Monday, March 29, 2010

Uppers and Downers

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Hi people,

Just to ask for some slack. I know I have not been doing my rounds as usual. I'm really missing knowing what's up with you guys. The reason is that the past couple of days have been chaotic for us, both good and bad.

So what was good? We had a housewarming for our new place and it was a great get together. Good company, great food (allow me to hail myself, I catered...lol) and flowing conversation. Trust it all boiled down to Nigerian politics once the Non-Nigerians present had left. And let me mention that our naija people sabi come late eh? Talk about fashionably late, some guests came more than two hours after the time we gave for the event. It was also nice that we had some of the food left over especially the great salad SO had broken a few nails over.

The bad? We were so tired afterwards that we went almost directly to bed. The next morning, it turns out that my delicious rice, the leftover of which I had left in the oven, had gone off. Ahh, it pained me oo, that rice was sweet. I had been looking forward to some ready made dinners and packed lunches for Atala. Oh well, we wrapped it in a trash bag and he went to throw it out. Guess what he found out outside?

Bad stuff number two! His bike had been stolen! That was a huge surprise and disappointment. Someone had broken the plastic pipe he'd chained it to and carried it off. Totally unexpected I tell you. Atala goes to work everyday with that bike and loves riding on nice weekends too. He really liked that bike. Anyway we chose to look on the bright side. It wasn't a work day when he would have come out all ready to leave for work with it and then found it missing. And in all things we thank God. Such is life. He has ordered another one today, and life goes on.

I've tried to catch up at some of your blogs but I think I needed to get this out of my system. So how have the rest of you all been doing? See you at yours soon.

Have a great week.
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What's Sex got to do with Love and Marriage?

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A review of Perfect Picture (First published on AfrikanGoddess)

I recently saw and loved The Perfect Picture, a Sparrow Productions movie. It was directed by Shirley Frimpong Manso and starred Jackie Appiah, Lydia Forson, Chris Attoh, among others. Technically, I was impressed by the picture quality, it was well edited and the colors were sharp and made everyone look more attractive. The audio also was clean and not overshadowed by background music. The soundtrack was a mixture of both Ghanaian and foreign music, each well suited to the scene except for a brief clip of the James Bond theme which I felt was unnecessary. I was completely blown away by the two dance sequences especially the one at the end of the movie, it were simply great.

On the story angle, I was not too disappointed. There were a few holes but I liked how they wove the three strands of the plot concerning the major characters and their love interests together. The story is about three friends in urban Ghana living everyday middle-class lives. The film opens with a wedding footage of one of the girls, who is getting married to her long term boyfriend. She is surrounded by friends and family including her two best friends. Along the line, we get to see their lives. There is the earthly sexy one who all the men are attracted to, and the workaholic who is being pressured by her mother to get married and have children. The man-eater ends up falling for an unavailable man, while the more reserved one falls for an unsuitable man.

The three girls navigate their love lives with the flair and panache one would imagine for their ages – they seem in their thirties. OK, so maybe the dialogue was a bit corny in parts and predictable in others but for a romantic sucker like me, I didn’t really mind. I like that the producers were bold enough to make a movie that tackles the issue of sex in relationships front and center. The married one and her husband cope with getting used to each other in bed once again. Our well-endowed lady goes clubbing and sleeps with her man friend with no questions asked. Even the quiet one has sex with her lowly mechanic and declares it, the best she’s had. I think she added “ever” but I am not sure now, lol.

A summary of the movie I saw somewhere said that “Girls will not settle for anything less if love is not in the picture”. So we are left to assume that love makes the perfect picture of a relationship. Totally true but eh, not so fast! What about sex? Here I will focus on the married couple, Aseye and Larry. The sexual incompatibility between them is very true in some marriages and was addressed full on.

