MADNESS WITH A METHOD

The thin line between being funny and being stupid is so thin that you will cross it without knowing.

Being stupid and being funny are both virtues in the art of this business. The fine art of Madness is virtue too- the expressive type of madness that is. We are talkind about the kind of madness that has a method to it; the kind in which you can only be funny but never smart.

You are really funny when you are funnier than people; but you are not at all smart when you are smarter than people. The reason is this: when you are a funny guy, the world will probably call you a fool to your face, but behind your back they will say: “that dude is a great guy to know”

Ironically, when you are a smartass and you strut your stuff in front of people, showing off, and being in people’s face so much; “the world will sing your hosanna to the high heaven’s, and they will probably raise stones to do so when their own voices go hoarse from cheering you on (to your own destruction). This is when you heed the maxim of “Watch It Before You Wreck It”. For when you are not there, the same people will turn around and say “who the hell does he think he is?…fuck that guy, what makes him think he’s smarter than everyone else?”

Brethren, It is a worthwhile venture, therefore, to ply the art and tact of Madness With A Method. That way, your way is pleasing to the Lord, and even your enemies are at peace with you.

A classical case in point is the story of King David. Who applied Madness With Method to keep his enemies at bay. The man was running from Saul who sought to make kebab of him. When he came to a place he believed he would find refuge, the people pointed him out saying: “look, that is David The Celebrity Giant-Killer”

I am sure the simple folk were ecstatic to have the celebrity among them; but the man, being a fugitive on the run for his life, had not come to sign autographs, but to hide from those who were gonna kick his arse.

Some other of the people only saw the King, not for the Star-studded crown on his head, but for the bounty upon his head, being a wanted fugitive. They was just gonna blow his cover and make some pizza money for themselves. But David perceiving this conspiracy had to apply a Method of Madness to save his arse.

But, wait; why don’t we let the scripture speak on this? The scripture is divinely-inspired and cannot bullshit us on this matter of Method of Madness.

Okay, then, you ask for this. If you have a bible like I do; the story is there in the book of 1 Samuel Chapter 21 verses 11 through 15:

“…and the servants of Achish said unto him, ‘is this not David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousand?'”

And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid… And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands…”

That is not being smart, in my book.

“…and scrabbled on the doors of the gate…”

That is being funny, in my reckoning.

“…and let his spittle fall down upon his beard”

A king, drooling? Now, that is a stupid thing to do, to my mind and yours. And Achish, his host, was right to say:

“Lo, ye see the man is mad; wherefore, then have ye brought him to me?

Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence?” away with his funny-stupid-crazy arse.

And that was how Madness With A Method saved David from being handed over to be kebabed with Saul’s spear.

Now tell me if being funny or being stupid, as the art of Madness With A Method goes, isn’t creative. If it is so or not, I leave you to be the judge, at least, you will be too engaged to judge me.

By the way, all bible quotations were taken from the Authorized King James Version. And I testify to the truth that the scripture is divinely-inspired for your teaching and reproof (and mine too)

P.S. All typos and grammos, and punctuation errors, etc. in the quoted scripture are mine and not the Lord’s; the Lord does not goof or mess with your mind like that..

Thanks for reading.

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THERE HAS BEEN NO FEMINISM THIS YEAR

There has been very little feminism this century. Venus now has all she ever wanted from Mars- A Baritone of Her Own.

Isn’t that scary, that the placards that used to scream “give us, us free” now proclaims “we want back rub!”… we want foot massage!” “we want… ehmm… What A Man Can Do!”

It got me thinking too, that the whole hullabaloo about “Women’s Rights” “Gender Equality” and stuff, has been all about boxing The Man in that corner where he would always play doorman and chef.

While playing the doorman isn’t a bad thing or a big deal, per se- afteral Doorman is a Man, and men make the better chefs- but having to box the man in that corner is to turn the table of gender inequality around, edging him hard against a wall. Don’t be surprise when you shall soon see Martians take to the streets, screaming, in soprano, “Bring Back The Days When We Used To Be The Last to Lay down, And The First To Rise up”

As a Martian, it has been my growing up dream to get to be the first to get back from work, change the baby’s diaper, make dinner, and give that back rub and foot-massage to the wife when she gets home from work. That dream now seems a delusion, because the Venetians have gained liberation from the Martian Masters.

