The Proposal Challenge 

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia

 

It was and still is in good form to observe certain unwritten rules when a man proposes marriage to a woman.

First of all, he should ask for her hand in marriage from her father, not herself- the priest does not ask ‘who gives this woman to this man?’ in vain you know.

In contemporary times like in the past, he may opt to go for a walk with him and make his intentions known (I personally don’t think this tradition should fade out) and in the event that her dad is unavailable due to his demise or departure, a gentleman may consider asking her mother or other respectable family member.

All these should happen before he goes on a bended knee with a ring to the lady.

Unfortunately, not only is this tradition fast dying out, a reverse trend is about to gain momentum, due to the unwillingness of modern men to pop this milestone question- women are now getting on bended knees!

I saw the story the other day on social media and then before I could blink, I saw another one and yet another one.

As the etiquette enthusiast that I am, I am not in support of this trend.

As is expected, many men are glad about this- the taking up of their own burdens by women whom they assume the union will benefit more, especially status wise.

Ladies, can you propose to a man, no matter how much in love you are with him? Can you get on bended knees for a ring? Can you take the proposal challenge?

Asking for a woman’s hand in marriage is not just some fancy way of hoping to begin the journey to forever you know; it is a declaration of who you are, what you have, your dreams, your promises to her which is why some men literally declare their assets before asking a woman if she can commit to their state of things.

So when a woman gets on her knees, is she asking to be the provider in the relationship? I wonder.

If there’s ever a challenge I never want to see go viral it’s this one; please, let’s nip this role reversal in the bud- I don’t want to join any one to lay flat on a mat to ask for a man’s hand in marriage.

 

 

Whistling, Honking or Catcalling- What’s your Boorish preference?

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Photo Credit: Huffington Post

 

Many ladies, this writer included, have been victims of one or more of the above cardinal cousins of coarseness; note that whistling and honking in the context being described is unacceptable in polite society when utilized to get a lady’s attention.

No self-respecting gentleman will employ any of these when attempting to gain audience irrespective of the direness of the situation.

It’s not so much the act as it is the nature that births the act.

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Photo Credit:Google.com

 

 

It is a given that everyone wasn’t raised in the art of etiquette (which is one of the reasons this blog was created) and are therefore prone to be ungentlemanly but what excuse can be found for those who choose to be ignorant despite knowing the rules?

 

And for those that know no other decent way to call for attention, do you change when you eventually know? It’s progressive to.

Catcalling, honking or whistling shows a man places no value on the object of his fancy.

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Photo Credit: The Feminist Wire

I find it challenging to process that real people start relationships this way. Well, good luck with that one.

All I know is if someone places no value on a treasure, no matter how rare or expensive, especially at first contact, it’s sure to be cast before swine sooner than later.

If a man fancies you enough and respects you, not only will he not honk at you from his vehicle, he will not call you from behind his wheels.

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Photo Credit: Smartfem.com

You shouldn’t have to bend over by his vehicle to talk to a stranger (except if you’re helping with directions), he should stop and get down to talk if he’s serious enough.

If you’re a lady, don’t answer to a catcall, whistle or the mechanical honk of a vehicle Bentley.

If you’re not, make your choice.

Violence & a Gentleman’s Temper

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Thanks to social media, there’s a new wave of awareness on the domestic violence that targets children and especially, women as victims.

Children will be children- sometimes naughty, restless and even disobedient.

Women too, will be women- giving silent treatments and nagging with a caustic tongue.

But what is a gentleman’s reaction to these scenarios?

A major challenge in training and correcting children in this part of the world is the erroneous notion that violence is a one-size-fits-all corrective and punitive measure.

A gentleman will not raise a cane to what a talk can correct.

Also, corporal punishment is not applicable to all ages, temperaments and I dare say, gender.

I will eternally fail to understand the justification in hitting a woman.

Personally, I believe the act of striking a woman is barbaric and an unambiguous clue of many other incivilities.

