Do you have a dance card?

5 Oct

A few weeks ago, Newsweek published an article on why women have sex.  I wish I could have told those researchers not to waste their time; all they needed to do was just ask.  Quietly.  Behind double doors. Bond style.  Can you imagine organizations spending millions of dollars to find out what all women already know but just won’t say because …well because it’s not socially acceptable.  And we like to keep the mystique.  Women have sex because we like sex.  We want it.  We crave it.  Probably not the same pervasive degree as men (he he he) but all in all, when we get an itch, we get it scratched.  Sometimes we don’t want to wait for the men folk, we do it ourselves…you know what they say, if you want something done right you gotta do it yourself … he he he he he he….

So how do we African women deal with sexuality?  We repress it.  Your parents beat the idea that as a female, your priority is to maintain your womanhood by Silhouettebeing a ‘good’ girl…you know…the type that does not run around with boys.  As an Igbo female and a catholic for that matter, I get a double dose of repression: from home and at church, and even school.  We were quick to label any girl dating a boy as a slut. I mean if you think as far back as possible, you can remember at least one ‘ashewo’ babe in your neighborhood.  She was probably pretty, had a lot of male friends, dressed nicely and can be seen on Saturday nights picked up by different ‘uncles’ in different types of cars. 

I am horribly ashamed of how I thought back then.  My shame got worse when I read Karrine Steffans’ book Vixen Manual.  She wrote that it was beneficial for a woman to date as many men as possible because in the past,  in 19th century Europe especially, it was the equivalent of having a dance card and filling it up before the dance begins.  Each male dances with you when the song they picked starts to play.  That goes for modern day dating.  When you expand your choices and eliminated so-called loser and narrow down your potential mates based on certain criteria set by you or (in 19th century Europe) your parents.  Even in pre-colonial times a woman had many suitors.  Her family encouraged it, as it was perhaps the best way to find a good partner.

(by the way, I am purposely using sex and dating interchangeably since they are both mating rituals)

Why did we lose that idea that women could date as many men as possible?  Repressed sexuality.  No one wants to be the slut or the whore.  Watch many Nigerian movies, the female characters are either whores or housewives with hardly any in-betweens.  This can lead to serious problems with self awareness.  I mean, as a well educated and well travelled woman with a good deal of world experience, I can tell you it is very hard to achieve a guilt-free sex/dating life.  Sometimes you feel dirty because you know of several of your friends that met their husbands at church but you are going to a club.  Sometimes you feel there is something wrong with you because you have dated three men in 12 months.  I once had a guy tell me that if I kept this my date and dump routine, no one would want to marry me.  I laughed at that time because I was embarrassed.  Now I laugh because I am glad I never listened to him.  I have learned what to look for in a guy just as men know the qualities they seek in woman.  I have found someone who meets at least 80 percent of my critera.  High marks if you ask me.  I don’t think that I would have learned to appreciate a good man if I did not go through a few bad ones.    So girls (and boys) keep your heart and options open.  And have a good time for heavens sake!

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4 Responses to “Do you have a dance card?”

  1. Peter October 7, 2009 at 5:55 am #

    I found your article quite useful and interesting. I have bookmarked the site for later usage. Peter

  2. adanne October 8, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    Wow, I have never looked at it in this way. I have dated extensively but recently become embarrassed at the numbers I have accumulated in the last few years and I sort of retreated.

    I mean I’m not going to go around waving my numbers like I’m waving a naija flag at a parade cos like your naija guy friend, naijas as a people are a tad bit backward, but I won’t beat myself up so much. So thanks for shedding light on this point of view.

    And you are right, I definitely have a clear perspective of the qualities I want in a partner and what I know I can bring to the table as well.

  3. Vera Ezimora October 8, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    Rosie, you’re the one who is advocating more sex oooo!!! Okay, when I start now, don’t say you didn’t say so.

  4. Rosie October 8, 2009 at 1:16 pm #

    Peter: thanks for reading. I hope you are not a spammer.

    Adanne: It took me a while to get around to the idea that it is okay to date as many people as possible. In fact now I am an advocate because I have found very successful couples with similar backgrounds. As a disclaimer, it may not work for all women. Some of us prefer to take a traditional route to finding a mate but I have found that it had not worked for me. My eyes always wandered so I knew there was a problem in the relationship, so I took another approach.

    Vera: I am not advocating anything my dear, just stating the obvious. If a gal wants to scatch an itch who am I say she is wrong? Looking forward to listening to your radio broadcast on Sex. You know you are my original teacher now!

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