As it is, a today’s woman would rather get served by a male chef at that restaurant or bukka, get her nails and hair done by a male stylist and Manicurist at that salon, and get her back rubbed and foot massaged by a male masseur, than be ministered by to a husband.

Now, should I still go ahead and hitched up to that Sistah, and probably, play a dummy good only for easing off the itch when the itch comes upon her? Should I not rather seek solace elsewhere, and realise my full potentials, coupled-up with another Martian who understands my needs like I want them understood?

The way things are going in this century, many a Man will lose their “Natural Affection.” and if this iniquity abounds into the next century, don’t blame a Brotha if his love waxed cold. I am catching a chill already myself.

So, biko, Nne, you give us us free- the liberty to be your Husbandman- chef, masseur, manicurist, and soul provider, especially for the massaging, biko!

LESSON FROM A WOMEN’S TOILET

There are life lessons you can learn from the toilet and nowhere else. Not necessarily your home toilet, but public toilets- the free ones divided into the Ladies for women, and Gents for guys.

I stumbled into the ladies- it was a sheer oversight, nothing intentional. The absence of urinals in that compartment should have given me the impression that I was in the wrong joint, but I was too full of shit for the realization to sink in. I was far too pressed to care for urinals or to be concerned about the absence of them.

I could remember what shitty stuff i ate the previous night: it had left me with such bad stomach that at 8:30 am, when most offices were yet to open their doors for the day’s business, I was looking for a toilet. I had to go, and it was not one of those insane days i take my payload to the gutters or street corners of Lagos.

I found myself in a eatery’s convenience. I usually look out for the sign, to inform me and give me a bearing, but there were no signs on the doors. So I barged into the nearest compartment, and dove into the nearest vacant cubicle.

No sooner had I unzipped my jean, and pulled down the waistline, and  boxer short to my knees, that I sat on the commode and gave gravity some helping hand with my shit.

And a great helping of excreta was what resulted.

But this is not the life’s lesson I learnt in that toilet. I learnt that life will be less nasty, less brutish and less short if everyone in the world was a male.

While still on my business on the commode- which I found out later was the Ladies, there was this insistent series of loud knocks on the door of my cubicle. When I would not heed to the knock and kept on doing my shit in there, the querulous voice of a full grown woman came tearing trough the thick door and shattering my peace, saying:

“haba, madam, do quick na, abi you dey born pikin for there?

Funny how it didn’t even register on my mind that a restless lady was impatiently waiting for me to finish so that she might in turn occupy the toilet.

My reply to the banshee’s vituperation at the unknown occupant of the toilet was a muted silence.

The silence seemed to enrage the lady the other side of my toilet’s door as her ill-will imprecation increased in both momentum and heat. She was invoking the fire of the God of Pastor Odukoya to burn me- the “dumb” occupant- in hell “for inside there” for holding her up

another voice that came from my right was admonishing her to lessen the noise “abi you dey mad?” the voice was greeted with a “thunder fire ya mouth for there”. The voice to my right fired back, and the world of human evolution, as I have always known it, nose-dived in a descent into chaos as the women began to hurled insults at one another, and rain curses down on me- the mute – for being the cause of the whole shit.

I realized that I was in the wrong place- a world of women, in which women and their characters hold sway- a sort of unimaginable opposite of utopia. A place not good at all for a man’s peace of mind.

If I had not learnt that before hand, I learnt it hat day in the women’s toilet.

When I finally vacated the cubicle, the women seemed embarrasses that I, the occupant of the women’s toilet was male- a man-male. They remained quiet- if out of shock, I don’t know- because I walked away without a word.

A LESSON MY UNDERWEAR TAUGHT ME

My underwear has a tear in its under part. It is a small hole where the stitch has parted. My balls keep going through this hole and dangling free outside the underwear. It is not just any underwear, it is a swimming trunk; and a blessed swimming trunk at that.

I really don’t use underwears, and I dispense with boxer shorts as much as it is convenient for me to do so, and that is always. I hate how those flimsy bits of garments give big wahala, getting soiled too often, and one has to change them everyday till they have become a heap by laundry date. I hate laundry when I am the one doing it. Thank God I discovered swimming trunks. With swimming trunks, you don’t have to keep a stock of them for changing, and a heap of dirty underwear don’t build up. One swimming trunk can serve you as good as seven can. Each time you take a bath, you wash it, and by the time you are done bathing, your swimming trunk is dry and ready for wear again. Great underwear breakthrough swimming trunks are.

