Monday, 9 November 2009

The Mercenaries

THERE are men in existence everywhere, available to the highest bidder. They may not be classified as prostitutes or male-whores.

They are just... well... available. It does not matter what the lure is for them. It might be striking good looks, more attention from some other female, a person who panders to their emotional (or/and financial needs).
They are just mercenaries, hired guns, who are available to the highest bidder. Before you sigh in anticipation, settling into the chair for what you believe will be a piece on male-bashing, take The Whisperer’s word for it that there are many females who are mercenaries as well.
As far back as when I was 18, a girl left me for a fellow who got into university before I did (he ended up not finishing the degree because of some limitations he had).
Another for a fellow she considered better for her. The yet-to-be whisperer was still in his teens but had already learnt early in life that “you can’t win ‘em all” and even those you lose might still come back in the future to find you.
They both did, and The Whisperer not understanding what he ever saw in them after time had passed and given perspective, went his way.
So, we live in the pain of the past and dwell on memories of hurt and despair and tell ourselves like Gloria Gaynor did, “weren’t you the one who thought to do me wrong? Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die? I will survive!”
The very fact that you’re still singing the song means you’re in pain, picturing the face of the fellow who has since gone his way as you scream the words “So come on go, walk out the door, just turn around now because you’re not welcome anymore”.
We have all sang this song. Adolescent males because of some girl who went elsewhere in search of a better life and young as well as not-so-young-anymore females.
Gaynor knew a song that would hold the aggrieved world and we all followed her philosophy.

BUT then, why is it that we always blame our hurt on other people? Many of us have childhood friends from 20 and 30 years back.
Friends who have remained so and whom we will continue a conversation stopped two decades before, without faltering. True friends.
Why do we find this hard to replicate in relationships? It is because the parameters used to acquire friends are not the same when it comes to lovers.
You do not choose your friends by their good looks, you choose them because of dependability, for the interests you share, for the fact that you can call on them in the most embarrassing situations and they will appear there, having driven down in their pyjamas, in bedroom or bathroom slippers, as they are, just to help you.
For many of us, the demands we make of those we will “love” are less stringent. He must be good-looking; drive a great car; speak with the right accent.
My classmate, Tinuade Awe back then in the university at Ile-Ife, when she and I were law students, was a wonder to watch.
Born of impeccable pedigree, she herself being the daughter of two dons, she was friendly with everybody.
The university, being one in the heartlands of the West, had people from the most rustic places as students.
These were people who did not know Lagos and had rarely been to Ibadan but who were strong, proud people nonetheless and as enlightened as the more urbane of us.
All sorts were friends with her, this young woman who would end up having one of the best results in our graduating class and at the law school; it was a place where true friendship was forged, where great memories were born.
I suppose it was the way of that particular university, where people were judged by their souls and not by the trappings of societal wealth.
When you make the wrong things important in a relationship, it will not stand the test of time and you will sing Gaynor’s song, whether you like it, sooner or later.

THE world is full of mercenaries, but does not go far to ask of whom I talk about. I talk of you and I and all those who make the wrong things the most important things. If the pedigree of a partner is more important to you than the substance of that person, the ship carrying your relationship will hit the rocks and nothing will be salvaged.
We should choose those we love carefully, searching for qualities in them that exist in our greatest friends.
And yes, your lover, your husband, your partner, must be a friend too. You must share interests, share enlightenment, you must be able to read a great line in a book or hear one in a movie that you know you must share.
I am not asking you to look for clones; that would be a bland way of looking at life, or for him to have an inordinate interest in the bags and jewellery women wear.
I am saying you must have some grounds you meet on, places where you laugh and you take second looks at yourselves and think, “this is beautiful; having this person I can share so much with”.
Even best friends fight, battle each other to a standstill, but often, one gives way for the other, understanding the beauty of what they have and the fact that it is for a life-time and a bond that will not be broken.
You do not choose your partner by his taste in clothes and shoes; for the fact that he speaks with an accent bordering on an American’s.
What significance does that have in the long run? You must remember to choose like you would a friend.
There aren’t many ‘friends’ we would invite into our homes a day after meeting them. There is always some level of communication, of ideas being exchanged, of finding we are comfortable in each other’s presence.
Isn’t it strange then, that we can give the most intimate part of ourselves to someone we just met, call them our partners and then stand in shock when they walk away from us a week after?
Those who do not heed The Whisperer’s words will soon sing Gloria Gaynor’s song.

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