People say stupid things on Facebook. The other day, this male Facebook friend of mine, who is also a well known Nigerian writer, posted on his Facebook profile the following yeye quote by Norman Mailer: "Writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing." His Facebook account lit up immediately. He was assaulted by a million female Facebook warriors led by the mother of all generals, a smart, sexy and pretty Facebook Nigerian writer friend of mine, who, you guessed right, is female. Norman Mailer, you will recall, was a great American writer. He tended to drink lots of cheap booze and get into fights and say a lot of stupid things.
Think about it; only a drunken male would make the stupid assertion that writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing. The person has obviously never given birth to a baby! And is definitely not married. Otherwise, he would know when and how to shut his yeye mouth. Married men know to simply not go there when it comes to certain things, and this is one of those certain things. A famous woman once said to an unmarried man: “Olosi, to imagine childbirth, imagine pushing one dozen big fat wet calabashes out of your yansh!” Bill Cosby was probably thinking about brash young unmarried male fools when he observed that having a baby feels like your bottom lip is being pulled up over your head. He would know. He is happily married. Besides, who wan die?
Times have changed. In the golden olden days, it was more fun to be a man like Okonkwo of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. No woman dared yell at a man unless she desired her skull to be a palm wine cup. Heh! Heh! Heh! Heh! I used to envy my dad Papalolo so much. As was the great custom of our great forefathers, when it was time for the pikin to come to this world, our mother Mamalolo went to the hospital and no effort was spared to ensure that Papalolo was comfortable. On that day, Papalolo would sit at home waiting for the big news with a big bottle of ogogoro and a big pot of fresh fish peppersoup by his side. Once the blessed event happened, he would get up, thank his ancestors, provide a name for the pikin and promptly get drunk. It was a great life and I looked forward to being a proud papa like my papa. Unfortunately for me, coming to America ruined it for me, Let me explain.
The first time my wife and I were expecting a baby, we were really excited. On the appointed day, just like my father, I was prepared for the great event. Our relatives in America had prepared me fresh fish peppersoup for the occasion. Just like my father, I had bought the best ogogoro that my wretched wallet could point at. Actually, two bottles just in case my loser-friends visited and were interested in helping me through the stress of child-birth. I had it all planned out. I would gently drop madam off at the hospital, give her a big kiss, and then, like my father, run home to enjoy my peppersoup and ogogoro and wait for the great news. This was not to be. As soon as we got to the hospital, the nurses started asking me stupid yeye questions like: “Are you the father?” “Do you faint easily?” Before I could say e gba mi O, these evil nurses had handed me hospital clothes! “Wear them! You will need them for the childbirth!” one of them said! “Why?” I asked, “I am not staying, thanks for the offer, where we come from in Africa, men don’t hang around maternity wards, it is taboo, I have to go home to wait for our child. The peppersoup will soon get cold, do you know what peppersoup is?” The evil nurses shared with me that the constitution of the United States decrees that the father of the child must be present during childbirth, it helps with the bonding process, plus it is a very loving thing to do with your wife because you will help to push the baby out… blah, blah, blah. Apparently Americans do not forbid anything. This was a surprise to me! I did not take this sneaky ambush very well, trust me. I accused them of cultural and linguistic incompetence and insensitivity. To cut a long story, I was made to stay for the entire childbirth drama.
My people, wonderful things shall never end in this world! At some point during the childbirth, the pain is so much, the doctors give your wife painkillers. I wasn’t offered painkillers. I was the one in great pain. Seriously, the painkillers should really be for the man. In the maternity room, the man is in pain all the time. As for the actual childbirth, I don’t remember it. The nurses claim I fainted. I disagree. I just don’t remember fainting.
Adunni mi, may this week bring us joy.