WOMEN: RULES OF ENGAGEMENT – Part 1

Rules-of-EngagementNow I turn attention to my brothers whom I have ignored in my previous commentaries. If I felt less qualified to write to the female-folk, I am at home talking more now, since something in me resonates with something in my focus audience.  This resonation plays not along the lines of the typical, but on deeper issues we seem to have abandoned for a more worldly perspective to our views on relating with the opposite sex. We men have been so celebrated out of reality that we seem to already be imbued with the inner ability to deal with women right from birth. It may amaze you that a boy child at the terrible-two age may already show signs of masculine megalomania when relating to mummy or some other species of humans. This psychological state of illusionary or delusions of masculine grandeur play out when little boys try to manipulate their way through mummy’s heart. Or sometimes when they begin flexing muscles and bullying even their older sisters, we smile at this and praise their rapid growth. A pastor once said he saw his two year old son squeezing his five year old daughter. He ran to her rescue and corrected the little boy. But when he walked away, he did the victory hand thing saying “yep! That’s my boy!” Silently, we love to see young boys growing up strong and exerting such energies on their environment including a display on their relationships.

An elderly man once told me how his father used to put him in the line of ‘male duty’ (whatever that means). He could never return home to report a case of bullying in his school. His dad will get him ready and stand on the corner of the street to beat up the bullying boy when he passes that way. My dad also had his mum silently encourage him to tolerate no opposition in school, so he grew up with a form of belligerence that defied even bigger buddies in school.  We sort of love it when young men grow up strong, and not just a docile kind of strength, but also the ability to outwardly command attention with the display of such. The reverse is that we tend to refer to men who do not follow this pattern as women. The one thing a man doesn’t want to be called is a woman. However, much of what we grow up knowing as basis for the male character derives from a faulty foundation and erroneous belief that has strained the blooming beauty of male-female interactions. I am not going to attempt at discussing in-depth such wrong foundations, but will do so impliedly in the crux of this discourse. My concern here is to simply advance to my male friends what I call the rules of engaging the female. These rules, which are by no means exhaustive but indeed sacrosanct, will do a few things. It will first establish your unshakeable position as a man indeed, give you better understanding of your relationship to the opposite sex, and then finally provoke the best response from the women you relate to.

I have a little nephew who is ten years old, and he has two older brothers. There is a sharp contrast between the older two and this young guy in that he is ‘absolutely without deceit’. He doesn’t know how to pretend and neither can he tell a lie. While his brothers conspire on how to con mummy, he simply just pulls out. When discussing with him, he uses few words which are characterized by bluntness and truth. He once spoke out loudly on the dining table in the presence of his grandparents, “Why doesn’t grandma have teeth, it’s not nice!” As impolite as that was, he spoke his mind and kept on eating. I have learnt something crucial from this ten year old man that every other man should adopt the deportment of ‘be yourself!” His character has never reduced his value in the eyes of anyone who comes across him; rather, we all have a healthy respect for him. We men put up way too much show and think that the positive responses we get from the opposite sex is dependent on how much theatrics we can stage. Unfortunately most genuine women can read through the ugly story and see through the dark shades, and all we end up looking like is acting through a series of Johnny Bravo. There is true value in simplicity and worth in originality. One false foundation we must knock down is that men must rise to the occasion at all times, and this leaves us scrambling to wear robes that are ill fitted while also making an utter mockery of our maleness. Pretence is absolutely intolerable with women and no other species is an intuitive as females, for they can easily exfoliate your false appendages and deploy their gut feeling in defining you. Except of course such a woman is gullible. I tell you it is much more expensive to maintain who you are not, while it costs you as little nothing to keep your true self alive. Truth be told; who you are, is your most important tool for interfacing with the real world. If you are not yet what you want to be, WORK AT IT! So the first rule here is just to be yourself, as it makes it easier to attract your type.

