On one cold, cold night during the pendency of my studentship at the Nigerian Law School Lagos, I was having dinner at one of the many restaurants on campus when one of my female friends made a statement that did not go down so well with me.
“If a man wants a woman, he must chase her, he must prove himself to her, he must never get tired of chasing after her no matter what happens. After all, how do we know he really loves her?”
Now I know many of you reading this may agree with her opinions, but what if I tell you that the above statement has a teeny tiny problem? Yes, I think it does. Can you tell?
I honestly detest the use of the word “chase”.
Ordinarily, to chase connotes running after something or someone who is running away from you. And that does not seem like a lot of fun. For millennia, society has always pushed forward the idea that it is a man’s duty to chase after the woman of his desires, while it is up to the woman to pretend not to like him for a while, before she succumbs to him. Also preponderant are the narratives pushed forward by folktales through the years, of warriors who need to do the impossible, cross seven seas and seven rivers in order to win a fair maiden who is the object of every man’s desire both far and near.
I think it is unwise to chase after a woman for the following reasons:
- The Times Have Changed
The silence and faux docility of our Mothers is slowly becoming a relic of a bygone age. The girl child has, through the effect of feminism, globalization and its concomitant effects, has begun to manifest and vocally express her desire and her taste in men. As such, it is hard to surmise in any way that women are too bashful to indicate interest in a man they want. If she’s not reacting positively toward your advances, chances are she just doesn’t like you.
- 2. You don’t go after someone who’s running away!
Excuse the exclamation mark, (it was put there for dramatic purposes, surely you understand) but when you indicate interest in a lady who’s looking for the next available escape route when you’re with her, then it is wise to scram. Except a miracle happens, you are going to be nothing but a pest. There’s a very thin line between Desire and Desperation. Learn to know which is which. The moment you give her the impression that your life depends on her response to your proposition, then you probably have unlocked a “Mugu” file in her head. Get ready to do all sorts of funny things to prove your love for her, and get ready at the end for some heart-wrenching “it’s not you, it’s me” monologues.
- 3. …As it was in the beginning…
Now let’s say you finally “catch” her after months of “chasing”, the consequence of chasing which was unknown to you is that in that relationship, you are the one who’s expected to make most of the effort, if not all. That can be such a drag, as it can sap the life force out of you faster than a kid sucks the juice out of a Ribena paper can. When it’s just you rowing the boat (or the ship, as it’s called these days), you’d probably spend the rest of your time in that ill-fated relationship carrying a dead horse who’s twice your weight! By chasing her the way you have, you’ve put her on a pedestal, from which she will never come down, because as a general rule, As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end.
- 4. Discontent with the merchandise
Now now, don’t get the wrong idea. The first days of a relationship are mostly spent trying your partner for size and compatibility. Chances are, you as a male may not like what you saw from afar. The moment you start chasing, you start seeing things through tunnel vision, and all the red flags you should have noticed as a “bad, sharp guy” would have slipped by unseen. Now that you have gotten her, those red flags now loom larger than life, and in your face. Think of all the months you spent going after her. You probably may turn red with rage and regret, but most of it will be due to chasing after a non-existent image that your “prey” has created in your head(which is somewhat your fault: those are your thoughts man!). Chances are you’d drop her like hot coal, and there! You’re giving life to the “Men are Scum” narrative.
- 5. If she likes you enough, you’d know
Before you come for my head, take notice of the word “enough”. Yes, a girl may like you. In a convivial way. Like a brother. Like a best friend. (Girls, please supply us with the other zones you’ve created). She may even like you in a sexual way (A lot of you guys may say that’s best, but try being in love with a girl who just wants to get down). She may claim to like you, but would be hesitant to take definite action concerning your proposition, or indication of interest. I think that at this juncture, it is wise to feel flattered by the fact that she does LIKE you to a certain extent, but it is time to cut your losses and move on. Obstinacy at this point reeks of nothing but desperation. Girls smell it from a mile away. And it turns them off quicker than a cup of water quenches a candle flame.
Don’t get me wrong. I am no Joro or Steve Harvey, but I do know that someone who wants to be with you will surely meet you halfway. I feel it is wiser to save time and resources and look for someone who wants to be with you as you do. Energy is highly detectable. Someone who’s really into you will not waste time in acting accordingly when you approach her. It may seem too straight and categorical, but that’s just how I see it.
- 6. A woman is not your End Game
As much as a central part of our lives involves looking for a life partner, I think it’s time that we all realized and understood the fact that being with someone in a romantic way or in a marriage is not in and of itself an achievement. The best part is being with a friend who understands you and genuinely cares about your wellbeing, and who is kind. I do not think it is wise to veer off your path in order to chase after someone or be with someone. If you see someone you like, please show interest by all means. However, if that person requires you to go off your life trajectory in order to prove your love, it is wise to flee.
In the final analysis, we are the sources of our own happiness. No one can be the source of YOUR happiness except you. People can make you happy from time to time, but if you are not at peace with yourself and the world around you, please don’t go looking for someone’s daughter to ensnare. That would be most cruel.The Monk
Some of us chase after women because we are scared to be lonely. If that is the case, please sort yourself out first. Do not go looking for coconuts when you don’t have the means of breaking them. Siri, please play “Scared to be Lonely” by Dua Lipa.