Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Getting the Janded Guy - The Contract

Disclaimer: Following feedback from what I can only described as concerned members of the blogosphere , I would like to point out the following:
I am to the best of my knowledge definitely not a male chauvinist pig obsessed with sex and with no hope of ever finding a real woman... I just write like I am such a being.

The contract is an essential element in the acquisition stage because without it the janded guy is NOT YOUR BOYFRIEND. As far as he is concerned you guys are “kicking it” and, contrary to what he may or may not be responsible for having you believe, all the benefits of being his girlfriend do not automatically accrue to you. He only becomes your boyfriend at the point when an agreement, usually verbal (although pedants and the overly desperate may see fit to obtain a written document) makes it clear that the two of you are an exclusive couple and he has been suitably “branded” as such by the majority of your mutual friends and society at large. Only at this point (plus two years minimum of trials, tribulations and much gnashing of teeth) can you now commence with updating that draft of your wedding website that you’ve been keeping nicely tucked away in “work in progress” folder on your desktop. If you’re lacking the necessary imagination required to come up with your wedding website, then fear not, there are more than enough examples bounding about cyberspace, all guaranteed to induce vomit, cause some form of nausea or if you’re really sad, make you jealous.
A full analysis of Contract law as concerns acquisition is clearly outside the scope of this article but the following are important to bear in mind.
As with any contract, there are four essential elements:
· Intention to create quasi-legal relations,
· Offer
· Acceptance, and
· Consideration (value)

Intention to create quasi- legal relations: The intention to create quasi-legal relations refers to a willingness on the part of both parties to make the agreement legally binding. By way of an example, consider the situation where after a few dates the couple have retired to a bedroom (or any flat surface for that matter) for some mutually agreed coital activity, and have indeed engaged in “sampling” each other’s “opening offers”. It is at this point considered to be in very bad taste for the woman to ask the galactically stupid question “Does this mean we’re going out?” just as the guy is in the process of placing his, “log” in the “fire”. His primary intention here is to “get some” and not to create a meaningful long-lasting and fruitful relationship. He cannot say “No” (which is probably his first instinct, unless you're ‘really really’ hot) and expect that the girl be happy to continue (unless she’s ‘really really’ stupid or better still ‘really really’ horny). This situation is what is known in legal circles as one of duress - unlawful pressure exerted upon a person to coerce that person to perform an act that he or she ordinarily would not perform. And as such any agreement made under such circumstances is indeed null and void.
This obviously goes both ways as well - just because a babe has been on a few dates or indeed willingly engaged in coital activity with a guy does not mean that said guy now has any claim whatsoever to this lovely babe. She only becomes the guy’s babe at the point when she begins to get offended that he doesn’t at the very least call her everyday; insists on landing every social outing with her; gets upset that he has other female friends; or indeed just generally makes his life miserable like only a loving girlfriend can. Until that point, the babe is free to flirt with other guys as and when she sees fit.
The intention to create relations (and just what sort of relation is to be created) must always be explicitly stated. If a couple have been dating for a few months and the guy of his own free volition does any of the following,
a) Allows the girl to interact with a diverse group of his friends (female friends especially because those are the really annoying ones when it comes to relationships )
b) invites the girl to meet with members of his immediate family (siblings don’t ‘really’ count, parents definitely do)
c) allows the girl to leave her stuff all over his place (and not just in a small clearly marked compartment)
d) refers to you as his baby, wife (informally of course), madam, boo, or my personal favourites “WENCH and “MAIN BABE”;

Then the intention to create quasi-legal relations has been expressed and you can now proceed to establishing the offer.

The offer: The offer (or quasi-proposal) is an agreement to be bound on certain specific (and REASONABLE) terms. Reasonable is the key word here. As beautiful and wonderful a girl as you may be, you are not God, so please don’t invoke any stipulations resembling that “Thou shall have none other before me” commandment. To do so would be to set yourself up for major disappointment given the compelling nature of the post pubescent relationships many of us guys have had with the likes of Melissa Ford, or our ability to “feminise” inanimate objects like our cars, playstations or Ipods to mention but a paltry few.