I had my first authentic swimming trunk during my seamanship training. Since then, a swimming trunk is a piece of garment I don’t travel without. It has even become the symbol of my profession but I made a mis-take and came on board with only one. This kind of unfortunate development is why I hate packing. I always forget one essential item or the other. And now, this one has spurn a hole, letting my balls out of confinement. I should just discard the thing and go without underwears like I used to, but I can’t; This threadbare swimming trunk has been blessed by our Reverend father.

On December 31st, during the New Year Eve Service, tagged “CROSS OVER NIGHT”, everyone had lifted high the tools and symbols of their trades and professions to be blessed by the Holy-water being sprinkled by the priest. The parishioners had been advised about that prior to the service. I had been confused, not knowing what to present as the tool or symbol of seamanship, and I settled on one of the stock of swimming trunks I brought back from my training in Warri.

Diverse items had been brought to mass. As the Ibo traders made up the greater population of the parish, the church, that night look almost like a shopping mall with all the goods on display. Writers and those in white collar jobs brought pens and papers. Those who were jobless had nothing in their hands but prayers in their hearts (I think writers should have joined this latter and not the former group). Me, I had not gotten my seaman’s passport by that time, so I thought hard on what to present and the swimming trunk came to mind.

When the priest asked us to lift our tools up to heaven with both hands so that the big man up there might see it and reward us, I spread out my swimming trunk for all – both man and God to see. One small Ibo boy, with curiosity written on his face, asked if I was a wrestler since I had a “wrestler pant”. I replied in the negative, explaining to him that I was a seaman; he didn’t get it even when I explained that seamen drove ships. Perhaps he was wondering why anyone has to don a “wrestler pant” to drive a ship, or what a ship was. He only seemed to get my drift when I told him that I roam with sharks and dolphins as a seaman. I ignored his next question about Jonah being swallowed by a fish.

Various automobiles spare parts, and electronic gadgets- brand new and tokunbo- were showcased. There were okrika sellers, polluting the air with the sickening smell those overseas cast-off clothes emit, deadening the sweet aroma of the pastries and confectionery the bakers and confectioners brought. The madam sitting to my left brought jollof rice and fried turkey wings that reminded me of what a sweet-smelling offering was, and why the bible endorsed it in the book of Leviticus. I wonder what hustlers: prostitutes and 419 ers and agberos brought for God to see and bless. Every article of trade was blessed and sanctified – my swimming trunk was adequately soaked with blessings. The drought of holy water sprayed on the thing almost made it soggy. Although, it got dry before the end of service, my faith in its sanctity had remained steadfast since then.

I always wear the blessed swimmimng trunk under my clothes as a sacramental. I can say it is working, although it is not making me the money I need to buy the Hummer Jeep the priest prophesied each parishioner was going to buy before the 6th month of the New Year . I just hope the prophesy comes to pass before my tired swimming trunk give way, or squeeze the life out of my balls.

I am not even considering mending the rift in my underpants. Why? It is a miracle. I believe in miracles now. You will never understand. I didn’t understand too until the parted stitch taught me a mystery. The size of my balls are like perfectly formed chicken eggs. I could have said turkey eggs for exaggeration, but I have to be factual at this point. Why and how those egg-size balls keep slipping out of my underwear through a hole not larger than half a inch in diameter is the mystery: a mystery akin to birth. The head of a fully-formed foetus is far greater than the diameter of the birth canal. But life is possible because, despite the discrepancy in sizes of the foetus and the birth-canal, a life still comes forth.

My underwear showed me a hidden mystery, so I am keeping it.

OF COFFEE AND BAD IMITATIONS

LAGOS LIGHTS is a new brew of coffee I invented. It isn’t much- in making, but it is a great deal in taste and  and aromé. All it takes to fix a cup of Lagos Lights is a scoop of robusta, half a scoop of arabica, a wedge of grapefruit, and a scoop of sugar if desired. No milk and no cream, please.

If you cannot access freshly roasted beans like I do, use instant coffee. And If you use instant, use the real thing, use the Nestlé brand, thank you.

