The Experience

One of the great aspects about writing for Project 44 is the fact that we get to virtually interact with a lot of people; an exciting experience. Often times, we chat with Project 44 fans; mainly about the article of the week. So on this day, one of the fans had read a piece that caught her attention and she was telling me that at some point she thought she would never find love and when she was almost giving up, she met a pleasant dude; they have been dating for months and had started talking long-term plans. It got me thinking that actually contrary to popular belief, there are some good guys out there – I am already a convert but I was happy to be preached to – that even in the maze (Project 44 jargon for dating scene), there is some sanity.

So this fan asked me why we have never shared personal experiences on the blog. Well, this is a no-brainer; when you write for an audience that reads every week but remains anonymous, one does not know to what extent to talk/write about oneself. But her question got me thinking that if I were to share a personal experience, what would it be? It made me travel back in time, a journey that instantly got me smiling; and I decided to share it. I have to say that if you are looking for something epic, loaded with potent doses of advice, unfortunately this post does not bear that sort of gravitas but hope you will enjoy reading nevertheless.

I will leave the details of how we met out( how he ended up with my phone number etc) and start with the killer phone call which set the ball rolling. It was the previous week; I was in the car with my brother-in-law and my sister. My phone rang, I answered the call and what I heard left me breathless. “Hi Fridah, this is X.” My heart fibrillated, the kind of irregular beat that can get any cardiologist alarmed. But alas, I was alive, that baritone, that voice, that composure, that polished English; everything had conspired to get me absolutely smitten. When I got off the phone, I asked my bro-in-law to open the car windows; I was perspiring. I had said yes to a date (as if there was even a small possibility that I might say no ;)). So the day arrives, I am running errands with my sister; she is driving and I am sitting next to her looking at myself in the mirror, wondering if I look up to this meet. I ask for anti-shine because I think I need to close up the pores to stop sweating. She gives me lip gloss too, I do some touches here and there and as far as I look, the date is set! But my sister is wondering what has hit me because she has never seen me prepare for a date like this. She has a look that says ‘I am very curious and kind of concerned here’ ;).

I drop off and walk to my date venue. The setting is Blancos restaurant at Yaya. The time is evening and the month is August – let us leave the year out. I arrived early and from where I sat at Blancos, I could see the traffic had started building up. I thought to myself that he was going to be late and I was going to be quite cross – I cannot deal with people who do not keep time. So I sip on my glass of juice and when I have just cooled off, my phone rings. He is calling to say that he is around the corner and that I should not be worried – that baritone again. Jesus! What a refined voice, just the voice got my big toe cold; it kind of gave me what medics call a ‘Babinski sign’ (blush and grin). After a few minutes (he actually did not have to call because he was pulling into the parking lot), he appeared, I was glad I was sitted because I went weak – I swear I have no idea what was happening to me that August. A lot of instincts were awakened; here he was in his full grandeur, walking grandly, looking absolutely smashing – and he knew it. I felt a bit under-dressed but I did not want to look like I had ‘worked on it’ too much. (You know when your job involves jeans and t-shirts and then you appear in the city and have to do heels and the works, it can be a bummer) .

He walks towards me, and breaks into a smile. I melt. I stand up and give him a peck; he pulls my chair for me to sit. I am surprised but I do not show it. This guy is a public figure so this place turned out just perfect because it was not busy; the proprietor of Blancos knows him, they exchange pleasantries and we settle down to talk. All this time I am looking at him, acting completely composed although deep inside, I was like an ice-cube under a Bunsen burner – melting.

So we sat there, sipped juice, chatted away into a cool evening. We ordered dinner and continued chatting the evening away. Nothing specific, general stuff about life. He was a good listener, very good. His public profile had not gotten to his head – he was not self absorbed – and if he was, it did not show. I found this very attractive. But even more attractive was the way he listened and asked questions. We genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. As with all things in life, this date had to come to an end. It was time to drive me home and of course I made sure that I introduced him to my siblings. They understood why I was perspiring and why I needed anti-shine – he made quite an impression on them too.

