By Bunmi Sofola
THE last time I called on a childhood friend, she told me how amazed she was at how some of our friends had simply let their figures go. “The fact that you’re over 50 doesn’t mean you have to get yourself ready for the role of a frumpy grandma,” she fumed.
“Admittedly, male suitors are not exactly falling like flies off the wall for some of us, but what about our general well-being? We need to boost our self-esteem by looking good. I ran into Risikat last month at a shopping mall and she looked so drab that I walked past her without recognizing her.
When she tugged at my blouse, I almost did a double take at what I saw. Apart from looking frumpy, she looked as if she was bereaved, she might be a few years older than us, but she looked as if she was just marking time at life’s departure lounge.
“I was blunt with her. I told her to get a grip on herself and live the quality life she deserved. She must start by taking the much touted daily walks that were supposed to give your health a mighty boost. She lived near one of these estates with recreation areas, I told her to take advantage of the location for her walks. She gave the weak excuse of being scared of muggers and I encouraged her to take one of the sprawling young men in her neighbourhood to accompany her whenever she went for walks. She promised to give it a go.”
“I didn’t see my friend again until some months later. Risikat’s been transformed,” she told me after we’d caught up on a few gossips. “ She’ s positively glowing after she took my advice. Not only did she find a shop owner virtually next door to her place to accompany her on her walks, rumours have it that she’s now bunking the poor man!” So what was her problem? “How can you talk like this?” she fumed. “The man is young enough to be her son and he has a family.
Doesn’t she have any shame, disrobing in the presence of a shop owner!” “Heh! wait a minute” I continued, “I know the chap you’re talking about. He doesn’t look as young as you claimed and his family stays somewhere else.” “So what?”, continued my friend with a sneer. “Her younger relatives are complaining and are bent on showing this gigolo the door. Would you believe Risikat just moved to her new bungalow and gave all her old furniture to this man? What for? When most of her siblings would be glad for such hand-me-downs. If her children were in this country, she couldn’t have gotten away with such shameless behaviour!”
I gently reminded her that Risikat’s siblings could never render the service this young chap was rendering – with positive results too. My friend had come in the company of Eno, who she said was her school mother in their secondary school days.
Eno agreed with me that our friend had always been a prude and I should just ignore her indulgence. She then recalled an experience she had recently while waiting impatiently at the VIP lounge of the local airport, fuming at the unnecessary delay of her flight when she noticed this young chap in his late 30s saunter towards where she was. Eno is in her 60. Curiously, she glanced at the seemingly shy man as he perched on a seat next to her. The conversation was stilted at first until Eno let it drop that she had an engagement at the Port Harcourt branch of the motel she ran.
“He instantly became interested in what I had to say and was chatting away as if he’d just discovered his tongue”, Eno recalled. “When we eventually boarded the plane, t was inevitable that we sat together. He was quite helpful really, with my suitcase and with making sure I was comfortable. When we arrived Port Harcourt, he asked tentatively if he could be put up in any of the rooms in my motel as it was too late to secure any decent accommodation. He said he would pay the going price. I would be a fool to pretend I didn’t know where all this was leading to. I was a single woman, twice divorced, and men like Ebere )the man’s name) flocked around me all the time. No that I look stunning at over 60, but because they could get compensated for services well rendered.
“At my age, you have to take what is thrown at you and men like Ebere are fit and strong, and quite better looking than men my age – and they appreciate you. Like a friend aptly put it, getting involved with younger men is like walking down a well stocked supermarket with an empty trolley. The goods on display are just begging to be snapped up …” Would she call what the men were doing prostitution? “Call it whatever you like, but there is a clear exchange of cash or gifts for sexual services.
The agreement may last an hour, a night or a week. In some cases, it is a more informal long-term investment. The toy-boy’s aim being to acquire benefits over a period – find an older woman, get involved and build up a nest-egg for when he gets married. One thing is for sure, as as long as you are loaded, you can be plain or fat or a pensioner – you will still be made to feel young and beautiful and there are more than enough of those men to go round with their taut well exercised bodies. An added bonus is that they don’t need all that viagra stuff – unlike a lot of older men my age …”
“It is sad that what used to be a rarity now operates on an industrial scale”, observed a legal practitioner recently, she said she feels disgusted by some older women’s get-laid-wherever-you-can-get-it attitude. “Some of them would sleep with their sons if they could get away with it! What was once exciting has turned exploitative. Passion has been replaced by the predatory and caring has become a con to be opportunistic gigolos.
“And they have stupid well-worn lines they use on their victims that never fail: `You are my destiny’, `without you, I would never have made it in life’. Sloppy words that send their victims reaching for their cheque books”. “Life is short”, Eno concluded dreamy-eyed. “I’m rich, my two children are happily married, and in a decade or two, I might be history. With those younger men, it is a bargain. The married ones amongst my friends use my motel all the time, then go home and resume their normal life with their families. What the husbands don’t know can’t hurt them.”
In Praise of Single Mothers
According to Julia Goodwin, Editor of Prima Baby Magazine, single mothers can sometimes feel that every problem in the society – from increased violence to emotionally sstun5ted, under-achieving off-spring – is laid at their door. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Here are some reasons she gives for single mums to be cheerful.
A child is happy with one loving parent: Living with both parents isn’t as important to a child’s happiness as having one person who loves you unconditionally. So, if your ex is no longer in contact, you can make up for his absence. And if your relationship was difficult, you can make up for his absence. And if your relationship was difficult, your child could be better off with just you. Research shows it is the children of parents who stay together despite constant conflict who suffer the most damage.
Your going to work doesn’t ruin his life despite research claiming that child’s performance at school is affected if mum works, a new report has found nothing of the kind. A study by Bristol University tracked the development of 14,000 children over 10 years and found that, in terms of psychological well being and behaviour, the children of working single mums did just as well as those whose mums stayed at home.
You have more time for your child: If there is a man in the house, a woman’s workload is increased by at least eight hours a week, and that means less time to spend with the kids. A man also consumes a significant chunk of mum’s attention. Single mums, however, are4 not tied to their partner’s demands, and so can spend more time with their children.
A suitable male role model doesn’t have to be dad!