And don’t forget to steer well of decafe. Decaffeinated coffee is a no-no. There is no sin greater than the use of decaffeinated coffee. Only fakes and bad imitations use decafe.

I will tell you about this fake: he pronounces it “cough fee” making it sound like something your doctor will prescribe for bad lungs and bad judgment. This guy who is a #BadImitation of me is worse off than decafe and those inferior brands of instant coffee that taste   like paracetamol.

Why he tries so hard to copy my style is something I cannot boast to be at home with. In this day when people distinguish  themselves, defining where they belong and how they stand in the tussle for supremacy between the progressives and conservatives, I belong nowhere. This brings me to the question- why do people follow people when they don’t know where people are headed? I think everyone should move their heads in the direction of their hearts, or follow with their hearts where their heads lead. However they do, I say people should just go- like I want this bad imitation of me to just go his own away; he his too much of a dark shallow to be trolling after me.

See how he casts a glum over my light spirit when he start to mimicking me, messing up my style and making a monkey of the thing i like to do. When I vacate a seat- whether to pass water or get some stuff or the other- by the time I return, this bad imitation of me will be occupying my space. His own cup or mug of coffee will be sitting in front of him; his legs will be crossed at the knees as I do naturally. I am not sure anyone else notices, but this development gets me miffed at him all the time. How could be so comfortable being a fake? Ughhh!

There is this unnatural drawl I like to inflect into the tone of my voice when communicating on the walkie-talkie. Scarcely anybody does that at all. I do it a lot, and this imitation of me dude does it a lot too. I hate it when he begins to enrich that baritone of his with a cowboy drawl. He make my own drawl sound like a school girl’s whine or like Mickey Mouse’s hysterics.

He has pink lips and I have black ones. Maybe he hasn’t noticed, he would have darkened his own lips with shoe polish to make them look like mine.

Yes, I will give him that: he has a attributes-to-die-for grace. He has a set of rippling six-pack while I have potting belly; he has a chest that look like a open bible, while I have flabby breasts. I will not grudge him his attributes, neither will I exchange what I have for what he has.

God, let him go and do his own thing and get out of my space. He does not have to walk my  walk or talk my talk or fart my fart. There is enough talent in everyone and enough space on the world stage for we all to strut our stuffs. I am myself imitating Jesus- doing what Jesus would do; a conscious man would not imitate an imitation. Abi?

I could use one less shadow messing up spotlight

PS: The next time you are served a cup of espressos, sneak in a dash of citrus juice. I tell you, no Bad Imitation, not even NEPA, can quench your Lagos Lights

WOMAN CRUSHED

It was Woman Crush Wednesday, and I parted ways with my last One Standing

She said to me: “NO, YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” Then I knew it was an error to hint her that I was going to upload her photo to my timeline and tag her as my ‪#‎wcw‬.
I replied with a lol, and asked her ‘’why not? You are so rich and powerful, with so much brain packed into a beautiful body as you are…”

I really don’t know where or how to stop when I get started like this.
She took her sweet time to come back with a reply. I was so sure she was going to come back to me with a “LOL”, and with such sweet nonsense like her usual tease of “oh, Chris, you are a mess…” Her strokes always come positively like that, when I get silly with her. But what I got was:

“I AM SOMEONE ELSE WIFE FOR GODSAKE!”

She actually said that in those dreaded uppercase letters which signifies yelling, screaming, or the laying of some strong emphasis when a sense is being screwed into some numskull.

I must have looked like that smiley with wide eyes gapping mouth, and forlorn look. I recovered quickly when I saw that she was typing another reply. I checked my ire, reined in my angst, and put a stopper to my draining hope. I really did not need to be morose, marooned as I was, she may have meant for her reply to hit me in a platonic way. It is so easy to read the wrong meanings into well-intentioned messages you know.

I was still staring at her last message; her reply to my own last message was taking too long to come. I ran my fingers over the keyboard with the same speed I could have run my mouth. That was a mistake too. What I said was:

“of course you are some man’s wife, but you are nobody’s property like a piece of furniture, are you?”

I really should have thought that trough before hitting the “send” button.

