- The Storried Platform
HOW TO BECOME A MAN IN NIGERIA – By Anuonye Chibueze Darlington
For Abara Chukwuebuka, for being both sugar and honey
I admire your courage so much, dear Nigerian Soon-to-be Man, especially your ability to ask a signal question which many have neglected or simply refused to ask. I think, but I’m not certain, that curiosity mixed with something else like insecurity and a troubling vagueness might account for your willingness to know what ought to be and the way it should be. And from the could-you-please-go-on look on your face, I can tell correctly that your patience is already crying out. Since this is true, let me respectfully overlook the many rituals we should observe; there surely would be another time, and then we would dance around the shrine of elemental tradition. But for now, let’s damn all protocols and jump straight to the matter at hand. Well, you must listen carefully; I mean this is a rule and must be obeyed. If I should advise you, but I hate to play the role of gods, I would suggest you pair the hawk of your eyes and the rhythm of your heart. Trust me, they should blend. They must merge. It’s inevitable, that’s if you hope to make even a fleeting meaning out of what I’m about to say.
You must be feeling bored now, ain’t you? I’m tempted to say intrigued. But at once, not after many seconds, I banished the misleading, ambitious thought. It’s wise not to expect so much lest one falls into the temptation of disappointment. Need I mention I understand your age is different? Not different in a nasty way, but in an inescapably distressing but revealing way; this difference or should I say uniqueness? has become a symbol of your age. Sometimes, I envy you. Remember, I said sometimes, not always, however hard I might try. Sincerely, occasionally, I just feel there’s something we’re yet to know about your age and believe me it keeps me awake and afraid.
Okay. Enough of much talk. Now, let’s grab the matter on the waist. You want to know hear my opinion of how to become a man in Nigeria; don’t you? Alright. I guess you’re ready now. Beautiful!
See, you must listen till we’re close to ending. I doubt if we can ever find an end to close. I hate to think, but I just can’t help it, that every end opens another opening whose future is doomed if it doesn’t find an end that would open another thing like an opening. If you wish you could take a deep breath now. Have you done that? Amazing!
Rule number one is, you mustn’t cry when you feel hurt. Don’t ever try it. It could work elsewhere, but not here. Listen, when your heart is broken, when you feel a wreck inside, when everything is not working out well, endure it. That makes you a man in Nigeria. Don’t ever talk to friends; don’t even think of telling any woman, that’s a sign of pathetic weakness, a terrible thing to find a real man. Men are not supposed to cry. Don’t always forget, men don’t smile.
My friend, there’s something you mustn’t forget even in the grave when your eyelids are shut forever. What is it? You might ask. It’s simple … you’re the head of the family, so feel free to run it like your business empire. Have you forgotten you paid her dowry? It’s your hard earned money. Recover all. Your wife must be a commodity, that’s what makes you a man. Sell her when you’re tired. Or if you won’t bear to see her owned by another, then lease her and take her back when you wish. Don’t panic, this is Nigeria, she won’t say a word. She knows you’re doing her a favour by marrying her. Absolutely, men are scarce.
Wow! I can’t believe you’re as smart as this. Yes, write on. Jot everything down; carve it on the marble of your heart. If you miss any word, anything at all, just tell me, and I would gladly repeat. You must become a real man. It’s important. You can’t afford to be Jew Man; your ancestors would be ashamed of you, and when you join them, you may never become an ancestor. Don’t be consumed by ignorance. Don’t! Not when the reality on ground supports you. Feel free. Learn fast. Nigeria, manhood, here we go. Okay. I can hear you. Masculinity, should I spell it? M-A-S-C-U-L-I-N-I-T-Y. Don’t be shy. You’re a Nigerian man. No one expects you to know everything, anything, even the simplest of all.
Now, this point is very crucial. Listen well. Don’t ever, I repeat, don’t ever tell a fellow man I love you. Any day you do that, you will become gay. A gay can never be a real nigger. If you must express any tenderness to another man, hit his hands hard. Yes. That way. Harder. Again. Wonderful! It must be brutal, manly and homo free. And if you must say kind things to him, call him foul names, insult him politely. You’re a man. Men are hard. Be rigid! Kill all emotions. Let them die. You won’t need them as a Nigerian man.
I’m proud of you. You’re learning very fast. You must also accept this, never you smile. It’s against the rules of Nigerian manhood. Shrink your laughter. Slay it. Don’t ever spare your lips. Cage them. Be strong. Frown thrice in the morning, twice in the day, thrice at night, and then you would become a real man. And let me tell you, you must never tolerate nonsense from any woman. Women must be stupid and lazy and rotten in your eyes. Yes, they should all be infidels in your perception. That makes you a man in this senseless part of the world. And remember, you’re not supposed to be a saint. Women should be virgins, not men. Do whatever you like, spread infection, and trust me nobody would blame you in Nigeria. The woman must be responsible. She is born to be responsible for all your sadness and failures. When you can, I mean at least twice daily, beat heaven out of her; then go to Abuja and carry your trophy.
As you can see, darkness has descended upon the already wrinkled face of the earth. We must stop here and continue next time. But always remember that human beings are the miracles men can never be.
I’m proudly Human.
By Anuonye Chibueze Darlington
For Abara Chukwuebuka, for being both sugar and honey
I admire your courage so much, dear Nigerian soon-to-be Man, especially your ability to ask a signal question which