What Do Women Want (1)

Tolu Ogunlesi
4 min readAug 14, 2023

By Tolu Ogunlesi

(Originally published, July 11, 2009 in NEXT)

I have just returned from a meeting. A gathering of male Homo Sapiens — of Nigerian origin. It kicked off on a contentious note; failed attempts to name the ‘organisation’.

Not for lack of suggestions, though, the creative juices flowed like many floodwaters, bringing forth potential names and acronyms and logos and slogans.

“Men’s Association of Nigeria” (MAN)

“Testosterone Anonymous Nigeria” (TAN)

“Men’s Union of Nigeria” (MUN)

“Briefs-&-Boxers-Without-Borders” (BWB)

“Chartered Institute of Masculinity of Nigeria” (CIMN)

But every one of those names had a k-leg. MUN sounded too much like ‘MOURN’, or even ‘MUM’. Who knew what crazy homonymic jokes those bra-burning feminists would invent to discredit this worthy cause?

MAN would have been perfect, but the likelihood of it being confused with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria was high.

“Are we not Manufacturers?” one elderly man asked, gravely. “Whoever or whatever is involved in the act of Production — whether of babies or of breast milk — is a Factory! And whoever possesses such is surely a Manufacturer!” He took a swig from his calabash of palm wine and belched loudly.

“Grandpa, have you taken you senility pill today?” someone asked from the back of the hall, inducing a fit of general laughter.

The man wasn’t going to be intimidated. “Yes my son, I have. But unlike you I won’t be needing any for my virility…” he quipped.

Then some spoilsport moved a motion for the postponement of “this nomenclature business”.

“Why are we acting like women, bickering back and forth over inconsequentialities?”

“True! I heard that at the last Women’s Assembly, after seven hours of deliberations they could only manage to agree on what colour of curtains to buy for their secretariat.

“They spent the entire time attempting to differentiate between the following colours: ‘Sunset Orange’, ‘Burnt Orange’, ‘Christmas Orange’ and ‘Baby Orange’. My wife said…”

“Enough bro. We don’t need to know what your wife said. This is a meeting of MEN, not women-in-absentia!”

“Point of Order!”

“Yes, speak up!”

“We cannot afford to waste time on trivialities. We are gathered at this inaugural meeting for a special purpose. Let’s not lose focus. We are here to discuss the topic “What Do Women Want?”

“Hear, hear!”

“I second him!”

“I second the Seconder!”

“That’s called ‘Thirding’!”

“Order!”

“Yes, we are not here to discuss Politics or Premiership or Penile dysfunctions or Prostate Cancer. We are here to discuss W-O-M-E-N! The reason why Womankind is way ahead of us is that they spend their most productive hours discussing US! For centuries they have Analysed and Bisected and Cross-sectioned and Dissected and Evaluated us; what were we doing all the while? Playing into their hands and their bosoms and making a fool of ourselves! Now is the time to analyse them to pieces! The Big Question is this: What Do Women Want?”

“Discipline!” the Old Man offered.

“Isn’t that some euphemism for old-fashioned domestic violence? Didn’t the Good Book ask husbands to LOVE their wives!”

The Old Man frowned, and with a far-away look in his wizened eyes, said: “The same Good Book says: He whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. Some versions say ‘disciplineth’…”

“I know what women want!” interrupted Otunba, an aso-oke wearing man whose face was hidden behind a fence of tribal marks. “I have three of them at home. Look, women are like Cars. They need comprehensive insurance and regular servicing.”

“I understand the bit about servicing, but what do you mean by insurance?” This was a young boy, somewhere in his twenties. He didn’t even look up from his BlackBerry to ask the question. His eyes were hidden behind Abacha-style sunglasses.

“And you call yourself a Yoruba boy? What is this world coming to?” Otunba hissed.

“What does being a Yoruba boy have to do with comprehensive insurance for women?”

“See the budding ignoramus; bloody nonsensical filibuster, advanced-stage juvenile delinquent? May a billion blistering barnacles from Sango fire that your pornography-wired head! Is it me you’re talking to like that? Am I your father’s mate?”

“Take it easy Otunba. I’m sure the kid meant no disrespect. Now, please enlighten us on the link between Yoruba culture and female insurance…”

Otunba looked pleased at this opportunity to impart some classified information to the gathering. He cleared his throat. “Our ancestors used to say, and I quote, that the stubborn internet virus that does not listen to the Hacker’s voice, will become a lavish lunch for Norton (pun unintended)! There are many kinds of this “Insurance” — there’s one, after the man has climbed what belongs to another man, he summersaults three times and dies. Fiam! We call it Magun Takiti. Another one, you don’t summersault, you drink water till you die. Direct flight to the Great Beyond. No stopping, no parking, no waiting. Wa momi ku ni! Another one…”

“That’s enough morbidity for now, Otunba. You can enlighten us further next week. We have now run out of time, so we need someone to move the motion for adjournment. You will recall that one of our cardinal principles is this: WHAT A WOMAN CAN DO, A MAN CAN DO IN LESS TIME! Whatever it is — whether association meetings or dressing up or wiping infant bums or construction / deconstruction of a pot of soup…”

“Or Sex!” a squeaky voice offered from the back. “Wham & Bam…”

“And a Thank you M’am!” the entire gathering chorused lustily.

As the motion for adjournment was being moved, a guy sitting next to me, his spectacles’ lenses the thickness of bullet-proof glass, leaned over to whisper something.

“Dunce” he said.

“Dance?” I said, baffled.

“No. Dunce. A name for the organisation.” He smiled very briefly, and expatiated. “D.U.N.C.E — Democratic Union of Nigerian Chauvinists and Egotists.”

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Tolu Ogunlesi

Digital Communications for Nigerian Government, Journalist on Sabbatical