So as you can see, I work hard to maintain and make gains. I am no trophy wife; I am just a smart woman. My life is simply what I made it, perfect! Well, almost perfect, the only thing that is missing is a child.
That’s my only challenge and I am so frustrated. We tried for 2 years straight but nothing. We even went to a fertility specialist, which was difficult to begin with. Obinna may be a modern man, but getting any African man to even contemplate the fact that he may not be shooting right at the target is complicated to say the least. He kept saying he was fine and if I needed to go I should but he wasn’t going to be a part of it. Imagine the nonsense, a surgeon, a man who is medically educated, refusing to get himself checked out. What if it was his fault? Maybe his little swimmers were a tad lazy, so I badgered him until he agreed. Turns out, nothing is wrong with either of us, but it’s just not happening. When I suggested IVF, Obinna flat out refused. It was the strangest thing. He felt the process was unnatural, which is so bizarre because I mean what’s so natural about cutting into people’s chests to sew pieces of their heart together?
Also there has been a new, strange development. It is as if he has lost interest in sex. Until last night, we had not been intimate in over 6 months. Initially when we first got together, Obi was always all over me, practically salivating when I walked into the room. I used to feign headaches and the like to put him off; I simply had no intention of sweating out my relaxer every couple of weeks. So initially he was thrilled when we started trying for a baby. He thought it would be sex all the time, any time. When I explained that I thought it was best if we concentrated on when I was definitely ovulating, he was a bit crestfallen. But these days he barely notices me, just a perfunctory goodnight kiss on the forehead and then he is snoring. At first it was great because I really didn’t need the stress of trying to dodge his advances but now I am a bit concerned.
I know he is tired but my goodness, nothing is happening. Truth is I wouldn’t ordinarily mind. The sex was never mind-blowing, just same old, same old, steady and boring just like Obinna. But now, if I didn’t know better I’d say he wasn’t attracted to me anymore but that simply cannot be possible. Any man would be delighted to have me. Like I said I keep myself together; you should see my body naked, even my breasts are still perfectly rounded and perky. That’s because I really watch what I eat, none of that heavy pounded yam and soup everyday. Obinna loves his local food, but it can wreak havoc on your body, and since I am not cooking two meals every night, he has gotten used to grilled chicken with vegetables.
I daresay my face hasn’t aged either, thanks to the assortment of potions and creams I use daily. Ever since I read that Kimora Lee Simmons uses La Mer cream all over her body, I adopted that practice as well, and it works too because at 32, I don’t have a single wrinkle or stretch mark.
That’s why Obinna’s inattentiveness really baffles me. If it were another man I’d be worried that he’s getting his somewhere else, but the man is so dry, I just can’t see him doing that. Anyway I am going to have to talk to him about it. If his libido is waning, maybe we can try some Viagra or something, or if nothing else, maybe he’ll be willing to go the IVF route.
Something has got to give, after all in a few months, his mum is going to be visiting and I just cannot take anymore of that woman’s insults. She never liked me from the jump and she did everything to derail our relationship. Fortunately Obinna was too mesmerized by me to care about his mum’s opinions. She felt I was just here to eat his money, which is not true. It’s true I am not in love with Obinna but I do care about him and plus I helped him get to where he is now. When I was dating him and he couldn’t afford to take me anywhere decent, wasn’t I managing then?
Honestly she is your typical mother-in-law from hell. She criticizes my cooking, my way of dressing, even my manner of speech; she calls me ‘oyibo.’ She keeps saying that she is tired of tilling barren land, that if the land won’t produce, then it’s better that her son go and buy new land. Meanwhile Obinna just stands there and says nothing. When we first got married, he used to stand up for me but these days he just shrugs his shoulders and tells me to endure it, after all I am not the first wife with a mother-in-law problem. Well, I am not leaving this marriage for some other woman to come and enjoy. All the work I did and some small girl will come and eat the fruits of my labor ? I don’t think so!
The good life-part 2
The truth is I don’t enjoy sex with my husband. He slobbers all over me and has no idea how to please me in bed. At best it’s a clumsy effort at going down and at worst it’s a sweaty attempt at hitting it, while I lie there praying for him to come already. Yes, clearly, Obinna doesn’t do it for me. There is no chemistry for me. So why did I marry him? Because I saw a man with potential, a man who was rough but teachable and I went for it, love be damned.