But some brand of logicians, in a seeming attempt to justify untamed tempers, ask a question that sadly reveals a long-buried, ingrained and brutish sense of entitlement: what if she provoked you?

The shortcoming in this weak attempt at justification is that a person is entirely responsible not only for their actions, but also for their reactions.

Arguing this question is similar to supporting the I-raped-her-because-she-wore-a-short-skirt balderdash.

It is not only immature but also irresponsible to blame one’s indiscretion on another because life itself is provocative.

I am not quite a Jay-Z (the rap artiste) fan but his exceptional show of gentlemanliness in the face of extreme provocation (during what is likely his most famously distressing 10-minute elevator ride) is instructive indeed and his fans need to take note that if that measure of chivalry is possible at that height of success, then it is possible at any height.

From his noble reaction, we see that it is possible to unlearn harmful foundational doctrines, particularly in this part of the world where violence against women is treated with such leniency and is even downrightly encouraged on occasion.

It is particularly impressive when you realise that this is someone who has once had a history with violence himself; he has obviously unlearned his less-urbane ways.

A suggested reaction to a woman’s provocation? Ignore her like Jay-Z.

Self-possession is a feat and ignorance is an art.

And they are found in the league of exclusive gentlemen.

It is not every action that requires a reaction.

Imagine reacting to a dozen people hurling profanities at you at the same time.

It’s unwise.

In the etiquette scriptures, be angry and be collected.

Walk away. Drive away. Run away.

Do anything to get away from the source of provocation.

Even if violence leaves no evidence- no bloodied lip, no scar, no swelling, it is vulgar still.

7 Common Struggles of a Mistress

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This is not a homily; these are facts- hard facts.

In the world of a mistress, the sun may rise in the west and set in the east- things are just a little absurd.

A more modern description is ‘side chick’ or a ‘side dish’.

Whatever it is called, there are peculiar struggles associated with this situation.

Let’s take a look at seven of them:

 

  1. She’s second best: Obviously. An honest woman has already been made out of the main dish.
  2. She’s called but can’t call: He can call at will but her call is rejected when he is with family or worse, her name is saved as ‘Edible Catering’. Ouch.
  3. It’s a permanent role: The other day, I heard of a guy who lost his wife and married another woman he recently met while his ‘side chick’ wasn’t even shortlisted not to talk of being considered for an interview. Men are scum, no?
  4. She’s a Secret: Because stolen waters are sweet…..bread eaten in secret is pleasant. She’s sweetest a secret.
  5. The Illegitimate debate: Offspring so produced are on assumption, a mistake. If it’s not aborted, it’s segregated. When the ‘bond woman’ is cast out, her child always follows.
  6. Her status is confusing: ‘Hey guys, Meet my friend?’ No, it’s more than friendship. ‘Meet my madam?’ Hardly, she’s not his boss. ‘Meet my side chick?’ I don’t even know.
  7. Reality Pangs: Like the child that dons a superman cape and makes heroic poses, reality can be upsetting after sometime- wishing, wanting and pretending as something doesn’t make it true.

 

Sir Goldman

Gold sun

 

Sir Goldman enters town with bells on- chains, rings, bracelets and more chains

The clanging sounds and the glittering jewels attract the people and turn heads

Is that real gold? Are those diamonds real? Is the silver sure?

Who could match Mr Goldman’s flamboyance?

Is there still gold in Ghana? Diamonds in South Africa?

What if the gold is fake? What if the accessories are costume?

Who then could match Sir Goldman’s silliness?

Arousing attention to that which is not?

 

Bling bling

 

Sir Goldman is dressed to dinner- big buckle on belly, proud pendant on chest

Diamond rings on his fingers, gold studs on his ears and gold shoes to match

Will the guests think him to be a priest because of this giant Cross pendant?

So large, so bold and so priestly?

Will the sight of a roaring lion head belt buckle scare people away?

Will they think his shoes to be a mirror reflecting their images?

