It's about time that I introduced myself properly. My name is Iquo B. Essien and I am a Single African Female. I have decided to claim it and stop chasing wildly after whatever halfway decent man comes my way. Most of the time, they scatta my head. I spend more time upset about who didn't call me when he said he would or take me out like he promised. And I still buy my own flowers. However, I realized that if I embraced my status, I could turn this whole thing around to my benefit.
I am part of a rare and much coveted breed -- a SAFisticated Woman.
I do not hide from my status -- I embrace it! I know that I am fabulous and any man should be so lucky as to have me on his arm. I am bright, witty, easy on the eyes, and cook a mean edikangikong. But I let them keep hopin, prayin, and wishin. It's not that I don't crave companionship, in fact, I have a long list of male friends that are really great to hang out with. But I remain a SAFisticated Woman. Self-determined, autonomous and fierce. There are few men who can realistically compete. Take yesterday, for instance...
I have a great pair of legs that I used to flaunt when I was in my teens, but the advent of spider veins, inherited from my mom, stopped me cold. But it was really hooooot yesterday and I tried on some jeans and felt so claustrophobic that I grabbed a pair of scissors and got to cutting.
When I was finished, I saw my legs! I slipped on a mid-thigh length silk tunic over my daisy dukes and some black open-toe pumps, ready to catch Femi Kuti in Central Park. As soon as I stepped one foot outside the door, fashionably late of course, the heavens opened up and released an apocalyptic downpour. So I returned upstairs, curled up on the couch and tried to wait it out. After an hour, I fell asleep, only to wake up way too late to go. But I had heard that Femi and the band would be hitting up The Shrine in Harlem, an African-owned joint, where my homie, DJ Kwabena, would be spinning the best in African, R&B, and old school.
I sashayed down Flatbush Avenue in my poom-poom shorts and heels at 11:00PM headed to the uptown train. Not a block from the 2/3-135th Street stop in Harlem, I was accosted by Chris. He was closing the trunk of a nice-looking SUV and had one of those cool wireless headsets attached to his ear.
"Now, I know you must get approached by men a lot," he said, "But hear me out."
I gave him a chance because he had pretty hazel eyes and a nice smile, but I kept looking at my watch because SAFisticated Women don't have time for small talk. It turns out Chris is a social worker at Port Authority who does outreach to the homeless -- a do-gooder! He has a Master's in Social Work, owns a home in Pennsylvania, takes a 90-minute commute into the city every day, used to do logistics for the Army, and has been around the world three times.
I thought all of that was really cool and he seemed nice, but I refused to give him my number. SAFisticated Women NEVER give out their numbers, particularly to strange men we meet on the street. Chris gave me his info and offered to buy me a drink from the corner store and some chewing gum. As we parted ways, he said, "I hope you'll call so I can get you dinner. But at least, if not, I did something!" I laughed and marveled at how much it pleases a man to be given a few minutes with a SAFisticate.
Finally, I headed into The Shrine. I walked just past the bar and leaned against a column in the middle of the room watching Kwabena, one of THE finest men I have ever seen, onstage at the DJ booth. He is 6'5" or so, bald-headed, dark chocolate skin, beautiful eyes and smile, strong and sexy. I have a thing for Ghanaian men -- if he didn't have a girlfriend, I would immediately relinquish SAFisticated status if propositioned.
Kwabena finally hopped down offstage and stalked over towards me, meeting a dreadlocked man along the way. He pointed in my direction as he whispered in the man's ear, beckoning me closer. Kwabena introduced me to The Shrine's owner, Abdel Kader Ouedraogo, who kissed my hand and touched it to his forehead in respect, saying he'd "heard so much about me." I knew he wasn't lying. Abdel introduced me to the woman who does programming for Central Park SummerStage, one of his close friends, and we all took celebratory shots of tequila for his birthday before Kwabena worked his way back up to the DJ booth.
I sat at a table for a minute letting the tequila work its magic. Before long I was tapping a guy, Bala, on the shoulder asking if we'd met before. I swear it wasn't a line! He honestly looked like this cat I met at the Seun Kuti concert. But then he wanted my number and, of course, I refused, but took his under the stipulation that the next time I am at The Shrine I give him a call.
Pretty soon Abdel offered me another drink, I chose a Corona, and an older man (in a suit -- that's how you can recognize old school!) asked me to dance. He claimed that he could keep it up as long as I could, but after four or five songs, he needed a break! Please believe that I can dance soukous for two hours in heels before taking a foot massage break. I challenge any man to don a pair of heels and do the same.
Though Femi stood us up, I still cut a few rugs before taking myself home at around 2:00AM. Another sign of a SAFisticated Woman, she always takes herself home, whether it's in a cab or on the 2-train. Though that whole local stops thing was not a good look...;)
The AFrican Blogger
P.S. I realize that, by God's grace, I will end up married. But when that day comes, I hope I will have enjoyed my time as a SAFisticated Woman. You know, it's really not all that bad. I have a line of willing suitors who want to take me to the movies, dancing, or out for dinner. But I decide when and how I spend my time, never depleting myself of precious emotional resources. There will come a man who can actually compete with that. But, until then, I will continue to enjoy the bewildered expressions on men's faces who realize that I enjoy being at home with myself...
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