I pushed him to be successful, every time he wanted to settle I made him work harder. When he was thinking about specializing, I pushed for surgery; when he wanted to do general, I pushed for cardio-thoracic. I knew he had the brains and skills, he just lacked the motivation. I built him up. I buffed him and taught him about the finer things in life and every day, I push him just a little bit more.
Like with this house; Obinna was reluctant to buy it, he felt it was really more than he could afford. I told him that one million five was really not too bad for a house; after all if he were in New York wouldn’t he have to pay that just to live decently? He felt it was an unnecessary expenditure.
I disagreed. I know what I am used to and a swimming pool, eight thousand square feet, a gourmet kitchen with a subzero and Viking range just about brings me close. He told me he was thinking more about a three to four thousand square ft house, but who wants to live in a shoe box? Not me, I’m a woman who knows her worth and I am worth it. Decorating the house cost us quite a bit of money, but it looks divine. In fact one of the editors of Atlanta Lifestyle magazine called me, asking if they could feature our home. Of course the answer was yes, after all it is important that people see what true taste is, if only so they can have something to aspire to.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not some lazy woman who sits at home eating bonbons. No way! Obinna is not the only one working hard. First off, I keep my body together. After 4 years, I can still fit into my wedding dress, which was a size two. So many women completely let themselves go once they get married. I bumped into an old girlfriend in the grocery store and she looked absolutely horrific. She had gained at least thirty pounds, her hair was a complete mess, it looked like she hadn’t seen the inside of a salon for months and she didn’t have a stitch of make-up on and, my word, she really needed it. Mind you this was a woman whose premarital wardrobe was like a designer sample sale and she used to have a standing appointment at Nseya, one of the hot hair salons in town. I tell you honestly some women just don’t try. It’s like Amaka. Yes, she has a generous figure but with a little control she could probably be curvy like Beyonce or Halle or someone, but she refuses to control her eating. She is constantly eating rice or bread or something completely detrimental to looking good. It’s not easy looking like I do as I forgo carbohydrates and spend hours in the gym but I don’t mind, because I believe a woman should maintain her best assets.
Furthermore, while I may not have a traditional 9 to 5, I do work. I sit on several nonprofit boards and this allows me to hob nob with the crème de la crème of Atlanta society. Obinna and I have helped raise over one million dollars for various charities and organizations. My goal is to position him for public office one day; I can just see myself as a first lady. Maybe governor or maybe we start small with Mayor or something. That reminds me, I have to make sure we are invited to the Governor’s Ball this year. I wonder who I have to schmooze to make sure that happens.
THE GOOD LIFE
I can’t believe Amaka stayed back with that guy, Joshua or Jeffrey or whatever his name is! She can be so stupid. She barely even knows that man and she is probably going to sleep with him. How can she be so naïve? She’ll probably fall for the first line he throws out. The truth is that men that good looking don’t go for women like Amaka. He can only be interested in the sex for one night. And anyway even if he were interested in more, she wouldn’t know how to handle him. If it were me, I would have that man going in so many circles he wouldn’t know which way was up unless I told him. I would never put myself out there like that, with men you have got to take control immediately or else you are finished. I guess I can’t be too hard on her; it must be hard being a single African cosmopolitan woman over thirty, because the pickings are slim and you are competing with the young fresh ones.
As to be expected, I don’t have to worry about that anymore. I am successfully married. People envy me, married to a handsome, successful man. I live in a sought-after Atlanta neighborhood and my home can be called a mansion by any standards. I don’t have to work for a living, so I have time for my other interests. Yes, indeed, I am living the life I chose for myself.
People usually ask me how I got so lucky and I tell them luck has nothing to do with it. My life is good because I made the right choices. So many women out there make unintelligent decisions for stupid reasons. As for me, I wanted this life and so I knew what I had to do. Take for instance, my husband, Obinna. When I met him, I was being chased by so many men but they were all the typical African professional man with an ego to boot. Obinna was a quiet and unassuming guy, but I already could see that he was going to make it. He was at medical school when I met him, brilliant but terribly unsophisticated. He was dreadfully uncultured. On my first visit to his apartment, he served me wine in a champagne glass, how gauche is that?
But I endured his lack of couth, why? Because I knew what tomorrow could bring. When I announced our engagement, Amaka gave me this whole lecture on passion and love. What has love got to do with it really? Frankly I am looking for security. Amaka who is so focused on love and romance, where is she now? Single at 31 and still hoping for Mr. Right! Meanwhile I am married to a very successful surgeon who has been featured in Who’s Who in black Atlanta and quoted in Atlanta magazine.
