(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, January 3, 2022)
As the new year unfurls its carpet of promise and hope, it won’t be nice to stain the carpet, so early, with footprints from the dunghill of sufferings created last year by the retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari-led incompetent regime.
Therefore, I won’t dwell on President Buhari and his regime in my inaugural article of 2022. There are more worthwhile issues to discuss than the depressing news of killings and teary graves across Nigeria.
Even if it’s for a few hours in the new year, the stone-hearted in powerful corridors nationwide know, without conceding, that Nigerians deserve a break from the endless reportage of killings, kidnappings and crises fast replacing the national anthem.
So, in this article, I’ll ignore the Fulani general and his star-studded cabinet that have come unstuck like the incisors of a poisonous snake while rats catwalk in sight.
Herein, I’ll talk about a rising trend among Nigerian youths, which is, the act of kneeling to propose marriage. Is it real or fake? What’s your view about it?
Love is a four-letter word, and so is scam. A profound article by a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, Louann Brizendine, explains the vast difference between the brain of a female and that of a male.
Brizendine, a member of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, says while the female brain is driven to seek security and reliability in a potential mate before she has sex, the male brain is fuelled to mate and mate again…for life.
In the article entitled, “Love, sex and the male brain,” published on CNN website on March 25, 2010, the member, National Board of Medical Examiners, also says male brains have a sexual pursuit area that is 2.5 times larger than the one in female brains.
She writes, “If testosterone were beer, a 9-year-old would be getting the equivalent of a cup a day. But a 15-year-old would be getting the equivalent of nearly two gallons a day. This fuels their sexual engines and makes it impossible for them to stop thinking about female body parts and sex.”
Brizendine further observes that all that testosterone drives the ‘Man Trance’, which she describes as ‘that glazed-eye look a man gets when he sees breasts’, stressing that men can’t stop themselves from entering the trance.
She remarks that men look at attractive women the way women look at pretty butterflies, adding that minutes after men snapped out of their one-second reveries, women are still fuming that men looked at other beauties.
However, the MD and clinician discloses that the male brain can fall in love just as hard and fast as the female brain, stressing that men have stronger emotional reactions than women but ‘they just don’t show it very often…men use their analytical brain structures, not their emotional ones’.
The 69-year-old American scientist summarises her article in these words, “The best advice I have for women is to make peace with the male brain. Let men be men.”
To differ completely from the submission of Brizendine is to ignore the hooting horn of the train called science.
To submit in totality to Brizendine’s advice, however, is tantamount to the female laying herself vulnerable to the whims of the average male who’s ready to go to great lengths to satisfy his libido.
I’ll advise the female youths to be careful, think with their heads, and not their hearts, when a guy comes kneeling down like the lame at the Beautiful Gate.
Proposing on one knee is a tradition that dates back to medieval times when knights bowed before noblewomen, asking them the age-long phrase, “Will you marry me?”
But today, the practice has become one of the tricks young Nigerian men employ to lure young women into steady sexual relationships, and satisfy their testosterone loads, fleeing after breaking their promises – most of the time.
I’m not saying that ladies open up their hearts to men only when they propose on their knees, I know the economic situation of the country has made many girls open their legs to men with plates of noodles or akara or suya etc.
I’m saying ladies lose their heads and hearts thinking marriage is in the bag when men propose with rings on bended knees.
Like many misunderstood western traditions, I’ve seen videos of proposing Nigerian males going down on two knees like someone serving corporal punishment; medieval knights proposed on just one knee!
You never appreciate what you have until you lose it. I strongly believe that the gains of Nigerian marriage rites that include presentation of rings and food items during ceremonies outweigh the momentary showiness of bended-knee proposal.
Nigerian marriage rites not only strengthen nuptials, they also symbolise that the union of a man and a woman as husband and wife is family-based unlike the misdone bended-knee concept which underscores the me-and-my-husband idea of marriage.
Before a man can go on bended knee, he should’ve, beforehand, sounded the lady’s opinion about the possibility of marrying him, he should’ve secretly told some members of her family about his decision, chosen a location, and known her ring size and preference.
It’s childish to knee down in a mall, buka, or nightclub, and pop out misfitting engagement rings on a lady who isn’t in love with you, in the first place. That’s a scam. That’s the type of union that ends in e-divorce.
A black American friend of mine, Tina Martin, who lives in Decatur, Alabama, sees nothing wrong with proposing on bended knee, saying it portrays humility and commitment. Martin, however, adds that most bended-knee proposals don’t live up to the promises.
Two white Americans, Jennifer Henderson (36) and Shaylor Terry (29), who work in Hartselle, Alabama, expressed their preference for a private proposal, just as another white lady, Emily Jeffers (20), spoke in support of a lavish, public proposal.
My secondary schoolmate, Kemi Samuel, who’s based in the UK, and a US-based friend, Olusegun Adeyina, described kneeling to propose as negating African tradition.
Sometimes, we truly never know the value of a practice until it becomes a memory. Nigerian languages are dying today because the English Language has been promoted over them. Nigeria should be the only country in the world where pupils are fined in schools for speaking their mother tongue. Likewise, Nigerian native dresses are despised while English dresses are approved to be worn to work and schools from Monday to Thursday by authorities.
I believe that the buba and sokoto Nigerian dress is more fitting and more convenient than the shirt and trousers bequeathed to us by colonialists.
In the US, nobody really notices what you wear if you’re in shirts and trousers etc, except when you wear sports jerseys or designers. But when you wear any African dress, genuine words of appreciation from blacks and whites will follow you till you return home. People will stop you at malls to ask where they can get the type of dress you’re wearing. It happens to me every time I wear African dresses.
Returning from church one Sunday, I went off to a mall in company with my children. A young black American lady walked towards me, and asked where she could get my kind of Nigerian attire to buy.
I thought she was trying to sell a product to me. I smiled at her, and said, “Some other time, please,” and walked away.
My shocked children caught up with me and asked me what I told the lady. I said I told her I didn’t want to buy any policy or product. They all burst out laughing, saying she wasn’t asking to sell anything to me. They explained that she was only appreciating my dress and was asking where she could buy it. I felt bad, went back to the spot but she was nowhere to be found.
Since that day, I got the nickname, “Some other time,” from my children.
Please, let’s appreciate our values before we lose them all. Happy New Year!
Facebook: @tunde odesola