The issue of love is complicated. It’s not a one-fit-all type situation. One person’s way of expressing love might be different from another person. The destinies of many individuals have been reshaped–good or bad– because they fell in love. That said, love shouldn’t spark devilish acts. If it doesn’t meet humanistic standards, walk away. Society taught males to be in “devilishly” in love.
As a boy growing up in Ijesha, Surulere, alpha males existed on the scene. Men who displayed their manliness on their hands, swag and voice. They were easy to spot.
There was Baba carpenter. Whenever his wife offended him, he told her to “put her hands up and close her eyes” while he lashed her with copper wire. Neighbours begged but he reminded them that he had the right to punish her for not cooking and obeying his orders. We only pitied her as she swallowed phlegm and dried streams of tears from her face. There was nothing anyone could do.
There was Baba Uyi–the most violent of all. He once smashed a bottle on his wife’s forehead leaving her almost blind in the left eye. He beat her, at least, twice a week. And, they still managed to ride on the illusion of love. When there was no love, there was fighting. They pushed the line of love and hate willy-nilly. It was hard to tell if she was committed to receiving the beatings or was simply in love.
Daily, we heard one women crying under the blows of their husbands . It was the normal thing in Ijesha. It was rampant. And, Paul, one big bros at that time, who was good with putting pictures on paper with pencils recorded numerous cases. Brother Paul always said, “if you love her, beat her.” Well, that was his only way to measure love and tame the wild beasts who lead men out of Eden.
Then one brother Femi once beat his girl friend for exposing her boobs to another man under the powerline near Ijesha market. We looked at her as an ashawo because: (a) women are born to be faithful to their bobos (b) only a man has the right to many girlfriends (c) since, he’s the man, he’s always correct. Brother Femi’s friend hailed him for his folly. That’s how it was.
In the corner of the street, men were hailed for their insatibale appetite for sex and were highly exalted for the way they brandished their despotic natures in their homes. Women and children were boxed into a spot of obeisance.
Of course, some women fought back at Ijesha. Once, one woman pounded her husband’s face with a pestle and when the in-laws came around to ask why she did it, she replicated the same action on them. They tumbled over chairs and stools as she swung her pestle. She was fierce and stirred negative rumours on the street but she didn’t care. Men feared her and women respected her. Brother Paul made a comic about her, she had two secret balls in his comic book .
To kill her, we realised only too late in life, was not the only way to love. We discovered that there was a way to command her respect and to judge her not by physical features but by her actions.
Many men have the idea that the best form of showing their love powerfully is by acting irrationally which is wrong. No one needs to die while in love.
How do we correct this? Like I told a colleague, there needs to be another orientation. What do we tell our kids? Do we want to raise another generation of children with the ideology of a Brother Paul? Or, Brother Femi? No. For years, children have been taught the same thing: “it’s a man’s world”, “you’re a woman and women don’t do this” etc. It’s high time we redefined these labels we grew up with.
I welcome you to follow me here