They sat down, Mr Brown next to me and his friend next to Hanatu. My mind was working overtime, this was too convenient. The invitation from H, the "saved seats", My Brown's perfect timing.... I kept quiet. Mr Brown's friend, I think his name was Mohamed, kept trying to engage me in conversation but I made it impossible by giving him one word answers

"So, what is your name again?"


"Interesting name, Is it Nigerian?"


"Erm, Erm, so you like this sort of thing then...."


Poor guy but in my mind, they were all pat of the conspiracy. I looked at Hanatu pretending like she didn't know Brown and I wanted to just leave. Instead I excused my self and went to the bathroom. When I got back, Hanatu was whispering in Brown's ear and then they both laughed. Am I being paranoid or is this not the most obvious setup? I sat back down and smiled my way through what had turned into a long night.

The next morning, I went up to Hnaatu's floor to give her a piece of my mind but she beat me to it.

"Tinu, I am glad we went there last night. Wasn't Mr Brown just the most gorgeous thing you ever saw. We exchanged numbers and I spent half of last night on the phone with him. He is takling me out tomorrow night, I can't wait. "

I felt my anger bubble deflate into confusion, what was going on? so they didn't already know each other? "And Mr Brown wasn't there because of me" Wow, paranoia just creeps up on you.... So how come I was still angry? I smiled at Hanatu and told her I had a meeting. I lied.

Monday, 15 October 2007


Firstly, I want to thank you, who have patiently followed my story. You who have allowed me to write at my own pace. You who became so emotionally invested in my story that you matched my emotions tear for tear. Thank You.

I was going to write this as my last post, as a symbol of the closure that I finally had. I didn't try to get to know any of you simply because it would have been too hard, sharing my story with you was personal in itself. But as I write what was supposed to be a last post, I ask myself if I am losing out. There are many great people out here and it would be an honour to get to know you properly. So here goes, my first attempt to write in the present tense.

So about a month ago, I went for a meeting with a senior associate and I expected to be the only one there. I was running late, not the best impression to leave with your boss. I broke into a sprint. The heels that I wore only because I didn't expect to do much walking suddenly felt like a bad idea. As I arrived, I caught my boss's eye, he looked a little pissed. Walking a little closer, I see that he isn't alone. Double shit!

"Tinu, this is Michael Brown, he heads up X company in the UAE, he took time out from his busy schedule and you kept him waiting"

Since when do Md's want to meet junior associates? Why was he waiting for us and why wasn't I briefed before hand. I took a deep breath.

"Mr Brown, my apologies. London Underground is the most unreliable form of transport. I hope you haven't been waiting long."

As I finished my sentence, I looked directly at him, and I almost choked. I had met Mr Brown 2 months ago at a friend's birthday. He had tried to pick me up so crudely that I had insulted him, Infact thinking back, I think I may have thrown in an insult about his mum and the way she brought him up. See me see trouble, now I was going to have to do serious damage control. But before I could say anything

"Ah yes, I can't say that I am that familiar with your underground system but I have heard stories. At least you are hear now. My mother brought me up to be a gentleman and I graciously accept your apology."

I looked at my boss, he looked amused but not particularly surprised. I gritted my teeth. Sexism was one thing and I was prepared to fight for my place but this was ridiculous. As I began to wonder how long it would take before my boss excused himself....

"Look, I am going to have to leave you to it. Tinu, Mr Brown is very interested in doing business with us. And with that he left. I sighed.

"Before you start thinking, you being here has no effect on my decision to do business with your firm."

"I wouldn't presume to be so important Mr Brown, but if I am not here to secure an account, then what am I here for."

"Would you believe me if I said that I didnt even know you worked there but when I realised that you did, I just had to meet you"

The anger started to rise in my stomach as I thought of myself sprinting down City Road only to find that the "meeting" was in fact a ruse. I kept quiet.

"I just wanted to say that I am sorry, sorry for the way that I spoke to you that evening, I was a little intoxicated but that is no excuse."

I hadn't expected an apology, What was I supposed to say now? "Erm, Its okay, really."

"So can I take you out sometime?"

"I am in a relationship, but thank you for the offer"

"Firstly, you make it sound like I just offered you a job, secondly I have it on good authority that you are single and have been for a while"

"Well, Mr Brown, I had it on good authority that I was coming to a meeting, it appears that we have both been mis-informed" and with that, I gathered my things and got up to leave. He grabbed my hand, but not forcefully...

"You are here now stay for one drink"

2 bottles of Merlot later, I had told him my life history. He was a good listener, I told him about my parents, Seun, this blog. And then he tried to kiss me, I turned away. I couldn't believe it. What an asshole!! One minute he is calmly listening to me reiterate the darkest moments of my life and the next he is trying to shove his tongue down my throat.

I calmly stood up,packed my thing and left.

2 weeks later, my boss tells me that I have been put on that account.

"Do I have a choice?" I ask.

He looks me dead in the eye and says "I am sorry, what?" What he really meant was your in the big leagues now, with the big boys. If you can't play nice, don't play at all.

So I am stuck with this slimy snake, at least for a while. If he ever tries to touch me again, I will make sure I hit him where it hurts, right between the balls!!

It felt good to be able to vent, I will definitely be doing this again!

Seeing as I never formally introduced myself, Hi, My name is Tinuke and its nice to meet you all.