The books and movies don’t tell you that sometimes boy is evil and girl gets her heart handed to her in a million pieces.
As I sit to write, the song playing in my head is Cat Steven’s “First cut is the deepest” but in my case, it was my second.
So I can say my second was the hardest. Oh! How naïve I was. I look back now and I can’t help but laugh at my 17 year old self, a young winner of the Miss UNICAL contest, so silly and so in love. Who would’ve have guessed that in five short months I would hurt in ways I didn’t think possible.
When I met number two, I was just about done waiting for my ‘Prince Charming’. For the greater part of a decade, I had read a thousand books and watched a hundred films, majority of which peddled the same fairy tale; girl needs boy. And so when he walked up to me in “Jaerian” the local restaurant opposite school, I saw a confident, well dressed guy with a killer smile. What I should’ve seen was a philandering playboy with not so noble intentions.
The books and movies don’t tell you that sometimes boy is evil and girl gets her heart handed to her in a million pieces. No, they don’t sell reality. They also don’t say that sometimes girl is clever and can afford a life whether or not, boy comes along. The first few weeks with number two went just as I had been conditioned to expect. He said the sweetest words and did the nicest things. Everything was perfect, abi? Wrong! I ignored the stolen glances at other girls. It also wasn’t a problem that my boyfriend was insanely popular among the female population of the University of Calabar. He was a boy and I a girl… end of story.
One boyfriend had become two, three, four and five. As the numbers piled up, I searched even more frantically. They said a woman’s greatest accomplishment is bagging a man and I wanted to accomplish. What a laugh! One fateful day, after the umpteenth heartbreak and the failure of my tear buds to oblige me with a mere drop, it hit me. Here I was; girl with a degree, a job that paid the bills and a roof over my head, what exactly was boy needed for? Somehow without boy I had managed to amass life’s bare necessities and the odd indulgence or two. What was this extra spice boy bringing to the pot of soup? Is it possible that I had been hoodwinked? Wait, was the fairer sex merely chasing an illusion?
As girls and young women, all through our foundation years we are told, taught and prodded into believing the world’s greatest lie “girl needs boy to validate her existence”. Now don’t misunderstand me or on second thoughts please do, but before you nail me to a cross, first hear me out. Perhaps, I and a billion others should have been told instead “girl deserves a good boy to be her partner”. That way I would know not to share “Judas’” bed praying he magically transforms into “Peter” before the day breaks. Girl does not NEED boy, but if girl finds a good boy then girl and boy find happiness and vice versa.
And so I’ve decided if I ever have a little girl I will tell her my own version of society’s great premise. I will tell her it is okay to be strong, passionate, ambitious and driven. It is okay to make your own name in this world and not sit around waiting for a boy to grant you the honour of being his “mrs”. I will tell her if this boy is good he will not be intimated by your success but rather impressed and quite flattered that you see him worthy to come into your life. And if fate hands me a little boy instead, I’ll tell him this “if you find a girl who thinks she needs you, son run. Look instead for the girl who is fine all by herself but better with you”. My son will compliment a woman, not complete her.
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