Will they think him to be a desperate jewellery hawker?

Parading his goods during dinner?

 

 

Blinging

 

Sir Goldman goes to work with his accoutrements- golden briefcase, golden laptop

Golden mobile phones, golden pen and golden papers

He’s all gold, bold and bling

Does he work in a goldfield? In Eldorado? Will the co-workers concentrate?

Will they gawk in admiration? Will there be a golden break?

In honour of Sir Goldman’s ostentation?

Or will he be scorned and ridiculed?

Will they call him a seriocomic or a jester?

 

 

 

 

Sir Goldman goes for a walk in the park wearing his golden sunglasses

His golden gadget in arms- golden walking stick and a golden smoke pipe

He has a golden leash holding Golda the golden retriever

The children gather to stare and point at Sir Goldman

Mama, the Gold Man is shining brightly!

There’s gold on his hands, there’s gold on his feet

There’s gold on his face and on his waist too

Look! His gold dog even poops out gold too!

 

Ladies, Gentlemen & Robots

The aim of etiquette rules is to create an atmosphere of comfort, order, courtesy and other hallmarks of refinement.

But then, there’s such a thing as robotic refinement- an unthinking, automated application of etiquette rules without due consideration for the outcome.

The root of etiquette should be in the character and not the reputation; character is real and permanent but reputation is virtual and temporary.

Etiquette is not a superficial, cosmetic appliance; its rules can be broken, suspended or modified for a greater good.

Etiquette interrupts etiquette.

No other exemplarily demonstrated this uncommon etiquette phenomenon than that great Princess of Wales- Diana.

I love her quote: ‘I don’t go by the rule book….I lead from the heart, not the head.’

Also, a story is told of an American President who, on noticing the lack of dining manners of a certain man he invited for dinner, dropped his cutlery (even though he knew how to use them) and joined this man in eating without grace.

It is the kind motives behind these actions that validate them.

It is suspicious when a gentleman, as cool as cucumber, as smooth as butter, is mechanically adherent to all the rules all the time; the play out is reminiscent of a pre-programmed missile drone whose mission is seldom positive.

Curious also is the lady with the daily makeup so impossibly perfect, Barbie dolls are jealous.

Not that being a gentleman or looking beautiful aren’t acceptable anymore but the compulsiveness and unfeelingness that dictate these actions are key characteristics of robots.

The 2004 Hollywood movie, I, Robot shows the consequences of being a pre-programmed robot who has the tendency to abuse or misuse the very thing that was designed to make the world a better place as against being a feeling, decisive human being.

A Furry Saint Goes Home

 

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On a unique Sunday afternoon in October, Happy was born.

When the dog was confirmed to be pregnant some months ago, we didn’t know what to expect.

The last and first time she got pregnant, she had just one puppy, contrary to science.

It was therefore a pleasant surprise to see not one, but six bouncing puppies!

Of all of them, one stood out.

She was fat and furrier than the rest; the Garfield of the litter.

My sister named her ‘Happy’.

She provided some form of amusement for neighbours and guests that came to sightsee just by the way she distinctly wobbled even though she wasn’t the biggest eater.

She had little courage for her size-she was easily bullied by her sisters.

She loved to lie on her back just so you could rub her chubby belly.

Her light brown fur darkened at the tips- she didn’t look like the average baby German shepherd.

Unfortunately, on Monday the 23rd of January, 2017, at about 2pm, she passed on to the great beyond after a brief illness, leaving behind an army of mourners in her mother, siblings and indeed our entire household.

She had a lethal disease simply called ‘Parvo’.

One of the major symptoms-loss of appetite -wasn’t salient seeing she wasn’t much of an eater in the first place.

I’ve seen dogs sick but I never imagined Happy will die, especially so soon- barely 24 hours after she was diagnosed.

I watched her limp turn lifeless, her tongue turn white and her stool turn bloody in her final moments.

With her eyes wide open, she gave up the ghost, ending her three month lease to earth; the image is hard to remember.

