By Muyiwa Adetiba
I have had a hilarious time in the days before and after the Valentine day enjoying the powers of the social media at their creative best. I saw many versions of the President’s famous: ‘I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody’ from both the male and the female points of view as different forms of unfaithfulness and callousness were displayed. I saw the many creative ways male lovers used in dodging their financial obligations.
I saw various results of Valentine day escapades at nine months and beyond. I saw the soppy, the romantic and the cynical sides of love. But one of the ones which will stay with me for quite a while is that of a lady who snuggled close to her man and whispered, ‘do you love me?’ in his ears. To which the lover boy naturally answered in the affirmative. ‘Can you kill a lion with your bare hands for me?’ she asked. Gently, the man tried to explain how difficult the request would be to fulfil. Almost immediately, she said, ‘then you would have to let me read your what’s app messages’. The lover boy thought for a while and said, ‘show me where the lion is’.
In the spirit of the Valentine season, I want to recount a few true stories of the games we men play. The title of this column is the same title Esquire magazine used some 25 years ago in a beautiful article that revealed the antics of men in the love game. It is only appropriate that the first story would come from the article…. A man spent a romantic evening with his lover. At midnight, when it was time to go home, he realised his clothes were reeking of perfume. He knew he was in trouble; serious trouble. On his way home, he kept thinking of how he was going to avoid the inevitable confrontation.
He could not think of any and he knew his wife would know the minute he stepped into the room. Then when he was ten minutes from home he had a eureka moment. He turned into a petrol station and proceeded to fill his tank. In the process, he turned the nozzle on himself and had a good bath. The petrol attendant thought he was nuts. He got into his car gingerly reminding himself not to light a cigarette or go near any naked fire. He got home safely and as he opened the bedroom door, his wife turned up her nose and said ‘don’t bring that smell into the room’. Obediently but triumphantly, he turned back, stripped, and put the clothes into a bag. He now had an excuse for a good bath.
A similar story is that of the man in Lagos who over slept at his girlfriend’s place. He dashed out only to find that the exit gate in the estate would not be opened until six in the morning. He knew he was in trouble and spent the rest of the night—or early morning—thinking of the way out. He had a brain wave which he put to test as soon as he was let out. He went straight to a police station and solicited the help of some officers. Two of them entered his car and followed him home. It was the distraught wife who opened the door and it was obvious she had not slept.
One of the officers by way of explanation shouted that the man was driving recklessly and was a danger to himself and other road users so he had to be arrested and kept for the night. To make matters worse, he didn’t even have his papers. They were not to know that he had such a lovely home and a respectable wife. The man retorted that he told them who he was but they were indignant and rude. He then went in and came out with a bulky envelope that looked like car papers but was in fact cash. He escorted them out still berating the officers for what they put him through. The whole drama was so convincing that the poor wife was fussing over him on his return.
But men don’t always win; and this one certainly did not. A known boxing fan, he told his wife he was going to watch an Obisia Nwakpa fight. Instead, he checked into a hotel with his girlfriend for the night. The wife was listening to the network news when she heard that the fight had been cancelled. If she expected her husband to press the bell soon she thought wrong. He didn’t come home until morning. She calmly asked him how the fight went and he told her it was a nice experience.
She didn’t let him off the hook and asked if it was a knock-out and wanted a round by round narrative. He obliged and gave what he thought was a convincing account. After all, he had watched many Obisia Nwakpa fights. This was a Saturday morning. He was blissfully unaware of the cancellation until Monday, two days later. That was when he knew he had goofed big time. I will leave the rest to your imagination.
Men sometimes outsmart themselves in this love game. A man boasted to his friends that he was bringing another friend’s girl to a Friday ‘Boy’s night’ in retaliation of what he had earlier done to him. Unknown to him but known to his fellow conspirators was that the person who cooked the meal was his current girl friend who had been appropriated by another ‘friend’. And the cheating game goes on.
Before some female readers decry men for their antics let me remind all that the dating game cannot be played without active female accomplices. Let me also end with a classic female game. A young and beautiful wife of an upwardly mobile man who had been sent to UK to look after the children was spotted in Lagos at a social function in another part of town.
What aroused the curiosity of her husband’s friend who was at the function was the fact that she averted her gaze and moved away. As soon as he could, he called his friend and they chatted amiably. He casually asked after the wife and was told she was still in the UK! So if you must play the game, be careful how you play it. You are not the only one in the game and you can’t always win. Enjoy whatever is left of the season. Thank you Kehinde Phillips for some of the stories.
P.S If you have interesting stories of games men—or women—play, please send them to me.