Monday, November 27, 2006

What I love about Naija Guys

I think of myself as an equal opportunity dater. My dad is Nigerian, my mum is Greek, I spent my childhood in Nigeria, spent my summers in Greece, lived my adult life in England; four years of those spent in Wales where I went to university. Oh, and I spent a semester in Canada. My point is, I've spent my life experiencing different countries and I've been immersed in lots of different cultures and I'm being totally and completely honest when I say that race isn't an issue in the people I meet, or in guys I like. I've dated English guys, I've dated Nigerian guys, I went out with an Indian guy for four months and my friend and I had the biggest crush on a Japanese guy in one of our classes. Really, truly, neither race nor colour is an issue for me.

Now Nigerian guys get a lot of bad press (and I have to admit I'm responsible for at least some of it!), but I think it's very possible that I'll end up with a Nigerian guy. Maybe it's because I spent my formative years around them, as much as there is that I don't like about Naija guys, there's a lot I’m very attracted to. So in the spirit of looking on the bright side and weighing the positives, let me tell you what I love about Nigerian guys (NGs):

o Their persistence: There's an age old cliché that goes something along the lines of ’nothing worth having is ever easy to get' and nobody takes this to heart quite like our Naija brothers. If a NG decides that he likes you and no one else will do, then you're in for a long (often very fun) ride of numerous phone calls, interesting and varied chat up lines, whispers from mutual friends about how much he likes you and if you're lucky and all of this coincides with that one holiday of love a.k.a Valentines day, then you could really hit the jackpot! The point is, if they see something that they like, they will go for it and there's something to be said for that kind of work ethic. This also goes hand in had with their confidence. There's something extremely attractive about a guy that exudes confidence, it makes me want to find out what it is about him that makes him have such self-belief.

o Their ambition: Leading on from my previous point, I love the way NGs always aim for greatness; okay so their motivation is often great amounts of money and huge houses but what is important is that mediocrity is not an option. Probably the thing I find most attractive in a guy is ambition so this is a pretty big deal to me.

o They're very often great conversationalists. I have spent many a late night wrapped up in conversation with a NG. They also give a damn what is going on with you which is very refreshing in our me, me, me generation.

o They let you know that they like you, and how much. I was being 'toasted' by this guy when I was 14. He was older and very popular but he decided he liked me. Apparently once, before we started talking, he knew I'd be somewhere and even though he didn't have petrol in his car, he bribed a friend into giving him a lift so he could be there. And he'd call me just to tell me good night, even though he was with his boys and no doubt they would rag on him. I was fourteen and a good girl, he knew I wasn't going to do anything with him, he just genuinely liked me. Even now, so many years later, I won't settle for a guy who doesn't treat me well because as far as I'm concerned if someone once thought so much of me that they'd have done anything for me, then I deserve that. He's the standard by which I judge guys by now.

o If they have the means, they can be very generous.

Note: Not all NG possess all the qualities described above, so don't be popping your collar if you don't because I'm not talking about you!

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Blogger formally known as 1982 - I stole this title from London Buki

I realised that I didn't have a reason for blogging under a pseudonym so I'm now using my real name; Vickii! So that person haunting your blogs and leaving comments is still me, just with a different name!
Random Musing - Language vs. Story

A friend of mine is a writer and she often sends me her stories for my opinion. The other day, after telling her my opinion about a story she had written which I loved, she commented that she felt I often got too caught up by the story to give her a clear, objective and technical analysis of her writing. I'm obsessed with reading and extremely particular about grammar and language and all of that good stuff that I paid attention to in English class, but I realised that when it comes down to it, the story is more important to me than the skill of the writer.

That being said, I hate bad or sloppy writing and I'm constantly amazed by how many university graduates I know who cannot put together a decent sentence. But as long as the writing is of a good standard, then all I need is a good story to keep me happy. In fact, I'll go as far as to say the story is the most important element of any literary work. Much like clothes and people, the writing should accentuate the story and tell it in the most fitting way possible but it should never overshadow it.

For example, one of the many criticisms levelled at 'The DaVinci Code' was that it was badly written. I didn't notice because I was way too caught up in the story. And I am so in awe of JK Rowling's imagination that I honestly cannot comment on whether the Harry Potter books are well written or not because that is the last thing on my mind as I curse the tube for being unusually reliable and getting me to my stop on time thereby forcing me to put down her latest 800 page novel. But if I were to venture a guess, I'd say she's not the only billionaire author because she 'writes really well'. Zadie Smith on the other hand, is a technically amazing writer and while 'On Beauty' did grow on me eventually, let's just say I was more than happy to get to the end. There were several amazing sentences littered throughout the book, but I never got swept away by the story or really gave a damn about any of the characters.

This is just some very random musing on my part, and bear in mind that I want to be a book editor/ maybe author/ I am obsessed with reading when you wonder who in God's name muses about stuff like this!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


'You have one new voice mail message. Message received yesterday at 11:31 pm ... The lady who doesn't answer her phone. If you know who this is, call me back. Bye.'

