(*Could also be referred to as:
- The men I never dated – Jealous sister edition
- The men I never dated – “Pride goes before a fall” edition
- The men I never dated – Life is just not fair edition)
When I mentioned that Iâ€™d be going to Nigeria, a few friends asked me if I thought I was going to meet a dashing Nigerian man who would sweep me off my feet. I told them that this was unlikely to happen and even if it did, living over 8500 kilometres apart, a distance that includes two small bodies of water (also known as the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea), would tend to put a wrench in our plans of you know, going on dates.
Iâ€™m sure I said this in a very matter of fact and practical way, but deep down I did hope that Iâ€™d come back with a tale of romance to tell.
Well I didnâ€™t, but my sister has a tale. Now why would I be sharing the story of my sister’s romance? Because it happens to be a new installment to one of my favourite features of this blog, The Men I Never Dated (tmind). If you have some time on your hands, you should go and read those entries. But here’s today’s story:
Seven years ago, when my sister was last in Nigeria, she and our second cousin, Biola (who is one year older than my sis and one year younger than I) made a sort of pact that they would meet again for one of their weddings. Well Biola chose 2008 for her wedding and that was one of the reasons we went to Nigeria when we did (the other reason was to celebrate with my grandmother, as explained here).
A few days into our stay, Biola, her fiancÃ© and her brother took my sis and I out for suya and drinks at a cool patio. While drinking our Smirnoff Ices and waiting for the suya to be ready, the groom to be, Michael, told us he was going to call his friend who wanted to “meet us”. We spoke to him and he seemed very cool: just a normal guy who seemed to have a good sense of humour and was generally easy going.
When we got home that evening, my sister and I compared notes on him: we thought he sounded like he was a big guy, which might be funny to some of you but since my sister and I do not seem to have inherited the familial gene that makes us less than 5’4 and quite slender, we tend to go for guys who are tall and who have some meat on their bones rather than the skinny fellows. I guess we based our conclusion solely on his voice and the way his laugh seemed to come from deep down within him.
Anyway, this guy, let’s call him Tunde, somehow got the number of the cell phone we were using in Nigeria, and would call us pretty much daily, just asking us how we were enjoying the city and our time in Nigeria generally. This went on for about a week and a half, until we met him in person. I was in charge of the phone, so I’d usually talk to him first, then he’d speak to my sister and often my mom as well. While hanging out with my cousin Biola one evening, I told her that I thought Tunde appeared interested in my sister, but she said as far as she was aware, he wasn’t sure who he was interested in, and we’d see how things went when we met him at her wedding. When I combined this information with the fact that he and I seemed to click on the phone, and had good conversations, I thought that Tunde might be a really interesting fellow to get to know.
We didn’t see him until the wedding, and I can’t remember now who introduced us finally, but both of us met him and thought he was cool in person. We didn’t really get a chance to talk to him much during the wedding reception, but the groom’s parents were planning an after party, so Tunde literally begged us to please come, as he was leaving the next day. Anyhow, I got the vibe that it was my sister who appealed more to him so I pretty much did my part to throw them together and stand back.
But the thing is, I had sort of started to fancy him. I wanted him to like me too, but I was so sure that if given the choice between my sister and I, the average guy would pick my sister that I totally acted like I was a matchmaking mother and worked on giving them as much time together as possible. When we arrived at the after party, Tunde took us out for suya and drinks, so we could get to know each other better without so many others around. I made sure my sister was sitting beside him in the backseat, while I sat in front with the cousin who was driving us. And at the suya place, I made sure they were sitting together (although in my opinion, he would have made sure that happened anyway).
But I won’t lie: while a matchmaking mother would not have felt any jealousy and envy, or felt her self esteem plummet as she was completely ignored, I did. And that led to some uncomfortable moments between my sister and I later, because she couldn’t understand why I was upset (especially when I was encouraging them to get to know each other), and I didn’t want to talk about how my pride was hurt because I wasn’t “picked”. It seemed so unfair: I was the one with a genuine interest in Nigeria (language, culture, slang, etc), who was interested in marrying a Nigerian guy, while my sister was less particular about the nationality of the guy she’d date.
The after party was one of the longest nights of my life: many of the party goers I knew and could have talked to, other than my sister and Tunde, had been in the wedding party and were exhausted, and were sleeping anywhere they could. The other friends were outside dancing the night away (the music was awesome), but I didn’t know them. Nevertheless, as Tunde sat beside my sister trying to get her know her better, I tried to amuse myself with strangers, and generally stay out of their way. When I got sick of dancing outside, I returned inside to where they were cozily chatting, and sat a bit apart from them to give them privacy and tried not to look bored out of my mind. It was an all night party and finally when our cousin woke up at around 5 in the morning, we were able to get a drive home.
All my life I’ve always said that I don’t want someone who doesn’t want me, but knowing and believing that is not a guarantee that you won’t feel like crap. I fully wallowed in that feeling. There were quite a number of tense and awkward moments between my sister and I. I no longer felt comfortable talking to Tunde, and it was always clear that when I picked up the phone he wanted to talk to my sister (though he was still the same nice, teasing and jovial person with me). So very soon after our cousin’s wedding, my sister became in charge of handling the cell phone. And Tunde called her constantly, or she’d be calling him. And they would be sending text messages. And with every ring of the phone or buzz to indicate the receipt of a text message, I felt worse. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, once they knew which sister he was interested in, family members were constantly asking my sister if she had talked to him that day, and how things were going and what she thought of him. They had totally set the two of them up, it seems, from the first time we talked to Tunde. Our great aunt was only too happy to give my mom details about his family and assure her that this guy was a great guy. Our cousin Biola also told us how he’s the best guy they could have ever asked to be her husband’s best man. I can’t lie and pretend I was totally cool with everything and worthy of the prize of world’s best sister during this time, because I really, really wasn’t.
Tunde is currently working about eight hours away from where we were staying, so we only saw him that one time. However, he was working close to Abuja, and we had planned to go to Abuja to see the capital city, so there was a chance that we could meet him while we were there. A number of us were supposed to go, but the others ended up deciding not to go. Tunde begged my sister and I to still come on our own, but I just couldn’t do it: the thought of being the third wheel for a weekend while Tunde and my sister tried to pretend they were glad that I was encroaching on their only time together was too much for me to deal with, and I told my sister this. Also, our family was not keen about the idea of the two of us, completely unfamiliar with any of the area we’d be traveling through, getting into a public transportation vehicle for five or six hours, and I don’t blame them. So that meant we never saw him again, but he totally understood.
So now we’re back in North America, and things are pretty much the same between my sister and Tunde as they were in Nigeria. They talk nearly every day, and send emails to each other too. When she didn’t hear from him one day recently, she was worried that he may have come to some harm (especially since he’s in the North). She likes him. They’re taking things slowly, and are not officially dating (though I know he wants to). We’ll see if things change soon.
And what about me? I’m happy for them, and I want things to work out in the best way possible for them both. He seems like a fantastic guy, and they seem compatible from what I saw, and seeing my sister who isn’t big on talking on the phone having a reason to use the phone almost daily makes me think there may be something special going on between them.
We’ll see what happens! In the meantime, I’m on the lookout for some frogs to kiss.
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