The most disturbing words in the English language, according to Kenneth, a fifty-something car dealer, are: “I am seeing someone”. Because yes, it might just be a fling, and yes, the someone might be a delightful, witty person – but what if it isn’t and what if they weren’t? What if your best friend/ex-husband/daughter’s new partner is a joy vacuum? What if they actually got married and this person who makes you hallucinate with irritation becomes part of your personal life, and you are required to invite them to every important moment in your life, and there they are, sitting at the corner like an obnoxious toad making it all about them?
The discussion skirted around how to see off a dreadful new love interest. Kenneth believes this tricky manoeuvre requires serious skill, planning and guile. “You cannot kill this person,” continued Kenneth. “It is against the law, but that doesn’t eradicate the fact that something has to be done. This interloper has to be got rid of in a way so cunning and subdue that no one will ever know that you were the perpetrator of the disappearance.”
A few months back, Kenneth, a father of three girls and a boy, all full adults was really excited when he told me over the phone his eldest daughter was bringing her ‘intended’ for lunch, so both parents could give him the ‘once-over’. “When a man was finally ushered” into the living room on that fateful day, I wanted to tell him it was alright for him to fetch his ‘oga’. I thought he was the driver that had come to see if everyone was in. But Miriam, my daughter nervous let me know this was Charles, the prince charming himself. It couldn’t be, I thought wildly. The joker before me was under-nourished and wearing the most inappropriate gear to meet your ‘intended’s’ family in.
“I wanted to chase him out of my house, but an inner voice warned I should see this charade through. I asked him to sit down and didn’t offer him anything. After a few questions, it emerged they met at the Pentecostal church they both attend, and that even though he was a graduate, he was working in the church. As what? I fervently prayed this joker hadn’t slept with my daughter. What on earth possessed her to even think of getting married to this clown? When my wife later emerged from the kitchen and asked if Charles was staying for lunch, I was relieved when he declined! He must have some sense afterall. He must have read my body language.
“I’d never pressurised my kids to get married at all costs, so what desperation made Mariam even think of getting hitched to this ugly man? After he’d discreetly left, I really let her know how I felt. She fought back, letting me know that apart from his job in the church, he also doubled as an estate agent. The mother, obviously carried away by the pomp of an impending marriage chipped in I should allow Miriam to marry a man of her choice. It was then I understood how some seemingly laid-back men could suddenly flare up and beat their wives. This was enough provocation for me to hit her where it would hurt as this gang-up was hurting me, but I simply left the house.”
That was when he came to my place and I advised him not to say a word against the relationship again. He should let the charade play itself out. If he doesn’t, he would be seen as the enemy and if the relationship fell through, he would be blamed for it. Most people are genuinely nice, I told him. They might have some maddening habit, but make a bit of an effort and you will discover something to really like about them.
Bolanle is another victim of the consequences of letting rip when she should have kept a still tongue. “When I was 20 years old,” she recalled, “my father started seeing a girl from my hall of residence. For six years, I tried all I could to put a spanner in the works of their relationship. ‘If you sleep with her, I will never speak to you again,’ I once threatened. He looked a bit sad, but in retrospect he had probably already slept with her. Not long after, she graduated and he moved into a flat with her, leaving the family house.
“So what I learnt from this is: don’t come out with your resentment straight away. In fact, don’t make any sort of move for at least six months. Those early days are peak sex fire, when no one wants to hear reason because they’re only thinking about one thing, or two in my dad’s case – Benita had a huge pair of knockers. It wasn’t a totally idle threat though – I didn’t really speak to him for about two years. Which made us both unhappy. But not enough to make him leave her. So I changed tactics. I started going to the flat where she would parade around like a trollop.
“I was really distant with her and could not bring myself to befriend her. I was rude to her from time to time and when my dad wasn’t around, I called her a gold-digger. She was so hurt she burst into tears. I was surprised. ‘You are sleeping with my dad – why are you the one crying?’ I asked her. Eventually she left him for someone younger and my dad spent months heartbroken, listening to (everything I Do) I Do It For You by Byyan Adams again and again and again. I really felt sorry for him.
“So what should I have done? Should I have made friends with her? That way, I could have worked out why she had basically left home to live with a man old enough to be her dad. If I had thought about it dispassionately, I would have worked out that she was always going to be the one who would walk away…”
Kenneth’s nightmare had a happy ending. The romance between his daughter and Charles fizzled out. “My daughter’s car was used for outings by both of them and he paid little towards its maintenance,” said Kenneth. “In the end, it was Miriam who ended the relationship. I didn’t gloat or say ‘I told you so’. All I want is decent partners for my girls – not men I would be embarrassed to be seen with.”
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet! (Humour)
A 25-year-old gold digger met a 75-year-old millionaire and decided she was going to get her hands on his money ‘come hell or high water.’ “With any luck, he’ll drop dead on our wedding night,” she thought. Three months later, her plan was working.
They had a fabulous wedding and then flew off for a month’s honeymoon abroad. On the first night, she got into bed hoping to ‘love him to death, but gasped in astonishment when he emerged from the bathroom. He was naked except for a condom on his 12” organ, and a pair of earplugs and nose plugs in his hands. “What are those for?” she asked warily. “Well, if there are two things I can’t stand, it’s women screaming and the smell of burning rubber,” he replied.