The Globalization of Romance

The Globalization of Romance

Anytime I watch romantic Nollywood movies, I am always irritated; the couples act western for reasons I don’t understand. In such movies, when the lover boy – usually played by Ramsey Noah or Desmond Elliot (for the past fifty years!) – talks to his lady, his accent and intonation automatically becomes American. Likewise, the ladies try to “westernize” their behaviours, replying with their own yankee accents, twisting and playing with their hair, and laughing at EVERY joke the guy makes with a kind of “babyish” , “shyish” , cute , but yet hysterical laughter.

For a while, I thought these annoying  romantic acts were only confined to Nollywood movies but I was wrong. One of these days, when you’re free, just go to The Palms Plaza, Silverbird, Ikeja City Mall, or even eateries like Mr Biggs, try eavesdropping on couples conversations , and you’ll hear the way they talk , and see the way they act , like “American Couples”. But when you look at some of the faces of these “Americana” couples, you’ll see they are typical, “ogbonge” Nigerians just behaving like oyinbo.

After observing all these behaviors from our naija couples, I was disturbed and decided to pour my feelings to a close friend, a Nigerian, but I wasn’t explicit at first.

I asked her “If you go on a date with a Nigerian guy, and he wears traditional attire and orders traditional delicacies –like eba , pounded yam and all those sorts – what will be your reaction?”.

I remember, she paused, looked at me, smiled and said “NO WAY!, how will someone eat eba on a date ? or wear agbada”.  Her answer surprised me, so I was more direct in my next question, “Why is it that most Nigerian couples spro (our mutual slang for “using American accents”) when they go out on a date, what is wrong with out normal intonation?”.

“Using foreign accents shows you’re globally exposed” she replied. After that reply, I got irritated, the conversation ended there. In fact, it is that conversation with my friend that inspired me to write this essay.

Globalization may have made us borrow a lot of things from America: their free market economic models, their democratic style of government, and even their fashion. But must we borrow the way they do their romance?  Globalization has really robbed a lot of cultures — especially African cultures — of their identities. Countries and people are unwittingly loosing their sovereignty, uniqueness and originality all because they want to copy something or a style of living that they perceive as being superior, the ways of the west. I’m not implying that couples should behave in primitive manners or neglect etiquettes, no, but what I have a problem with is why our media, and couples seem to base their standard and “level of exposure” by what the west thinks. Furthermore, as a person of faith , I believe God made each tribe , race , and country for a distinct purpose. If we copy other people , there is no way we will discover that “distinct purpose”.

On the other hand, it will be fair to add that this “westernization” of romance is not an African crime alone. Back in my university days overseas, I remember occasions where some non-English speaking European couples or Asians tried altering their accents in order to impress their significant other. When I remember those events, I laugh.

So what is wrong with telling a girl you like, “Kin na da kyau”, in Hausa, instead of the conventional, “You look so burriful baby”.

Or why can’t we go eastern with marriage proposals, “Achorom inu gi”. It’s more natural than asking for a girl’s hand in marriage using elaborate but pointless phonetics.

And then, if you want to pour your heart out to that person you fancy, but you don’t know how to “posh up” your accent, it’s okay, just say  “Mo fe ran re”.

Globalization has made Nigeria adopt an economic model which has made the average Nigerian suffer today – look at IMF’s directive on the removal of fuel subsidies. Please, we should not let globalization touch our romance.

So if you ever invite me for a date, and I wear kaftan instead of a tuxedo, and order for amala instead of rice, don’t be annoyed. If you’re annoyed, you’re on your own. After all, that’s the way our forefathers did it.

51 thoughts on “The Globalization of Romance” by aghoghosam (@aghoghosam)

  1. Very funy! It’s all about our eurocentric minds – the West has always been shown as the ideal that we have to copy.
    I noticed in the last paragraph you said:”So if you ever invite me for a date, and I wear kaftan instead of a tuxedo”. I assume you’re a man so in the proper African way, you should do the inviting and pay all the expenses! That’s one turn of ‘westernisation in romance’ that is most welcome by African men nowadays, then don’t mind the woman paying the bills. Lol.
    Your view on this issue is on point but I will like to also point out that most of the relationships that show this ‘westernisation’ are mostly fake or at its early stage ‘cos I’ve seen many down-to-earth couples who don’t have any cause to pretend around each other.

