demiandashton

“Seriously? So I have been talking to my younger brother since? Taaah!! What is my head even doing on your shoulder sef? C’mon, get away, before they say I’m doing child abuse.”

Ouch!

All because she had discovered my age. Yes, she was older than I was, and her tone had changed all of a sudden. It had been on a journey sometime in my early days as a National youth corps member, when I had found myself sitting next to this petite, light-complexioned lady. I don’t find it difficult to start conversations, and less than thirty minutes into the four-hour long journey, I had placed Ezinne in a state of “feeling the boy”. She had begun to lean on my shoulder, and her eyes began to scream something like “ask me out already!” That was until thirty minutes before the end of the journey (we happened to be heading to similar directions: she was a corps member as well, albeit of a senior batch), when her eyes came across my date of birth which was boldly crested on my NYSC identification card, the I.D card which I had unwittingly hung on my neck in the spirit of “Otondo”. What Ezinne saw happened to be a deal-breaker, and while I tried to defuse things by starting a light-hearted conversation about age gaps, the damage had been done, never mind that it was just a six-month difference. I still got an addition to my phonebook, but your guess is as good as mine in terms of her demeanour over the phone, or even how frequently she chose to pick the calls. How different things would have been if that I.D card had been in my pocket instead.

I have had my fair share of “see this small boy” encounters here and there, but that seemed to be the most painful, and since then, my pondering intensified as to what on earth the fuss is about age. Yes, this topic looks stale, as it looks like what I discussed on “Puppy Passions”. Well, I’m not talking about those feelings that crop up at adolescence, or the males that go with saggy bosoms and wrinkled thighs for the financial gains, or the ones who get into civil unions for the purpose of acquiring green cards, or the women who seek their sons’ contemporaries in a bid to feel attractive again. I’m talking of the young male adult who sees likeable qualities in a lady, but can’t step forward because he doesn’t want to be seen as wooing his elder sister. I’m also interested in the ones who can’t take their friendship to another level due to circumstances bordering on calendar, the lady who has bumped into her ideal guy but who doesn’t want to be called a “cradle robber”, as well as the odd case of James the bachelor whose heart is set on Mrs. Chinwe Martins. I want to clarify something lest people get certain ideas: I do not harbour a preference for older ladies! (Wait, why am I even making it sound like a syndrome?). I am not afraid of taking on issues like this headlong, but considering the way society perceives this, I decided to mix things up a little. Simply put, I decided to make an interview cum talk show out of the topic, and after many doors were slammed in my face, I finally got four people to help me with this.

evaandtony

(Before we continue, I’m going to add that the mood track for this piece is “Warn Yourself” by Omawunmi featuring Wizkid.)

Here today as guests on Chi’s Epistles, we’ve got Dr. Phil Akota, Barr. Eve Isichei (Miss), Mrs. Ann Onyekwere and Peter Ademu-Etteh Esq.

Thanks for showing up guys. Well to save time and save the “viewers” from getting bored, I’ll go straight to why we are here. The question is, what would you do if you found a male friend of yours in love with an older lady, probably even a married one? What do you think of such a situation? Is it one you would wish for anyone? Is it abnormal for 28-year-old Gina to fall for 23-year-old Fred? I pride myself on being a gentleman, so I’d start with the appropriate gender.

EVE

I don’t think a man should get emotionally entangled with an older married lady, she would be breaking her vows, and the younger guy would be aiding and abetting a violation of God’s Word. Yes, I am a Christian and I just can’t divorce Scripture in airing my views. Well if they are both single, what is important is not the speculation of third parties but the understanding between the two parties directly involved. If my sister says that she’s in love with a younger guy, I couldn’t be bothered as long as they are both happy.

CHI: How about you? If a 19-year-old whose age range you can perceive walks up to you, professing love and all that, what would you do?

EVE: Me? Honestly, I don’t know…. *makes shy face*

(Mrs. Onyekwere is a bit “camera shy”, so I beckon on Phil to lend his thoughts while she tries to gain her composure)

PHIL

Well for one, society frowns at the idea. Then again, I don’t get the concept of a young man falling for a much older woman. Personally, I think it seems fake. Maybe it’s because of what we see on TV these days, or the crazy things our celebrities love to do, I mean, imagine Peter Okoye and Lola Omotayo, or Kaffy and that guy. And as for those women who go for younger males, I think it’s just for the fact that they like “the good stuff”. I mean, the guy would probably serve her better “down there”.

peterandlola

CHI: Would you like Helen (Phil’s sister) dating a younger man?

PHIL: I’d find it really embarrassing, but then, it’s her life, right?

