Photo by Jay Wennington / Unsplash
(Originally posted in https://medium.com/@nevi_me/what-do-we-bring-to-the-table-part-1-perhaps-168873090673)
I enjoy writing, but writing sucks without an audience, so I’ve decided to write “letters to my future wife”. I’ll publish some of them here, while I’ll keep others safe for the day I find someone who would enjoy what I write.
A few months ago I saw a very pretty lady at work, I found myself staring, trying to convince myself that I know her from somewhere. I kept looking, cos looking would miraculously convince me that I know her.
In the midst of my world having stopped, a thought came by; “go talk to her”, said a voice in my head. “She’s probably not in my league”, I replied. I resigned myself to just keep looking at her for a bit longer before walking away.
I realised that I’m not the kind of guy to walk up to a stranger and chat her up. I lack that impulse that gets some women excited, that “sweep you off your feet thing” that you’d sometimes get from a stranger. What I do exude is the “I like what I’m learning about him” complex.
Our initial impressions of other people are mostly driven by physical presentation and the smoothness of tongue. Sometimes you meet that guy who tells you how beautiful you are, so well that you start believing him. See, I don’t believe in telling someone that they’re beautiful when I don’t know them. “You’re beautiful”, and “I love you” are words that I know well to say, but I save them like a prudent man invests.
The “she’s probably not in my league” voice was me saying that she might not like what I bring to the table. So what’s this “table”? Well, the table is whatever you want to share with someone, friendship, relationship, whatever …
The problem that I see is that we often have no idea how the table should be, should it be round or rectangular, how small or large, etc. Yet, we already set expectations of what we want on the table even before we say “hello” to each other. It’s easy to define a table: mutual respect, love, attention, etc, but the problem’s that these things are intangible and hard to put into tangible actions.
I want a “loving” woman, but I start saying she’s clingy when she pours herself down me like a waterfall. You want a guy who buys you flowers, but you call me “cheap” when I plant you a garden. Is it perhaps that our table is being defined by the titbits that we see on Instagram and TV, not knowing what the full package is made of?
It’s hard to know what you have when you don’t know what you want. It’s the common 80/20 rule. I was recently with 2 friends, and I was telling them that I want to settle down in the near future. They were saying that they’ll probably either never marry, or marry in their late 30’s (we’re in our late 20’s right now).
I was taken aback, [guys, if you’re reading this, sorry for putting you on the spot] because people who know what they don’t want (instead of what they DO want) would say that. AS A MAN you have the societal responsibility of not experimenting with directionless relationships, as we men often leave an emotional bulldozer trail that takes women forever to clean up. People differ though, so I’m expressing the ideal that I’d like to live up to …
I was with a friend a few weeks ago, and she was saying that South African men tend to lose out on great women because we beat around the bush, and sometimes don’t know what we want. She made an example about West & North African men who will be upfront with what they want from early on.
Of course this is generalism, but deep down a lot of us men would admit to the truth of at least the former. It’s partly because we have a culture of “I don’t want X because it’s not good enough”, a good exhibit is blue collar work which we’re losing out to our brothers and sisters from the rest of the continent.
Let’s call this “dontwantism”. I have my own #dontwantism, I always say I don’t like weaves and make up. Not because there’s something wrong with them, but perhaps because I prefer the naked you more often than not, the “you” who doesn’t define herself by her looks when alone with me. It’s little dontwants that I’ve let go, because I finally learnt what it is that I actually want.
I want someone who’s comfortable in her skin, literally and figuratively.
Allow me to turn adult radio on: if you don’t see yourself up-close with me because of my scent, don’t see yourself kissing me in the morning before we clean up, can’t see yourself walking half-naked from the bathroom when I’m in the house; we’ll probably struggle with being (emotionally) intimate with each other.
It’s a biological thing, we’re comfortable with ourselves and what we love, that’s why we can tolerate our own breath but immediately notice a friend/stranger’s unpleasant breath. When you get into a stranger’s house, you’ll often first notice a scent/smell that you’re not familiar with. It’s one of the reasons why loving parents don’t get disgusted by cleaning up after their infants.
If it’s a “you’re dirty” or “your breath needs help” smell, there are people who are human enough to do something about it when told about it. Don’t die inside because of small things that can change if you open up about them …
I would like an open table, where we can lay down anything in a safe environment. If after a year after knowing you, I’m still hiding the scar on my back, it would suggest that I still don’t trust you to know that you also won’t leave a knife on my back.
I had an interesting discussion the other day about marriage in community of property vs. accruals. My stance on this was that I prefer community of property. When putting aside the material things, I would prefer you know everything about me when we get together.
I can’t put away debts and treasures that only come out when the sun stops shining. I want to be able to put everything on the table and say “this is who I am”.
[Now, if you’ve read this far, bear with me once again. My description of the table below is figurative, It’ll make sense to some people]
I want a table which we can eat together from, where we sit and openly hold hands before dining. Where you say “dinner’s ready”, and I come rushing down to dine with you. Where you look up to me to clean up the dishes and any mess. I want a table where we mutually know that we can step up to stand in for each other when necessary. You’re not the cook, we’re the cook, just as we bring food to the table, we should prepare it together.
If we share a table in public, I want a table where our neighbours don’t get to know what we eat, if our cutlery falls, we’ll pick it up and clean it up in a dignified manner.
I believe I can only have this table if we’re upfront about what we want from each other.