    1. lol ! @petunia007 yes I’m a guy . Personally I think ALL guies should pay for the bills on a date regardless of nationality , for me its a global thing , its just courtesy…hehehehe.
      I agree with you , many of these “westernized” couples are the fake ones or the ones in the “honeymoon” stage. By the time reality sets in during the course of the relationship , both parties will resign pretending and behave normally , or in the case of the fake couples , they’ll just break up…lol. Of course , there are many genuine naija couples , i’ve seen them too.

      Thanks a lot for your comment :D

  2. Very funy! It’s all about our eurocentric minds – the West has always been shown as the ideal that we have to copy.
    I noticed in the last paragraph you said:”So if you ever invite me for a date, and I wear kaftan instead of a tuxedo”. I assume you’re a man so in the proper African way, you should do the inviting and pay all the expenses! That’s one turn of ‘westernisation in romance’ that is most welcome by African men nowadays, then don’t mind the woman paying the bills. Lol.
    Your view on this issue is on point but I will like to also point out that most of the relationships that show this ‘westernisation’ are mostly fake or at its early stage ‘cos I’ve seen many down-to-earth couples who don’t have any cause to pretend around each other.

  3. It shows Ђơ̴̴̴̴̴̴͡ω globalisation have inflenced our culture

    1. @rawlingsunday its very true man , but we should not take everything hook , line and sinker too also o. :) Thanks

      1. We should but we could see Ђơ̴̴̴̴̴̴͡ω it’s affecting our culture. Our culture is already died and we are doin nothing τ̅☺ revive it either

        1. @rawlingsunday – I don’t think it is too late , I just feel it takes one individual at a time to change things.

  4. And you forgot to mention how in a bid to appear ‘posh’..a girl leaves her plate of food nearly untouched..nd goes home 2 regret..

    It is actually sad because we tend to overdo on d copying…

    1. @sibbylwhyte – Thank !..Honestly I did forget that..hahaaha !. I should have included it most def. The copying can be sad o..seriously.

  5. And in a bid to appear ‘posh’..a girl leaves her plate of food nearly untouched..nd goes home 2 regret..

    It is actually sad because we tend to overdo on d copying…

  6. So Oga tell us how it should be done. Tell us the true African way.
    Wait o, has any one considered how our fore fathers did their own romance? I’m sure it would be hilarious to observe. I’m thinking palm wine tapper, village drummer, fisher man, hunter, yam tubers and palm kernels…..
    What knida gift did they even share?
    do they even kiss?
    Were they even romantic?

    So, tell us how you would prefer we do it o, Agbada on beach abi? and ewedu draw soup on your first date?

    1. @kaycee ..looool ! you funny , palm wine tapper !

      Of course i’m not implying that men should wear Agbada to the beach , or women should swim with Being traditional and unique does not mean one should not be practical ;) But what I mean is that our tradition should not be DEMEANED , its a way of life.

      Btw who told you our forefather’s were not romantic ? How were they making babies back then ? Today , hollywood has defined for the whole world what romance should look like , so if one compares it to what our forefathers did back then , our forefathers will look ridiculous. This is not right , everybody ,tribe , race has their own unique way of expressing love to each other.

      Thanks for the

    2. hahahahahahahaahahah

  7. This westernization thing is far-reaching than can be imagined. There is almost no aspect of our lives that we can boldly assert as exclusively African.…and I doubt if there’s going to be a change ever.

    1. @midas – Personally , I don’t think it will ever change. But as individuals , we can consciously choose to accept our culture , or at least respect without mocking those who choose to do so :)

    2. @aghoghosam: but of course you are right, but seriously our kids may have to visit a museum to know what an ‘agbada’ looks like cos just thinking about it now we have gone adaptive with the small measure of nativity in our dressing and in everything else too. God help us

      1. @midas – hahahahaha…agbada in the museum , that will be the height , honestly we need God’s help

  8. Hahahaha. @sibblywhyte. Why order for the food then. I hate fastfood dates sha, they seem too official and unnecessarily orderly for my liking. Makes big room for pretence.

