Sluts: a dirty, untidy, or slovenly woman

This blogging business is terribly pressurised isn’t it?

After grandly announcing last week that my shiny new blog would be a heart-warming compendium of anecdotes about my dotty West African family, they have all resolutely failed to do anything interesting. They have just been getting on with their little lives, aiming to make this crappy world just a tiny bit better for everyone else.  We’re like that – professional salt of the earth folk; social workers, nurses, teachers, refugee support workers – If Mike Leigh wants to shine his lens on a black northern family to warm hearts and bring home the BAFTAs, he should definitely choose us. I know one day on ITV2, Carol Vorderman is going to stick some kind of rosette on me for something worthy (known in the industry as an ‘Underclass OBE’).

My dad has gone to ground entirely.  Last time he was this quiet it was because he was obsessively emailing a nun in Vatican City.  I don’t know if they still speak. Their correspondence was really quite touching and I imagined the ageing Sicilian Sister Teresa sat on a golden bench, overlooking her overripe fruit trees, her serenity only disturbed by receiving numerous photos of my 9 year old dad dressed as an altar boy in Nigeria. If he isn’t troubling holy women again then I have no clue as to what is keeping him occupied. He laughed a few weeks ago that I was too old for an arranged marriage now, he wasn’t going to waste his energy and that my best chance of matrimony would be via my shiny UK passport. Apparently even I could find and marry a man desperate to live in the UK.  Hard-core honest parenting.

I thought of him tonight whilst laughing at the UKIP idiocy and the UKIP idiot Godfrey Bloom who called the female group of activists in his party ‘sluts’  To be honest, if a group of women were stood in front of me as self-identified UKIP activists, I would call them far worse. 

What really hit home though were ice cold memories of THAT word and my dad.

He walked into our living room one summer’s day as I was desperately trying to prolong the visit of *Official Coolest Girl* from my school, whose mother had popped round to borrow something from my mum.  I had tried to hook her in with my (unerringly accurate)  Bill Hicks impressions – she didn’t even crack a smile.  My 4 minute Bobby Brown ‘My Prerogative’ dance showstopper had also failed and I was wondering if I could just pay her cash to tell people at school that we were proper friends and she genuinely liked me. 

Dad walked in, amiable, smiling, looking entirely like a normal parent. Surveying the messy room and seeing us sat there he simply said:

-Well. You two look like a real pair of sluts.

And he turned and walked out of the room.

Leaving THAT hanging in the air.

Sluts.

To two 13 year old girls. One of whom was *Official Coolest Girl* in the school.

It took 3 years and a school change for the healing process to begin.

 

Of course he meant  Sluts: a dirty, untidy, or slovenly woman. (Wikipedia corroborates that my dad is not a total sociopath and if he is, he is an articulate and well-read sociopath)

 

 My dad and the poor misunderstood jolly UKIP Man. Upholders of the last bastion of Middle English vocabulary. 

 

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All the Single Ladies. Woop.

After an energetic start to my blogging career, in which (heavily edited) anecdotes about my Pa were quite warmly received, I have completely failed to keep up any kind of pace with it all.  In typical Nigerian style, after the first 400 views of the blog, I grandly wondered if my passport occupational entry of ‘Teacher’ was way too narrow to encompass my new life’s work.

Hmm – Except for the fact that I had stated I would write a blog about ‘my ridiculous love life’ and so far have written only two entries. One about my wedding-hungry mother and the other about my utterly mystifying father. Incidentally my mother has now signed up to follow this blog and rang immediately to express concern that her ‘character’ wasn’t ‘funny enough’.  I had to point out that she’s not a ‘character’ –she’s really HER, my mother and the main aim of my writing is not to create some Whoopi Goldberg Matriarch to amuse the masses. My dad has not seen this blog, will never see this blog and if he ever did, would immediately find an errant semi-colon to beat me with.  Clearly I have swerved completely around the socially awkward topic that I set out so boldly to tackle.

My relationship status.

I am currently (and mystifyingly) still single. I am 37.

In some states of American I am officially middle-aged.  I googled this fact on my birthday as a gift to myself.  Thanks Utah.

This is actually totally fine with me right now.  I recently fostered two small children and just getting to the end of each day, intact and coherent is enough right now.  The idea of lights out followed by further social interactions with an adult human who may need feeding/watering/attending to – or who has views that can’t just be countered with “Dora the Explorer wouldn’t like that” is a step too far right now.

In any case the kids will find me a bloke for sure. It’s like stepping out with two cute puppies, a clear sign to single men with kids that you are probably available (and possibly not all that picky.) Single fathers in museums at the weekends with their kids are hilarious. Definite blog post to follow soon about mercurial flirt levels in Stockport’s Hat Museum on Saturday afternoons around the ‘Bowler-Tastic’ family activity table

So as my career as a blogger faltered from the off, a friend suggested yesterday that actually the factor that is consistently interesting in my touching  little life is my ever-present family, rather than my non-existent partner.  My experiences as a British Nigerian northerner are actually probably a lot more worthy than me telling you about Tom the 2nd hand car dealer from Blackpool  (although, that is a GREAT story, with a wicked punch line). Actually I’d better change his name.  We’ll call him Eric for now.

My family are originally from Eastern Nigeria; people famed for their storytelling (fibbing) and imagination (corruption) alongside their famed powers of recollection (boastfulness).  A blog about me and my family should be no problem whatsoever.

