When was the last time you did something brave and courageous like sky-diving? Or something brave and stupid like challenging a robber armed with a pistol in Lagos traffic? Or maybe you finally had the courage to tell your beautiful wife that her love handles are getting too flabby for comfort, while you strut around in our pot belly, the size of a nine month pregnancy.
One Monday afternoon, I was going in for a meeting at work, but as I entered the meeting room, my eyes fell on an unusual object. It was a man, but unusual because in an office like mine, fine boys are like Christmas, they come but once a year. Nearly 3 decades of assessing men and my expert eyes swung to action, raking him up and down, faster than you can draw a breadth. I took in all his details, a sharp chiselled chin, pointed nose, intelligent eyes, a well-groomed haircut. His skin, golden, like freshly pressed honey, blazing with a blinding intensity that made everything else pale in comparison; he stood out, like a well fed catfish sandwiched by a dozen frozen Titus fishes.
Wait! Did I say fine boy? Scratch that, what am I to do with a fine boy who has an empty pocket. I mean, he looked like a million dollars in his rich blue blazer, emblazoned with a bold, bronze, emblem; like the imperial crest of her majesty, he wore it proudly. His watch – I spied the name on it, not a label known to the common man; my best friend Google to the rescue … hmm! expensive. So expensive, even a knock off, would be expensive!
Now, here’s the best part, although I was the last woman to go into that meeting room, the only seat available was the one right next to him. Really, what are the odds? I serve a living God!
I quickly sashayed over to take my rightful place beside him. If the other ladies do not know a man of substance when they see one, their loss, my profit.
The meeting progressed uneventfully, apart from the Chairman bellowing while we all pretended to be frightened. Finally, my Prince Charming was called up to give his report. With a smile bright enough to shame the sun, I swivelled sideways to face him;
All for you, baby, all for you!
I wanted to make sure he saw that someone believes in him and wants him to succeed.
As my bobo opened his mouth, the blast of his breadth stung my nose and poisoned the air around, creating a smoke-ball of smell. I swung my head; left, right, left again, in search of clean, fresh, breathe.
Finally, I looked up, into a sea of faces, all muffling their giggles. It was obvious they knew.
I had a sense of déjà vu, as I remembered Dayo at the tennis club, whose unwashed masculine malodour was strong enough to blast you to oblivion, as he jets past you in preparation for his game. I’d been tempted to ask him if he did it on purpose, just to punish us or maybe he had a personal vendetta against water or deodorants. Or Steve, who went everywhere with an escort of unpleasant pungent odour-demons; he was a junior at work so it was easy for me to stay a safe distance away as he approached, and drown the air with a can of air fresheners right after he passed by.
We lacked the courage to give them the feedback they so badly needed, we chose to endure the smells and rewarded ourselves by laughing behind their backs.
But not this time.
Armed with the words of Winston Churchill – “negative feedbacks may not be agreeable, but they are a necessity”, I accosted this young man after the meeting. By the way, he had lost 90% of his charm and appeal after the experience I just had.
Excuse me. Can you spare me a moment please?
I tried to proceed but my courage wavered. Then I remembered the Nike slogan ”Just do it!”. Without thinking, I blurted out:
You have bad breath.
He staggers back, wide-eyed. He’s going through the SARAH cycle, I think to myself.
The SARAH cycle is how we react when we receive unpleasant news: first is shock. Second is anger – he furrowed his brows; the third stage is resentment – he …he surprises me.
He smiles at me, draws closer and opens his mouth. I shut my eyes and hold my breath tight, waiting for the killer blast. I feel a finger move my hair aside, and his voice whispers into my ears,
It’s funny. Pot calling kettle black.
And he walks away. After I recover, I roll my eyes. His breath stinks, his English is poor, Tsk tsk tsk. Not all that glitters is gold. I turn around to walk away and I wonder: pot calling kettle black – very basic idiom. Is it likely he won’t know the real meaning?
So I do the breath test.
Phumm! Not very pleasant.
But how come?! Then I remember I woke hungry that morning, had a large breakfast and left home without a brush.
Consumed by the belief that I am perfection personified, I was busy pointing accusing fingers, when the whole time, the joke was on me.
Written by Adejoke Adesina
Adejoke Adesina is a lawyer, a budding writer, a healthy food and fitness fanatic, an accomplished amateur tennis player, a music aficionado and a passionate lover of language and literature. She aspires to become a social activist, and an advocate for the feminine cause – though she insists she is not a feminist. Adejoke also has grandiose dreams but lately, worries that time is fast running out.
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