    @aghoghosam, no be say you talk o, na wetin we dey see. Hot sun go dey hammer, pesin go carry murfler. But ehn, if you must wear agbada to a date, behave civilized inside it o. The thought of it is funny sef. Lol.

    1. @gooseberry “Hot sun go dey hammer, pesin go carry murfler” = D, I thought I was the only one seeing it. still find wearing agbada to a date funny…lool !!

  9. It is only an insecure person who wants to be like someone else. If you know who you are and understand that uniqueness is what differentiate you from anyone else, you will just be yourself. A guy who pretends to be American on a date, hmmmmm; I wonder what else he’s pretending to be?

    1. @ymweta – You are right , its not just about hiding accents again , there is a big picture to it. Subliminal messages as it is said. Also , all this faking all comes down to self esteem.

  10. D recent one wey enta my brain na d Cinema date..

    Over the seas, when you hear people say we are goin 2 d movies, check them out..almost always dressed simply!!…

    Oya come to naija cinemas..
    If d girl never wear high heel or skintight clothes..she never start…
    Like it is sme kind of fashion event…tscheew!..

    Abeg we can say that for our parents, chatting on the village part was romantic enough 4 dem..

  11. @ymoweta…I used 2 know a guy dat claimed not 2 know a word of his native tongue…nd his obviously fake accent irritated the hell out of me!..
    Fortunately I called him with a different number one dayand d onitsha boy answered lyk d touts in d main market..and I was like “Wat the hell”…
    Well I never ever talked with him again..

    1. @sibbylwhyte. =)) , you’re too much. I always marvel when I see people dressing up to “shoprite” , a grocery store , anyways maybe that’s their style , or they were just branching there when I saw ! Please forgive our Onitsha brother , just talk to him.

  12. All of us dey pretend now like say we no dey form. Okay o. I think we’ll surely meet someday….

    But, honestly, the rubbish is too much. I think that’s part of the inferiority complex the blacks are suffering from.

    @aghoghosam, thanks for bringing this to mind.

    1. @babyada , our side view , hw fa , lol.

      Your point tallies with @ymweta , the root of all these pretences is insecurity , low-self esteem and africans’ inferiority complex. Since this is the case , each individual has the personal responsibility of discovering his/her self worth , through faith or any other means suitable to them.

  13. @Oba, right on point. I remember those days when our papa and mama only get romance out of bush-meats, pounded yam and egusi soup. Their language of love depend on amount of meats, yams, farm and agricultural amenities u can provide. Then, it was raw romance which last longer than all this western styles which resultant end/effects has always been “romance me in western styles and we shall break-up after two years of marriage.” must we all be putting our head in the same direction while sleeping!!! Abeg make una do deregulation on romance also!!!!!!!

    1. Remove romantic subsidies…lol ! It is sad that we’re also talking about divorce in Africa , decades ago , this word was not found in the dictionary. People now enter marriages with one leg with the mind that if anything goes wrong they will be quick to escape with divorce. I don’t think our Almighty intended that beautiful gifts like marriage and romantic relationships should be trivialised — somehow it looks as if our forefathers had a better understanding of these issues.

      It is possible that these pretences are also contributing to failed relationships..true.

      Thanks :)

      1. hahahah. i love reading these comments..

          1. yours was one of the most humorous ones@aghoghosam…i didnt know that “romantic subsidies” existed before. lool..oh my goodness. you naija people go kill person wit laffs

            1. @janeiwenofu are you serious ?? So you mean you don’t know romantic subsidies exists? Well, now you know , I’ve played my part by informing

              1. hahahahahahah olololololo

      2. 9ice and his wife came to my mind on reading this comment. Shameless.

  14. Na una sabi sha,
    Abeg who knows where I can find red roses for val day?

  15. I think Africans mostly behave as people with acute inferiority complex. Can you wear a native dress- no matter how smart- to a job interview? It was started by the first generation of ‘enlightened’ Africans, they threw away everything African and made their children and grand children do the same. Shameless.

    1. @layrite True ,these things started generations ago , from our forefathers in the colonial era. I remember one of my cousins told me that in his school in Europe , some of his colleagues referred to African traditional attire as “costumes” ! I teased him saying , that the term”costume” now made the wearers of such attires ! It is sad that some of us Africans unwittingly accept this view. God help us.

