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Her first love

How many times have you heard men say women are mean and wicked and faithless and well, necessary evil? Every day, every hour? I have lost count. In fact, I have stopped counting. Who cares about their ignorant assessment? Most of the time, what men have to say about women is just boring, but once in a while, like today, it irks me enough to want to talk about it.
It all starts when a girl starts filling out and every boy within shouting distance wants to feel her out. Men, they have been bad since they were boys but girls were good until the boys discovered them. Here's how. When a girl falls in love, she falls totally, irredeemably. She'll do anything for the boy. She believes everything the boy tells her even when the boy means nothing or didn't even think before opening his mouth. She goes about with dreamy eyes. There's a lilt to her feet and a tilt to her head.
In most cases she loses concentration in class. Even when she looks like she is doing some serious studying at 'prep', she's writing a love note or doodling on the back of her biology notebook. There will also be this smile you can't describe on her face. These days they giggle while pinging when they should be helping in the kitchen or at least doing their assignments.

A girl in love for the first time is an all time fool. If you have doubts, ask why male 'corpers' leave behind many seeds of their indiscretion after the one-year mandatory national service. The blokes spend more time serving under the skirts of the unsuspecting sweet 16-year-olds than at the places of their primary assignments. The way they dig successfully in the wrong places every year is amazing. Imagine this, a corper is deployed to a community to teach or work at the local health centre but he dispenses the wrong bottles and bottles of syrup, and then sneaks away in the middle of the night.
The corper teacher burrows in forbidden holes, rummages in between in the legs of innocent teenagers and leaves the 'fruits of his labour' unclaimed behind. Yet the following year, a new set of rampaging rascals arrive in their green khaki and white NYSC shirts and the girls still fall for the time-worn lies. Is it something about first time love? No, it's something about lying being in men's DNA and foolishness in women's genes. The difference is women get over the foolishness but men nurture their lies and groom it into an art. But the lying ways of men is not my primary assignment today.

It is the number of teenagers being fooled and told Mills and Boon stories this very minute that is my point here. Somewhere, even as I write this, a teenager is being convinced to forget everything her mother taught her by a swindling bloke. She is being told that condoms are for men who can't control themselves and how he will withdraw before he drops his load.
Trouble is, he will drop that load, she will get pregnant and he will deny responsibility. He will then proceed to rub salt into her wounds either by asking, 'How many times did we do it?' or 'am I the only one you are sleeping with? The most saddening part is that some girls went through this routine last year, some are falling for the same emotional 419 right now and more will fall next year. It's a lying-dude-foolish-girl musical chair. Every mother owes her daughter a duty of a very long explanation because all mothers were once dreamy-eyed teenagers and know the routine. Before we go on, let us say a little prayer to ask God to forgive all men who left behind unclaimed fruits of their labour during their NYSC year.

May the Almighty have mercy on their rascally souls. Amen. Let's move on. When her mother sends her on errand, she makes time to see 'her love' and returns home late with a bowl of lies to cover her tracks. She stops over on her way to the library, market, school and even church programmes to see him. Don't be shocked at the church part, just keep an eye on your daughter and that choir practice routine. She may have fallen in love with one boy in church. Did you say she's just fervent for God? Ah, good luck with that.
I remember a friend who did one of the most foolish things a girl in love for the first time could do. Moji was 17 when she fell in love with Gbade. Gbade was 21 and was in what we called Upper Six A'Levels then. He was born in Britain but his parents brought him back to Nigeria when he was 11. However, he wanted to return to Britain by all means but his parents were already doing well here. He made some complicated plans with which he convinced Moji to help with funds to buy his ticket. He promised Moji he would do everything to take her over to join him abroad.

All she had to do was believe in him. He loved her so much. Moji believed every lying line and was convinced that she was investing in their future. Oh, I didn't tell you what she invested? Her mother's jewellery box and all the fullness therein. Yeah. The old woman almost had a heart attack. Moji's father almost disowned her. Gbade travelled and for a while, the lovebirds exchanged love letters ( those were the days before facebook, blackberry and pinging) until the purple prose from Gbade, the Londoner dwindled to a halt. And Moji's world shattered into smithereens.
She couldn't believe Gbade could dump her. She thought at first it was post office problem. Then she decided that he was ill. But Gbade's sisters were in touch with their brother. The lover boy had simply moved on, found more voluptuous bosom to rest his lying head on. The shame was unspeakable, the pain horrendous. Moji went to hell and back. I watched my friend fade away. She flunked two of her courses in our first year in the university but that was the wake-up call that brought her back to earth. She gradually recovered but love for her never had the same meaning after Gbade.

A man's promise became a huge joke. She became mean to men and for a long time I saw her punish many men for Gbade's sins. Moji finally recovered. She is happily married today but her journey between Gbade and marriage is a full book. My point? Most girls don't start out with cheating, two-timing in mind. They wear rose-tinted glasses and love with all their hearts. They believe what the boys tell them until they are forced to put their hearts in the freezer and begin to love with their heads. That's when love becomes a dangerous game and men find out that girls learn quickly and are better equipped to win more gold medals at the love Olympics.

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