Sometime in 2002, I attended a very good friends wedding. I was very excited about this event because a lot of old friends were going to be attending and it would be some sort of a great reunion of friends and foes alike. Friends to refresh our goings and catch up with old gist, while the foes will be for making amends. I arrived early so as to get a prime spot where I could mingle well. But this was going to be a fateful day and one I will not forget in a hurry. My first female friend arrived and sat by my side and we began talking, but I was first struck not by her smile or her beautiful makeup, or even her natural beauty, but on the construction of her attire, especially around the chest region. I however kept my calm as a cool headed young man and made it an eye-for-eye contact, but the conversation however was not devoid of the constant temptation to deflect my sight a few inches further down her anatomy.

My woes were further compounded when three other ladies joined us on the table and sat directly opposite me. What they wore tore my sight into shreds and a sudden hastiness came over me and I knew I wouldn’t last on that table. It became worse when, due to the exciting conversation we were all having, these ladies were in the habit of projecting downwards when laughing, therefore exposing their fragile protuberances. After I bore this mental challenge for a pretty long time, and being a very raw and blunt speaker, I decided to safely arise from the dire circumstance and proceed to where the air provoked internal peace. So I whispered to my friend beside me that I was leaving, and with light jocularity told her thanks for the great experience.
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ROEThe next rule of engagement I would introduce here is something very new. This was inspired in my heart by critical observation of the goings of young men, especially as they battle for relevance in demanding society. It is called the Law of Equation. In mathematics we say an equation is a statement that two expressions are equal. By using an equal sign, it informs that what is on the left side of the sign is of the same numerical value to what is on the right side of the sign. I simply adapt this law to two part of the male life in society: inner expression and outward expression. The inner expressions are those things that flow from the inside of a man. Things such as his speech, his reasoning, his decisions, his choices, and his values are all representative of the internal configuration of a man. The outer expression consists of all a man does to showcase his body. His wears and gears (Baffs like we would say in Nigeria), his machines and his crib. All this make a statement about the taste and preferences of such an individual.

However, the law of equation simple advances the simple principle that whatever in on the outside should equal what is on the inside. If your outer expression spells big things and a touché tang, then it is your place to ensure that the inside is imbued with an equal administration of the beauty. There is nothing as upsetting as a handsome man, with all the bling-bling yet with a barrel like amplitude. With an earring on your ear, better be sure that there’s a hearing to your heart. With a chain on your neck, better be sure that there’s no drain on your head. When flashy men have no substance, then they do not qualify to engage a woman. Women may be attracted by the outer displays, but they are engaged and sustained by the inner replays. This is why my mum told me a long time ago to have some substance on my inside, and that even if I looked like a Gorilla, I will still be attractive to the opposite sex. So guys, make the equation balanced as a rule to engagement.

Dr. Gary Chapman does a great job of breaking down what he calls the five love languages. These languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. It is speculated that all humans understands one of these languages more and respond to a mix of others in varying degrees. Therefore, the next rule of engagement is to understand what the language of love is and to know which the woman responds better to. A while ago some guy told me the only language all women respond to is Physical Touch. While that may hold some truth to it, it is not entirely true as some prefer more that you listen to them or that you spend time with them. Quality time is really a proof of love. One way I know that two people love each other is that they can sit down together and say nothing to themselves for hours, yet stand up feeling fulfilled. No matter what the language of the woman is, you must fully learn how to speak it before you can engage her, for she is like an unending story of varying scenes provoked by the skill and creativity and imagination of the story teller. Some men are stingy with words, while some are stingy with their time or resources. Stinginess is the same as losing your speech in a communication of love. If you can’t give of your resources, it means that you cannot speak the language of giving and so on. The rule is: find her language and learn to speak and perfect it.

The final rule I bring up here is one dear to my heart. I do not know what to call it, but maybe when I am done you will give a name for what I refer to. There is a beautiful story in the good book found in Isaiah 5: 1-2. Though with a sad ending, it carried great meaning for the point I raise here. The owner of the garden, who cultivates it and manures it with great care, and then later does the weeding, does all these with a great expectation that the garden will yield a great harvest. There is thus a natural law set forth that when you plant in good grounds; you reap a good reward for your labour. A woman therefore is like a garden. Whatever you plant is exactly what you will reap from her. This is why God sand that song in the story saying he had invested so much into the vineyard and expected a reward from it. So this rule simply tries to explain that as a man, you must be able be a capable cultivator of a garden. You must be able to see what kind of ground you are standing on, and what kinds of plants will flourish thereon. This way, you will provoke an unprecedented harvest from the woman you cultivate.

Let me apply this to make it easier understood. Siad is a great friend of mine and was in a great relationship for which I introduced the two principals. But after a while I sensed a growing tension in the relationship and later discovered that the lady was already having longer conversation with her Ex. This became of great concern to me and I asked my friend what was the health of their relationship, and he said they were cool but her reactions have been growing cold. Later I found out that my friend was so purpose driven that all he spoke to her about was purposes, plans, and the future decisions they would take. He always wanted to know what her dreams where and how she would work towards them and how he could help her. Sweet ain’t it? But my friend was planting the wrong seeds in the right soil. Yeah she was appreciative of his concerns, but that doesn’t bring out anything from her. She was the kind of woman that didn’t want to over formality ion her relationship, but the informal approach where things were sorted on the basis of friendship. The short story is that he lost her to the other guy, who knew how to provoke the right responses from her. My friend is a wonderful guy, and I had to tell him this way back in 2002 and he got the message. Happily married now, he still gets the message from that time and we joking say to each other: “are you cultivate her?”

A good cultivator must know what kind of soil the woman is and know what exactly to plant there. Some have planted money and reaped a female mammon, while others have planted friendship and reaped an Angel. It is always your choice what you plant, but be sure to make an informed decision what will give you a bountiful harvest from the woman. Women are God’s gift to this world and can be anything you want to be, you just have to be well trained in the art of cultivation. It starts with being able to see the woman beyond her façade and know what she truly carried. Then target her real worth and help her bring forth the loaded virtues she is blessed with. Then she will love you and give you the very best of her and make you drink from the deepest part of her well.

To wrap this, I will humbly submit that everything I have said here is what I practice. God forbid that I say the things I have not seen, tasted, or handled. For I will be a thief and a robber, declaring the things I haven’t been authorized to say. A caveat to my musings is that though these rules are universal, every man’s path is different and you must still find your secret place where your inner conversations and deliberations about these matters are resolved. But I daresay that for any man to engage a woman, there are rules of engagement, and I certainly hope I have added one more device in your toolbox as you explore this wonderful life God has given you. So young man, be clean and pure at all time, let truth be your friend and let your head always lack no oil.


Reggie ‘09



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)