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Read Letter

December Rush

Dear Jil, let me tell you how pickpockets operate in downtown Lagos! Downtown Lagos pickpockets thrive in confusion, in the melee of the crowd, where there’s no order. Because public transport is in short supply downtown, there’s usually a melee for buses. And so the bus stop is an ideal location for Lagos pickpockets.

The people rush for available transport – the yellow Danfo mini buses striated with fake Adidas stripes. Such is the conditioning that the people still rush even when the crowd is sparse. The pickpocket knows this. He waits at the bus stop holding a black cellophane bag to conceal his mission and sleight of hand. Usually contains a piece of cloth – an overall. Gives him plausible deniability on arrest; reduces his oddity at bus stops. When the 14-seater bus shows up he charges at the bus with the ten or so prospective passengers. He has no intention of getting on the bus with them. He just wants to create an artificial rush. He jostles and shoves, pushes behind his mark, all the while slipping his hands into the back pocket. In the confusion attending the contrived melee he removes the phone, or whatever amount of money is lodged there. The victim only comes to realisation when after all the hustle and bustle the bus is only half full! The pickpocket’s accomplices made up part of the crowd. The victim feels for his pocket. His money, phone, gone! He looks up and sees the pickpocket signalling to his partners. And they disappear into the shadows.

So here are the critical ingredients of the pickpocket’s modus operandi:
a). Artificially create a sense of scarcity. That’s the scramble. 
b). Create a pressured schedule about getting on the bus. That’s the deadline. 
c). Use both sense of scarcity and pressure to generate a psychology of urgency. That’s the rush. 
And so you have the scramble, the deadline, the rush. 
Amazing how we apply the operational principles of the pickpocket to ourselves in our quest for conjugal pairing. We get into a scramble, put ourselves under pressure and create artificial deadline for marriage. We set ourselves up with a strained, contrived and forced deadline. When we say “By age so so and so I MUST be married”, we’ve set ourselves up and created pressure. If the marriage doesn’t happen at the predetermined age we become miserable and desperate.
That desperation leads us straight to the foreign exchange market. And we fall prey to foreign exchange operators: men who exchange marital fulfillment for vile debasement. They’re contemnors – they exchange our need for love with gratuitous contempt. We soon begin to beg for sex and affection, taking care of all the responsibilities in the house. And what we beg for, the man willy nilly supplies to silly young girls on the outside. He uses our economic resources to purchase unhappiness for us, lavishing young girls with our earnings. 
Desperation creates problems. And please stop worrying about those UN statistics about the ratio of men to women. Those statistics are global in nature. They don’t necessarily reflect local realities. They may not reflect your city, your church or school ratios for example. And it’s local statistics that matter. The statistics don’t take cognisance of cross border migrations – the young man from say, USA who marries a South African. The statistics don’t take cognisance of eligibility and qualification for marriage either. Life edits matrimonial candidacy. It uses several parameters: character, attractiveness, background, finance, personal attributes, etc. Some disqualify themselves for marriage; some are disqualified by circumstances and some are born disqualified. Being male or female is not auto qualification for marriage. That’s the blindness of such statistics. Please forget about the statistics. Armchair anthropology is a discouraging profession. Creates pressure. 
From your letter you’ve put yourself under so much pressure. (You’re determined to hook up before December 31). Because the year has not been forthcoming you’ve become depressed. Nothing seems to be happening. You’ve been crying yourself to sleep, wetting your pillow. Another year is running out. And your mum is not helping matters. I fear you may strike up a relationship with someone you don’t love or care about from desperation. If he genuinely loves you you’ve set him up for a life term of pain and torture. He will be punished down the line. For after December rush comes January reality. It is a sad reality to have the ring on your finger yet have no ring of joy in your home, or life. There are those who say “I do” and as they utter those words know they’ve made a huge mistake. May you not be one. 
The thing about desperation is that it’s counter-productive. Good men tend to run from desperate women. They get afraid – feel they’re being rushed down the aisle to the altar. So they run. A guy will be afraid if a simple request for a date is treated as a marriage proposal. He doesn’t want to be bound into a relationship he’s hardly gotten into. Relax! Take it easy. The holidays are here. Put yourself in the mood to enjoy your holiday. Stop counting what you don’t have. They don’t exist! Count your blessings instead. If the guy shows up in December, we thank God. 
But just in case his car broke down on the way, or he’s missed his way, or having technical problems we wait for him. Faith. But with or without a man we’re going to enjoy ourselves. We WILL enjoy ourselves! 
Merry Christmas in advance! I’ll write you again next year!
Your mentor, LA.
©Leke Alder 2013

Tags : Pressure, Marriage, Desperation

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