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Beno

I will not keep you in suspense. In Africa, we give our new-born babies names to tell a particular story of the time, the past, situations or purely as a metaphor. One of such names in Urhoboland, though rare, is: Uwevwirohwofabeno (it is difficult to understand the inner workings of another person’s house). Jaw-breaking? The short form, Beno, is our title today.

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Just how blind is love?

You must have heard the cliché at least once: “Love is blind.” What does it really mean and just how blind should love be? I decided to investigate. I suspected that responses will be varied and I was not disappointed. My finding is that the phrase is amoebic; it means different things to different people, though with some common denominators.

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Shifting the goal post after…

Joan and John were attending different churches when they met and started dating. They were deeply in love and wanted to make the relationship permanent. But there was a snag: Joan is the “typical Catholic girl” and could “not imagine leaving the Catholic Church and …told John in very certain terms.” Love-struck John did not see any big deal in denominational differences; “after all we are all Christians.”

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“Killer kids”

Of recent a number of youngsters have killed their parents. The trend is somewhat strange to our culture. So why are some Nigerian youngsters turning on their parents? On the surface, the issues are often trivial: disagreements over household chores, poor grades in school, missing items, differences in opinion and so on, but I believe there are underlying fundamental issues.

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Cougars and toy boys

Disclaimer: Notwithstanding the appellation, I do not
see older women who date or marry younger men as
cougars (predators) because the young men went into the relationships with their korokoro eyes. Technically they are consenting adults, unless they are saying the mamas bewitched or hypnotized them.
Many of us grew up seeing relationships—marriages, courtships, sugar daddies—where the men were older than the women. The opposite was rare and where it existed, the difference in age was often negligible. Not anymore; we have entered an era when men in their 20s are marrying, or romantically linked with, grandmothers in their 60s and 70s. When the trend started in the western world, I knew it was only a matter of time before Nigerians, who have become very adept at following global trends in a world that has shrunk into a global village, will follow suit. While I have not heard of any of such marriages within Nigeria, desperate young Nigerian men have married women old enough to be their grandmothers in Europe and America for citizenship, fortune or whatever. However, we have heard of women in their 60s who are romantically linked with young men in their 20s within our shores, although it always seems to be a hush-hush affair. Recently, the Vanguard Newspaper reported the arrest of 31-year-old Adio Opeyemi Michael who defrauded a 72-year-old Dutch woman of about N40m in a romance scam.
Viewed strictly from the primary purpose of matrimony, which is companionship, you cannot fault the married couples among them. But when you throw in the second most important reason for marriage, procreation, there is a question mark in a post-menopausal woman marrying a young man in his 20s. Child bearing is certainly not part of the plan. In America, where childlessness is often a choice, it is understandable. But in Nigeria where childlessness has put enormous strains on some marriages and torn couples apart, where mothers-in-law and extended family members pile unbearable pressure on couples over child-bearing, the young men involved need to tell another story, beyond love, to justify this self-induced childlessness. Night and day do not cohabit, but matters of the flesh are a different kettle of fish. But that still does not take away the gulf between sunrise and sunset.
Relationships, where there is a vast difference in ages between the couples, naturally attract attention. Even women, who marry much older men, are often looked at with suspicion. The husbands’ children from previous liaisons and other family members often see the young women as gold diggers. Love is a complicated issue and you never know what drives people, but suspicion will continue to trail relationships with vast age differences. This is especially so because, in most of the cases, the older party is either very famous, rich or both. Many people have, however, grudgingly accepted relationships and marriages between older women and men who are few years younger.

One of the challenges
women who marry or date younger men face is the immaturity and insecurity of their male companions. Some of them have problems “growing up” and fitting into the circle of friends of these women. Sometimes the women’s friends and families neither accept nor respect them. They often look down on the young men and make degrading remarks about them. They are often seen as gold diggers. These guys find the situation offensive and become resentful. Unfortunately, the women are often rich, which aggravate the situation.
Sometimes, the guys were picked from the gutters and brushed up. Incidentally, in many cases, the old saying that you can take a pig from the slime but you cannot take the slime out of the pig is never far away. In the last 10 years a number of women in such relationships have been killed by their younger lovers out of jealousy, greed or rage. The last celebrated case was 31-year-old Kelechi Mojekwu (His name and age vary in the newspaper reports) who allegedly killed his rich and older lover, 39-year-old Lizzy Njideka-Nzewe. These guys do not seem to know how to keep their insecurity and immaturity in check.
These women also do not help matters. They want the best of both worlds: keep these young men for the “mind-blowing sex” while also keeping other male lovers for connections, power, business, money, prestige and public show. It is a dangerous, delicate and high stake game and some of these women who are not adept at playing it have paid dearly. Even if, ab initio, the relationship is defined as no-strings-attached, strings get attached over time because you are dealing with feelings and emotions not rationality.
Many women in these relationships confess that they are enamoured by the physique and the boundless energy of the young men and the relationship makes them feel young. They also say the sex is great. Undoubtedly the combination of an experienced mama and a young man in his 20s with youthful vigour looks tantalizing on paper; only if you can just take the sex in isolation. Unfortunately it does not work that way. While you are at liberty to live your life the way you want, you have your spiritual life, family, friends, position and other things to consider.

I was watching an
American reality show when a woman in her 40s stormed out of a party in anger after finding out that her 72-year-old mother was dating a 27-year-old man. A twenty something year old man coming down on your seventy something year old mama certainly is an unpalatable meal for many family members, including liberal-minded Americans, mama’s feelings, rights and opinions notwithstanding. For many people, it is a taboo.
Ultimately, our ability to balance all the contending areas and issues in our lives and be attuned with our creator is the mark of true success and fulfillment. Or what do you think?

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