Let me start by sharing with the loyal and long-suffering readers of Beefs something I have just discovered from my scrapbook. When I was a younger journalist, with abundant hair on my head, and a passion for the profession burning in my heart, I used to keep a scrapbook that has now become a source of immeasurable wealth for this now hair-less middle-aged man who is enjoying time in the motherland.
Younger journalists of today may want to borrow a leaf from the Oldies like me, and keep scrapbooks. They will never regret it.
And what did I discover from my scrapbook? It is an entry about "new husbands" in England. This was actually a short reader's letter published by The Times on 14 January 1997, written by a Mrs Cherida Mahon of Ipswich in Suffolk, who was extolling the virtues of England's "new husbands". She wrote to the Editor of The Times:
"Sir--May it please the good Air Commodore (Harold Shephard) to know that time has moved on. The definition of a good English husband is now frantic in the kitchen, fervent in the chapel and frugal in bed. I am the mother of four fine fellows." When I saw Mrs Mahon's letter in my scrapbook, a sweet smile broke at the corners of my old mouth. The new English husband is frantic in the kitchen, fervent in the chapel, and frugal in bed. Poor him.
After all the franticness in the kitchen (which is a taboo in Africa, our motherland), and fervency in the chapel, this "new" English husband is also expected to be frugal in bed! In fact he is not "expected to"--he is actually frugal in bed, says Mrs Mahon, a mother of four fine fellows. So she knows!
Well, I don't know about you, if you are a husband, but Mrs Mahon's three "Fs", especially the last one (frugality in bed) frightens me. How on earth can any husband be thus? After being frantic in the kitchen (which most Diasporan Africans are these days) and fervent in the chapel, doesn't natural justice demand that this husband do something more in bed? Would not frugality be a sin in this context?
But never mind--it is only about England's "new husbands". The old ones surely did not acquiesce to such things in their day.
Did not Shakespeare--he of all men--so marvellously write about his African lover in Sonnet 128: "To kiss the tender inward of thy hand/Whilst my poor lips which should that harvest reap ... Since saucy jacks so happy are in this/Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss."
But hey, let's come home. I have been thinking about diasporan...