Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Battle of the Cue

When I was a kid lining up for anything was one of my favorite things. A large part of this is due to the fact that my last name begins with A, so as a result, if not first, I was always third or fourth in line. This meant that I was always the first to go and who doesn't like being first. Unless it was one of those unfortunate days where we lined up backwards and those of us with As went to the back. And then, well, I would just be pissed.

So as I grew and lines grew more complicated, I still didn't mind. Especially since I have a knack for choosing the fastest moving line. Then I moved to Ghana. <insert long sigh>. You see the line in Ghana or cue as it is called, does not work the same as it does in the Western world. Hell, I wonder if it even follows the same concept because many days I often find myself lost on how the cue is actually working.

You see in the Western world when you go to the bank and have to stand in line there is one long cue. Everyone comes in and stands in their respective spot. As tellers become available the next person in line moves out and one moves up. Simple. Right?

But in Ghana the bank cue, or any cue for any other service is never that outright. Standing in line in Ghana is like that bad dream you have about missing the bus to school. You come in and realize their is a still calm in the bank,  you would join the line, but everyone sitting down, so you are not quite where to go. Then a security guard motions for you to take a seat in the flock, so you do. You sit there patiently waiting, watching the line move and finally the person in front of you moves to the teller. Now you know you are next, a bank teller becomes available, you stand up from your seated position only to realize someone from the right of you has been called. No big deal you think to yourself, then another is called from the right. After an additional three people go before you, you start to question the security guy, aka line warden, who then tells you these people had started transactions and are now finishing them.

Yeah, I know you are looking puzzled because I used to look that same way. So let me clear it up for you, when people approach a teller and present a check they don't stand their and wait until the teller gives them the money. Instead they present the check and then make their way back to their seats until their money is ready. Weird you may think. I call it insane.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why you cannot stand at the teller window until your transaction is complete. Instead you sit back down only to stand back up two minutes later to collect your money. The bank is not the only offender though. Imagine going to KFC, you see tons of people, but no real line. Instead everyone seems to be leaning on the crowded front counter. Why you ask? Some are waiting for their food and others are just not sure how to stand in line and order; therefore they just look for an open register and approach when they notice the cashier free, even if you have been standing in front of that same register patiently waiting. Obviously when fast food hit Ghana, the memo on line etiquette in fast food restaurants didn't. I can't tell you the amount of times I have wanted to ask someone to remove their derriere from the counter so that I can comfortably order without someone staring into my wallet. What happened to ordering and moving to the side or sitting at the counter with stools until you are called?

And God forbid you don't want to conduct your business while someone is standing at the counter with you. Because then you become the onery one. I once got the look of death at the Registrar General's office for telling a woman I would wait until she moved away from the counter to conduct my business. I just thank God that sweet baby Jesus whispers in my ear or else I might have said, "Bitch, I need five feet of personal space to conduct my business." But instead I just gave her the death stare right back until she moved.

So what is the lesson of this story you may ask? When in Ghana remember cues follow Darwin's theory of evolution: "Only the strongest survive."

Until next time. Smooches.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Things Men Do In Africa

As I am sure you can imagine there are a variety of cultural differences between living in the US and living in Africa. Fortunately, my African roots have prepared me for many, but some of been really unexpected. So today I will tackle the cultural differences in African men. Why you ask? Because well somethings you have to see to believe. 

1) Drinking hard cider, Bailey's or any other sweet liquor- In the US, it is never acceptable for a man to drink hard cider or any other fruity pansy drink. In fact, it is a strict man law violation. Can you imagine the man of your dreams sipping a pink martini with a strawberry on the rim? But in Africa, it is the norm. See the proud look on the face of the men sipping their Bailey's Irish cream and Malibu coconut rum. If you didn't know any better you would think it was comparable to the best whiskey or champagne. The more amazing thing is, is that they get drunk! I am still trying to figure this one out, considering I often think of these drinks as fruit cocktails. The only time their look of pride dissipates is when I explain to them I don't do sweet liquor. After all, I like my liquor like my men: straight, hard and dark. But it does make it easy to pick up Christmas and birthday gifts.


