Thursday, September 15, 2005

Understanding the Janded Guy (First published in June 2005)

I've heard it all. I really have. Being a Nigerian guy in Jand for the past decade or so has meant that I have been privy to a lot of talk by the fairer sex about how useless we guys can be for a whole catalogue of reasons … and it hurts, I tell you, it really does hurt. Because the gals just don't get it. I have so many single janded babe friends and they’re forever complaining about the slim pickings as far as a suitable partner is concerned. When attempting to understand us guys they complicate and over analyse until they end up with the classic "paralysis by analysis".Come to think of it, I think the janded guy, like all other men, is simply misunderstood. So I've decided to use this forum as a cathartic tool to give a typical janded Nigerian guy’s perspective and offer a solution. Obviously I could tackle the issue from a number of different angles, but I think given the audience, I'll start with the curious dynamic that exists between the janded versions of the Naija guy and Naija girl. Ladies, please think of this as your guide to better understanding the typical janded guy.

First though, a rather lengthy disclaimer:

To begin with, this article is a witty attempt and light hearted analysis of a rather interesting dinner party topic. It is not meant in anyway as a definitive study of Nigerian men. It is a grossly simplified and generalised approach to the topic. As William Blake said "To generalise is to be an idiot". So consider this an idiot’s musing on the issue. Secondly, the author cannot be held responsible for any mishap that befalls any person stupid enough to use any of the ideas mentioned in this article as a guide for how to snag that elusive solid janded guy with the City job, red pali, a flat in St. Johns Wood, and/or a 3 bedroom house in VGC, a dead mother (so no mother-in-law stress), a car still under manufacturer’s warranty, etc.

Furthermore, whilst this article, in keeping with its title, will seek to explore what is wrong with the janded guy, it will not investigate their inability to think outside the box, their obsession with material possessions, keeping up with the Joneses, their penchant for fraud, and the herd mentality they portray in their thinking and fashion sense. After all, these things afflict the typical janded babe too. Also, by typical janded guy this article refers to the middle class Nigerian male sent to Jand by caring and concerned parents to further his post-secondary school education, and who still keeps in regular contact with all matters Nigerian. In addition, in our rather strict definition of janded guys, we have excluded those guys who have pot bellies, live in the un-gentrified parts of Peckham, roll with brethren they ostensibly refer to as “blad”, have South Bank University on their CV, attends KICC regularly, have been to Moonlighting Night club more than twice in any calendar month, haven’t been back to Nigeria since they left, studied GNVQs rather than A Levels or IBs, and who are residing in the UK illegally (as sweeping an exclusionary point as that might be). Finally, for the sake of clarity I would like to stress that the theory espoused in this article is based on anecdotal evidence and research and is by no means conclusive.

So, just how many people make up our composite of the typical janded guy? Conservative estimates put the number of people of Nigerian heritage currently residing in the UK at between 1 and 2 million. Sadly the Home Office (whom I have indeed contacted during the course of my informal research) has for some strange reason chosen to withhold its estimate of the number of Nigerians in the UK. They'll happily tell you how many Americans, Australians, even how many Japanese are legally resident here, but when it comes to Nigerians, apparently that information has been deemed too sensitive for the public domain. Go figure.

So we're talking about a maximum of a million men (assuming a 50-50 gender split, which for reasons that will be made clear later is completely inappropriate) And of these million men, I often hear complaints that the dateable pool is about a hundred, and of these only about 10 of the guys will have the gumption to do something original and romantic (notice the mutual exclusivity here) over the course of a relationship. So what’s wrong with these 999,900 men considered un-dateable by most Naija babes?

Firstly, contrary to what academics would have you believe, the attitude of man (as opposed to woman) hasn’t developed much further than that of the typical hunter-gatherer that roamed the earth during the Neolithic revolution somewhere between 8000 and 7000 BC. Man has always been ruled by his two primal instincts; fighting/hunting/killing (modern day equivalent is sports) and sexual reproduction (modern day equivalent is sex). We’re ruled by sex and sports. And some of us have been ingenious enough to make sex a sport. So the simple truth is that like all men out there, Naija men are, for want of a better word BASTARDS. We're simpletons at best ruled by the pursuit of sex and all matters pursuant to sex. We'd sleep with our sisters if it weren't considered distasteful (read as sinful) to do so. When we approach a babe, we’re only really thing about sex, when we’re dating a babe, we’re only really thinking about sex, and when we’re having sex with a babe we’re only really thinking about having sex with more babes. And lest I be accused of providing an incomplete analysis, when we haven’t previously had sex, we’re really not doing much thinking at all.

