By Bunmi Sofola
Mothers certainly know best no matter how old their children. Eccua, a younger friend, paid a visit to her mum some few months back, virtually bending her ears with tales of her husband’s latest escapades.
“She always made a soothing noise whenever she realized all I needed to do was let off steam”, said Eccua, “but this fateful afternoon, my mum gave me a bored look, yawned and declared: ‘Aren’t you a bit tired of hearing your own moan? I mean look at you! A graduate we were all proud of now turned into a what? Look at the back of your feet.
When last did you have a pedicure? Or a good facial? Or a fancy stint at the hairdressers? I scarcely see you in anything glamorous but a frumpy boubou. If I were your husband, believe me, I wouldn’t be interested either!” I glanced at her and she glared right back. Whose side was she on? I’m a mother of three for goodness sake, not some femme fatal! She ought to be more sympathetic.
I hate to rub salt into Eccua’s wound but I told her gently that I agreed with her mum. She was really fashionable when she was younger and we weren’t surprised when she married into a respectable family. Now a couple of decades later, she’s settled into a rut.
She’d become sort of ‘mum-sy’ and even mothered her husband. I told her that if she didn’t snatch a bit of her old self back, find some self-respect, her husband might not appreciate her. My harsh words obviously hit home.
She looked at me as if I were a traitor, but I gently pointed out to her that she might be running a successful primary school, that didn’t mean she had to dress the part of a schoolma’am! She’d put on more weight than necessary and in spite of her mum’s warning, she had on an unflattering boubou which seemed to be her trademark lately.
“Why don’t you give away your boubous and get some more flattering gears?”, I asked her gently. She nodded, then left, a bit dejected. Had I gone too far? She needed to be shocked out of her complacency, I consoled myself. Who best to do that but a well-meaning ‘aunty’ like me?
When I next spoke with her on the phone, she told me excitedly that she’d started on a diet and joined a group of ladies that went for walks in their estate.
Good for her, I encouraged, my conscience salved. When next I saw Eccua, I nearly flipped. She’d lost the right amount of weight, had a lovely and flattering dress on. She’d also put some fancy highlights in her hair. “Wow!” I yelled encouragingly.
“Double wow!” she shrieked and then her phone rang. Her face instantly lit up as she checked the caller’s identity. She had on a smug smile after she finished her call. ‘That was Femi, one of my pupil’s dad’ ‘Oh’, I gulped. She joked: ‘Thanks to you and mum, I can now pull men!” “Heh, that wasn’t the idea”, I quickly told her, “we just wanted you to feel good about yourself, not start pulling men, left, right and centre!” Had we created a monster?
“The good thing about having an inner glow is that other people notice,” she told me smugly. ‘Femi has two children in my school and sometimes comes for them instead of sending a driver. We’ve often chatted but it never even occurred to me that he could be anything but a parent. After I lost weight, he started staying longer and longer. When the staff decided to do a play and one of Femi’s sons was involved, he was excited, chipping in his bits at rehearsals, and since I hadn’t forgotten my sewing skills I made some of the costumes. Femi praised my efforts to high heavens one evening after rehearsal. We were alone in my office and I thanked him. ‘What could I have done without you!” I told him innocently until I saw the dirty look on his face.
“Show me,” he declared as he moved closer to me giving me a kiss. He must have unlocked some hidden passion in me because I couldn’t stop myself – I was all over him and he was kissing me as if I was a much-needed drug. We made love right there and then in my office. It was so daring, so passionate. And by the time I got home that evening, I was still smiling. Seyi, my husband, was waiting for me – he’d been coming home early since I changed. I felt like a teenager rather than a staid married woman!
Instead of dashing to the kitchen, I asked the maid to rush to a lovely canteen a few doors away – that specializes in homemade meals and Seyi made a show of actually enjoying the meal. In the past, he used to moan about my penchant for buka foods and how I should take pride in serving homemade meals. After the meal, he brought out my favourite wine, I was pleasantly surprised. My hard work at keeping fit had certainly paid off as we retired to the bedroom. Then it hit me! I would be making love twice with different men in the space of a few hours! Wicked!
“I intend to sleep with Femi a couple more times. It is thanks to him that I got my sensual self back. After that, I intend to let him know deep down, it is my husband and my marriage that I really want. Thanks to my mum’s seemingly cruel jab at my appearance, and your backing her all the way, I was jolted into taking another look at myself. Now, I’ve virtually got my husband back and it is worth the effort. “We go out more often than we ever did in the last few years and we make love more. Once he asked suspiciously about why I decided to spruce myself up and I told him about my mum. He has amused Apparently, he had first thought I made the effort for a lover! “It’s only you I’ve told about Femi and I don’t feel guilty for cheating on Seyi, because my fling has made our marriage stronger. I’m glad I followed you people’s advice. By taking some pride in the way I look, I’ve found the respect I deserve.”