(And…..Mrs. Camera Shy is finally ready to speak)

ANN

I would not wish the situation for anyone. Personally, even if I were single and a younger male came to tell me about being in love, I wouldn’t let my mind drift even close to attempting to believe him. In terms of a married woman, such a young man is probably in Lust and not Love, and that’s besides the spiritual point of view; God wouldn’t like that. Yea, ‘loving’ an older married lady is a sin.

Even when the lady is single, I’d like to think that such a feeling flowing from the younger male is a case of Emotion over Logic. No, it’s not exactly an abnormality, but then their parents would definitely have a say in the relationship down the line, especially if marriage is on the cards. I’m not sure it would be a pleasant situation, considering societal perspectives.

44883532

PETER

First of all, I want to thank you for the invitation, Chi.

Well, most of the girls I’ve been in love with were older by 3 years on average, and that did not change anything. Perhaps they acted more mature than girls my age so it was easier to relate with them. However, they mostly cited age as an excuse why we couldn’t be together; I’m not going to fault them for that.

Women who go for younger folk are adventurous. They love the bon vivant, joiyeux nature of the boys. It looks like they have given up on finding love with “Men”. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong when the gap is negligible (for me that window closes at 3 years, for obvious reasons.)

I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, because it’s terrible to swim out with the tide, only to be washed ashore on a deserted island with a boat that can’t support your weight…..ok, enough of the grammar. Simply put, most girls would ditch the younger guy once a serious-looking prospect arrives. Married women? Nah. For me, every moist, mushy feeling disappears upon sighting the wedding ring gleaming proudly on her finger.

The reason some of us guys get mixed up with older ladies is because we went to school early. When you consider the average age of the ladies in our classes from the university days, you’ll find that they were 3-4 years older than we were. (I’m saying this because our host here knows a lot about being one of the younger calves in the herd.) But did it feel unnatural to like them? No! As long as you have connected on an intellectual and emotional level, physical age disparity begins to fade into obscurity.

CHI

Yes, yes, I know some of us have a thing or two to say about these views, but my guests are busy people and they would need to hit the road real soon, so I’ll just add my own two kobo on this matter so we don’t start yawning (if some haven’t begun to do that already.) I promise to create an avenue for fans to react at the end of the show.

Somehow, I often manage to find myself strolling past gossip circles, and more than once I’ve heard ladies say things like “if only he were a bit older” or “hian, shoe get size na”. I’ve also been guilty of discouraging myself from making moves, no thanks to the fence called Age, but now I think I know better. True, Society has a way of putting us in certain boxes, but for how long are we going to remain in those boxes and lose out on what we want? If Charles has all the qualities which Chioma desires in a man, should she brush him aside just because the calendar seems to be unkind? It’s not his fault that he has grown fast; let’s not make it sound like it’s a crime to be young.

Trust me, there are young men who mature way beyond their years, so writing a guy off just because you began to walk before he did may come back to haunt you; you may find out that you discarded your perfect match. Yeah yeah, women age fast, it’s true, but there’s a lot more to relationships than just physical appearance. If I must kiss and tell, the most stable of my past love journeys was one with an older lady…*grins*. Then again, not all relationships lead to marriage, but the younger man could yet learn about life and love from the older lady he falls for, so such a relationship is not an entirely wasteful venture. As for the odd case of yearning for the Mrs, I’d say they shouldn’t violate the sanctity of marriage, but then she shouldn’t completely tell him off. They could sit down, have a honest conversation about it, and even become best of friends.

So I say, lover boy, don’t be shy, walk up to that your elder sister’s best friend, that intelligent lady who is one year ahead of you in school, or that senior colleague at the office, and say exactly how you feel. For the ladies, in the end it’s your happiness and desires that are most important, so don’t feel like a cradle robber just because you’re feeling the boy.

Hey guests, thanks for coming, and a lovely week ahead to you. And for our lovely ‘audience’, it’s bye for now.

*watches guests leave, makes sure they are out of sight and hearing, tries to dial Ezinne*.

(About the Guests):

Dr. Phil Akota is a medical practitioner who plies his trade at the University of Benin, with surgery as his specialty. He is also skilled with the pencil and paintbrush.

Eve Isichei is a legal practitioner who is based in Lagos. She loves travelling, has a huge liking for novels, and is not shy about her Christian faith, particularly in matters involving relationships and sexuality.

Mrs. Ann Onyekwere holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Statistics from one of Nigeria’s foremost federal universities. A fashion designer as well, she’s married with three children.

Peter Ademu-Etteh Esq. is a legal practitioner, as well as a writer and a part-time photographer. Adept in technology and skilled with the guitar, Peter is also part of a gospel rock band, which is currently on a hiatus. You can catch up with his thoughts at http://ohpeter.com