Hmmm, of course I knew who it was, it was McNaughty. I didn't know he was in the country. Then again, I never know he is in the country until I get a voice mail message like this one. McNaughty is a guy I met last Christmas in Lagos. He is a friend of a friend and happened to live in the same estate that we were staying in. Everything about him screams bad news. He has a shaved head and a goatee, he's tall and he definitely has a presence. He's older than me, works in one of the oil companies and has ambitions on becoming President of the country one day. All of this is wrapped up in a very attractive package topped off with an arrogant swagger that seems to suggest he gets everything he wants.

I could tell he was attracted to me from the get go, and as I normally do when faced with guys like him, I wasn't having any of it! I was polite but not friendly, and declined a dance later when he asked me to dance. However over the next few days, we went to a lot of the same places and we ended up going out, just the two of us. I'm not going to say he isn't arrogant, or doesn't think he can have everything he wants, but there is a lot more to him than that. We saw each other more or less every day and just had fun, going to bars alone, going clubbing with friends, and just hanging out. We kissed but we never did anything more. In fact, one of the first things I said to him was 'I'm not sleeping with you, so don't waste your time if that's what you want'. I had so much fun that holiday and that was in part because of him.

The downside was I fell out with one of my friends over him because she thought he was bad news and he had a girlfriend. And even the mutual friend who introduced us told me to be wary of him. I found out a long time after that he did have a girlfriend but at the time, I had asked him and he told me in no uncertain terms that he didn't. As I tried to explain to my friends, I didn't need looking after. I was having fun with him because I knew I was only there for two weeks and once I left, that would be it. I knew that my friend's fears about him were valid but I knew I would never get involved with a guy like him in 'real life' and I was just having fun for a couple of weeks. The thing is, I know he liked me. Not just thought I was pretty, but actually liked me. He told me the night before I left, ‘I’m serious about you. I’ve spoken to you everyday for the last two weeks; I don’t do that with everyone.’

Surprisingly, he stayed in touch when I came back, and we called each other every once in a while and texted pretty often. In May, I got a call out of the blue from him saying he was in town and did I want to meet up? At the time, I was working two jobs and didn't have much time so I only had one evening to see him as he wasn't around for very long. We met up at a pub and just talked, him trying to put his arms round me and so on and me being very insistent that this was going to be a completely platonic meeting. At one point, I was saying I thought I would end up with somebody older than me and somebody that was outstanding in some way because I'd need to have enormous respect for him, when McNaughty looked at me and asked. 'So, where do I rank on this scale of someone you could see yourself with?' At first I tried to brush off the question because I didn't know what to say, but he was insistent so finally I admitted to him, ' you're not somebody I would end up with. I'd need to be with somebody who I believe can be faithful to me, and I don't think I could ever believe that about you'. He got very offended and tried to convince me that if he decided he wanted to spend the rest of his life with someone, then he would be faithful. The whole date was kind of surreal, he seemed to be trying to convince of another side to him, and I wasn't convinced, not because I don’t think he’s capable of being a good (honest and faithful) man, but because I’m not willing to be the one who finds out.

He didn't contact me after that. I'm not sure why but I assumed it was for the best. No calls, no texts, nothing. Until now and the voice mail, 6 months later.

I'm going to call him back.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Love Love Love Christmas

Warning: Do you think Christmas is an over rated holiday created by a capitalist society determined to exploit our consumerist nature and squeeze from us every ounce of spare cash we might have? Do you think we have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas? If you do, please stop reading now as this post is likely to offend you. You humbug!

I don’t think I’ve made this very clear but I love Christmas! And it’s not too early to start talking about Christmas. As far as I’m concerned, as soon as November hits, it is officially the Christmas season. And any true Christmas fan knows that the build up to Christmas is the best bit of all!

I love advent calendars and the fact that you have to wear gloves to keep your fingers from falling off. I love it when the shops start putting up their Christmas decorations and playing Christmas music. Not just carols but all the cheesy songs that would make you cringe at any other time of year! Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ for example. 'Last Christmas, I gave you my heart ... this year I'm saving my tears, I'll give it to someone special'. I love that everybody seems much happier too. I live in London where the most you can expect is a grunt from a stranger before they attempt to push past you, but at Christmas, people start smiling, they say ‘excuse me’ and (shock) start offering you the spare seat on the tube instead of sprinting over you in an attempt to get to it first. I usually walk into the office grinning broadly at this time of year, and if I start the day like that, nothing can spoil it for me!

I love the Christmas lights on Regent and Oxford Streets! I even loved them last year when they were rather tacky. I don’t even mind coming out of work at 5:30 to a pitch black night because the sight of the lights when I walk to the top of my road and turn the corner, makes it all worth it. I love stormy weekends cuddled under my duvet, I love Christmas movies even though they are rarely any good. I love them even more when they are great, like Love Actually! I even love the cold in winter. It's so crisp and fresh. Don't even get me started on snow! I love dressing up for work Christmas parties and dinners with friends. I love that miracles seem possible at Christmas.

