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By Abi Adeboyejo
Nigerian men have a reputation with ladies in the UK. Whether it is a good or bad reputation is left for you to decide. It is hard enough trying to convince your average Briton that Nigeria is a lovely country. I’ve found that many Nigerians abroad are very protective about Nigeria’s image and our patriotic streak comes out strong whenever anyone says anything negative about Nigeria. Two Nigerians can spend hours criticising and judging Nigeria and Nigerians, but get a person of another nationality to do it, and these two Nigerians will argue enthusiastically about how wonderful Nigeria is. One of them might even squeeze out some tears to express how their heart still aches for their motherland.
Instead of explaining the complexities of Nigeria to people of other nationalities, the focus now seems to be on explaining the complexities of the Nigerian Man. The dearth of marriageable Nigerian men in the UK has given a lot of men the opportunity to play for women who would normally be ‘above’ them. But before we analyse how these men are coping with their newfound popularity, let’s examine your average Nigerian man.
I’ve had the fortune (or misfortune) of explaining the peculiarities of our menfolk to more than one foreign female friend who has found herself interested in a Nigerian man, only to realise that they are quite different to other men, say European men. An average Nigerian man is considerate, nice and dedicated. He is proud of his looks. If he is not handsome, he’ll more than make up for it with his sharp dress sense and wicked sense of humour. He can be romantic when he wants, especially when he wants something from you. He takes his responsibilities very seriously and will care for his woman as best as he can. He likes to show off his woman, as she is a reflection of his good taste and virility.
I am sure most women will agree that I’ve described an average Nigerian man quite accurately. However, arguably most unique characteristic of a Nigerian man is his inability to say no. He can be very decisive when making life decisions. He can be authoritative in business, education, politics and in any situation where he has to puff his chest out and roar to get something done. He can be quite the Alpha male and macho when necessary. But he can never say no to a woman.
Before female readers start tutting and shaking their heads at this, yes, I know, if you want money from your husband, he’ll tell you no if he doesn’t have any. He’ll say no if you request to invite many of your relatives over for holidays. He’ll say no if he thinks you are spending too much time with unsuitable friends.
A Nigerian man can’t say no to a woman he no longer wants to date. While he has many lovely attributes and is easy to love, he can’t or won’t tell a lady he no longer wants to date her or remain married to her if he finds that she no longer makes him happy. I know it sounds like I am making very sweeping statements about our menfolk but I actually spent a long time speaking to female friends and family about this and not one could recall a relationship or marriage break-up that happened because the man told the woman he was no longer interested.
Some examples? Okay. Man dated lady for years, but later met another lady and fell out of love with his first love. He didn’t know how to tell his first love it was over but he started planning his wedding to the new lady. It was only until his first love overheard conversations that she realised what was going on. In another example, the man travelled to the UK to study and left his fiancée in Nigeria. He met another lady and married her, neglecting to break up with the one in Nigeria. She only realised he had left her when she heard of his new wife. What about the one where the man just disappeared from the area and changed his phone number when he didn’t want to date his girlfriend anymore? The worst are the ones where the men went on dating more than one girl because they could not say no to any of them. Some even ended up getting married to more than one woman just because they couldn’t bring themselves to break up with a woman.
I suppose it is down to cultural differences, as it seems European men have no problem telling women when a relationship is over. I’ve been told that men use lines like ‘it is not you, it is me’ and so on to tell a woman that they are no longer interested. Perhaps it is because they know that saying no to a woman doesn’t mean you can’t still be friends with them. It also doesn’t do the woman’s self-esteem any good when she finds out that you’ve only strung her along because you couldn’t tell her you’d stopped loving her. Perhaps that’s why many foreign ladies love the excitement of going out with a Nigerian man, but can’t understand why he seems to be two-faced (not the musician!), deceitful and unfaithful.
Perhaps Nigerian men are all sub-consciously polygamous in nature. Maybe that is why they find leaving a woman so hard. It might also be that they are extremely conceited and think that women can’t live without them. The truth is that the modern woman can cope on her own if she has to, even though it might be very hard, especially when children are involved.
So, instead of stringing a woman along for whatever reason, Nigerian men should ‘man up’ and say it is over when it is. It is true that there is no point flogging a dead horse. No point at all.