It’s the month of love, which means that somewhere in Unilag, twenty-one-year-olds have reduced their mealtimes to once a day. The extra change saved up from starving through the afternoons and ignoring the bite of worms and acid on their stomach walls, will, of course, be directed towards more urgent accomplishments: buying gifts for their ‘better halves.” You, reading this, will turn your nose at that long-ago display of youthful passion, a situation I am sure you once participated in.
To be fair, I understand your adult disdain for the naivety of young love. That kind of love, as we all know, is reckless and foolish. And! many of us have come a long way from our days of singlets and boxer gifts, no matter how declarative they were back in the day. The reason is as plain as day. You are too busy being a professional, or the marriage thing has happened to you, or, you are exactly like me, struck with the affliction of unescaped singleness.
The other day my mother called me, hot and bothered with the urgency of the matter. “There is a man”, she said. Okay, I responded, having mastered my performance of rapt attention. “He is my former colleague’s son” she continued. The conversation unravelled to reveal this knight in shining amour, who I learned works in a hospital but is neither a doctor or nurse.
First of all, if a man works in a hospital as neither a doctor or nurse, what else could he be? A serial patient? Of course, there are laboratory officials and admin officers, but that is not the point. Anyway, my mother has high blood pressure, so my thoughts remained with me. I gave her my consent to share my number with this strange hospital career man. “Yes mum, let him have my number.” “Yes mum, I will be nice and humble.” “Yes mum, I am aware, I am getting quite advanced.”
To be honest, my plan was to be open-minded, a feat I have frequently been judged to be lacking. But then, this guy in question sent the first chat, giving me my greatest evidence for judgement: His inability to spell. I am not talking typos. I mean “hw u doween.” Tell me, where do I start from? Also, did my mother actually meet or speak to this guy? And yes, I know what you are thinking: Judging men by how they spell probably explains why I have remained chronically single. Not that the singleness itself is even such a tragedy, but I have to at least act concerned about it otherwise, my already stressed out mother will go full deliverance mode on me.
Anyway, the moral of this story is that I have now told my mother—whose recommendations I will never trust again by the way—that I have a boyfriend. Yes, I have invented a love life, which means there will be questions. Haaa! So right now, the poor fellow, and his mother and their plans, are grieving my unavailability. Probably. Or, the boy’s mother has accustomed to another person the same way she did mine: “I am looking for a wife for my son.”