Most of all, I love going home to spend Christmas with my family. This year, the last working day is Friday the 22nd and I’m going to be on the very next train home for four days of annoying family members, and Christmas morning anticipation. Gorging on chocolates and fruit cake for breakfast and spending the day in a flurry of sleeping, eating and playing board games like Articulate and Connect 4.

Did I mention, I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

Ps: Don’t bother leaving any comments telling me it’s too early to be excited about Christmas. I’m all for free speech but I’m banning all anti-Christmas sentiments from my blog!!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Show me your friends … Olivia and Bisola.

Ever heard that old saying, ‘show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are’? Or something like that. Anyway, the point is that your friends are a reflection of who you are. As a general rule, I don’t agree with that. Obviously, each of our friends appeal to a part of us but I think it is way too simplistic to say your friends are an identikit of you. Speaking for myself, none of my friends are anything like me, and there are times when I’ve wondered for the life of me why I am friends with certain people. So, below, I attempt to describe some of my friends and my relationships with them, please feel free to tell me what you think my friendships say about me.

Olivia: We met on our first day at university, lived together for two years and have stayed in touch in the three years since we graduated. We initially bonded over similar interests, we both loved pop music and had crushes on Eminem but over time we realised that we had a lot in common. I’m one of those people who has random thoughts and feelings that most people don’t understand but often, I would start to explain these to Olivia and she would finish off what I was trying to say; she knew exactly what I was feeling and was often feeling the same way. She’s also the one person I can have an amazing time with. If she’s in the right mood, then I can have the most fun with her. Also, if she’s in the right mood, I feel like I can tell her anything at all. The thing with Olivia is that she’s very self obsessed and it stems from insecurity. Odd because she’s one of the most beautiful girls I know. At university, you would see the recognition come across people’s faces when they were introduced to her because everyone had heard about her and how pretty she was. We went to NY together and she got asked to model and she had people coming up to her asking if she was an actress or a model because she looked like she was famous.

Because of her issues, I found she couldn’t be there for me if she felt she was dealing with something more important, and after a while I found that I didn’t feel like I could go to her if I was dealing with something. I often felt that we remained friends because she needed someone to listen to her and tell her what she needed to hear (which I’m particularly good at). One thing that would piss me off was having a conversation with Olivia that she wasn’t interested in. She would either not answer; she would simply not respond to what you said or what you asked or she would interrupt you and change the topic of conversation smack bang in the middle of whatever you were saying. After we finished uni, we went to NY together on holiday and it was the best and worst of Olivia all rolled into one. The first week was amazing but I spent most of the second week really annoyed at her. I decided in that week that there wasn’t any point in our being friends.

I stayed at our University to do an LLM and she moved to Russia for a while and I decided that I wouldn’t make any effort to continue our friendship because in the long run, I didn’t think she was a good friend to me. But she struggled those three months in Russia and I found I couldn’t cut her off when she was going through so much. We continued to talk and e-mail and at the moment we talk and see each other occasionally but I’ve found myself not actively trying to keep our friendship alive, and at the moment she has a boyfriend who she’s obsessed with so she’s not working at our friendship either so who knows, this could be it for us. If it is the end for us, I honestly feel like some parts of our friendship have been great and I don’t regret any of it for a second, but at the same time, I can’t say I’d be sad. And that’s what I find saddest of all.

Bisola: Bisola and I went to school together in Lagos for a year. We were part of a big group of friends and while we got along well, I wouldn’t say we were particularly close. I remember at the time I wished we were closer but I often felt I wasn’t popular enough, or cool enough or wild enough for her. After a year, I moved to England and less than a month after I arrived, I got a letter from Bisola and we continued to write each other for years after, during which she moved to Austria and then to the States. I still remember my surprise when I got that first letter from her. If you had asked me who I thought I would stay in touch with out of that group of friends, Bisola would have come in at maybe sixth or seventh on the list. As it was, I only really stayed in touch with her and one other girl who I’ll write about later.

We’re very different, Bisola and I. Apart from a mutual appreciation of fashion and certain writing ambitions, we’re not very similar at all, but somehow, it works. I’m not sure what role distance plays in our friendship … whether we’d be closer if we lived in the same country or whether our differences would have driven us apart by now. On the one hand, there’s a lot we haven’t experienced together (neither of us has seen the other drunk) but I can’t help thinking that means we haven’t had as many chances to piss each other off either. At the moment, we e-mail each other a lot and are both going to be in Nigeria at Christmas … a fact I’m so excited about I literally can’t wait!

On the whole, I’d definitely describe her as one of my best friends but also one of the people my age I most admire. She’s very driven and successful. She has accomplished more than anyone I know my age and she’s always trying to do more. At the moment, she’s the proud owner of a couple of properties, she’s writing a novel, currently mapping out ideas for a business book, organising a scholarship program for under privileged kids, trying to become a better photographer … oh and she has a full time job and a boyfriend!

There’s a lot more to write on my friends than I realised so I’ll continue this another time. In the meantime, I’m curious, am I the only one who has friends who are the complete opposite of me? What are your friends like?