Monday, April 29, 2013

I am not a Snoop Dogg Fan But......

I'm not a fan of Snoopy Doggy Dog sorry Snoop Lion. Wait, let me rephrase that....... I was his fan in the 90s when he first came out with 'Snoopy Doooggy Dog, tatatara'  'Gin and juice' Rap was new, his rap was smooth and I was a late teenager who had no other cares than boys and books.
But as his videos got more lewd, and his drug/weapon arrests became a monthly affair, I quickly dissociated myself from him and for a long time I told anyone who had ears to hear, that I was waiting for him to 'Come out on his HIV status'.

Last week, DBF showed me the video below and my walls came crumbling down. Call me a mushy nanny goat :)

Shante Taylor is Snoop's high school sweetheart. They got married in 97. Nearly divorced in 2004 and renewed their vows again in 2008. They are blessed with 3 kids.

About the near-divorce Snoop says:
"I was going to split up with my wife. My wife wasn't going to split up with me. You know, I was caught up. I was caught up with Hollywood, all the girls and the nightlife ... 
I thought I was the man, and I was willing to give up what I had at home for that until I realized that what I had at home was irreplaceable. So I gave that up to go back home."
Source: Tim Nudd. "Snoop Dogg: My Home Life is 'Irreplaceable.'" 12/22/2007.

Snoop is not be my ideal, I dont think I can cope with his brand of madness, but Shante's loyalty makes me believe there is indeed somebody for everybody.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pregnancy, An Excuse For Cheating?

My girlfriend said “Nigerian women spend so much of their time teaching women what to do and not to do but no one ever teaches the men anything.”

I agree.

Most men don’t know jack about pregnancy. About their role in pregnancy. After pregnancy. The physiology of pregnancy. The physical drain it is on women. And most women rather than educate their husband, they think there is an award in heaven for being the most long suffering pregnant woman.

That is why we have wives birth and their husbands don’t ever help them carry the baby. Bathe the baby. Change its diapers.
It is women’s work after all.

Most men don’t know their wife’s expected due date. They don’t make plans around it. Make sure they are around. Or have a back-up plan to see she gets to hospital safely.

They don’t understand/appreciate the massive body changes the woman is going through to accommodate another growing being. How much support she needs personally and with household chores etc.

The part I hate the most is the fatigue.  Believe it or not the nausea can be managed with crackers, preggie pops and constant nibbling but I don’t think there is a cure for taking a nap while taking a shower.  I mean, standing for 10 minutes tuckers me out.  And Turtle tried to take a picture of me while I was discreetly trying to get on a WalMart scooter to do my shopping.  I constantly feel like I just completed a marathon.  My OB’s explanation was easy.  Apparently the one’s blood volume doubles in the first trimester, so that means your heart is working twice as hard to circulate all that blood while remaining the same size.

That’s Lucidlilith blogging about her pregnancy. Imagine going through that and your husband still expects fresh okro soup everyday??

Many men are unprepared for the physical change a woman undergoes during pregnancy. The puffy face/eyes, spitting, nausea, vomiting, bulging tummy, paw-paw like breasts. You think you know cause you have seen other pregnant women – colleagues, sisters, your mother.
Wait till it is your size 10 wife now looking like a shapeless whale then you will feel different.

The key methinks is preparation. 
Women, as you read up about pregnancy, share the knowledge you discover with your husband. Let him expect those changes with you. Share the baby kicking with him. And men, try to research by yourself too. It doesn’t hurt. You made the baby together. Be part of it. Don’t just be a Baby Dada.

On the other hand..Ladies. Sigh

My girlfriend told me about a lady from church who revealed during a baby shower for another lady that her husband only found out she was pregnant when she started refusing him sex.

Jaw drops

First, you are pregnant and you didn’t tell your partner in deed.
Second you were refusing him sex cause you were pregnant? Hold your horses people....there is a difference between refusing sex cause you are not up to it but in this case…she confessed she did not know it was okay to have sex when you are pregnant. Note this lady has had 3 kids.

Church women will not kill me!!

Back to men…
Your wife’s pregnancy/tired/lack of interest in sex is no excuse for cheating. 
I think that is the worst betrayal for any African woman. A woman who has been largely trained to believe that her value lies in being a good wife and mother. Then you call her bluff at the time of her greatest validation. The time you the man should be worshipping at her feet (okay, that was tongue in cheek but you get what I mean)..

Excuses vary from “She‘s no longer interested in sex” (possible husband of above church woman)
To “I don’t find her sexy/attractive with her protruding stomach in the way”  (I encountered that comment recently on Mena’s blog and I can’t explain how sad that made me)
To “her vagina is not as tight as before” (even erections soften with age’. So???)