The mourning process has been a restless one for me; sometimes tears come, sometimes they don’t.

I hope ‘All dogs go to heaven’ really because I want to see her someday.

I had Happy on earth and I want Happy in heaven too.

I Miss Being Fat

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It may sound odd but it’s truthful- I really miss my bigger self.

As a child, I had slightly chubby cheeks and an average body- not too fat, not too thin, nothing that forecast an early teenage bloom.© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

You could imagine therefore the shock when I suddenly became a ‘fat’ 13 year old.

When the comments began (a few were compliments while others were teases), I was unbothered at first but as I approached my late teens, like any normal teen, I was concerned and started working out in my own way- jumping, kicking the air and throwing empty punches.

When these weren’t as effective as I wanted, I added sit-ups, press downs, shake-downs and other body-vibrating, sweat-producing exercises invented by me.

My sisters would roll their eyes and shake their heads at the self-inflicted punishment I so faithfully endured.

My workout routine was so obsessive, I did it before every bath- morning, afternoon, evening and midnight; my will was no match for any unwanted weight.

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Soon, my efforts paid off- big time.

I was noticeably slimmer and the comments began again.

‘What are you doing?’

‘Is your daughter okay? She looks gaunt’

‘You’re okay now, I think you should stop’

Yet as ‘gaunt’ as I looked, many girls ‘looked up’ to me in admiration and unrelentlessly asked for the secret.

I must confess that I did some unhealthy things in my bid to appear slimmer, besides working out.

I made a promise not to mention them for the health’s sake of desperate fat girls.

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My ‘victory’ was however short-lived as I got fat again.

Then I started my routine and I got back in shape.

A cycle was spontaneously created- I could be fat by January and slim by February.

This cycle continued for a while until now.

Hard as I try, I can’t seem to get ‘fat’.

My clothes hardly fit because some of them need some flesh to carry their style.

The funny thing is in all my ‘fat seasons’ I never measured up to 70kg (or 154 pounds) on the scale.

I never wanted to be close to the ‘fat’ range.

Fat to me meant clownish, unladylike and clumsy- things I did not want to unwittingly represent.

Slim, on the other hand, meant composure and poise.

However, through my weight fluctuations I have learnt that it’s possible to be fat and poised as well as slim and clumsy.

I have also come to know first-hand that beside the attention that is garnered, effect on health and esteem, transitioning affects fashion choice and is an expensive venture to undertake (think of overhauling your entire wardrobe).

Above all, I have come to terms with the fact that weight loss is not for everyone.

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Some people are beautiful when slim while others are beautiful when fat.

The important thing is to know your own anatomy.

I have been slim and I have been fat; believe me, fat is better…for me.

 

Ex-etiquette

“I know my heart will never be the same
But I’m telling myself I’ll be okay”
― Sara Evans

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It wasn’t working, he wasn’t ready to settle, she lied, he cheated.

So you’ve broken up now and you officially have an ‘ex’.

It’s hard to get used to it; your best friend yesterday is the farthest stranger today, or maybe even your archenemy, depending on the circumstances that surround your split.

Whatever the peculiarity of the break up, there are classy ways to live through the tough days that follow.

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  1. Don’t diss or throw shade on social media.

This is the most common post breakup activity in the 21st century but guess what? It’s not classy. The pain of a breakup can be quite distressing but publicly disparaging your ex to vilify him or her or solicit pity and attention will not undo the hurt.

If you must talk, talk to friends, loved ones or counsellors. The temptation to shade may be pressing but know that this may lead to counter shades and start and unprofitable debate, thereby disrupting the burial of an otherwise amicable parting.

You can share your lessons later without throwing shade- you show people your scars, not your wounds.

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  1. Take time to heal.

Don’t hurry into another relationship to prove you’re the winner. Be protective of your emotional health; don’t put your heart at risk to win a silly race (if ever there is one). No be him who first get belle dey born boy. It’s not the first to conceive that has a boy [Meaning: It is not the first to get something that gets the best]

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  1. Don’t show them what they are missing.

