According to the movies and stories passed down over the decades, courtship in Africa, specifically Nigeria was rather a funny and awkward exercise; one that still influences how relationships pan out in present day society. In those days when a man became of age and his elders deemed it time for him to get married, he would be ‘let loose’ on the community to scout for a suitable maiden to wife.
Now, what made a maiden suitable you ask?
- A broadened hip believed to make childbirth easier and also strong enough to ‘back’ the child when it cries.
- An ample bosom to nurse a child.
- A thin waist line to showcase an hourglass figure (they loved their amazons)
- A good stock line to ensure children had no evil traits likely to rear up its ugly head.
- And let’s not forget, the gift of preparing and serving meals in a manner that would rival Nigella Lawson.
- Throw in a pretty face and the said scout had reached utopia.
Basically, he went about the process with the mannerism of a prospective buyer at a cattle market. And when our scout spots the right maiden does he personally take her a gift or try to interact with her? No. He interacts extensively with her family, including distant relatives, but rarely spends any quality time getting to know her as a person. He bestows gifts on her parents, her relatives as a token of his interest. Any gift that makes it to the bride is delivered by a relative, not directly by our scout.
The maiden is seen as something you acquired after making a reasonable offer by way of a gift. There was no need to appeal to her emotions; it was more or less a business transaction.
Fast forward to present day society, not much has changed. Man still hasn’t mastered the act of gift giving without strings as a sign of intimacy and friendship.
Our modern day checklist will look something like this:
- Does she have a job, is she hard-working?
- Is she devoid of illness (this includes her bloodlines)?
- Is she well known in the community? Hmm, this might be a sign that she flirts.
- Is she prayerful? I have gathered a lot of demons and I need a stand by the exorcist.
And the list continues.
History has made it almost impossible for men to approach gift giving from any other angle other than as an investment that indirectly benefits him.
He gave gifts to her father, he got her. Business deal sealed and delivered.
However, today the woman has a choice and sadly that has thrown a spanner in the investment wheel of many scouts. Some have invested and lost heavily; some have played cautiously and still ended up cheated.
I know some of you are thinking, but we should invest in the ones we love. Absolutely true, however, investments are expected to yield returns; gifts are designed to please the recipient. A gift performs well under the atmosphere of love; selfishness on either side turns a gift into an investment tool for manipulation. Expecting to receive sexual favours or commitments because you gave a gift is totally opposed to the true meaning of gift giving.
Most people give gifts to children simply to make them smile; to let them know you thought of them and you love them. If the lady in your life does not stir your feelings on gift giving the way a child would then I don’t think you should be together. Begrudging your partner a gift for any other reason other than you can’t afford or it feels inappropriate at the moment, is an indication that you evaluate your relationships based on what you expect in return from it.
Gift: something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation.
Don’t buy her a gift this valentine because you see her as a potential ‘cow’ or ‘investment’ ready to yield an emotional, physical or spiritual bounty. Buy her a gift because she’s the girl who makes the sun feel brighter when she looks at you. Buy her a gift because your relationship is worth investing everything good into including gifts. Buy her a gift because you love her and respect her needs as a person.
Funny thing is when a girl senses she has your heart the benefits just keep giving ♥
Chioma is an avid reader and a non-biased writer. She writes to explore and change outlooks to life, while mothering and maintaining balance wherever she calls home. Visit her blog @ Lifehomeandaway