What followed were a series of dates, which catapulted me to into this world of chivalry; where men pull chairs out for their women, take your coat when you arrive at the restaurant, help you when you reach out for your shawl to shield from a cold breeze and even more fascinating, open the car door for you! I mean a guy drives you, pulls up to park, tells you he is on his way to open the car door – this takes patience. I had told you that I was not about to convey some ground breaking news here. The news is that it reminded me that there is a little girl (and little boys too!) in most of us that are looking to be treated as kings and queens; we desire to live life, and enjoy it to the fullness, with its little nice surprises.

Now share your experience, won’t you? And have a great week!

By Fridah

Of Waters Running Dry

There is a saying that goes you don’t miss the water until the well runs dry. There’s even a song that pleads for a relationship not to fall into a similar quandary. If you rummage through the many arenas where relationship questions are asked, you will not be surprised to find the queries that go like this: ‘my ex wants to get back together, should I say yes?’ This is a typical reaction to the dilemma when a relationship had been brought to an end and one of the parties is looking to resuscitate the relationship. Now, I am all for keeping hope alive but I believe there is another facet to this dilemma, one where the question goes like this –‘why does s/he want to get back with me? Why now? What has changed?’ There goes that word again! CHANGE!

Sometimes a relationship can end very abruptly and other times, it just drags into a lull, and the reasons for this vary from one relationship to another. These very reasons later on become the determinants of whether ‘resuscitation’ is possible or whether a broken relationship will be considered ‘been-there-done-that-won’t-go-back’.

In this technology enabled era, there is no hiding from an ex or from someone you feel the need to distance yourself from: sms, IM, calls, Facebook, Twitter, name it. This can be a real bummer when you’ve pulled yourself together, decided to cut your losses, move on with life and find the next Eve or Adam who will sweep you to the nimbus experience. The other dilemma is usually that one does not want to come across as though they are begrudging the other person because the relationship ended. So, one is torn between responding to communication and just outrightly ignoring it. Even as the advances from an ex go on, it is worth noting that you loved this person enough to be with them and there is the temptation to get back to the known than venturing into the unknown. However, even amid this confusion, one is bound to ask that question – WHY?

Now, many a person will wager that one of the main reasons that an ex wants to come back is that they want a bit of that s’thing s’thing, especially if s/he’s calling you way after the sun has set. You know what  I mean ;). If Adam or Eve has been getting some good lovin’, then they are bound to come back for a dose of that. So Adam (yes, this applies mostly to Adams) may swallow his pride, accept his prejudice against the unknown pots of honey and crawl back, OK come back, knocking.

Outside of this simplistic, nay biological deduction, there may be other reasons why people would want to get back together with their exes. I am inclined to think, and there is a slim chance that I may be wrong ;), that if an ex wants to get back with you soon after breaking up, it may be that she or he has realized what a mistake it was letting the relationship and you go and genuinely wants to get the derailed relationship back on track. If she or he calls after a month or even longer, you may well be suspicious of the motives and the genuine factor will be somewhat watered down.

I may also be inclined to think that after the break up, she or he has scouted what were seemingly greener pastures out there and after much comparison, came to the conclusion that what they had going on was preferable to the not-so-green-pastures. For some that would come as a form of compliment but for others this may not necessarily work. Now, the only way to find out which of these inclinations would be true would be to entertain some form of dialogue between both parties. Although it is well-publicized that most Adams do not like ‘the talk’, I think this would be one occasion where Adam would have to talk it out because things need to be heard, told and explained. Adam and Eve would need to listen, contemplate and then decide: whether to continue the search for another nimbus experience or to let the ex back into your life. If the search continues, then try to let go of the past – it is the past for a reason.

Taking a step a couple of paragraphs back, I have to say that the very tricky situations are those where one party took the presumably humble path and ended the relationship on the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ note. If you are the one who ended the relationship and said that the issue ‘was you’, you basically put any hope of resuscitation out on the line to dry and it is hard to fathom how the situation can be salvaged – you will still be you.

