This is not a representation of the authors personal views.
“She got me boxers chaley. Fucking boxers”
I turned away from my laptop so he could see the teasing glint in my eyes. He rolled over from the flat of his back unto his sides, head resting on his right arm, facing me directly.
“I swear the thing dey bash my chest. Anniversary, I pull am that Versace watch, she come empty handed; I nor talk. Abi anniversary dier more times we we get the pressure; but my birthday too!!???”
“Chaley…”, I responded, shifting the laptop to one side and searching for my slippers with my feet. “So naaa these Ghana girls dey. I’ve told you before, and I will say it again, relationships are NOT for men. Everything we do, from the ronning and sweet talking, to the actual shit, it’s us doing what they want because we think we need them.”
“The worst part is I can’t even complain. Like, what sort of man will that make me?”
“Ah! What do you mean you can’t complain? Isn’t she your girlfriend? Are you not supposed to be comfortable around her?”
There was a momentary pause as I searched inside our shared drawer for my cereal bowl. He was actually listening. For the first time in a long while, he wasn’t rubbishing my “anti-women narrative”.
“You know I paid for the food right?”
“But you asked her out?”
“I thought she would offer”
I choked on my laughter, causing cold milk to spurt from my nose. I rubbed the mess with the back of my hands.
“Of course she didn’t offer; even if she had, it’d be because she doesn’t want you to think she needs your money, or she wants you to know she’s independent, or she wants to show you she’s not like the other girls, or …. She wants you to know how supportive she can be. It’s always about them, even when it looks like it’s about you. You see, when men pay for stuff, we just pay. When women pay for stuff, there *must to* be a catch.”
“You nor the worst part?”
I paused for dramatic effect here, doing skills with my spoon before digging out a spoon full of milk and cereal.
“The worst part is when y’all are having some random argument, you’re in your feels and she hits you with that, ‘I have never taken anything from you!’. As if it’s a big deal, you know? Like it’s an actual issue. What she’s basically saying is, ‘I’ve been forfeiting my right to take from you, so you better show some respect.’ But, you’ve never taken anything so…? Have *I* ever taken anything? Do *you* even offer? You know?”
He lay in the same position a long time, long enough for me to return to my laptop, finish my assignment and watch a random Family guy episode.
“But chaley, all this aside, I love her ooo”
“Yeah I’m sure you do”, I did not take my eyes away from the screen.
“Me too I hear you. Inor be innaa that? If you want her to get you nice things too, tell her.”
“But I cant …”
“Because you’re a man?” My eyes stayed on the screen still, though I was barely watching. I didn’t want him to know how passionate I was about what I was saying. He’d rubbish my credibility and call it being emotional if I did.
“Yeah… I guess.” He rolled to his back again, staring at the ceiling.
“ You know, considering how *woke* Twitter is nowadays, it’s funny how you guys still hold on to this male stereotype thing. What a man should be, how a man should act, what a man should and should not do? I mean, I guess I can’t blame you. Same women who advocate for equal rights turn around and demand men who can protect them and take care of them. My place is NOT the kitchen, but yours is definitely the office. I am not your mom to be washing your clothes but you are my father to be giving chop money. Double standards.”
“But how you go do am chaley?”
I closed the laptop and stretching, slowly dropped it on my bedside table. With some theatrics, I pulled my blanket over myself and turned away from him.
“The something just annoys me sometimes chaley. I really want this equality thing. I want it more than anything. I feel like a lot of these distins that we are accused of – obsessive behavior, cat calling, unsolicited sexual advances, they trace deeper than us simply being men – a biological species. That’s my problem with ‘men are trash’. It’s not the biological; I think it’s the social connotations attached – Men do this, Women do that. I honestly believe, if we ever became equal – without the social constructs, women would be doing the same shit men are being scandalized for now. Who knows? Maybe then we’d have a world with human problems, with human-tailored solutions, as opposed to gendered problems.”
It had happened, I’d gotten emotional. I knew I’d lost him. I persevered still,
“I want women to bear the burden of approaching us when they like us, I want full conversations where I don’t have to spend weeks being scouted and poked because somehow we are always the ones offering and they are the queens choosing what to accept and reject. I want good morning texts. I want girls who actually do stuff and don’t just wait. I want to accept and reject some chaley”
“You would if you were fine but alas.”
We both laughed
I lay awake through the noises; his entering the bathroom, coming out, changing, falling asleep. I lay on my sides, watching the blue wall, frustrated because I knew – as much as I could complain, in my heart I knew – there was nothing I could change, there was nothing that *would* change. I was bad for thinking the way I did. I could never share this with those it’d actually matter to. The alpha-male roommate was all I had; And today, I’d squeezed all the juice I’d ever get.
Art Credit: Manet – Luncheon on the Grass