We see at their wedding that they are in love with each other. They had dated for years and been celibate for about a year while planning the wedding. The reason was “to make it fresh and new” in the marriage. So wedding night comes and, they couldn’t get past the awkwardness of sex. The scene was over extended and there may have been some exaggerated head bumps and inexplicable elbow nudges but we saw what could happen when a married couple cannot consummate their love relationship with sex. The actors (Jackie Appiah and Chris Attoh) did their best to portray the emotions even though the script could have been better.

The Perfect Picture shows that when the sexual advances by a man or a woman are turned down by their partners, they can sometimes view themselves as being poor lovers. A lot of people believe that their desirability is defined by the love they receive from their partners. So they take sexual rejection very personally, because their sense of self-worth has become coupled to approval from their partner. It is not different between Aseye and Larry. She is depressed and despairs, while he is frustrated by his erectile dysfunction and suffers a lowered self-esteem. There had been no prior history but the resulting stress does not help matters for both of them. Larry tries to ‘handle’ the trouble on his own without much success. Work also gets in the way when Aseye wants to spice things up.

In a perfect world of love, one would have expected Aseye to assume the role of an understanding mate, and attempt to motivate Larry to be optimistic so that they could deal with their problem together no matter how long it takes. However, like it sometimes happens in real life, she becomes difficult, antagonistic and blames him for what is happening to them both. She only stops short of directly denigrating his manliness. The doctor they consulted pointed out to them that a healthy and relaxed mind is very important for a mutually enjoyable sex life. They go on to try some of his tips but all are for naught. Aseye then arranges a switch with her sexy friend to see if her friend could arouse Larry.

There is a whole misunderstanding after this which forms the climax of the movie. Afterwards, the couple had to ask themselves the question; “can love go the distance without sex?” Their answer was no as they go their separate ways. Is that how it ends? Watch the movie and find out.

Before then I ask you my dear reader, what’s sex got to do with love?

If it were you, what would you do?


ps, check out the latest episode of Cupid's Risk by Spesh...
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Time to move on? ....by Spesh.

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Ngozi still didn’t get it!

It had been two weeks and yet, each time she came back to it she was baffled all over again. She wanted to respect James wish to stay away but anger burned within her. What would make her supposedly loving and caring husband, to abandon his family for this long? Did Iphey leave out something? Because it that was all there really was to the story, then she was disappointed. She thought their relationship was better, she felt the bond was strong enough that he could confide in her. But instead he'd lied to her for months, even before finally disappearing.

The memories of her sick son having a brush with death made angrier at James...the way she had suffered, running from place to place to make ends meet. The showdown with his family, the nights she had cried herself to sleep, the nights when she found solace in looking through his stuff; some documents, his TM Lewin shirts, his shoes. She always believed he was still alive somewhere and that he would surely come back for her. But now that she knew he had been in this lagos all this while, she was beginning to think that she was mistaken afterall.

“Mtsssss,” she hissed with all the energy in her. She sank into the cream sofa in her living room, still lost in thought.

She caught an image of herself in the adjourning mirrored wall.

“So, this is how I’ve become,” she said out loud as she looked closely. There was definitely a look of sadness in her eyes. Her once-upon-a-time model's body had shrunk with time. She was slimmer and looked darker. She noticed something in her eyes, stood and moved closer for a better view. She just couldn’t believe it but yes, there was a blood spot in her right eye. That was a new one.

"James, how could you?” she wailed in anguish, and then the tears came again. Just like the night with Iphey, she broke down, and let it all out. She sobbed uncontrollably for a while with her hands covering her puffy eyes and then she told herself to stop!

She wiped the tears and said “Ngozi,enough!!!” At that moment, she made up her mind. James wasn’t doing this to her anymore. She was a successful “single” mother, and a force to reckoned with when it came to gourmet cake making in Lagos. Her shop which was her garage was always bubbling with the high and mighty trouping in to check out her latest cup cake designs.

She had always loved baking and so her business was more like a hobby for her. She made sure she had the right things at affordable prices and she was supplied directly from the wholesalers which made her shop even more unique. Her mind diverted to Otunba’s side. Hmmm...that man was just too good to her.