Woven into the literary tapestry of West African upbringings and West Yorkshire netherworlds, I will share tales of near misses with a Premiership footballer whilst attempting to locate a misplaced moral compass; recycling fetishists, more dodgy Scouse boyfriends than is sensible for any woman and even the tall bloke who lives locally and is probably reading this blog now, who should probably just be my boyfriend and stop weighing me up against probably imaginary other women…

So here’s to the re-launch.  My blog. About me, my loved ones and a few paragraphs about some daft blokes that I haven’t loved quite so much.

I will keep it free from filth mother.

 

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My heart belongs to Daddy

A WOMAN recently told me that I probably had failed to “find my prince because every girl struggles to find the man who lives up to her dad”.

There are so many syllables and sentiments here that appal me but even if I lock my inner feminist in the kitchen; it would leave me as a 37 year old single woman who has just failed to meet the man to match my father.

My Father.

 

A man who snatched the apple crumble from the hands of the 8 year old child next door after the boy proudly showed his first creation from his Home Economics lesson.  My father finished off the whole thing, returned the dish and then asked the kid to bring custard to accompany it next time.

 

A man who upon hearing that his 6 year old daughter was being racially abused at primary school, that kids were surrounding her and shouting ‘Brown Girl in the Ring’, persuaded his child the best solution would be to wait for the bullies to start their song and then dance enthusiastically in the middle; in a typical West African style, mainly wiggling her backside to demonstrate their words could not wound her.

 

A man who bought the CD of the audio of Princess Diana’s funeral eulogy from Earl Spencer, as a sole Christmas gift to his firstborn child last year.

 

A man who opened the front-door to the first boy his daughter ever loved (he stood there, age 18, clutching flowers, all nervous and sweating). My father looked at him slowly, up and down, gently closed the door and went back to watching Channel 4 news.

 

A man who recently contacted the Duke of Edinburgh to inform him about the death of his father, as the pair had both attended a Commonwealth function in 1957 and my father thought the Duke would definitely want to know about his passing.

 

A man who demanded that my tiny (almost rural) primary school crowbar an authentic Nigerian lullaby into their 100% traditional Christmas carol concert for his daughter to sing – alone onstage. All 3 verses in Igbo with her wearing traditional national dress, him weeping noisily throughout the entire excruciating performance.

 

The man who called a Nigerian engineer to fix his computer then hissed at his daughter to go and put a dress on and comb her hair, as the man was ‘having problems in his marriage and will be looking for a new wife soon’.

 

Channel 4 would have a ratings winner on their hands if they had ever persuaded my Dad into taking part in Wife Swap.  We watched it once together and he just said; “Why don’t the men just take the women’s rules off their walls and totally ignore them?  That’s what I would do.”

And he would.

It’s just not that easy to find my dad’s qualities in the modern metrosexual Manchester man.

 

I’ll keep looking.

black-father-black-dad-and-daughter

 

 

 

 

 


Write about the funny people you saw in Peru instead?

– Mum! You’re right.   I should start writing again.  I’ve missed it and I think it will be relaxing and cathartic; it’ll give me something to do and may help with the insomnia.

– Mmm – well done love.  *Response indicates she is watching the denouement of Judge Judy*

– I’m going to write about me, my impending middle-age and the fact that I still haven’t managed to find a decent boyfriend to share my increasingly silly life.

*sharp intake of breath.  Judge Judy muted immediately*

– Oh I don’t think that’s such a good idea love.  I think you can find better subject matter – why don’t you write about your travels?  Remember all those funny people you saw in Peru – everyone would want to read about them!  You wouldn’t use your own name would you? Our name is actually quite distinctive love.

– Mum, I will keep it anonymous.

– Well as long as you do.  Maybe don’t mention which city you live in either.  Set it in Cardiff. Surprisingly, there are loads of black people in Cardiff so it’ll be plausible to everyone. God knows what they are all doing there; it was quite a shock the first time I went.  Oh and definitely don’t say we’re Nigerian. If you have to give away that our family is African, say we’re from Chad.  No one knows anyone from Chad. Oh and don’t say you have younger siblings, say you’re a twin – a younger twin, it’ll help explain why you are the way you are.  Maybe say you’re an orphan too.

-Mum don’t be ridiculous. An oprhaned younger twin from Chad…?

– You’re right.  Losing both parents at your age would be a laying it on a bit thick. Maybe just say that your dad is dead, he’ll never read it.  Also say that you are a bit younger than you are.  You never know who may read your columns and like what you say.  You can be quite funny you know – this writing could lead to something.

– Mum. I am not writing a blog to get a boyfriend.

– Oh. What are you writing it for then?

– I don’t really know. I just want to start writing something. I’m writing it for me.

– What are you going to call yourself?

– Badlands.

– *Utterly exasperated* Well that’s a golden giveaway Miss Genius! You are definitely the only black woman in the world that likes that stupid sinister film.  Why not choose a film that’s NOT about a pair of bloody serial killers?  Do you remember your first date with that talented chef and you took him to see that film about sadistic murderers?  Do you??? How did that one work out for you? Haven’t you learnt anything from any of these dates.  Why can’t you just call yourself something nice and appealing.  You are sweet sometimes but you revel in some twisted alter ego that terrifies people. In Badlands they kill strangers for no reason.  Why not Casablanca or When Harry Met Sally.  Less confrontational. Or even Gone with the Wind – she was feisty!

– Mum, the black characters in that film were slaves.

– Ah but but they weren’t from Chad! Okay have your blog fun dear but don’t moan to me when you are exposed and embarrassed. And don’t tell that tired old story about the Tellytubby…