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Opinions of Sunday, 1 November 2009

Columnist: Twum-Baah, N. Amma

Who Said Ghanaian Men are Not Romantic?

Last night I finally went on my dream date. It was awesome, and it was everything I ever dreamed it would be. This happens to be a very significant occurrence in my life for two reasons: 1) It assured me that I was wrong all along in my assessment that Ghanaian men know nothing about romance; 2) It validated my persistence in sticking with my own kind. This has not been an easy stance since I have suffered countless disappointments by these same men. Yet, I still persevere and I believe in them.

Before my perfect date last night, I had almost completely given up all hope of ever going out on the perfect date. I find it very hard to date outside my race. I won’t attend an all black church, or an all white church; I prefer one with a diverse congregation. For the same reason, I am not in favor of segregated schools; I prefer ones with diverse student bodies. But, for some baffling reason, I just can’t seem to budge when it comes to relationships. Not that I wouldn’t give it a chance if the opportunity presented itself in a very convincing way; but I just don’t see that ever happening. I love Ghanaian men too much and I believe they can be anything they want to be – even romantic – if they just apply themselves. So, I knew sticking with them possibly meant that my chances of ever experiencing excitement were limited. Take a trip down memory lane with me and you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

The first time I tried to spice up a relationship, I went all out. I got some scented candles, run a warm scented bubble bath, cooked dinner, set the table, then waited on my hunky dunky to walk through the door after a long night at work. Mind you, I had worked that day, driven three hours to be there with him and still put in the effort to make it a romantic, welcome evening. Then I heard the key in the door and I started the jazz music. He walks in the door, reaches for the light switch and asks: “aden, yedum kanian no anaa? (Why, did the lights go out?) Talk about a declined libido and the end of what could have been a perfect evening! Of course, he never reciprocated my attempt at creating excitement, but he did things in his own small way to let me know he still cared. He always said candlelit dinners and soft music was not a very Ghanaian thing to do.

Then there was this other one who just couldn’t wrap his brain around why anyone would want to spend a Saturday/Sunday afternoon walking in the park staring at trees and admiring flowers and butterflies when we could just do that from the kitchen window. His idea of excitement and fun was a day spent in bed – sleeping. So, I would go to the park alone and watch couples walking hand-in-hand, talking and laughing, and I would question why I just couldn’t shake off this “thing” I have for Ghanaian men. At one point, I considered getting a dog so I would at least have an excuse for being in the park alone. Yes, I was planning on replacing my man with a dog. (They happen to be more attentive to a woman’s need for affection and attention.) It was just pathetic!
Of course, none of the above relationships ended because the men lacked a sense of romance. We had bigger fish to fry besides candles, romantic dinners and walks in the park.

So, back to my perfect date last night! My man calls me and asks what I’m doing. I tell him “nothing, just watching TV.” He says, “I’m coming over, get dressed.” I ask him, “casual or dressy?” He says, “Well its nice out. How about casual, but sexy?” I throw on a pair of jeans and a sexy top and wait for him to arrive. He shows up right on time. I love that about him, he’s always punctual – very rare for my people. I hate to be kept waiting, so that works just fine for us because we have very little to fight about. I watch him from the bedroom window as he pulls into the parking lot, gets out looking all suave and debonair. He’s so cute! I listen for the door bell but when it rings, I pretend not to have heard it. It buzzes again a few seconds later at about the same time my phone starts to vibrate. That’s when I head for the door acting surprised. He kisses me on the tip of my nose and hugs me. I find that so endearing. Then he hands me a card from his coat pocket. I read the card that says I’m the one shining star out of all the stars he has ever seen in the sky. I think it’s corny but I don’t say so. Then in what appears to be his handwriting below, it says he blesses the day he saw me and walked up to introduce himself. The writing is surrounded by hand-drawn hearts. I start to get teary-eyed and he kisses my eyes. I want to head for the bedroom but instead he leads me out the door as he drapes my coat around my shoulders. What a gentleman! We head out. He still has not told me where we’re headed.

We drive into the city. He says he wants to go shopping for a new pair of shoes so we head for the mall. He wraps his arm around my waist and plants my neck with sporadic kisses as we walk from store to store checking out shoes. We share a few laughs at the ridiculous prices and walk around hand-in-hand. We are playful and acting like two teenagers. We stop at the mall’s food court for some lunch at the Tokyo stand. Mall food is always the best no matter what people say. We laugh out loud after we beat a couple and their two kids to the only available table. Towards the end of lunch, he excuses himself and comes back with two cinnamon sprinkled pretzels from Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. They’re my favorite. I always have to have one whenever I’m at the mall. Obviously, he’s been paying attention.

From the mall we drive to the public park and find an empty bench. We sit and talk and laugh – a lot. We roll over with laughter when a jogging woman trying to show off trips and falls right at our feet. Of course, this is after we help her up and make sure she’s fine. I point out that what she needs to do is get herself a big bowl of fufu and groundnut soup dancing with oil to cover up all those bones protruding from her neck, and we laugh some more. I am so caught up in the moment. We are having a wonderful time and it’s costing us very little. He catches a butterfly that lands on my shoulder and hands it to me. The butterfly sits in my palm as I study its beautifully colored wings. I cannot believe my good luck. Here, finally, is a Ghanaian man who is not working on a Saturday afternoon, who takes the initiative, laughs a lot, knows how to have fun, and appreciates nature and the little things just as much as I do. I am in seventh heaven. As evening approaches, he says I look too sexy to allow all that sexiness to go to waste. He wants to take me dancing. After I protest that I am not exactly dressed to go dancing, he convinces me that no one would notice and we head out to find a place where we dance the night away to some good music. It feels like we’re the only two people in the room. He shows me his best dance moves and does not complain about his shoes being too tight or feeling too tired or self-conscious. We don’t just sit there watching other couples dance. Can this be real? By the time we get back to my place, I am so excited; all I can think about is the ending to the perfect day. He walks into the bathroom as I sit on the bed to take off my shoes, and wait in sweet anticipation for him to come out. I hear the toilet flush and out walks Mr. Romantic scratching his butt. He asks me what’s for breakfast as he buttons his work shirt. I roll over to hide the tears of disappointment that are threatening to greet me on a beautiful Sunday morning.
Who said Ghanaian men are not romantic? They are, only in my dreams! (This article was written by N. Amma Twum-Baah. Amma is the publisher and editor of Afrikan Goddess (AG) Online, an online publication for the African woman of charm and excellence.)
Note from the Author: I know this is an unusual break from the usual, but I thought I’d share something less thought-provoking for a change. This is a satire based on my own personal experiences and observations that helped shape my own personal opinions. It is in no way intended to generalize Ghanaian men as unromantic – or maybe it is. After all, like one man once put it: one man’s romance is another man’s boring experience.
Afrikan Goddess