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It’s always worried me how wrong we can be about people from first impressions. The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” seems totally pointless these days when magazines and startups of nowadays are investing totally in front cover shoots and branding pushes left right and centre.

What do you see when you walk in the company on your first day of work? Does your spirit lift at the obvious display of creative freedom evidenced by the artwork in abundance on the walls? Or do you straighten up like a soldier at attention at the brusque colours and stern portraits of the head of state, governor and the MD welcoming you with their unsmiling faces like, “we are not here to play“?

I have been so wrong about people personally from the first look. One day I sat down to review the first impressions of people I had met when I first arrived different places. When I first arrived my secondary school, my first friend was a talkative, friendly, bubbly girl. After a few months I didn’t even want to have anything to do with her because I had her down for a tell-it-all who didn’t have the number one quality of a friend: the ability to keep a secret.

How important are first impressions if you cannot back them up with delivery? Is it good enough to hoodwink people into getting in bed with you when your reputation in said bed will be tarnished by your lacklustre performance? I am worried about rods turning into snakes in bed due to the annoyance of unfulfilled promises of pleasure. How do people do this? Deceive a friend to come close and then disappoint them, knowing all the while that your disappointment could be used as a claw against your reputation in corridors you never even knew existed?

The people you owe money, some of them you borrowed from for the first time. You couldn’t pay back. And you didn’t explain. You just let it slide while you went off in search of new fresh marks to borrow from. This is cowardice. Everyone knows the economy is hard. Looking for new people all the time because you’ve messed up your first times with the old people will only hurt your reputation and that of your children and your friends as well.

Tied to this in my mind is the entire short-term mindset of a lot of Nigerians. It can be argued that since in Nigeria, life expectancy is short, the naira continually falls in value, and since every Nigerian is looking to steal your money, then you should be more focused on short-term gain. While all this is true, I have seen my dear Nigerian friends place money over everything else. It starts like a joke but it quickly becomes insidious.

It is no longer really a vice to be materialistic.

“Grab what you can from your boyfriend or husband before he breaks your heart and you have to part ways, because this life na per head and you have to look out for number one in all cases. Men are terrible animals and if not that they were our species we would have nothing to do with them except of course to have them take care of our material needs. Love? Attention? Affection? Companionship? Partnership in raising functional children? What’s all that? So far the money is there, girl why are you complaining? Do you know how many girls out there would be lucky to have your man?”

And so the suffering in silence continues.

Allow me ramble just for one more paragraph. How about the first impressions in dating? People put up their best behaviour to their boy/girlfriends and their families and then once they get married, the claws are out. Cats are smart these days. They do not reveal their claws until the pounce is in execution. Disillusionment is a powerful feeling. You can do all the fashion and bedroom styles and go out of your way with the acts of service love language only until you settle in your matrimonial home and decide that husbands (and wives) shouldn’t have to be in campaign mode with their lovers because they have finally won election.

How about just being yourself all the time? And how about you actually working on changing your behaviour in the parts you cannot present to the world? I know my unpresentable parts, God help me to grow out of them. Some I have been in for decades but look, if you are not trying to be better you are no better than a monster. A monster does not have to make an effort to be one, it is just a monster and being one comes naturally to it. So why judge a monster for acting naturally when you act naturally doing your little monster things and make no effort to change? Why should a monster make an effort? Because the world says to change? Why? Who made the world a ruler and a judge?

What I think I am trying to say is, I’m kinda tired of the lies and pretense the world so hungrily goes after these days. It seems so sickening and diabetic to consume cheap sugar with no nutritional value all the time, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Where is the long-term satisfying, nutritionally valuable meat? Where is the substance? Yes the icing of money is good but what is the cake itself made of? Where is the underlying character and who are you really behind closed doors?

Don’t ask me. Ask yourself.

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