A superior at her former office, he had stood by her through it all. James disappearance, her son's illnesses, her business. Otunba had really done well to help finance the expenses to start her up, but she had refused to remain indebted to him. She had insisted and actually paid up just a year after she started. That hadn't stopped his friendship. In fact, after Obi's near shave with death, he had proposed. He said she was the first woman to have ever made him feel this way since his late wife, but she thought his marriage proposal was just a way to entice her into an affair. Alas, she couldn't bring herself to 'cheat' on James.

To now find out that the man she had been keeping herself for did not even want to return to her. She shook her head vehemently and strode back to the sofa. One man couldn't do this to her. As much as she thought he was worth it, she had mourned him enough. If he didn't want her, it was time to move on.

She walked into her bedroom and hurriedly reached for her Louis Vuitton bag. She ransacked its contents for her W90i…her resolve began to weaken, but she caught herself, and dialed the number instead.

“Hello,” the masculine voice on the other end supplied.

“Hi,” she replied almost regretting the action, short of words.

“Are you still there?”

“Ehmmmmmm, yes...I...” her voice failed her again.

He must have decided to take over the conversation even though she had made the call.

“Ngozi, how are you?”

“Otunba, I really need to talk to you,” she said, hitting the nail on the head.

“Is anything the matter?” he asked with worry in his voice.

“No! but its important, I need to see you…..are you free this evening?”

“I am not even in town at the moment. I’m in Abuja for a business meeting, but I’ll come over once I get back.”

“When will that be,if I may ask?” she was getting impatient, and she just couldn’t hide it.

“I’m taking the last flight back today.”

“Okay, I guess it can wait……see you then.”

“Alright and please don’t panic. Whatever it is, we can handle it,” he replied affectionately.

She ended the call still not satisfied. Her thoughts just seemed disjointed……she wanted someone to convince her that this wasn’t happening.

Afterall she had been through? James had shown no remorse, had not even wanted to see her or talk to her. Her mind played back that fateful night on its own………

“I have to see him Iphey, I have to see him.” she had mumbled into her sister's shoulder.

“You will, we’ll find him” Iphey had said firmly.


But did she really want to find someone who didn't want to be found. Maybe it was time to start divorce proceedings and accept Otunba's offer. "It's just that I don’t want wahala with those his ajebo kids sha,” she thought to herself.

She was brought back to the present by the shrieking sound of the doorbell. Relunctantly,she walked to the door and peered through the peephole. She was taken aback by the sight of her mother on the other side of her front door.

“When were you going to tell me, eh?” Her mother charged at her with eyes filled with annoyance once Ngozi let her in. She dumped her overnighter just inside the door and marched to the sofa.

"Mama, please let me call Iphey. She's in the best position to tell you about it. She was the one that talked to him." Ngozi dialled her sister immediately. "Iphey, Mama is here. I think she's heard about his return..." She stumbled to a stop as she noticed her mother looking strangely at her.

"What has Iphey got to do with Otunba's proposal to you? Who did she speak with? Whose return?" The older woman walked back towards her in measured steps.

"You're not here about James?" Ngozi could have kicked herself. Her mother was standing right before her shaking her head.

"Tell Iphey to get over here now!"

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So that's it folks. Yet another chapter of the story. There is a new character to play with and the meddling mother is back in the picture, lol. This is so dramatic that I'm almost tempted to write the next chapter myself but I'll desist. I think this calls for an audience vote for who will write the next chapter of the family showdown. If interested, please comment or send me an email with your ideas on what you think will happen in 50 words. These will be put up for readers to select their preferred choice.

Our contributor today is SPESH of Spesh's World. She is a hard working lady with a beautiful and big heart. She inspires me with both her words and actions. This is an excerpt from one of her poems;
"I love truly,
I love crazy.
I trust completely.
I dont do reservations.
I share with loyalty.
I give unconditionally.
I dnt wait to recieve...
But meet me half-way!"
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