To those BS excuses I say, you either don’t love your wife enough, are not educated enough or don’t care enough or you are just a plain philanderer. There will always be an excuse for you. 
If tight vagina was so important to you then you should opt for no child at all.
Moreover loss in elasticity of the vagina is not a given. It differs with genetics, age, number of children. But even at that. The vagina has muscles. Like all muscles it responds to exercises like Kegel exercises and use of vaginal cones. You don’t turn your back on your wife for something she has no control over. This is just vagina o!! What if she has a serious disease?
Let’s reverse the circumstances..if you had erectile dysfunction which happens to 52% of men at some point between 40-70yrs, pray, can she go find a man to satisfy her need asides you? 

Did I hear a no? Glad you think so.

Women talk to your brothers, your male cousins, your friends, your husbands. Pregnancy is not for the women’s club only. Save a future marriage. Amen.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Movie Shame and Sex Addiction

Have you noticed like I have that the cop out for male Hollywood celebrities caught in extra-marital affairs e.g. Tiger Woods, Jesse James (Sandra Bullocks ex-hubby), David Duchovny, Michael Douglas, Katy Perry’s Russell Brand, Halle Berry’s Eric Benet is ‘I am a sex addict’ followed by a stint in a sex rehab clinic? Like really?!

I rationalized that Sex Addiction COULD exist but I just couldn’t understand its MO. Is it someone who liked sex too much/chased after women too much or what? 
Well, the movie Shame answered the question.

Shame is rated 18 so be aware that you are going to be seeing naked human bodies. Naked bodies having sex, Full male frontal (Yay***!!! Fassbender’s ding dong was on FULL view within the first 2 minutes of the movie as he walked around his apartment scratching his balls. Ewww).

(***Female frontal nudity is treated as par for course in the Movie Industry while men’s naked bodies are treated as 'limited edition exhibitions'. I am yet to understand why. 
Maybe when female viewers see it, they combust or become mad?! 

I digress :D

Plot – Brandon (Fassbender) is a man in his 30s, he has a good job with a techie firm, lives in a cool Manhattan apartment and sometimes goes out for drinks with his sleazy boss. He should have been living la vida loca in NY but for his shameful secret. He abuses himself with sex. His life revolves around porn, masturbation and the women he sleeps with. He is always on the lookout for women who think of sex like he does – hedonistic with orgasm as goal…prostitutes are usually his best bet.
What he can’t handle are relationships. The give and take of relationships, its intimacy, the expectations, the commitment.

His sterile lifestyle is disrupted when his only sibling and sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) comes into town desperately in need of brotherly love and a place to stay. Fassbender has none to give barely tolerating her presence cause it cramped his style.
Their conversations hinted at some dark childhood secret but this wasn’t elaborated.
There was a poignant scene when Brandon in anger told her to leave his house. That she was a parasite etc etc. Her answer ‘I’m not going anywhere. You are my brother. You are supposed to look after me’ was poignant.
I think I’m going to try that on my elder siblings J.

When he leaves her one weekend to indulge in a rebellious rash of sexual orgies with random men and women he meets, there are disastrous repercussions but he also learns that maybe he could care for another. 

Addiction is compulsive seeking and abuse of drug/alcohol/sex/food/cigarette despite the known harmful effects upon the person’s functioning in the context of family, health, school, work, and recreational activities. Think Whitney Houston. Think Denzel as the Pilot in Flight.

Shame certainly captured that. In sexual addiction, orgasm is the ultimate goal (like getting a high from cocaine). And just like with drug taking, where the addict may need to take incremental amounts of the drug to get his particular high, in sex addiction, our guy needed to have more risque sex to get pleasure. 
But in a particular shot which focused on his face at this ‘supposed-to-be-orgasmic-moment’, what we also see is a portrait of regret, and shame.

In one scene when he went out on a dinner date with a co-worker who was interested in him, he was like a caged animal. The exchange of pleasantry and getting-to-know-all-about-you-conversation was so difficult for him.
She asked him the length of his longest relationship and He said ‘4 months’. She said ‘You didn’t even try’ and he replied ‘Actually, I tried so hard’.
And when they went back to his place at the end of a 3rd date (wink), her attempts to ‘make love’ - you know, all the looking into his eyes, tenderly touching the face - just killed our guy’s mojo. He couldn’t get it up. He wasn’t used to all that extra emotion nor was he used to treating sexual partners as people.

Just to prove that, after the disappointed date leaves, he calls his stand-by call girl and indulges in a prolonged sexual marathon.

I have watched ‘Choke’ an older movie/comedy which touched on the life of a sex addict too but compared to Shame, it humorised sex addiction. 
Steve McQueen excellent direction and Fassbender’s acting made sex addiction real in the painful, pitiful way any addiction is.
The movie didn’t make the 2012 Oscar list despite critical acclaim. Its R-rating probably made that impossible.