In the event that you consider all and decide to let your ex back into your life, there are some pieces of advice that you need to take. Be sure you know what you want and lay it out (and I don’t mean between the sheets ;)). Keep your eyes wide open – don’t take for granted that things will change, you have to watch out for them. It means both parties might have promises to keep and that things will need to change if the relationship is to move forward.

Have your say.

By Joyce

Of Desire: Going Back to the Basics


Genesis 3:16

The recipe for successful marriages is simple really if you thought about it. If you are someone inclined to consult your Bible for the regular piece of advice then you do realize that happy marriages are hinged on a command; two commands actually. ‘Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord…Husbands love your wives, even as Christ loved the church…’ goes the twin commands.

Understanding why an Eve has to be commanded to submit to Adam and why an Adam has to be commanded to love Eve will quite evidently unlock the tangle of unworkable unions between Adams and Eves. Getting this, I repeat is the key to working out formula for marital bliss. All else would be unworkable props and disappointing contrivances that never will settle the marriage conundrum.

As an Adam, I pretty know much how loving Eve day in, day out (and maybe you could add night in, night out) is quite the fender-bender. It is no-brainer that Eves love strongly and when they love they love unto death. And so for them the issue of loving Adam is not much of a concern. The issue for Eve would be the attaining a measure of self-willed submission to the Adam in her life. Not many an Eve can hack it. And therein the battle of sexes is wrought for no Adam will love an Eve who won’t submit and no Eve will submit to an Adam who can’t love.

This is a treatise that attempts to address the thorny issues of women’s role in the current zeitgeist of radical feminism that is pushing for a ruinous chimera called equality of the sexes.

The lie has been peddled long enough that Eves are inferior to Adams but evident truths available discount this fallacy: womenfolk have scaled the heights of academia and career, politics and leadership – all with a panache that would smash to smithereens the stolid insinuations about their supposed inferiority. But that’s just about where the fun ends because diverse events indicate that Eves would rather stretch their progress to the hilt in an attempt to negate the role of Adams. Babes, you all have come along way, but there are just some shores you can’t step onto. Shores, like the kind we’ll be discussing in a jiffy.

Genesis Chapter 3 is probably the saddest chapter in the whole Bible. After the first couple on earth got an upbraiding for their misdeed, it was time for some consequences to be spelt out.

Untamable spirit ;)?

Untamable spirit? 😉

Painful labour was appointed for Eve, but on top of that something was added which essentially became the genetic make-up of many woman alive – an untamable spirit. Simply put: God cursed womenfolk to ever desire to exercise domination of men. It began from the moment Eve chose not to follow Adam’s instructions on the tree in the middle of the garden and allowing the ‘substil’ serpent make her believe that consultation with Adam wasn’t such a great deal. Next was her ability to inveigle Adam into partaking of the fruits. The putative ‘strength of a woman’ began right in the Garden of Eden.

And he shall rule over thee became Adam’s imprimatur (license) to ‘sit’ on Eve. And that is how negative patriarchy gained a foothold in the psyche of mankind ever since. You see, as God read out the sentence to the two ingrates, Adam was all ears and it became painfully clear that the fact that for allowing the woman to be the source of his fall the slate wasn’t cleared with the expulsion from Eden. Eve would be a thorn in the flesh for many, many, many years to come. The forbidden fruit was just the harbinger of feminine intransigence.

History is replete with the vicious and horrendous subjugation that women were subjected to. Women simply had no rights in most of the primitive cultures that cropped up after the fall of man and subsequent expulsion from the Edenian idyll. No culture can be said to have honoured the role of the woman. Save, for the occasional appearance of some Woman of Substance in the annals of history who either by sheer courage or matrimony managed to change the course of history, the role of women in the vast ages of recorded history is one of heart-rending suffering. The overweening influence of patriarchy and the priapic exuberance in the exaggerated role of the male all played a hand in the denigration women. All cultures without exception are guilty of this sin. The original Adam must have really rammed the message home. The women’s lot was headed for its scary run unhindered until the message of Christianity captured the hearts of men.

