I am a beautiful and intelligent woman by every standard. This is me stating a fact and not tooting any horn. I am saying this with the same matter-of-fact-ness one would use to say he has a Nokia torch. It is an obvious fact, which is why it is expected that a majority of Nigerian men who are blessed with the same randy nature of a he-goat and backed by a society that applauds such a nature will always show themselves where I am concerned. I have received all forms of compliments about my physical looks. While I appreciate some of them, I cringe and throw up a little in my mouth over others. I have had men tell me all sorts from “You are pretty”, “You are gorgeous” and “You are beautiful” to “You are sexy” and “You are hot”.
And then, there’s my all-time award-for-cringe-worthy compliment – “Ahu gi n’ile wu otu otu!”
This literally means “Your whole body na toto toto” in pidgin, or translated to mean “You are sexy”. The fact that it was an okada man that tossed this compliment at me one hot afternoon makes me cringe till date. But ees okay.
So I have had it on all levels. It didn’t also help matters that I worked for over ten years in marketing. You can imagine what I have had to deal with; I have had meetings with men who, in the middle of our appointment, right inside their offices, brought out their penises. Now one thing you must know about me is that I find a naked man creepy. I don’t know why. So when I was younger, when I had such encounters, I would usually take off or burst out in tears. Yes, on one occasion, I cried.
Of course, this was long ago when I was younger. I had a lot of respect for this particular man that my company did business with. I was in charge of his company’s account and one of the days he was supposed to pay us, he asked me to meet him at his hotel the next morning around 8am, since he had a 10am flight and might not have any other time for anything else besides his meetings before leaving for the airport. With a trusting heart, I left for this man’s hotel that fateful morning. He met me in the lobby and we got seated. He said he had asked his driver to dash to his office to fetch his cheque book. We were in the hotel lobby for a bit before he said we should go up to his suite, since he still had work to do and didn’t think it was okay for me to sit all by myself in a hotel lobby. I agreed o and I followed him up.
This is a decent man, I thought. I had never seen him with another woman and he always carried himself with a certain prestige. So there’s no harm, I assured myself.
We got to the suite, and he brought out his family album and gave me to occupy myself while he made some phone calls in the room. He was one of those men whose families reside in the UK and who maintained permanent suites in hotels whenever they’re in Nigeria for the sake of convenience and security.
I was still going through the photo album when his driver arrived. He took the cheque book and went into the inner room of the suite. The driver left. I forgot to mention that this man was wearing a long kaftan – jalebia, I believe it’s called.
Anyways he soon came back to the sitting room with my cheque. He took a seat opposite me and started telling me about his family. This should make any sane person relax, abi? In my mind, I was, like, oh what a really decent man. He talked about how beautiful his wife is and how brilliant his children are.
I was still hanging on to my new level of respect for him when I looked up at one point during his chatter to behold a startling sight. This uncle had raised his kaftan and just sat there, opposite me, with the smallest penis I had ever seen in my life in his hand, his fingers stroking it with what appeared to be baby oil
“PAPA M EEEE!” was the scream that shot out of my mouth microseconds before I, with the speed of lightening, flew up from my seat and flew out of the door, making sure to grab my check all in one swift move. I had tears in my eyes. I was shaken to my core.
The man was calling after me in the midst of all that flying about: “Don’t go… I won’t touch you… Just stay and watch… I will give you money… I promise…”
I ran out of that hotel like the seven demons of hell were in hot pursuit.
I was shaken the whole day.
I told my manager in confidence about the incident and all he could say to me was: “He is a nice guy na. Some other men would have insisted you wait till the end of the performance before collecting your cheque.” And then he laughed it off. That was it! Just like that! I went to the ladies room and cried.
I never contacted that man ever again. I was willing to let that account with his company go. I let go of so many other accounts whose male owners came on to me similarly. I eventually had to ask myself: How many accounts was I going to lose since it appeared that the number of harassments increased with every passing day? It occurred to me that I had to help myself. The society, the law, my bosses – they were not going to help me or protect me. I had to find out how to help myself. I had to learn a way to get what I want and make myself heard!
TO BE CONTINUED
Written by Bells