I know I sound cold but that’s the way the world works. After all it’s not as if I don’t do my part for him. Like on the night of the Nouveau Africana Gala. He got to walk in with a woman like me: beautiful, slim, elegant. He could have been single and looking desperately to mingle, like that poor Dan Okoli. Or even worse he could have ended up with someone as crass and overweight like that Tigi Simpson. Furthermore, later on that night I let him make love to me.
About half an hour into the party and I could feel my high evaporating. I was beginning to feel like I usually feel at these things; like a wallflower. I mean here I was, standing there next to bombshell Titi, who was giving even the models a run for their money in her red dress and Miss Perfection, Mina, who gave new definition to the word coiffed, not a hair out of place and her designer gown fitting just so. All of a sudden, I started to feel less voluptuous and more fat. The curves that I had felt hot with were starting to feel more like extra rolls. If only I could listen to my mother and stick to my diet. I was chastising myself for eating that extra bagel this morning when this guy walked up to me. He looked like someone out of a magazine. Just beautiful! All I could think as he walked up was “so out of my league.”
He had that whole soulful thing happening with his eyes. He was truly handsome. When I looked up and saw him coming towards us, I assumed he was going for Titi. I mean she is a stunning woman. Just the right shade of brown, in great shape, which I guess comes from working out an hour a day every day. Her abs are completely flat and she is all tits and ass. Naturally she is a hot commodity with the guys. Unfortunately I don’t think they see her as quite marriage material— that is the kind of guys she wants anyway. The problem with Titi is you can see her desire for a rich man from a mile away and what man wants to feel like all he is a dollar bill to his woman, even if it is a hundred dollar bill. I keep telling Titi to focus on getting a good man, but she always counters by telling me to focus on getting a man period. I always laugh, although sometimes I wonder if I’m ever going to find anyone.
Then Jeffrey walks into my life. It was a made for a movie moment. The people around us started to blur and the room started to get dark and all I could see was him. By the time I realized that he had asked me to dance, I was in his arms and they felt good.
They felt strong, not like a body builder’s arms, but like a real man’s should feel. They were playing Mary J. Blige’s song “Be Without You” and we were slow dancing to it. I found myself feeling all sorts of crazy things for this man and all I knew was his first name. I could feel his hands around the small of my back and he was holding tight enough for me to feel him and yet it wasn’t intrusive. When the song was over, we walked out into the lobby.
We started to talk and he told me that he had just moved here from Nigeria and he was doing a sabbatical at Emory Law school. He said he had a practice in Lagos but things weren’t going as well as he would have liked so he was rethinking his strategy.
He told me he was in his late thirties and still felt like he had never really been in love. I told him that I worked as a pharmacist but secretly desired to be a world class chef. I told him that I was sick of men seeming one way and turning out to be another. He told me how at thirty-eight, he had decided to become true to himself. I told him I didn’t know if I still believed in love. He told me that he lived for it.
We talked till the music died down and people started to get their coats to leave so we moved to the hotel bar. Titi and Mina came by to say goodnight. Titi gave me the thumbs up gesture behind his back and Mina simply pointed to her watch. We talked till the night started to become the morning. By then I think I was already in love.
I only knew what he told me, but I felt like I knew him well. He was from one of these fairly well known families in Lagos. He was Igbo like me but spoke Yoruba fluently and was what you would consider a Lagos boy. He had the typical pedigree: King’s College secondary school, university in England and then back to Lagos for law school. He was sexy, smart, and polished to perfection.
He held my hands and played with my fingers. He told me that I was amazing, that he found me attractive, very sexy; he confessed that he really wanted to book a room for the night and invite me to share it with him. I said nothing because my throat had become so dry and besides, I couldn’t trust myself. I knew that if he pulled me into his arms right then and there, I wouldn’t have the strength to resist. I was looking at his lips as he talked, this man was beautiful. He turned me on with his words as well; I mean he made me feel like I was the only woman worth knowing. He told me that he had never had a conversation like this with anyone, and that I really got him and he felt for the first time in his life like he had made a real connection. He said he thought that he finally had a small understanding of the word soul mate.