Do I recommend the movie? To be honest I don’t know. It is certainly not a 'date movie'. 
It was graphic yet not titillating. It wasn't a thriller yet I was riveted. I had chosen to watch it cause I was curious to know about sex addiction. 
Did it answer/satisfy my curiosity? Unequivocally Yes.

p.s.  Fassbender it seems, is the male Sharon Stone for the millennium. He was happily displaying his butt (no frontal though) in yet another movie ‘A Dangerous Method’.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Flight Movie Review

Like wine, Denzel Washington just gets more handsome with age.

I thought Flight was going to be an “Unstoppable” action movie with plot and subplots and flying humans. Boy! was I mistaken. 
Flight was a drama about the complex make up of a character, about accountability and addiction. Denzel embodied his role as an addict trying to get his life back.  I will tell you for free, Addiction is painful to watch.

A Pilot heroically landed an otherwise doomed plane managing to save 96 out of the 102 souls on board. In the following days as the media lauded his bravery, post flight investigations unearthed evidence that would challenge that.

First off, I never took much count of the use of ‘souls’ instead of ‘passenger’ in Flight Manifests. This movie finally made me understand. When a passenger is lost, it is not just a man or woman, but a body and ultimately a Soul.

So, I knew from trailers that the plane was going to crash, but DW’s commanding presence kept me glued to the screen.
As I listened to the urgent communication between the pilot and the towers when things went awry mid-flight, I couldn’t help but marvel and contrast at what could have happened in the last minutes with all the doomed real-life flights you hear about in the news. 
I heard Denzel took flight lessons for this role and it showed. He knew his flight mechanics. 
He was in control. I didn’t even need him saying it to believe. The way he got his team stepping out of their fear to assist. That is what a leader does. And a Pilot is the leader in a plane. Aye!!

On the other hand, maybe that was the effect of cocaine/drugs don’t you think? A false sense of clarity and bravado compared to his cocaine un-impaired co-pilot who was screaming. lol.

I loved the insight this movie gave me into alcoholism/addiction in general. The lies, self-denial, the temptations, the craving, the havoc it wrecks on personal and family life.
Though it was drama. It had its high moments. My second most thrilling moment, apart from the flight was the night before he was to appear in court. As he walked into the adjoining hotel room and spied the fridge, I broke out in sweat. At that point, the fridge represented the devil. The bad guy. Like in a horror movie scene, you knew that something bad was about to happen. The play of emotions on his face as he opened the fridge and looked at the rows of alcoholic refreshment was a cinematic moment: agitation, calm, amusement and ultimately pride, “I can handle it”, "I can walk away".

Pride cometh before a fall.

In the end, his most heroic act was being true to himself!!

There was something very important I took away from this movie. The prosecutors did not accuse him of alcoholism…rather for his ‘betrayal of public trust. That struck a chord.

Made me rethink some of my half formed opinions of what public trust is. Yes, Captain Whitaker had heroically saved lives, but being inebriated while on duty could have brought other consequences. Passengers flew that plane cause they trusted that the American Airline Associations? IITA? had appropriately licensed this pilot and plane to fly. Barring acts of God or other uncontrollable events, they were supposed to be safe. By drinking and flying he had violated their trust, endangered their lives potentially and made a mockery of his license. That was more important that any one heroic act.

I thought of licensed bus/taxi drivers who shack ogogoro and kparaga while ferrying souls on the road.
I thought of Public transport owners who know brake pads are worn, tyre threads worn but refuse to change them.
I thought of police who swear to honor and protect citizens.
I thought of banks who were licensed to protect my money but instead betray me by giving irresponsible loans.

I shuddered to think of how much our daily living relied on trusting others with our welfare and by extension, how important regulatory bodies really are.

Anyway I digress, I loved this movie and I am glad it garnered Denzel an Oscar nomination even if he didn’t win L. There will be other movies DW, don’t you worry!!

What did you think of the ending for those who have watched it? Too pat or just right?

I forget to mention, the first scene was classic. His lecherous ‘did I tap that ass?’ look as he watched flight attendant Katerina dress up, lol. Baaaad boy!!

Ever wondered about Sex addiction? Next post coming up

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hair, Skin Color and the Question of Choice

So it seems best friend Chimmy stirred up the hornet’s nest in her interview for her new book Americanah. While natural hair fans rejoiced at having a renowned international author stand up for hair rights, weave/perm lovers on the other hand, took umbrage.

“….Hair is hair – yet also about larger questions: self-acceptance, insecurity and what the world tells you is beautiful. For many black women, the idea of wearing their hair naturally is unbearable..”

But she was not lying??!!.

Chimmy usually sports natural hair/natural looking weaves so I wasn’t surprised to find she was a natural hair fan. And despite that I DO sing ‘I am not my hair’ to the more aggressive natural hair Nazis It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the ‘origin of this debate’ or why it is important.