The many shortcomings inherent in our XY chromosomal make up are further augmented by the fact that the Naija man hails from a land where society has not only always undervalued the sizeable contribution made by women, but has actually subjugated the fairer sex. Colonialism, Western education and modern religion have done their bits to correct some of this injustice but let’s not kid ourselves. Naija society does very little to espouse an egalitarian view of the sexes, and as long as that is the prevailing sentiment, there is no impetus for change. Having been raised to all extent and purposes by a single mother, I for one appreciate how tough it can be for a woman within Nigerian society and secretly long for the day when women will be treated as equals in the full sense of the word and respected for what they do. That said, I’m a guy and the status quo suits me just fine (insert devilish laugh here).

Whenever I ask a Naija babe what sort of guy she’s looking for, the same adjectives keep popping up: godly, intelligent, confident, funny, (but not in a “to look at” sort of way), handsome, and most ridiculous of all, LOYAL. I mean give me a frigging break. Asking for a loyal Naija guy is like asking for an Englishman that doesn’t drink. Sure you can find one, if you search hard and long enough, but you don’t want to spend your life with him because it would be a truly boring enterprise. It’s not that Naija guys can’t be loyal, of course we can. I know Naija guys who’ve supported Arsenal for well over a decade without wavering in their commitment despite having to suffer through the managerial shite of Bruce Rioch, the abysmal disciplinary record (not that they care about such) and the team’s shocking inability to perform in Europe after 8 years of trying. Seriously though, do you honestly think that a Naija guy, who is indeed godly, intelligent, confident and funny, doesn’t realise that he’s all these things. And given that he does, why would he agree to add loyalty to his list of traits given the opportunity that exists for him in the, er, marketplace? This brings me nicely on to my next point – Market Forces.

Hopefully most of us are no doubt familiar with the laws of supply and demand, the different sorts of market they give rise to and the consequential effects on pricing. To briefly illustrate, the main reason BA and Virgin Atlantic are able to sodomise us financially when it comes to purchasing tickets to Nigeria at Xmas is because they realise that the demand for tickets to Nigeria during the Xmas period is crazily high and that they can charge us the largest amount possible. Above this price (Xmas 2005 return is circa £950) most of us would seriously consider embarking on the 6600km swim via the shark infested waters of the Atlantic. Point is, it’s a Sellers market and us poor unsuspecting peeps who just long to taste Mama Iyabo’s pounded yam at Xmas are getting the rough end of the deal.

The same is true of the Naija dating scene in Jand. The babes are getting the rough end of the deal.In a normal dating model, the women are the passive receptors (unless they’re called Samantha Jones) and the men are the active aggressors. We men compete openly for the affection of women, whilst the women compete clandestinely (in fashion/posing terms) for the attention of men who must then approach said attractive woman, and table as compelling an offer as they can so that they can get laid. This model works fine provided the number of men is greater than the number of women as this allows for an efficient marketplace where all the suitable men end up paired with a woman (the issue of her suitability need not arise), and the undesirable men (the excess if you will) get weeded out of the gene pool. However in the Naija-Jand scene, that is not the case.

For some strange reason, Naija babes seriously outnumber Naija guys. Go to Heathrow Terminals 3 and 4, Otto Lounge, Zen, Zeta Bar, Jesus House, or whatever other momentarily trendy setting Naija peeps congregate to, and chances are that the babes will outnumber the guys. My extensive research as to why this is the case is as yet inconclusive but I do know there are myriad reasons like the feminine friendly pricing policies of these erstwhile institutions, the fact that Naija guys are more likely to join a cult and die or commit a crime and go to jail therefore not making it out of Naija in the first place, that babes are able to spend more of their disposable income on themselves, and the simple fact that the good people at the British High Commission are probably more amenable to approving the visa requests tabled by babes rather than guys. Anyway I digress; the point is that for whatever reason there appears to be more babes than guys, which automatically makes it a Guys market. The figures are even more skewed in a guy’s favour if the girl goes for the tick box approach and looks for criteria like a top 20 UK university education, serious godliness (as opposed to the trendy kind), and a solid career. In such an exclusive environment I’d postulate that the babes outnumber the guys sixteen to one.

So you have this huge disparity in the numbers and you’re asking a guy to be loyal to you and neglect his huge (some may say greater) duty to society to ensure that every Naija babe is blessed with the chance for some Naija guy loving. Personally I’m all for monogamy but that model only works if we’re dealing with a perfect 1 to 1 ratio. Sadly this isn’t the case in Jand. The market is geared towards enabling (nay requiring) guys to cheat.

One other thing about the marketplace is the wrong approach of babes to it. Most babes use the same sort of approach to dating guys that their counterparts in Naija would use, thinking that the market here is exactly the same. BIG MISTAKE! The market in Jand is ahelluva lot more competitive. In Nigeria, boy meets girl, girl poses for boy, boy chases girl (cos he has no option), girl agrees for boy small (if he’s lucky) and boy must date girl (who by the way still lives in her parent’s house) for several months before he receives any form of coital pleasure, Nigeria being the more morally upstanding environment, at least relative to Jand. Now, remember what I said earlier about guys being ruled by sex? Surely such tactics are doomed to fail in the sexually charged atmosphere of the western world.

