Home Creative Non Fiction “I wish Nana was my wife”: Notes from a conversation with my...

“I wish Nana was my wife”: Notes from a conversation with my watchman

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Image of Nana Darkoa by Yinka

I recently sacked my watchman. Although I clearly told him why I was terminating our contract, he still called me at 10:45 pm a few nights ago because he wanted to pick up some belongings he had left behind, and asked for the umpteenth time, “Madam, but what did I do? Why have you sacked me?”. I mentioned the time the watchman called because it was yet another sign of a complete lack of awareness of boundaries, a characteristic he had displayed on a number of occasions for the relatively short period he was in my employment. There was one particular occasion when he shocked me. He had been telling me in one breath about his Uncle who had dropped dead whilst at work (allegedly because someone had done juju on him), and in the next breath he was telling me about a conversation he had with his cousin (who also worked for me one day a week as the relief watchman). His cousin (the relief watchman) had told him, “I wish Nana was my wife”. I thought I had misheard. “What did you say?” I asked. Heheheheh he laughed. “He said he wishes you were his wife”. My face went still. “That’s not a conversation that the two of you should be having about me, and even if you had this conversation this is not something that you should tell me”. He tried to justify his comments by saying, “Oh but if something is nice you should say it.”

I work from home. One of the joys of working from home is wearing whatever I want, but the next day, just before dusk fell, I found myself changing from the short skirt I had rocked throughout the day to a bubu. I was annoyed at myself and my watchmen. I can’t even wear what I want in my own house I muttered to myself.  It was doubly annoying because I know that men sexualise women regardless of what they wear, and yet I felt the need to protect myself by cloaking myself in a long garb. As if that would stop my watchman from ‘wishing I was his wife’. This experience also made me think of the interconnections between class, gender and safety. On one hand, I had hired a watchman because I felt that as a single woman living alone I could be perceived as an easy target by burglars, and on the other hand I was deeply uncomfortable with being alone in a house with a watchman who thought it was okay to desire me. At the same time, I get it. You fancy who you fancy, but sometimes you just need to keep your thoughts to yourself.

Adventurers, what has been your experience? Have you had people tell you they fancy you in completely unsuitable circumstances? Share in the comments below

 

Image of Nana Darkoa by Yinka

11 COMMENTS

  1. This is when I agree with the previous post about getting a watchlady. I don’t want any man watching my house because I hate curtains and roam naked, so I know that he will have a feast. In regards to boundaries which I find African men have very little of. Therefore, their thoughts will never be reserved. All that nonsense makes me colic and I rather roam naked and unsafe (well safety is selective ?) in my humble abode!

    • I so hear you Leslie! I have been enjoying my ‘security guard’ free life. However I am interviewing a new guard tonight – my cleaner took it upon himself to find me another guard, and my Mum thinks I really should get one so I am bowing to the subtle pressure 🙂

  2. This is when I agree with the previous post about getting a watchlady. I don’t want any man watching my house because I hate curtains and roam naked, so I know that he will have a feast. In regards to boundaries which I find African men have very little of. Therefore, their thoughts will never be reserved. All that nonsense makes me colic and I rather roam naked and unsafe (well safety is selective ?) in my humble abode!

  3. Sorry for my multiple posts…Safety is important, but I don’t know how safe it is to have an unarmed peeping tom ?. You are damned if you do or damned if you don’t!!!

    • No need to apologise Leslie, it’s a conversation so the back and forth is helpful 🙂 The previous guard was ‘armed’ – he had a catapult, bow and (poisoned) arrows as well as a taser. I could write a whole blog post about his weapons and how nervous they made me, but that has nothing to do with the theme of this blog. So far my new guard seems alright…has no weapons…and so far hasn’t said or done anything inappropriate

  4. I can totally relate Nana,
    When I was living in Teshie I felt safe on my own. My neighbors next door where usually always at home and my (late) Uncle was just a few moments away and another Uncle literally two streets away. I’m a believer of not thinking negatively. One Saturday I was feeling quite unwell and I decided to stay at home and rest. I was going to call my housekeeper and advise her not to come that morning but something told me not to. The doorbell rang and I slowly dragged myself to the gate. I had forgotten that the handyman that my parents had been hiring for years was coming over to see if there were any odd jobs he could do. He ALWAYS came by early around 6am so as to avoid the high Sun rays. My housekeeper usually came at 10am.

    I begrudgingly opened the gate and the handyman ‘Eric’ began to complain that I had taken ages to open the gate. I was irritated but something told me to tell him that I was busy helping our housekeeper with an errand. He noticed that I was looking ‘a little green around the gills. I told him I wasn’t feeling 100%.
    Nana, if you saw the smile that emanated from ear to ear. He proceeded to ask me if I ‘wanted a massage’.
    Immediately my back went up. The tone of the conversation really changed and I could sense that the proposition was not coming from a sympathetic place. I was furious. I scolded him and told him that he had no business talking to me in that way and that I would be reporting his ‘offer’ back to my Father. I asked him to go on his way and that I had errands to attend to with the housekeeper. I was so shocked I called out to my housekeeper that I was coming inside shortly (knowing fully well that she was not present) and motioned him towards the gate. He begged a pleaded forgiveness but it was too late my mind was made up.

    I was lucky to get him out of the compound as I am aware it could have gone another way. Eric knew that I lived alone. He would always tell me that he passed by the house sometimes just to check it was ok!

    It was only a split second and his offer about for a ‘massage’ had an undertone I didn’t care for. I was furious. I was also a little bit afraid! I called my cousin to tell her what had happened as I began to feel guilty. Was I over reacting? I needed some assurances. My cousin advised me that I was not overacting and that I had done the right thing and advised me to get my father to dismiss him. The doorbell went again around 7am and I was fearful to open the gate. My other mobile started ringing and I could see it was my housekeeper, she had arrived early. I was so grateful it was her at the gate and I was so happy to see her. I immediately told her what had happened. Again I was looking for some justification that I was overreacting. My housekeeper advised me that I was not and that l “must banish him from coming to the house again”.

    The interesting element for me is that I was so horrified with Eric’s ‘offering’ that I didn’t want to believe it. I too Nana was irritated to the point that I was second guessing myself where there was no need! My reaction was justified.
    No one wants to feel unsafe in their own home especially by those that are there to protect you and/or help you. I understand what you mean by not wearing any mini skirts around the house or clothing deemed ‘a little revealing’ but I understand that. After the ‘Eric’ incident any male worker that came to the house I’d make sure my housekeeper was there and there was no miniskirt in sight. I feel you on this one Nana.

    • Hey Jennifer, I am really sorry you had this experience. It sounds dodgy for sure – and I don’t even like those people who drop by unexpectedly to check on you…I appreciate you sharing this story. Hugs

  5. As a man and from around , i find this to be normal aside maybe he’s having other intentions .
    i could’ve advise keeping him because it’s much easier to get protection from those who have good feelings for you , his statement might be due to seeing you to be single and also from some petty goodness from you but not necessarily having sex with you.
    believe me or not , even a crazy man knows a good woman when he see’s one .

    • What I didn’t find normal though was him telling me what his cousin had said. Isn’t that inappropriate? I thought it was – and I did sack him in the long run. Not because of this comment but because he sleeeepppptttt waaaaayyyyy too much

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