2) Wear Animal Print Clothing. Most men can only pull off wearing animal print clothing if they are pimps or Katt Williams.  However, the African man has the undeniable right to wear animal prints in many forms: jackets, pants, shirts, hats...hell even belts. And don't be surprised when all of his friends are going wild over his latest cheetah-zebra mix shirt in a positive way. Although, a man wearing animal print in the US may elicit plenty of jokes and cruelty from his friends, rest assured here it is pure admiration amongst his friend....after all he is sooooo GQ.....*insert side-eye*

3) Hold Hands. Many of you I am sure envision Africa as a completely homophobic place. After all, many countries have a ban on homosexual activity. However, you might be surprised to know that it is completely normal for two men to hold hands. That's right, if you see two men walking and holding hands it is by no means considered a sign of homosexuality. Rather it is just a symbol of a happy friendship. Doesn't it just make you feel all warm inside to know that its ok for men to express their bond through such a simple gesture? However number 4 definitely make you rethink what is classified as "gay" behavior.  If you got the pun extra points for...if not, well boo.

4) Dance With Each Other. Just in case you didn't know many African children attend same sex boarding schools. As a result there is this "boys boys"  and "girls girls" culture, meaning that you can just go out and have fun with your same sex friends. I think that is acceptable since girls and guys' night exist throughout the world. The thing that still amazes me is the men dancing together. Now, yes some of it is an acceptable two step in a circle of guys. However, there is always one or two that have the full back it up motion....hump in the back and all. Which is why any gay man who lives in Accra should never be shy about trying to approach a new backside...your grind may be warmly welcomed..until they find out you want more. But who knows..maybe some of them want more too.

5)Wear Tight Pants. When I was in school, they were referred to as "nut huggers". Nut huggers are the pants that are so tight that any man walking in them instantly walks like a rusty tin man. Although it looks extremely uncomfortable, tight pants are still the fashion trend for men across the continent. Now let me be clear, there is a difference between a well tailored pant and a tight pant. A well tailored pant fits your belly, a tight pant pushes your belly to its maximum bulging point. A well tailored pant when we stand up falls down naturally to the ankle, a tight pant you have to do the leg shake to get it to come down two inches, then you pull it down the other two inches to hit your ankle. So yes, tight pants are an epidemic and I am sure it will eventually have an effect on the birth rate of children across the continent. After all, it can't be healthy to have your nuts in a chokehold all day.....right?

6) Sag Their Pants With No Underwear. Now, I am not going to lie...this is actually one of my favorite cultural differences. You see many of you just get to see well ripped men, sagging their pants with no draws on in pictures...I get to see it in real life daily. In fact, if I was Catholic I probably would live in the confession booth because well, honey, let me tell you, there aint nothing like seeing a young little chocolate drop with strong shoulders and tight abs sagging his pants wit no underwear on. The only thing I really wish is that they had taken a bath and put cologne on. Nothing like the smell of funk to wake a sister up from a good fantasy.

7. Saying I Love You in Within 24 hours: Now we know that Africans are global people and can be found in all parts of the world. So I am sure that any woman who has had an African admirer, has within 24 hours heard the phrase I love you. And while most women dream of hearing this words from prince charming, it can evoke feelings of fear and make a woman question your mental faculties. Yet still, it seems the African man is not worried about the rejection or the restraining order that may result in this phrase prematurely being said. Instead, they are more than willing to tell you that after a few hours of knowing you, you are, in fact, the one. *sigh*  Then you remember, you once saw a similar story on Lifetime and break the hell out.

8. Provide Wholly For Their Women. So all jokes aside I can say that most African men take great joy in providing their women. Whether poor or rich, most will make extreme sacrifices for their women and their children and fully understand what their role in the family is. That is not to say that you don't have exceptions to the rules, but overall they are providers, and any woman who ropes herself a respectable African man will indeed be a happy woman.

Until Next Time. Smooches.