And if that wasn’t tough enough, lets add one more variable (which in mathematical terms is actually approaching a constant), the ENLIGHTENED Oyinbo chick. The Oyinbo chick (or “Black mans Kryptonite” to borrow a phrase) makes it bloody impossible for Naija babes to approach the market as they once did. Especially when the Naija guy has demonstrated the willingness to venture as far afield as Hull (5 hour drive from London) and Newcastle (6 hour drive ) in search of said Oyinbo chick and the, er, gratification (for want of a better word) that she is only too willing to provide. As an (ahem) innocent observer on a few such trips, I can only say that naija chicks have their work cut out for them if they’re going to attempt to match the antics of some of these suitably inebriated young ladies who have willingly led some of my less disciplined mates astray.

This is not to say that we’re not blessed with our own female freaks among Naija society. Oh trust me we are. It’s just that these babes are few and very far between, and a critical mass of such is sadly decades away. A female friend of mine who can only be described as enlightened and progressive takes this view on Naija guys and their infidelity; “I lay a third of the blame of infidelity at the feet of most women, who will take a guy back after he cheats, another third for the guy, since human nature is to get away with what you can, and the remaining third at the feet of the complicit other woman (if she was unaware, then 50-50 with the other two). Most guys will not tolerate their babe cheating and that is a major reason why girls don't cheat. But nowadays, girls are sad and desperate. Shame, that.” That, oddly enough is I think a fairer apportionment of the blame for man’s infidelity than even I had been willing to acknowledge. But notice how if you take my friends approach, women account for 66% of the blame whilst men account for a paltry 33%.

So what then is a Naija babe to do? I mean surely finding a suitable partner shouldn’t be this difficult and it is completely unnecessary to put up with such scandalous behaviour on the part of guys. To which I can only say ‘hell yeah!’, I am not at all excusing Naija guys’ behaviour and I do believe that if a guy cheats on you and you find out then you should indeed show him hell, for he has disrespected you (by allowing you to find out) and made a mockery of the affection (ok, love) that you have willingly showered upon him.

Personally, I think its time women strike back by collectively dumping the Naija guys who continually fail to treat them like princesses that they are. Naija babes should seriously consider venturing further afield in search of solid African ( i.e. Non-Nigerian) or even Oyinbo guys who have clearly demonstrated a less wayward pattern in matters of love. That said, these other guys do come with their own caveats: Kenyans drink too much, English guys aren’t as well endowed (or so urban legend has it), Australian men will eventually require you to follow them back home to the outback, Indian guys won’t give you the time of day, etc. Globalisation is happening for a reason and I believe that Naija babes must act to widen their pool of available men by considering races and ethnicities that they have hitherto not considered. When I met my current girlfriend (who for the record I have no intention of cheating on, though I’d be lying if I said I had never thought about it), she was dating a continental European guy and I have to say I was somewhat sobered by the realisation that it was time to step up to the plate and represent. I found her willingness to go for any guy (regardless of race) that would make her happy refreshing and sought to rise to the challenge.

There are a lot of solid guys out there and babes should do their utmost to snag a guy that’ll make them happy and won’t cause them too much drama. Once that’s done and you’ve found your cool non-Naija guy who doesn’t cause you too much drama, you can now dedicate all your drama-fighting energy to dealing with other issues like convincing your objectionable mother/family (and believe me they will object), arranging for your family of 200 to attend your wedding in Scarborough, naming your child Paddy /Mensah /Jaswinder, learning the language/culture of your husbands nation etc. If you can live with such then go for it.

On the other hand if you feel that your future happiness lies with the janded guy, then more power to you. I for one will happily provide a set of guidelines for understanding and getting the best out of this wonderfully flawed creature in a future edition of my musing.

Words by Alaye Scoro


Blogger mumbo sauce--the new pink said...

LMAO! But a sobering postulation, nontheless. Thank God for America and it's higher-quality, America-is-a-leveler naija men. I'm turning lesbian and moving to Canada.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 7:07:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See for comments on Janded guys

Sunday, February 19, 2006 11:29:00 pm  
Anonymous white man no go kill me said...

Brilliant, man!

Although I really wish you would investigate "their inability to think outside the box, their obsession with material possessions, keeping up with the Joneses, their penchant for fraud, and the herd mentality they portray in their thinking and fashion sense."

I'm a naija guy in NY, and while I don't encounter many Nigerians like that (or that many Nigerians, for that matter), I went to school in Lagos like everyone else... 'nuff said.

But seriously, great stuff.

Sunday, April 02, 2006 6:17:00 am  
Blogger 2undeh said...


Nice write up. However I found there were some generalisations in your writings. Not all janded guys cheat on their women. And some of them actually do treat their women well.

However I do concede that if women stop condoning the cheating antics of janded guys, perhaps the guys will get the message that it is not wise to play far afield if there are consequences for their actions.

see my blog for a riposte on this interesting debate.

Friday, May 12, 2006 11:07:00 pm  

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