Cleopatra: Woman of Substance

Of a truth, Christianity has worked the main part in liberating women from the shackles of inanely inspired quest for male-dominance and as well as the silly prerogatives of patriarchy which were mainly inspired by fear rather than by the need for healthy congress of the sexes. As the gospel traveled the world, women began to enjoy the freedom which men, freed from the yoke of sin and the sense of entitlements that made them think that women were but fair game to male superiority, extended to them.

With time the liberties granted to women enabled them to make much so headway in the important sectors of the society which enabled them to bargain for more and more concessions from men. These concessions however led to other stuff more diabolical than the subjugation of women- the emasculation of man.

All over the world today women are taking over the reigns of all spheres of leadership and governance. This takeover is accompanied with much belligerence and the noisome natters that insinuate that men have largely been ineffectual in carrying out their mandates. In politics, churches, industries and boardrooms (and sadly even in bedrooms) women are being touted as better leaders.

The solution lies with the twin commands I pointed up there. However, the woman who wants a successful marriage will l require a marked understanding of the biblical role of an Eve and an Adam as is explained very well  in 1 Peter 3:1-7 and everywhere else in the Bible with the emphasis on man’s headship.

Those who reject wisdom are bound to suffer for it. The wisdom of the world pushes for gung-ho woman in all spheres. Wisdom from above calls for Eves who are willing and are ready to submit the Adams in their lives. It is designed to work that way and anything else will not probably work. So, what will the Adams and Eves reading this have? Love and submission or arguments and counter arguments?

Going back to the basics is that simple.

Have your say.

By Dinky Boy – Guest Writer

Maturity

That relationships are complex to deal with is no news at all. That Eve and Adam often perceive an issue surrounding a relationship very differently is not new either. Depending on what it is -Eve and Adam will see a “3D version” of the same issue but perceive it differently. May I also add that all relationships go through various phases very differently and Adam and Eve’s character traits are as varied as relationships? And well aware of this, a buddy asked me what the mark of maturity in a relationship is/how you would tell that an Adam or Eve is mature in matters relationships.

Most of us who have been around for a couple of decades (and more ;)) and have been in relationships, both good and bad, can bear out to the fact that it might not be easy to define maturity in a relationship – because what can appear to be perfectly mature for one person could be the height of juvenile behavior for another. Due to all these reasons, and having been in relationships where I probably exhibited ‘immature’ moves, yours truly is finding it hard to step into this role and roll out a piece on maturity – but while we live, we scribble, so here we go :).

Maturity is the ability to sacrifice and give up selfish ways affirming that it is not about ‘me’ but ‘us’. It is at this level that you continuously seek to understand your significant other. Maturity is being sensitive to the other person’s wants and needs.

Maturity is loving yourself enough to stay away from hurtful and demeaning people (Eves or Adams in this case), being sure of yourself, appreciating that you are an individual; a complete individual who does not need someone to complete them – mature people are confident people.

Maturity means consistency – enough said.

Maturity is being sure about what you want, in your life, because only then can you be in a position to articulate how the other person fits in your own life or recognize that she.he does not fit and take the necessary steps 😦

Maturity is recognizing that yes you are in a relationship but you are indeed not Siamese twins, neither do you own the other person. Within the limits of reality and respect for the relationship …allow the other person to dream, pursue (dreams that is) and be their own person. Maturity asks you to desist from being manipulative and controlling.

Maturity means refraining from changing the other person – if you do not like them enough the way they are, move on and stop trying to ‘panel beat’ or overhaul them; of course there are things (mannerisms, habits even values etc) that you can attempt to change/ ‘instill’ but be alive to the fact that they might not change and be mature enough to know if you can still remain sane experiencing  everyday with them  for as long as you shall live (sounds like a threat  ( smile).

Maturity is the ability to let go of a relationship, whether you are the one who is calling it off or your significant other feels the need for a breather. Maturity means that you do not hurl insults at them, you do not become bitter; you lick your wounds and look to the future with confidence, yes with confidence (may I add that in moments like these, when the ego is beat up, this confidence does not make sense? I mean how are you supposed to be confident when someone else just made you feel like ‘you are not all that’? Time heals:).