Ladies, you’re not a statuette that is showed off as proof of winning. Your body is not a weapon of revenge. It is too important to be treated as such because it contains you. If you’re so convinced that your ex didn’t appreciate your value, prove it to yourself- achieve that goal and have a good life. Let your disappointment motivate you to do something more impactful and sensible than flaunting your body.

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  1. Don’t set his Range Rover ablaze.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!

What but madness can make a person set a brand new vehicle on fire? Anger is a temporary form of madness- it is unwise to let anger get a hold of you. Refuse to be the raving lunatic he’s claiming you are. His loss will not equate your gain. Cry instead; nobody will know and you won’t land your broken-hearted self in jail.

 

Young businesswoman sitting on bed in prison cell, looking away

  1. When you move on, move up.

I don’t necessarily mean move from the millionaires’ club to the billionaires’.

I mean avoid repeating poor choices in partners. In her book, How to spot a dangerous man, Sandra L. Brown talks of repetitive mistakes women make when dating- If their last failed relationship was with a drug addict, they are conscious of this flaw, to the exclusion of other possible flaws when going into the next relationship. Unfortunately, even if the new beau isn’t an addict, he can be a beater.

Then she leaves him and is wary of beaters. Unfortunately again, she gets involved with a robber or even a murderer and the cycle continues. Such women claim to have ‘moved on’ but they haven’t ‘moved up’ because they keep dating different men with the same set of problems.

While moving up will not necessarily guarantee happily ever after, it will give a vantage point from which one can see better and choose better.

 

 

Etiquette of Friendship

 

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Friendship is delightful; in time it turns strangers into sisters and makes brothers of acquaintances.

There are a number of ingredients that make up quality friendship.

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It’s give and take: Like other relationships, it’s a scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours situation.  This is an ideal symbiotic-mutual interaction. Acts of kindness should be reciprocated. Even if one can’t exactly match the spate or cost of gifts and services, there should be some effort in contributing to the friendship. Most friendships where one is the obvious giver tend to be manipulative because ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’.

 

It’s tolerant of correction: It’s in a friend’s place to correct in love. This doesn’t mean lording it over the other person(s). At the same time, a person who is happy to see you goof is no friend at all. It sure will be embarrassing to see a friend you care for strutting confidently in an unflattering outfit. Love is not blind; it is objective.

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It’s real: There’s no room for affectedness. She knows where you shop for cheap stuff; he knows you’re living on a loan. You can borrow her stuff or ask for his honest opinion on your plans. There’s no struggle to maintain a façade when it comes to friends. What you see is what you get.

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It’s 50-50: It is against the etiquette of friendship that one person be the ‘centre mass’ while the other(s) act as ‘revolving electron(s)’. The relationship where one person is idolized is not an ideal friendship. One reason why this kind of relationship is not ideal is that the dominant person who is used to the surroundings of servile friends  or yes-men is disillusioned into having a false sense of importance. This may temporarily massage one’s ego but it doesn’t challenge one to be better ultimately. In a fair friendship, when one person pays a visit, courtesy demands the visit is returned. A situation where a person is the ‘star’ or ‘queen’ while the other(s) is/are the ‘fan(s)’ or ‘subject(s)’ is not a friendship but an imperial system.

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It’s not competitive: Rather, it encourages a healthy environment where inspiration can be exchanged. A good friendship motivates and stirs up for achievement. It’s okay to cheer sincerely from the sidelines when others win.

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Nobody wins all medals in all competitions all the time. Even the sun withdraws so the moon can shine. One friend could be a music maestro; the other could be a chess master. A person that gets close to another just so that they can ‘defeat’ and then feel good about it can’t claim to be a friend. Friendship does not seek to ‘defeat’ or gloat at the failure of others. Even in competitions, winners are happy that they won, not that others lost.