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Read Letter

Julius and Women

My dear Jack, there was a gentleman named Julius Moses. And he had a son. He named him Junior. His father had named him Julius because he was besotted with stories of the military conquests of Julius Caesar. Indeed he was named Julius long before he was conceived! He kept up the family tradition and taught his son, Junior about Julius Caesar.

Through these stories he shared knowledge of manly responsibilities, and values- A man must be a man. A man must not feel sorry for himself in life. The man on stage cannot be a spectator… In the course of time Junior met a lovely young lady. She was comforting to the eyes, graceful… Hint of sophistication. He brought her home for dinner one day and after dinner Senior sat down with Junior in manly reverie. The women went into the kitchen on a culinary excuse. (They wanted to have the fellowship of the women).

As father and son reviewed the evening Dad kept dropping “daddy-isms”. These are the wise sayings of Dad. “Sometimes in life it’s better to hear from the horse’s mouth…you know, to learn directly…hmn…” Pause. “Listen to your woman Junior. Especially what she’s not saying.” As he said this he waged his index finger. Then he began to stroke his greyed beardedness, along with his moustache, with the drink in hand… Junior knew not to intrude on the reverie. Will kill the flow of daddy-isms. “You know a woman can be very understanding. I’m lucky with your mum. She’s a very understanding woman. A man is lucky to have such a woman. A successful marriage of course begins with the right choice. I’m glad you chose right. She’s a nice girl. Well brought up.

Your two aunties taught me a lot…Aunty May and Aunty Dorothy…they taught me a lot about women. Horse’s mouth.” Aunty May is all of 4ft 5in- most likely less; stocky…with a crew cut. Her grooming takes all of 5min; includes her bath. Her fashion output sometimes evokes an hallelujah or two. It’s not her strong suit. But everyone loves Aunty May. What she lacked in height and hair she made up for with kindness of heart. And that made her somewhat attractive. Aunty Dorothy on the other hand is rather tall for a woman; bossomy like Aunty May, with intellectual acuity. No one would ever believe the two came from the same stock, one being tall, the other vertically challenged. “Your two aunties used to tell me women are not always rational… ‘Don’t assume women are logical’ Dorothy used to say…still says ‘Or that a woman needs a rational solution to her problem. Or that when she shares a problem with you she needs help. Sometimes she just wants a listening ear.”

He chuckled, clearly reminiscing… “One size does not fit all you know. Learn what your woman wants…And a woman can be understanding. Don’t be afraid to share your difficulties with her. It’s good to be a man but that includes being man enough to admit things are tight… In such circumstances a good woman will negotiate down her expectations, but don’t get used to it. She’ll read it you’re taking her for granted. She’s just making temporary sacrifice… You’ll be foolish to draw wide ranging conclusions from it. That she doesn’t love gifts for instance.”

He pursed his lips, gazed at the ceiling and stirred his glass to stir his drink. The ice swooned. “Women are adept at reading body language…not just what men say. But don’t assume ‘If we don’t talk about it, it will go away’. I tell you son, it won’t go away! Women love to resolve things, to discuss issues. If you don’t talk about it now she’ll smuggle it into the future. Running away from, or ignoring issues, thinking it will miraculously blow over… With a woman?…Nah! Until it’s resolved it’s not resolved. That means she wants to have her say. Unless she bares her FEELINGS it’s not over. She may even feel oppressed at denial of opportunity to emote.”

He pursed his lips: “Communication matters a lot in a relationship. You know as a young man I’d wonder about organisations like the UN and the AU. Until I worked at AU Commission. One day during a heated debate at the General Assembly a reality dawned on me: If men are jaw jawing in a room they’re less likely to war war in an open field. It was invaluable insight. I implemented it immediately at home, reticent as I am like most men to talk. Avoid communication dead ends, where discussions terminate. They’re dangerous in a relationship. Even combatant nations keep a back door open. Always have a communication back door in a fight. And don’t let things pile up. It results in anger and bitterness. Address each others’ issues timeously.

Process your wife’s actions through the prism of her character. Your mum and I do that for each other. If she does something inconsistent with her character you owe her benefit of doubt. Same goes for her. And be ready to make a lot of accommodations. She’s going to take over your space. I’m warning you! Your mum took over my den. It started gradually of course. And now it’s hers even though in title it’s my space! A woman drafts her own certificate of occupancy I tell you. She starts with your heart. And she won’t allow me take on another space. But I understand. She just wants to be with me…” He’s shaking his head.

“What did you want to ask me?” “Oh, nothing! How’s your back now?” “Getting better…Though I don’t know which is worse- the pain or your mum’s various prescriptions she got off the net…I’m a guinea pig.” They both began to get up: “Let’s go and join up with them. They’re probably plotting how to take over more space.” As they walked into the living room the women promptly changed subject! “Women!” he muttered. “You said something Julius?” “Oh no! Just thinking about some stuff.” “Women!” he muttered again. But this time in his head.

Your mentor,


© Leke Alder 2014


Tags : Women, Understanding, Communication

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