So what constitutes an offer? In its simplest form the offer can be tabled in the following form. “Yemisi, I would like for you to be my girlfriend” or “Kemi, it would please me greatly if you agreed to be my girlfriend”. Such a frank expression of a guy’s true intention should be appreciated, and obviously if the girl is feeling the guy, she should say “yes” or “it pleases me to please you” respectively.
But wait, don’t be fooled, that’s just not good enough. So what he would like to go out with you. This is the same guy that liked Spice Girls at one point (though he would rather die than admit it). What he likes is of no concern to you. Accept this offer from him and you’re setting yourself up for major disappointment. What you want him to say is:
“Buky, I would love for you to be my girlfriend" or perhaps even more fittingly.
“Chinwe, I will be completely miserable for the rest of my life if you do not take pity on me and allow me to refer to you as my girlfriend. In fact I’ve been so nervous about asking you that I haven’t been able to eat all day. ”.Ehen, now we’re talking that’s an offer that has some heart to it, and that’s a guy you can learn to care about almost as deeply as you care for Big Brother Nigeria.

The Acceptance: Whilst it may appear to be a mere formality, the acceptance aspect of this contract is probably the most important bit (at least from a woman’s perspective) of the whole contractual relationship. For the contractual (committed dating) relationship to exist between Guy and Babe, both parties must come to an acceptance that such a relationship is to exist. In the traditional scenario, the guy asks and babe accepts. Now we are all aware (a few of us painfully so I am sure) that the mere tendering of an offer does not constitute a relationship. So if the guy “asks the babe out” formally and she asks for time to “think about it” then there is no real relationship in existence. Similarly, if after many coital sessions, the babe sits the guy down for a “talk” to clarity the status of their relationship, the fact that he does not say “no” outright does not mean that they are now an item. On the contrary, it merely means that the guy wants a few more free “bites” of the “cherry” before deciding if it is worth giving up all his other “possibilities” or indeed “responsibilities” that Naija society constituting as it does a large number of single unsatisfied and somewhat anxious women has heaped upon him. Clearly it is not only incumbent upon the babe but also in her best interest that she bring an end to this freeloaders shenanigans. However, merely accepting his offer won’t accomplish this. At this point the babe is advised not to proceed with announcing her new status to the world for fear of disappointment, or worse still being made to look like a mugu.

The problem here is that whilst an offer has been tabled, and the babe has graciously accepted, the guy has not counter-accepted and the counter acceptance is, my dear friends the be all and end all, of the acceptance. When a guy asks a girl to be his girlfriend, and she accepts, the girl HAS TO ask in return that the guy be her boyfriend, and he explicitly accept. Granted this is no guarantee of relationship bliss, but it at least denies the guy the excuse of deniability should the proverbial smelly brown stuff hit the fan. The reason a guy has to counter accept is that for us guys asking a babe to be his girlfriend is part of the whole process of trying to bed the girl. We were taught in “How to be a playa 101” that if a babe feels more comfortable shagging you as your girlfriend, then asking her to be your girlfriend does not deny you membership of the playas club. In other words, when a guy says “will you be my girlfriend” he is just yanning, (or misyanning). Only when he demonstrates to you that you are his girlfriend (and how he chooses to do so is completely up to him) will you actually obtain the title of “main babe”

Consideration: Consideration refers to something of value (compensation if you will) that induces the couple into entering into the agreement. In relationship terms, it consists of a promise to perform a desired act (like erm, sex) or a promise to refrain from doing something that one is legally entitled to do (like erm, farting when the other partner is present or if you really want to shoot for the stars then “sex with other people” - given that neither partner is at yet married).

The consideration aspect of the dating contract has long since been established and is something we are all no doubt familiar with. From days of yore, the naija guy has long since spent his money buying his girl nice stuff or treating her to splendid outings. Engaging in such is nothing more than offering consideration as compensation for all the acts of kindness that the girl has chosen to undertake, from simple deeds like allowing herself to be seen in public with him or encouraging his juvenile sense of humour to more complex activities like oral sex with nothing wasted.

Hopefully we can all now use this framework as a means for recognising and adhering to the modalities of the acquisition stage as encompassed by the primary concepts of the Date and the Contract. In our next instalment, an attempt shall be made to provide a useful set of tools for managing the most challenging aspect of a relationship with the naija guy in “Getting the Janded Guy – Retention”