Husband Wanted, Apply Within
He winced at the sign at the gate, it seemed pedestrian and even inconsistent with the slice of genius that led him here, never mind that he had never seen a husband wanted sign in his 33 years of gulping oxygen. He looked at the tiny scrap of newsprint folded in his palm, unfurled it to look at the requirements again.
“I am looking for a husband, 2018 is my year Hallelujah”- was the heading that never failed to make him laugh, what kind of human being puts this in a newspaper advert? He mused again and again. The rest of it was nearly as hilarious.
“A busy woman seeks a man for marriage within the next three months. Man must be fair (because woman is dark and wants colour contrast for family photos), tall (woman wants to wear heels without man feeling emasculated) has sense and smarts (woman needs man who can keep up and lead sometimes). Man must be Christian, woman doesn’t want to deal with polygamy- woman has fierce jealous streak, or discussions about Cosmos or origin of species- woman would much rather look bush or watch lizards nod their heads on her neighbour’s wall, or dance shoki… And woman can do many things, but dancing isn’t one of them.
It is essential that man is handsome (woman needs to have fantasies about husband when she can’t reach him), man can have an accent, but man cannot have H-factor (woman would go crazy). Man should have close ties to his family but man’s family must NOT be crazy (woman’s family already filled the crazy family quota). If man can sing, that would be a plus but woman is not looking for canary, woman can manage pigeon just fine.
Finally, man MUST be rich, woman wants to honeymoon in Colombia but she can’t afford to pay for two people.”
He smiled as he remembered his first reaction to the advert on that Thursday’s Guardian, as his shock at her audacity faded, admiration replaced the spaces vacated by shock and curiosity was skipping along with it. Who could write like this, he wondered. It was taking up all his impossibility absorbers to believe that a Nigerian woman would pay money to leave herself this vulnerable.
“Maybe it is a prank” he muttered and flung the paper on the table but he couldn’t fling off the advert from his mind that easily.
The advert stayed with him as he worked, while he drove home and even while he was in the toilet as his brother’s Chelsea demolished Tajudeen’s Barcelona on PES 2017 on his PS4. He couldn’t tell them about the advert and how it affected him, they would laugh to stupor or bundle him to YabaLeft, or both.
He called the number listed on the advert at 11pm and was told to come the following Tuesday by 2pm for the first phase of selections. He laughed hard when he’d ended the call, fully intending to be at his desk at that time, yet here he was in front of the address given to him.
He opened the unlocked gate and was shocked to see two queues stretching from the cream one storey building to the gate, a distance that had to be more than 200 metres. The men on the queue represented every shade of fair possible, he even spotted at least six Caucasians and an almost equal number of albinos.
He stuck all his fingers in his back pocket as he made his way to the table beside the house where a fair lady was handing out forms and plastic discs.
“Good afternoon, Sir.” she said when he got to her, “here’s your form, you can fill it there,” She pointed at another table behind her.
“Your number is on that disc, don’t lose it or you wouldn’t be able to go in” she said with a flirtatious smile.
He thanked her curtly and hurried to the table. As he set the form on the table, he looked at his disc and his heart wobbled when he saw 126 as his number.
“I must win her heart whether she or anyone else likes it or not,” he vowed and began writing with a right hand that did not quite feel like his.