So early this morning I drove down for a breakfast date at this place called T Cottage in Victoria Island. My date, whom I was meant to go out with last night but cancelled on because I was in a zone, and because he was at one of those meetings that drag until after midnight, and I couldn't very well wine & dine by myself till he was done..
In any case, we rescheduled for this morning. So off I went, empty belly and all. We perused the menu, I ordered jumbo prawns, Caesar salad and an espresso, he ordered fish in barter and chips. The exorbitant amount led us into believing that it would translate to 'exorbitant' portions. False. The food was superbly cooked. The last jumbo prawns I had at Elkan Terrace, Port Harcourt, almost put me off sea food forever, this redeemed sea food for me. I digress. We ate with gusto but the more we ate, the emptier our bellies felt. My friend, a proper igbo man sniggered; "Nna, dis is not food biko. O nwe one ofe-Owerri I ate in Ajao estate nnyahu. Nna meeehn, toooo much!". I was equally hungry, the fancy food just wasn't werking, so we decided to go to The Place and eat "real" food.
I didn't think not being satisfied with the breakfast entitled me to more food, that's the kind of thinking that makes you gain weight. I decided to "manage" and just get something for much later, thus, takeout. He opted for same. My food (asun and boiled peppered unripe plantain. Shout out to The Place, they make very decent food.) was packaged before his so when the waitress handed mine to me, I took it and when he was handed his, I started to walk ahead, to the car. Then this happened.
"Excuse me? Excuse me?" I turned back to see my friend standing on a spot, refusing to move. I was very confused, till I saw his outstretched hand with his food in it.
I looked at the food and then back at him.
"Excuse me? Take it" he said.
Now, we know that Saturday mornings at places like The Place are always swamped with people trying to soak up the alcohol from Friday night. It felt like the multitude was watching. I was torn between telling him he could hold his own food; there by embarassing him, and quietly taking it from him and walking away. Instead I stood there looking at him and his outstretched hand. He looked at me unblinkingly, wondering what I was waiting for.
"The least you can do is say please" I said. He seemed surprised, his expression, confused, his hand still holding the food out to me.
"Say please", I repeated.
"Ok.. Please". He stubbornly conceded and I took the food from him.
This little incident really rubbed me the wrong way. That please wasn't enough, so I suddenly wanted out of the plans we'd made for much later today. I decided I would tell him I'm not around and just do something else with myself instead.
When it happened my immediate thought was igbo men and their ego, their sense of entitlement, the need to be treated like kings. All men have big egos but that of an igbo man is morbidly overweight!
One thing I've learnt about men, however, is that as a woman sometimes you stoop to conquer. It's an easy mumu-button trick (hehe. Don't quote me o!). But you need to be certain that when you stoop, you're conqueror not conquest (you can approach the bench for lessons. Lool. #runsaway).
That said, it was one tiny incident but one that opened doors to many thoughts. Times have changed but have the woman's role really advanced over time or are we still mere helpers, to stand on the side, fanning our men and also their egos? Or have we become equal... can we ever?
Have you ever had to deal with a man with a big ego; relationship or marriage, what coping strategies did/do you adopt? Do you find it more productive to massage his ego or does being headstrong and unbending work better for you?
Also, How would you have reacted in the situation above?
Ps; in fairness to my friend, I later expressed my displeasure and he apologized.