Her reply came. It was not an apology, it was not an explanation; it was the boot. She said to me “chris, no offense, but I am deleting you from my friends list this minute.” I felt as small as she had spelled my name in lowercase letters. And…

There goes, Lola, there goes Ugo, there goes Tayo, and now another one bites the dust. So much for Woman Crush. I can only hope she regrets her action and send me a friend request before next Wednesday.

THE WOOD IN NOLLYWOOD

To say that 99% of movie piracy in Nigeria is perpetrated by The Igbos is to tow the line of ethnic discrimination and pandering to xenophobia.

The debate is on and raging that the Igbo traders in Alaba International Market, and elsewhere, are culpable for the infringement of the Intellectual Property Right of Nollywood-Movie-Makers. A new contender for the right to be heard in the ongoing imbroglio posited that the “poor” quality of many a Nigerian movie does not qualify them as Intellectual Property at all.

In my view, this contender is right, if not absolutely correct. But I have my own mind in this matter:

I think the Wood should be taken out of the Nolly. I don’t see any other thing anyone can take out of it- not a single quote, not a memory, not a blasted thing of worth.

I watch Bollywood or Hollywood and come away with great quotes, but not so Nollywood. I won’t spend my time or money on Nollywood products; I don’t even watch Africa Magic. If I am not doing Movie Magic I spend my time on CartoonNetwork or Nickelodeon or Boomerang and my pursuit of happiness is less hard-going.

For the absurd I tune in and stick to Sony Max; not Africa Magic. But Nollywood is not all that Bad per se, if you subscribe to Nollywood. The thing has its utilitarian value. At least members of my crew every time snatch the remote control device out of my hand and tune in to Africa Magic as a escape valve to let off some frustration or the other through rants and complaints about the waste of time watching Nollywood movies. I sometimes join in the huff and puff of hewing down and making matchsticks of the Wood out of Nolly.

This is not to say that films or movies produced in Nigeria or by Nigérians are all dust-bin stuffing. To say Nigerian movies are thrash will be unfair to Kelani’s Mainframe products- many of which I never get sick of watching repeatedly. To say Nigerian movies are crap would be doing Emem Isong’s Royal Arts Academy films an injustice for her excellent actors, well-crafted scripts and coherent story lines. I will bypass a pirated copy of these and go for the real thing at any cost. These are worth their salts and a little more. But I will not buy any average Nigerian movie even if their original copies sell at 3 for 5 Naira.

For their thankless effort at popularizing Nollywood movies, I wonder if the maligned Igbo Traders are even recouping their investments, the trying would be a great waste otherwise.

DORO FAKE

I don’t know why the word “fake” occurred to me during meditation this morning. Fake, as a word is synonymous with counterfeit and imitation. In the material world there are fake things and fake people too.

False-tooth, make-believe arts, imitation leather, synthetic hair, and silicon breasts- these things and things in their order are the originals of themselves. They are authentic articles, even those fake arse some women wear these days. You can’t mistook those for fakes unless their brands were imitated.

Fake, as the word occurred to me this morning has to do with people. At a subliminal level of thought, there are fake people in the world- fake friends, fake family, fake politicians, fake doctors, nurses, soldiers, teachers; fake businessmen, fake actors, fake writers, fake fakers- people who assume roles they have no training or natural flair for. Such fakes are always found out to be fakes.

Yesterday I was discussing with a group of writer friends, and the matter of who is a Literary Critic and who is a Literary Cynic dominated our discourse. The same yesterday I visited a tailor from Aba and found out he was a faker.

The man makes all class of suits and jackets- there were Italian suits, British Waist-Coats and American tuxedos that could have fooled anyone. It would all have been perfectly original if the labels the man had sewn on his products weren’t “Varsece”, “Galvin Klein”, “Dolcci & Cabbana”. He even had a label that read “Doro Gucci”.

I had a bottle of expensive Italian wine, found at a shop in Alaba where they actually sell fake vintage. The good wine was on the sample shelf, I managed to buy the thing off the dealer when I pretended I was taking it as a sample to my client who was ready to order a 12-feet container of the wine. And now this fake designer pretended I had brought it to him as a gift, snatching the bottle out of my hand and commenced invoking God’s blessings on me for being so kind. I snatched my thing back and informed him that the wine was 12,5% volatile, and too strong a liquor for a good Christian fashion designer like him.