While we were talking he saw a friend who he knew in the hotel bar and excused himself to go and talk to him. I peered at him over my wine glass as I sipped my Riesling. He was really something. I was getting myself into trouble; I started to feel a wave of panic welling up inside of me. What was I doing? My thoughts were conflicting. “This isn’t you, what are you going to do, sleep with him tonight?” I shivered as I thought about what the night might bring. I kept thinking about being a good girl. I had always been the “goody goody” my whole life. You know the girl with home training. I looked over at him walking back to me, his long legs striding confidently over the sage and gold carpeting with his tuxedo jacket showcasing his strong broad chest. “Just once, I’d like to be bad” I thought. This whole home training thing is just rubbish, I know girls who were looser than loose and they are happily married now, meanwhile those of us home trained ones are still sitting at home. He caught me gaze and smiled. I blushed, I wondered if he could figure out the thoughts that I was indulging in. Just him, me and a bed sheet…
He produced a ring. It was beautiful, antique style. “It is my mother’s, we have her blessing.”
My mind was in turmoil. I loved him, but this relationship had been for me like a fairy tale, like a beautiful fantasy, and real life was where my mum lived. I didn’t think the two worlds could coexist. Kwame saw the turmoil on my face and said “You don’t want to marry me?” I couldn’t speak, but tears started to well in my eyes.
His eyes darkened and his body became rigid. I’ve always wondered if the muscles of the heart harden as well. He took his arm away from me. “I never thought it was real, this obsession with marrying a Nigerian man, but I guess it is. I wish for once though you would be honest and admit that it’s not your mother’s obsession, it’s yours!” He stood up angrily. “I really cared for you,” he said slowly. Then he turned and left.
I wanted to call out to him but I didn’t.
At first I almost felt relieved, I had been walking this line that I knew I didn’t have the strength to cross, but for months later I was still brought to tears whenever something reminded me of him. I would look out of the bus window and remember us walking down that street and realize that I would never feel his hand over mine, his rough skin holding mine tightly as we crossed the street. The summer months afterwards were the hardest. I had no friends, no life, because I felt so badly about what happened I avoided everyone we both knew. Every now and again we would bump into each other at odd places. It was the hardest thing. My heart would start beating fast when I recognized his walk and in the moments before he saw me, I would fantasize that we were like before and then he would look up and notice me and walk the other way or frown. It was a crushing feeling recognizing that you are still in love with someone who had come to hate you. I was torn between a sense of deep loss and a sense of duty, caught between sorrow and relief. I don’t know how I got over him. One night I cried until the sun came up. That summer went by in a blur and I threw myself into my studies the next semester. I couldn’t sleep or eat and it took all my energy to study. It was a hellish semester but at the end of it, one day the pain dulled and I realized it was over. It took a while to get over him, but I have. I heard he is married now and lives in New York.
Since then, I have never had a real relationship. Mere flings, but my one rule was always that they had to be Igbo. In reality, it has been very hard to find the sort of man that attracts me and is also Igbo in this vast country. So as you can imagine, I was quite excited to go the NA gala, a place were polished African men were sure to be found. And so the night before the party I decided to take Titi’s advice and find my inner diva.
It all started with the dress. I wouldn’t normally wear a dress quite like that, one that showcased all my curves. But Titi was insistent that it looked fabulous on me and since, in her words, my curves actually look nice, the idea was that I should show them off. I decided to go with the look, with good results I think. Even Mina said I looked decent and coming from Mina that was high praise. Some people can’t understand why I am so close to Mina, I guess you really have got to know her to love her. The girl is truly good-hearted but she is continually putting up a façade for the world.
Anyway, so I put on the dress and I discovered that I actually felt sexy. I had soaked in a bath with these bvlgari bath salts that Mina gave me for my birthday and then I put on my Syleena Johnson CD and sang with major attitude as I did my hair. I put on my makeup- well just mascara and lip gloss and a hint of eye shadow. I don’t wear much makeup and fortunately people say I don’t really need to. Then I got dressed then and put on these sexy Jimmy Choo sandals.
Shoes are my one weakness. I may be fairly simple when it comes to my clothes but I love seeing my feet encased in pretty shoes. After all of that preparation when I looked at the finished product in the mirror I was amazed to see that I looked and felt pretty hot. In fact as Titi put it, I was practically sex on legs!
I gave my hips a little wiggle and by the time I got into my car, I was sure that since I was feeling good and looking fabulous, I was going to have a great time at the Gala.
The party was happening as predicted, everyone who was everyone was there. I even saw that Nigerian model that is making waves these days and that sexy Yoruba actor from that HBO show.
Although the actor that really does it for me is that Chiwetel Ejiofor. The man is so sexy in a subtle kind of way. I saw him again in my favorite film love actually, and I practically kissed the screen. Plus he’s Igbo as well. If only…well a girl can dream can’t she?