Maturity is when you can express your feelings, especially wounded feelings and still remain with your dignity intact. If the other person chooses the low road (that murky road that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy) you recognize it for what it is and choose the higher road.

Maturity means that you know your role in the relationship – for the sake of ensuring that I do not get lynched here, I will not split the roles of doing dishes, cooking and paying rent; let’s just say know your role and execute it for it is a mark of maturity. Yeah, I know; I know the roles change, sometimes they are controversial and often times they might come across as ‘reversed’ but they remain – maturity means you know yours, own it even 🙂 – because mature people are responsible people.

Maturity is knowing that the person you are with will not be the same in years to come, we are all bound to change, the way we think and feel and act – because we are dynamic. Know your mate, love them, care for them, seek to make them happy without compromising who you are and yeah, prepare for change – good or bad. It is life.

And finally mature people know that these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Mature people love- in the true sense of the word!

Have your say!

By Fridah

The F Word

I recently read a quote that said that a good marriage is a union of two forgivers. When mirrored in reverse, it crossed my mind that a good marriage or relationship will have its low moments and so will other kinds of relationships we have in life. Often times, we could be the cause of these low moments. Unless of course you are romantically entangled with a saint or you are about to be elevated to living sainthood yourself 😉 it is difficult to escape the drama that characterizes relationships – some trivial, some dramatic and some stormy – we are talking drama that feels like hurricanes and gale force winds here – hurtful, offensive or even downright betrayal and one is bound to ask whether they will be able to forgive the other party in the relationship.

This can range from small misunderstandings, forgotten or broken promises to such heavy issues such as infidelity and abuse. Those are on their own level and in many instances, forgiveness is hard to reach and even when it is reached, forgetting is almost usually impossible and relationships wounded by such misdeeds might stand little chance of ‘CPR’! Specialized intervention may be required. 

Looking at the ‘pettier’ issues, a lot of energy in relationships is spent mulling over the lighter misunderstandings. Depending on the personality of Eve or Adam, some people may spend a lot of time thinking about how they have been wronged, trying to seek an apology, playing victim or planning vengeful reactions; other people may just file it away only to use to settle scores months or years later.

How we react to those smaller low moments can make a major difference to whether/on how a relationship grows (or gets stunted :)). Forgiveness is sometimes perceived as a form of weakness, giving in or not being able to stand up for yourself and make your point. The truth is that, when it comes to the smaller issues, forgiveness gives a relationship what a graft may give a rootstock stem – a new beginning through the art of propagation. However, special conditions should apply; as plants would need certain conditions for fruitful propagation, so would forgiveness. This doesn’t mean that forgiveness should be done with conditions but rather it is to say that forgiveness is not an act of blindly resolving issues that bedevil a relationship.

It is important to acknowledge that if you have been offended, you are allowed to be upset; it is a human reaction for real flesh and blood Eves and Adams. As hard as it may seem to comprehend or believe, people get upset in relationships and because they assume that the other party should be able to see through their emotions (isn’t it obvious to him/her? :)), they don’t communicate how let down or disappointed they may be.  Anger is not a dish best served fermented. Communicating how you have been upset is important and part of dealing with it. How you communicate can make a whole lot of difference. Yes, sometimes one can fly off the handle and say things in the heat of the moment – we all react differently but it is wise to remember that once words fly out and the other party hears them, you can’t reel them back in. Some milk may be spilt.

Hell freezes over

Forgiving doesn’t come easy; the aggrieved party may see this as a carte blanche to err and may be worried that this may form a negative pattern in the relationship – no one wants to be seen as a doormat.

One of the simple and great benefits of forgiveness is that gives you the opportunity to move on. It doesn’t mean that you will let go easily; it doesn’t mean that the difficult emotions will be wiped out; it just means that the relationship is given renewed chances. Or that opportunities for new relationships can be explored.

Forgiveness starts with you.

By Joyce