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Sisi represents every 30-something year old woman- busy, single, available for a healthy relationship with a man who can ping her by 11pm and call her for an hour-long conversation the minute he sees his ping has been acknowledged. Sisi is separated, divorced or a single mum. It’s tough out there on the streets of romance; you will bump into a jumble of the ridiculous, the insane, the broke, the delusional, the foul, the obsessive, sadistic, and the clueless- all with penises. You will give in, you will give up. You will question their sanity, then you will go home and question yours- the fact that you actually got dressed to have dinner with some of these creatures will keep you banging your head on the wall for hours, even days. you are emotional, you will cry and watch your mascara smear your makeup. Makeup that took you 35 minutes to put together, just to end up on a date with someone who cannot tell the difference between Nelson Mandela and Morgan Freeman. “What is a Maya Angelou?” he’d ask, “sounds like the name of a cheap bra.” Then drown his idiocy in a glass of alcohol. He is checking out other women, mulling over the size of butts and cleavages. And at that moment you realise the only reason you agreed to dinner was because you have grown averse to your own company, any random fart-of-a-man will do. It is frustrating; you are not some 22 year old Barbie anymore; you need balance and some respect. Sisi, your chances are slim in the market. You’ll have to put in some extra effort if you are ever going to get by; those extra efforts can sometimes be regarded as “Despair” (aka Desperation)- the state where all hope is lost resulting in harsh or extreme behaviour. *sighs* Sisi, if you allow yourself to cross that bridge, you will return with zero self-worth and, sometimes, an empty bank account. You would have used your body, soul, mind, spirit and wallet to woo a man; and would have failed, disgracefully, to a 20-something year old University under-grad with a head full of Kardashian weaves. But it’s not all gloom; because whilst Sisi is going about her business, trying to accept every pompous stretchmark on her breasts and every cheesy cellulite on her hips, she will meet someone- someone nice, decent and charming who actually likes her. But he may be a few years younger. Yes, because every man with the “right age” is either married or out of marriage with a bag full of cynicism as clumsy as hers. It’s a bad match. So she’s either going to date a younger man or become a mistress or a nun. So Sisi, when you meet that younger man (like Angela Bassett met Taye Diggs in the movie “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” and met Dwayne), here are a few things you may want to consider:
  1. Go into the relationship with your full worth: He is not doing you any favours so you better not act like a doormat. Even with all good intentions, if he sees that you are subservient, too grateful, overjoyed by his love, he may take advantage of it. Go in there with your strengths and flaws and big personality. If you are a 30-something, intelligent, cosmopolitan woman you will have strong opinions; and that is ok. As long as you don’t try to force it down his throat.
  1. Accept him the way he is and do not try to change a thing about him- not his lousy friends or the dirty pair of socks you find on the bed. It is not your job, not your business. You can bring it up casually: “baby, is this a rag or dirty socks?” “Your friends though, what did you say they do again?” Whatever you do, do not start a lecture on how untidy his is. He is what he is- live with it or leave him. 30s women are maternal by instinct; keep your nurturing skills to yourself. He is a grown man. You are his lover, not his mother.
  1. Hit the gym: By all means do it for your health, yes. But if we are going to stick to aesthetics, you’ll do it because chicken-wing arms and a big tummy full of fufu are just not attractive features. You could hide all that loose flesh in an obese relationship with a 52 year old pot-bellied executive, but if your man is a 29 year old hottie, abeg do something. He’s not going to think about the age difference if it isn’t so obvious you are approaching menopause.
  1. Do not make weighty plans: You are going to give yourself a heart attack planning for the future with someone who is just starting out in life. What do you think you are doing? Just enjoy the moment. Live for now. Besides this is Nigeria, you will find ten thousand people who will remind you of your age difference and why you need to find someone older, wearing false teeth, suffering from Alzheimer, popping Viagra. Our culture’s discomfort with the man/woman age reverse is enough to make you paranoid. Unless you end up with someone who is set in his ways, stubborn with his decisions (which is most unlikely), you will be cleaning up needless issues every other week.
  2. Keep moving: Do not trade everything for a man- whether younger or older. You should know that! But I’m going to say it again: do not trade everything for a man! If you do, you will stand next to a ceiling fan one day and the idea of the blades slicing your throat would be so tempting. Keep your life moving steadily- do the things you love, build your business/career worth, delight in a bottle of wine all by yourself, enjoy a book… keep life fresh and whole.
Above all Sisi, keep good female friendships. They’ll be there to hear you mourn any loss- whether of a relationship or receding hairline. Be grateful for every hour you live. Dance. Smile. Dress to accentuate your best features. And grow a healthy self-esteem. Enjoy life! *wink*