Monday, October 7, 2013

Let's Precede the Sex Thing with Some Romantic Ritual Pleeaaaseee!

While working with communities in South Sudan, Aisha, my best friend, a conflict resolution specialist, had an interesting experience. One of the locals fell head over heels in love with her. Suddenly! Love at first sight! The works.

Deng was every stereotypical characterization that you might have about a random village guy who comes to collect perdiem from a conflict resolution meeting that is being held to address the fact that his village somewhere in the Equatorial state of South Sudan is fighting with the next one over a water spring. And now, there he was, in sudden love with a Kampala city babe who had been flown by an international NGO. Chances that his love would be requited were below zero from start. But that didn't stop him from putting his best foot forward.

The evening after he fell in love, Deng went back to his village and hired someone he thought could write English to pen a sonnet to the object of his love. Turns out the guy couldn’t write much more than a few disjointed words of English but none the wiser, Deng paid for the service, slotted the epistle into a white envelope and set about delivering it.

To deliver it, Deng washed his bicycle, took a bath, lathered up with Cussons Imperial soap and donned his only suit. Then he got onto his bicycle and with two escorts rode into the camp where Aisha the expatriate was residing. There, he handed over the letter accompanying it with a vernacular rant so agitated that it led Aisha to believe he might commit suicide or even murder her if she didn’t take the letter from his hands. Indeed, in the torturous English that had been thrown onto that paper, Aisha read enough to know that the subject was; love that hang dangerously close to motivating suicide should it be denied. We may sadly assume that Deng is dead because his proclamation of love was denied indeed.

As absurd as Deng’s audacity might seem, I have a certain admiration for his execution. Quite frankly, I wish men who propositioned me put at least half as much thought into it as Deng. Contrast Deng’s effort with the kind of clumsy and crass poking that a modern girl gets on the Kampala dating scene.

Example: I first met him on a Friday night at a company dinner. We didn't talk. He was too far down the table from me. Sometime after that dinner, it was established that we lived on the same side of town and someone asked me to give him a lift home. He agreed not to get in the way of the bar hopping plans I already had in mind but tag along until I was ready to drop him. In the course of the night, we established he was married with kids. Good. He was also sorta good company - with all that airy academic analysis of feminism that he had going. Grown, educated. I assumed 'respectful'would follow. Haha! Before the night was out, he was asking me to check into a lodge with him! Are you fucking kidding me?!?!?!

Like seriously people!...!!!....!!! When did we ban those little romantic rituals that used to precede a request for sex? You know, the now officially extinct tradition of telling me about your feelings before hand, giving me a few weeks to process the information, wearing a suit on the day you are going to hear my response (yes, wearing a suit!) et cetera et cetera? Okay, I know dinner and dates are a foreign tradition but if you insist on keeping it local, perhaps you should go ask my father for my hand in marriage first! Even what used to be booty calls have now decidedly degenerated into booty texts. 

I am gonna set a guy on fire one of these days. Too annoyed!