Normally, I only tell a few friends when I first start dating, it then transfers to the blog once the shit hits the fan and I am going through the 5 stages of grief. This time though, I’m sharing this with you guys because that’s the reason why I started this blog. That is, to share my whole experience of life as a British girl in Ghana.
After resigning myself to the fact that I will not get anyone who can handle me, I’ve started dating again. That’s always interesting in this country because I have yet to pass the 3 month probationary period, so we’ll see how this one goes.
In my previous blogs I was adamant that I will not date anyone who hasn’t spent a significant amount of time overseas because the mindset is completely wrong. This guy, however seems to be the exception to this rule, he’s never travelled further than the west coast, he is a little bit of a hustler. But he has a job, he is kind, and although I was hoping for an older millionaire, the main thing is he can pay his bills and he is coming across as a nice guy. So I’ll give it a go as it has been almost a year since my last disastrous dating experience, maybe he can redeem my faith in Ghanaian men.
Having been home for a while, and with time on my hands, I have been reading some of these self-help books, like the Steve Harvey book ‘think like a man’ and ‘he’s just not that into you’. They don’t say anything that we girls don’t already know (but always manage to ignore), but now that I am dating again and looking at my past experiences, I’ve put some rules together which I hope will stop history from repeating itself.
1. Attractiveness – I used to think that a guy that was less attractive of me would appreciate me and treat me accordingly. WRONG. What happens is that when they get you, they start having ideas above their station and think if they got you, they can get any girl. Find a guy on your attractiveness wavelength. This isn’t to say that you should hold out for a Boris Kodjoe lookalike, I mean that you know your worth don’t go below that level. A guy who is just as attractive as you are is comfortable in his own skin and so will not always be searching for more.
2. Be yourself – we say we want a guy who takes us for who we are, but then we meet a guy and somehow mould ourselves into a ‘perfect girlfriend’, then when our guard is dropped and the walls start to come down, the guy then say’s “you’ve changed”. Now as much as I find myself the full package (attractive, intelligent, kind etc…). I know I’m not for everyone. I have a friend in tobacco and alcohol. I could be a bit more tactful when I speak. In Essex, there is a phrase called Ladettes, looks like a lady but can fight like a guy. I could be described as one to some extent, depending on the situation. Of course I would not go to a black tie event and get so inebriated that I am dancing on tables, but if I’m out at a drinking spot, I would rather have a gin and tonic than a bottle of Alvaro. If you don’t like it tough. My drinking or my smoking doesn’t define me, it’s a small part of what I do, not what I am. This guy I met, he knows this, and has still decided to stick around, maybe he’s the one guy in Ghana whose mind is a bit open.
3. Interview – When a guy sees a girl, his first aim is to see how far his sweet talking can get him. Look at it this like a job application. When you apply you submit your CV (the sweet talk stage), next phase is the interview. Have set questions in your head, and ask them on the course of the date. Ask for their long term and short term goals. What have they put into effect now to get there? If he’s not correct, it is better you find it now before investing your precious time on a guy who is just a fly by night.
4. Meeting the family – I don’t think when you take a guy to meet the parents that it means the next day he’s expected to take you to the altar. But I do think that at the earliest convenience he should meet them. I say this so that he knows that you come from a good home. That you are decent, and that you are not just around for fun. I live alone yes, but when my parents are here, I’m not expecting that when the guy comes to take me out on a date, he will call me from the car and tell me to come out. If God forbid anything was to happen on the road, who would know where I am. If he’s a gentleman, and a man who is interested for more than just sex, then he should suck it up and come to the door and say good evening sir, I am taking your daughter out for the night, I will be back soon. Parents also are very good at seeing what you refuse to see because you are so wrapped up into the getting to know each other stage. Especially father’s, having played a lot of women in their time; they can spot a playa from a mile off. He should definitely meet the parents before he takes you to bed, so he knows that if there are consequences if all he wants is a hit and run.
5. Tell him what you want up front – Some people say this is a no, no, but I think it is best to put all your cards on the table. Obviously I’m not going to say, tomorrow, I want to get married. But I don’t want you to waste your time or mine if all you want is to hit and run. Some ladies are up for a good time, in fact there are a lot of girls who are just looking for a good time providing you provide money for their MTN credit. If that’s what you want, go find them, me, if I have decided that I am going to start dating you, just know that somewhere down the line it could be a year, it may be two, but know the wedding colours are pink and white.
6. Friendship – In the beginning you are getting to know each other, use the opportunity to build up a friendship because passion comes and goes but even though it sounds cliché, your guy should be your friend first. But don’t give away too much information too soon, and some things just don’t need to be told at all. Keep a little bit of mystery, because anything you do so will be used against you.
7. Treat me like a lady – As I said, I can be one of the boys, but I’m also a lady. I hate it when I go out and the guy opens the door for himself and kind of leaves you to fend for yourself. I’m not your boy, I’m your girlfriend. Make him know that he needs to be opening doors and pulling out chairs for you. If he sweet talked you into going out on a date, he needs to be doing the gentlemanly duties.
8. Sex – the big elephant in the room in the beginning of all relationships. How long do I keep him waiting before I give him the cookie? I have to admit, for me, it is true what they say about women and their libido. The older you get, the more you want it. Coupled with the fact that it has been so long since I got laid, a guy just needs to step on my toe and I get a sensation. But really, Mr Harvey put it simply, when you first start a job, you are put on probation for at least 90 days, you are confirmed once you have proved that you are up to doing the job. So, now that he has talked the talk, he has 3 months to walk the walk.
9. Girlfriend – he calls you a few times a day, calls you ‘baby’, ‘darling’, ‘sweetheart’, yet when you are out in public, he introduces you by your name, or when he gets a phone call he says something like ‘yeah, I make busy’, or ‘I dey chop’ or ‘I’m with a friend’, in all the time you’ve been dating, no mention of you being his girlfriend. You’ve not even met one of his friends, and you only go out on particular days and he never invites you to any functions. It’s likely that he doesn’t see you as a girlfriend so forget.
10. Go with the flow – I’ve found that relationships are hard work, but when it feels like it is so hard to the point when it starts to consume you, it’s not worth it. However, with my rules above, I’m just going to go with the flow, no expectations, and no over analysis. If it works out great, if it doesn’t, nothing new. But just like everything in Ghana, I’m just going to make the most of it and enjoy the moment. I’m sure, if nothing else, it will be interesting, and more food for my blog.
I’ll let you know how it goes.