Elnathan John (blogs here) wrote this update Please if you have natural hair or don't use make up, it is fine. But there is no certificate or prize for it. Keep it to yourself. Don't judge the people who do. The fact that you go natural does not make you superior to the woman who likes her weaves or makeup. There is space for everyone. *sigh*

I nodded, sighed along with him and moved on to the comments. Pro-Hair choice fans were out in full force, but I also noted my gf’s comment:

“I totally understand where Ms Adichie is coming from. As a parent with a 7 year old daughter who kept asking me why her hair is not like "Lucy or Rachael" in her class and how she didn't like her hair, I felt the need to show her (my daughter) how to love herself for how she is. So I ditched the relaxer and the weaves and went natural.
I don't sit in judgement of anyone who wears Brazilian, Indian, Peruvian or any type of weave. But like Chimamanda I advocate for self love. Love yourself warts and all. It helps with self esteem and self worth”

In February, Okeoghene wrote this post asking “When is the right time to talk about race/skin with your child?”. This questions comes up for parents in the diaspora where your beautiful child finds herself the only black kid in a school of 200 white faces. We understand ethnicity. A 6yr old doesn’t. The onus is then on you to make sure he/she gets it right….’that you are beautiful the way you are’.

But if we think this affirmation is only needed in Oyiboland, Think again.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with my skin. Read these posts here and here. It was till recently I realized that my hangup with my skin hasn’t surfaced much, here in the UK. 
Why you might wonder?
Here I am African. Nigerian. My skin is expected to be black, period. In fact 'yallow skinned’ Nigerians probably confuse Oyibos more, than a 'black skinned”. You can see the wheels turn 'Is she/he one of us? them?

It is a different story in Nigeria. 

Growing up I was called ‘blackie’ and 'atinga' (thin) by siblings. Once in awhile they would even ask my mom ‘where she got me from’ cause I was so dark and skinny. Yes they were jokes, but as a child I must have internalized it somewhere that my color and slimness wasn’t alright.
Then I became grown up. and it wasn’t just my family anymore. It was Delta soap adverts with their fair beauties (remember them?), it was the lepa shandi songs, the ‘Dudu’ teasings, the cosmetic sellers and well meaning ‘Aunties’ who tell you to try ‘this cream and that cream’ to help bring out your colour a.k.a tone the skin.
It was meeting your dark skinned primary school mate on the street in 2010 and almost passing her by cause her fair hue wasn’t what you used to know.
It was the constant bombardment of creams and soaps which promise to lighten/Fade your skin in 21days.
It was realizing that being hip and chic and beautiful in Nigeria meant you had to work on your skin. Not just having it spotless…but latte colored or cream NOT dark chocolate.

So yes, it’s been a long time coming, but I have finally accepted that I am black and beautiful.
I have accepted that I will always be a size 8 (at least in the foreseeable future) not the acceptable 'Oriaku'-size 12
I have accepted that my hair might never grow beyond 6 inches. Sadly, I can’t remember what I looked like with natural hair cause my elder sister helpfully started perming my ‘unmanageable hair’ when I was 13. I still retouch my hair but I know I am learning daily to love my hair and appreciate its kinks. Be it from proudly weaving my own hair without braids, to giving it a twist out in its semi-permed state. I don’t even fix sleek hair weaves as much as I used to anymore. To be honest seeing Caucasians with the real thing makes me feel like a fraud. I’ll rather proudly use what’s mine.

Interesting that it took living abroad to make me appreciate what makes me unique. My hair. My skin. My accent. My traditional name. My strong white teeth. My cuisine.

So in a roundabout way what am I saying? Yes, we are not defined by our hair/the clothes we wear/the color of our skin/our physical appearance, RATHER by character, values, abilities, dreams and ambitions.

BUT, we need to look deeper at some of those defining values. I think of myself a decade ago declaring “I can only marry a fair man cause I don’t want my kids to be as dark as I am’. Sounds pretty self-hating doesn't it? How about the role society has played in making me arrive at that conclusion, by valuing ‘fair’ over ‘dark’, and for hair, ‘artificial’ above ‘natural?'

Seeing more and more females embracing and flaunting their God-given hair, reminds me that my natural hair is not just something you hide under wigs or scarves till you can get an appointment at the saloon. Or something widows are subjected to wear during mourning. 
It is a statement of style and pride.

That is what I think Chimamanda meant by choice, I want natural black hair to be as equal an option as anything else”.

At the risk of attracting a rain of Brazillian wigs, 1inch eyelashes and hydroquinone cream jars and Chinese hair, this post is in appreciation of natural/short/dreadlocked hair, coffee/chocolate/browned skinned sisters.

Thank You for giving our children, models who look like them and for reminding us of our roots (no pun intended).

How are you my People? Winter has finally packed its bag. Bye and Thank you!!!!


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