OPINION: Men Cheat, Women are Materialistic

To be honest… “Nigerian men are chronically unfaithful.” “Nigerian women are materialistic.” Advertisement These are two of the most common phrases in any conversation about … Continue reading OPINION: Men Cheat, Women are Materialistic

To be honest…

“Nigerian men are chronically unfaithful.”
“Nigerian women are materialistic.”

These are two of the most common phrases in any conversation about relationships in Nigeria. I’m exploring the validity of those statements.

Nigerian men complain about the materialism of Nigerian women, apparently our women are totally consumed by thoughts of money; of course no Nigerian man cares about cash. They’ll tell you that a Nigerian girl, especially the Lagos girl, falls in love with your wallet before she even looks at you.

When I first heard this complaint, I felt so bad for our men. Poor kiddos, how could they cope dealing with these greedy materialistic girls? I mean I know I’ve definitely judged Nigerian girls harshly. College girls from struggling families have two hundred and fifty thousand Naira (plus) weaves, the latest smartphones and expensive trips abroad. I know it’s their pocket-money doing all that. As I’ve grown older, I’ve gotten kinder, and less judgmental (here’s hoping).

On the flip side, Nigerian women moan about the legendary infidelity of Nigerian men, Nigerian men can’t be trusted. Listening to the variety of stories about the men is absolutely petrifying; some get engaged to two women at the same time, others take mistresses on their honeymoon, placing them in the same hotel as their wives, while others maintain two families or sleep with the maids and nannies. Unfortunately, these stories aren’t fiction; we all have a few of them in our families or our close circle of friends. It’s enough to make a girl reconsider getting into this thing called marriage.

Since moving back to the country, I’ve had some experiences that have made me rethink who gets the blame in this messy situation. Recently a friend was talking about setting me up; apparently he had a number of single friends who would be ideal for me. Call me a skeptic, but I was surprised that he knew so many people who I could have fulfilling relationships with, not because I’m difficult or anything of course. His answer was that they all had really well-paying jobs.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be with an ambition-less pauper, but I think there are many other qualities beyond a well-paying job that make someone a potential partner, like that pesky thing called compatibility. However, in his experience security is the first thing a Nigerian girl asks about.

I’ve been on the receiving end of Nigerian men both young and old trying to throw money at me. Yet when you refuse their blatant offerings, and try to find out more about them, they are uncooperative but they’ll complain about materialistic women. I’ve heard multiple times that the majority of Nigerian women are unintelligent and unable to have decent conversations. This is generally said as a back-handed compliment to me, others in the same vein say things like “you have beauty and brains”, as though the two are incompatible.

Apparently women just talk about movies, celebrities and make-up. Hearing this you would think these men are coming up with the solutions to Syria and Nigeria’s problems in their daily chats. Nah, generally they are discussing football, PS3 and if you are lucky, how to make money. I find these comments extremely insulting and not flattering in the least. I for one have never noticed a marked deficit in female intelligence among my friends and casual acquaintances, if the only women they encounter are unintelligent, the problem might be with their selection criteria not women in general. I’ve had as many terrible conversations with men as with women. This paragraph is brought on by a recent experience I had on a “date”, my date asked a question regarding some of my future academic pursuits.

As I began to answer the question with the seriousness I felt it deserved, I noticed he wasn’t paying attention; he was looking down and chatting on his phone, how rude. This was the same guy who had previously commented on the lack of intelligent conversations. Ironic eh?

I’ve spent a good bit of time considering both angles and I’ve reached a conclusion, it’s truthfully a chicken and the egg situation. Are the women materialistic because they realise that’s all they can depend on the men for? Are the men unfaithful because they are with women who choose them for only for what’s in their pocket? Do men present the situation to be used through their own laziness? They rather flash their bank cards than spend time courting a woman, learning about her interests and what makes her tick. Do women simply utilise the opportunities presented to them by men? Are both men and women simply not just using each other?

After interacting with Nigerian men and women, I’ve decided that this system is mutually beneficial for the active players. The men get bought women who are so desperate for money that they’ll do anything to stroke their man’s ego. These women will turn a blind eye to all their misbehaviour, and accept crappy treatment from them. The women on their part have embraced the ideology of “it’s as easy to love a rich man as a poor man.”

As long as they are kitted out in the latest designers, get to travel abroad and drive nice cars, life is good. I only feel bad for those who are genuinely searching for love, for that person that completes them. 60% of Nigerians are looking to be married just to be, 30% consider marriage to be their meal ticket and the remaining 10% (probably an overly generous estimate) are sincerely searching for love. Yes, these stats are just randomly thrown out from my brain, but I don’t think the results would be different if I performed a rigorous scientific study.

Agree or disagree?


Submission by: Ona Ilozumba, a public health researcher who blogs here.