The second rule here calmness and confidence. Have you seen a fretting man who has lost his confidence? There is nothing as pitiful as that. Calmness and confidence exudes strength that is unspoken and that has a powerful effect on your environment. Growing up as a kid amidst a lot of women I was never calm. I always had something to say and a comment to make all the time to the point that my mouth was extremely watery. You have heard that it is said: “Empty barrels make the most noise.” This is so true in the life of a man, as a woman will find it hard to relate to a noisy man that is devoid of calmness. I have often seen and met guys who talk all the time and use bogus language and curse words, but a closer assessment reveals utter vanity in thought; absolutely no depth.  Every woman wants their man to be calm as this shows control. Not just calmness, but also confidence which is an internal assurance based on knowledge of who you are and where you are going. Confidence makes your countenance to exude an unusual boldness that points to your internal health. A man who is not confident simply shows that the inside is in trouble and his thoughts are not coordinated neither is he in assured of a life direction.

So here is it, confidence is the root, while calmness is the fruit. Confidence produces calmness. When a confident man comes into a place, he doesn’t strive to be heard because he knows his onions. I like the way the Great Book puts it: “…in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength…” (Isaiah 30:15). Somehow, when we see a man who is calm and confident, we associate that person with much power, sometimes more than necessary. This is because some air of mystery surrounds that one and it will take a level of curiosity to open the box. And I cannot say this too much: women are curious. They want to know that their man has something unknown about him. They love it when they step into a place with their man and he remains confident and calm. So this rule says to engage a woman, be calm and confident.

Let’s deal with some substance here. During my Youth Service in Northern part of Nigeria, I had two ladies gist me of their experience in Lagos sometime. They had been introduced to a very handsome young man who appeared to be very calm and confident, and they longed for a discussion with him, perhaps something be allotted to anyone. But on engaging this outwardly handsome, calm and confident young man, his words were like the dropping of a boulder into a calm stream. He had not the appropriate words to engage in a proper conversation and the ladies were condemned to a time of a harrowing rain of oral bombshells and dirty language. They mocked how he sounded and the best way to describe that was a Jamaican born in Ghana, raised in France, but speaking patuá with a Chinese accent. Two things matter as a third rule of engagement: bind and mind your language. The importance of words when relating to the female cannot be overemphasized. When I say bind your language I mean package what you say in a way that becomes pleasing to the ears. I have found in my own experiences that women are also attracted to well spoken men. This is because when you speak well, it speaks well of you, does it sound like an irony? Maybe, but it’s the irony of life how little things give credence to your personality. Yes you were born in the village and raised by an uneducated family, and worse still taught by a misplaced farmer in the classroom. There is always room to up your game. You will have to associate with people who speak like what you want to and listen closely to them. Very soon you will start sounding like them and I tell you it doesn’t take much from you to get this done. I particularly coming from the South Eastern part of Nigeria where we battle with pronouncing ‘y’ and ‘j’, or we swap them from time to time (Yellow becomes Jellow and John become Yohn), had to do some extra work with how I pronounce words. I was endeared to documentaries like those by David Attenborough of the BBC Wild Life series and Dr. Ali Mazrui of the African Historical documentaries. I simulated talking like them and it had a great influence on how I turned out. May I announce to you if you don’t work at it, you will get worse. Some people are reading this and feeling good now that they speak well. Wait till your environment changes and you encounter new friends who challenge you, then you will pick wisdom from this.

On the other hand you must mind your language, meaning that you should scale your words to reflect what you are. God bless your soul if your inside is corrupt, nothing can be done about that until you clean you up. However, if your confidence of your inner beauty is firm, then scale your language to reflect such. You cannot afford to use curse words and dirty language, then think you appear sexy. Many ladies just cannot stand dirty talkers, including the women who use such language themselves. They prefer their man to be of the Polish tribe. These days, they way young men churn out garbage language is amazing and troubling at the same time. I have had so many females mention to me that they the men that talk thrash, neither can they date such. I have sat with some of my men folk and after a discussion I felt internally corrupted due to the choice of language. Man, even when you are angry one key amiable trait you should posses is your ability to have mastery over your words. This rule is never too much to counsel on. Words are like drugs. They can heal the hearer but can also intoxicate as well. This is why Proverbs 25:11 say “Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.”

…to be continued (part 2)

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