An Act Of Courage

An act of courage

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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30 replies added

  1. Walter October 20, 2015 Reply

    Hahahahahahaa. Just another day in the office, eh madam writer? Well now we’ve established that you both are cooking equipment, are you now gonna ask him out? After all, once upon a time, you were ‘all for you, baby. All for you’. 😀

    • Chisom October 20, 2015 Reply

      Hahahaha. Nnaa see JAMB question! LMAO

  2. adejoke Adesina October 20, 2015 Reply

    @ asking out, no way! I’m a huge fan of good smells, except he was just having a bad day like I was. But we’ve met repeatedly afterwards, he wears the mouth odour like a signature scent.

  3. Oros C. October 20, 2015 Reply

    Hehehehe. Touchè. I have missed this blog.

    • Chisom October 20, 2015 Reply

      Aaaahhhh, brotherly! We missed you too, man. Welcome back to WAW!

  4. Tosyn Williams October 20, 2015 Reply

    Whoa, that’s deep. I have learnt something outstandingly new. Thanx fellas. U guys rock.

    • Chisom October 21, 2015 Reply

      Thanks, Tosyn. You rock too!

  5. Tobe October 21, 2015 Reply

    Hahahaha…some days are like that.

    • Chisom October 21, 2015 Reply

      Hehehe … you would know nah. LOL

        • Chisom October 22, 2015 Reply

          Nothing oh, Joke … who wouldn’t know??? Lol

          • Tobe October 23, 2015

            Lmao. You eh!

          • adejoke Adesina October 23, 2015

            LMAO! I’m not a recidivist, just one bad day ooo.

  6. Yemie October 21, 2015 Reply

    I don’t know for a certainty, if Joke was turned ‘Spitfire’ by the ‘Dragon-breathed Wizard of Ooze’, just by the opening up of his buccal cavity or if she was actually raised on the mean streets of ‘Bluntsville’ to have muscled up that amount of courage, in breaking it to him THAT HIS BREATH DOES AS A MATTER OF FACT….STINKS?! No kidding???? JEEZ! Confound that! Hahahahaha!

    Wherever did you find her Chisom?! She’s a pockeful of hilarious and I simply cannot stop laughing! LMAO!

    Well Joke you know what they say…..’He who must stir the shitpot should have to lick the spoon’! Only problem being that you didnt only lick it, you literally got doused and immersed in it….Yikes! ROTFLMAO!

    Personally, I’ve got zero tolerance for any kinda stink, smell, stench….whatever! I don’t care how charming, chummy and cute you be…..don’t even THINK to come any close! Its a total turn off, an absolute put-off by ‘ REALLY’! LMAO!

    Infact, I move in favor of the motion that B.O and Dragon breath be criminalized and any found wanting should be slammed with a lawsuit and charged with ‘ Reckless Endangerment’! Really, some folks’ breath will knock you over, render you unconscious or even worse….the horror! ROTFLMAO!

    Thanks for this guys, makes for such a fun read….can’t get enough! Kudos! LOL

    • Ezinma October 21, 2015 Reply

      Yemie! Dragon breathed Wizard of Ooze. Wow! i can’t even coin that on a good day. you rock. To the…courage indeed. id rather keep my wrist closer to my nose and be nodding with mhmm mnhmm. Even squeeze my brows to make u think im paying attention. but to tell u “brush kwanu…are your village people THAT strong” mba oo. hian…not all.

      • Yemie October 21, 2015 Reply

        Hahahahaha! With you carrying on like that, you’d be giving the phrase ‘action speaks louder than words’ a lotta power and trust me, he’d get the message! You needn’t breathe a word of it to him! LMAO!

        You rock more ‘Zinma Pumpkin….Pieces! Thank you sooo much and you crack me up good too…D-DANG! LOL

        • Chisom October 22, 2015 Reply

          Yemie, I read you and I just shake my head in wondermazement. Where did I find YOU?! rotflmao

          Ezinma, the image your words create is absolutely hilarious. The dude will be like, “Chai … this babe is feeling my flow oh *change pose*” Haahahaha.

          Still points out the one point that Adejoke summarized with the title of her piece. As bad as the scourge of B.O (thanks for the vocab add, Yems) and halitosis is, nobody has the courage to point out to a victim – yes, VICTIMS – that they have been smitten. Not nice, if you ask me. I mean, wouldn’t you want to know if you were so afflicted??

          • Yemie October 22, 2015

            ‘Afflicted’ kwanu?! Mba! I don’t wanna know, nuh-uh; afterall what I do not know, will not kill me…I think! LMAO!

            Chisom, I shake my head for you o, hian! LOOL

    • adejoke Adesina October 22, 2015 Reply

      @Yemie is effortlessly hilarious. I want to be like him when I grow my writing muscles.
      And on being raised on ”Bluntsville”, that’s exactly me. sometimes, I’m so brutally blunt I can’t believe my own ears.

      • Yemie October 22, 2015 Reply

        Being blunt’s being real and saying it as it is! But, it can get real dicey and some people may just flip and choose rather to take it the wrong way; in which case you’d just as effortlessly succeeded in crossing the line, in their books! And well, no good deeds goes unpunished, so you may wanna tread real careful next time and approach matters with a little more tact and diplomacy! Will Rogers says ‘Diplomacy’s the art of saying ‘Nice Doggie’, till you can find a rock! While Chanayka says ‘We oughtn’t be too honest as straight trees are cut first and honest people are screwed first! ROTFLMAO!

        Thanks for the compliment Joke, you do write beautifully and your sense of humor’s off tha chainz! Plus, am actually female…like you! Big oops!!! LMAO!

        • Chisom October 22, 2015 Reply

          I give up … man is screwed!
          I mean, if we can’t even say the truth to ourselves, we’re COOKED!Lol.

          Joke, don’t feel too bad, I can see why you would think our beautiful dear FEMALE Yemie is a You both mehnnn, I can’t deal abeg!

  7. Dr Swagg October 21, 2015 Reply

    Fantastic read!! Quite Hilarious!

    • Chisom October 22, 2015 Reply

      Hahaha. Glad you loved it, Dr Swagg. Lots more to come on WAW, so stay tuned, stay subscribed 🙂

  8. Toby Nwazor October 22, 2015 Reply

    Beautiful story. I feel sorry for the dude if this is actually a true life story. Adejoke you get mind o. It could be possible that nobody has ever told him about his breath, and you came to his rescue. Unfortunately it had to be the day you ate raw onions first thing in the morning. Hmm. I can imagine the embarrassment.

    I love your story

    • Chisom October 22, 2015 Reply

      LMAO @ raw onions. Maybe Joke can tell us how she handled the embarrassment – something tells me she lived through all of that with her nose still in the

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