I wonder if he was not a fake man of God too, with his hair styled like Chris Oyakhilomen’s, the verbosity of Okotie, and the dress-sense of Oritsejafor. Certainly, the original is still preferred to the copy.

I got a notification for comment on one of my recent posts on facebook, and when I clicked to read the comment this was what I got:

“Love the way you write… You are an original.”

And that, coming from a trusted writer I wish to be like, is an assurance that I am in order. i want to keep it that way God helping his child.

CHANGE WE DO NOT NEED

It is amazing how so much has changed in so little time. Tecno now pings, BlackBerry Z10 now sell for a ridiculously low price you wouldn’t if you are buying chinko. Somebody in Bahrain now shares my yahoo e-mail address with me, and my non-literate mother is now on facebook.

Time has fast tracked. A lot of things have advanced, and a lot more people are being left behind in the rat-race of get-rich-quickly-or-die-slowly.- I missed that tide myself- but I will catch when I start gong out again- that is when I am sure the new Ebola vaccine works better than Salt-Water Bath.

The borders of the global village, where we are exiled, have so shrinked that a disease like Ebola can break out in New Guinea, and some person in Liberia can infest another person in America, and the American can start an epidemic in Nigeria with the viral infection.

It is amazing too how quickly we can take off the hatchtag from #BringBackOurGirls and paste it smack on Ebola. Me, I don’t like that kind of change o. Just imagine: my water closet used to be the inspiration threshold where I meet and romance with the muse; the WC is also where I get the most stable internet connection- being 3G- but I have been here for almost one hour now, after I dropped the last batch of sheet in the commode, and my BlackBerry is still in SOS mode. Good to know shaa that inspiration is not lost on me as I type this rant.

Now, another change that has not gone down well with me, is how more quickly celebrity marriages fail these days. I was the gladdest person alive when the news came that my friend, the ace female comedian, Princess has gotten married. She was growing bigger and her the hands of her biological clock had started to run away from her when her Knight In Shining Humour got to her. I could have married the surplus-size crush of mine if I had a polygamous bone in my body. The woman is equal to four regular-size ones, and marrying her would have been meant having a surplus wife. Now news reaching me says her marriage has failed.

I also discovered that the number of my friends on facebook has dwindled drastically. I am not surprised at this sort of change, because I see it as an evolutionary process of Natural Selection. I see that only those with iron constitutions have stayed to keep sharpening my own iron. Iron sharpens iron, so says the Christian Bible, I am sure the others who fell away couldn’t stand all that chaffing, scrapping, and opposite-way-rubbing.

I am just going to comb through, when I get a good network, and get rid of the remainder of the porous breed of friends. It will be a service, and in accordance with the maxim of my wise friend Charles DeGaulle (1890-1970) that goes, something like, CHANGE YOUR FRIENDS and you will change your world. (The words in lower case are mine, and DeGaulle is not culpable for such quixotic nonsense)

Waiting For Woman

Some of our conventions are so annoying that it will be a greater good to abolish them altogether. One of such convention is that which holds that the lady is expected to be late to her wedding, a meeting, or a date. Today’s woman has so taken advantage of this convention that she only begins to get ready for the occasion when she is sure the gentleman has arrived and waiting.

Most men have very limited capacity to endure a long wait. I am one of such men. I can’t stand waiting endlessly for something to happen- this is why I hardly watch Nollywood movies, nothing ever happens- except for the Second Coming, I also can’t stand waiting for someone to show up.

Waiting have this uncanny tendency to make time slow down while one’s pulse races on at full throttle. Waiting endlessly make me particularly feel like I am aging very quickly and withering away waiting while the life to live hurries away from me. Although that maxim is true that those who wait shall renew their strength; but it is if, and only if, you are waiting upon The Lord and not for a lady.

Waiting up for a lady saps a man’s strength, wear out the sole of his shoes, and add more greys to his hair. My dad before he became completely grey-haired, used to complain about the time my mom spend in the bathroom when he is waiting his turn to use it; and the much time she frit away making up when they were already late for a outing. I wonder if waiting have not driven him to his early grave. May his gentle soul find peace though.

But why do women even have to do that, wearing a man soul thin with waiting?

“There were moments of waiting.” As put by Stephen in the opening sentence of the 5th Chapter of Red Badge of Courage. Enough said already.