  16. @kaycee: you still dey talk rose for dis one wey we dey. The native way s’pose be weed o. Perfect work of nature, symbolic of a never-dying love bcos as you dey pull am e dey sprout back plus we no go dey worry abt overgrown weed for our environment

    How’s that for an environmental-concious valentine package? Hehehehe

  17. I have noticed this trend, and believe me when I say it’s extremely irritating. Also adding to the disgust is that it’s the “ajekpakorized” people, especially the ladies that try to spro. What happened to our rich culture and indigenous languages? A while ago, I was speaking to a fellow that had expressed his desire to toast a lady. I asked him if he was going to do the toasting in Igbo language. He seems horrified at the thought and told me that it wasn’t possible. The toasting would be done in English. I felt very sad.

    We should learn to appreciate our culture because the westerners appreciate theirs as well.

    1. @alex – isn’t it true ? its the “ajekpakorized” folks that do this most…hahahaha !!
      The funny thing is that we are allowing the west to influence our culture , but the westerners are not even “one-tenth” influenced by ours , it is like a one-sided relationship , if I should describe it that way.

      1. @alex, why will you feel sad that a guy doesn’t wana toast a girl in igbo? Does he know if the girl understands igbo? let’s not get too biased with this issue o.

  18. My own comment is a question. Where did you get that picture?


    1. @Myne – Google images , I typed African Couples. I saw a lot , but I fell in love with this one :)

  19. There always a madness attached to every “civilisation”, in fact, whenever it involved influencing Africa-Nigeria to be precise, the side effect it’s always alarming. Take for instance, oyinbo man won’t borrow ur styles of marriage, all the rigorous and religious ceremonies involved neither will they copy ur ways of talking or eating. But here, we do not only buried ourselves in their culture but we are totally lost in their life to the extent we can’t figure out where we belong. The so called pastors are international with grammar and gyrations, the choirs are western in the way of worship jumping like baboon on the trees. Nollywood movies are out of naija with unrealistic love. The politician are like zombies looking for opportunity to subsides our life and properties including unborn child. Everyone lives under the pretence of western world.

  20. …..nodding to Faze’s Originality, I know you hear it pounding in your ear.

    The he-goat said it was when he visited his grandmothers place, that he
    first learnt how to posh his mouth up.

    E tere ugba, e tere ose!

  21. Papa and mama Chukwuebuka before Chukwuebuka came?

  22. I feel you bro! The matter tire me too o! @greatness4life it’s like you like that my name, I feel your points too bro.

    What happened to natural love like in the days of our fore-fathers? Now Valentine is around the corner with so much pretense on the way.

    1. @Dowell Oba, lol.. Val is around, with alot of pretenses in the air. Men deceiving women vice versa, Children indulging in fake romances..all in the name of globalisation of romance. E tire me so tey for this nija fotocopy o!

  23. I am not a 100% in favor of the adoption of western culture by Africans but I do like to point out something. You proposed the idea of using our native language to communicate with a ‘significant other’. Well, a fact I know is that not everyone is acquainted with their native language and so English being a universal language is appropriate for such matters. In most cases, like the one I mentioned previously is not abandoning our culture and knowing Nigerians, they are very keen when it comes to maintaining their native language as a means of communicating with one another whether home or abroad. In regards to the date issue, I would find eating native food nice and most couples do indulge in African delicacies when out with each other. Again, most not all. So, I think westernization to our culture should be a 50-50 take, a form of diversity with uniqueness.

  24. @oma07 I’m not calling for the eradication of western behaviors , I agree with you , it should take a 50-50 form. But what I’m implying in this essay is that our cultural way of expressing ourselves should not be DEMEANED or seen as substandard. Of course , there are some people who are not acquainted with their native languages , they’ll have to express themselves in English , yes , that is practical. But there are couples (with both parties having the ability to speak the same dialect) who just fake it and end up embarrassing themselves , they should have been natural and spare themselves embarrassment. This essay calls for an appreciation of the African Culture — with regards to romantic expression –, not the eradication of Western culture.

    Thanks for your comment :)

  25. @AGHOGHOSAM lolzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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