By Olubunmi Familoni
A philandering bachelor’s biggest problem is not money to fund his polyamorous enterprise (the ministry of women’s affairs is always well provided for in the monthly budget); it is not even his mother’s yearly expectations and prayers for a settling-down; neither is it peer pressure of friends getting married every minute and cramming social-media spaces with photos of ceremonial smiles; and the least of his problems is the shuffling of the shag-schedule — he’s usually a deft juggler of time.
His biggest problem is his neighbours. Only a veteran philandering bachelor with obnoxious neighbours would understand the enormity of this haemorrhoidal problem. It is your neighbours who keep accurate tally of your ‘body count’, just in case you lost count and you wanted to update the register, you can always count on them to provide the proper records, complete with biodata. The diligence with which they pursue this voyeuristic career is enviable. They watch you come and go, listen to you come and go, “Ohhhh lord!” So they become reality-TV familiar with your sex life and strive to never miss an episode.
They greet every new girl with a “Welcome oh!” swollen with exaggeration, like back-seat in-laws welcoming a new bride from a loathed tribe. And if you’ve ever had the pleasant misfortune of being saddled with a ‘screamer’ for the night, it is your darling neighbours, all christianly concern and brother’s-keeper warm, who would come knocking at your door to make sure you’re not throttling somebody’s daughter, or wife, even though they know what the screaming is on account of. And when they see you in the morning, they’ll greet you with a “Well done oh” that is an inverted compliment and an evil smirk at the same time.
Sometimes, you just want to sneak in late at night, believing everybody would be asleep, probably because the partner for the night is not much to look at, or she has a neon sign blinking “OLOSHO” across her forehead, or worse, she’s the neighbourhood charity-giver; but your bloody neighbours suffer from a strain of insomnia that can be traced to your lecherous lifestyle, so they’re available to throw you a welcome party at the door, while your key is still searching for the hole — they are out with their “Welcome bros,” and “Oh I thought it was armed robbers,” and “God bless you, my sister,” or “NEPA brought bill…”, all the while giving the poor thing beside you a firm looking-over that should shrink the girl to a speck, their eyes assessing and recording the decline in the quality of your quarry.
The most annoying ones would be the ‘holy’ neighbours who make it their life’s mission to rescue your lost soul from the jaws of hell, and make it a point of duty to invite you for “church programmes” and “night vigil” when they know you’re closeted with someone for the night. “Do you mind, I’m in the middle of a service here myself — a healing session, in fact — so please can I go back to laying hands on the sick.” “You can come with the sister,” they insist. “I will come, with the sister, when you’re gone. Thank you.” Lord, they don’t back off easily. Then they leave you a tract with something about HELL in big bold red letters dripping blood and fire, which just wraps your nice libido up and pockets it for the rest of the night. On other nights, they just raise hell with their large fire-prayers directed at the “sinners in our compound”; so with your erection sufficiently prayed down, there’s nothing left to do but lie there in the dark listening to their songs of triumph over the devil and their fighting with God.
On those days when there’s a dry spell — which every philandering bachelor has, sometimes for weeks — and you’re mooning about in your sexless melancholy, they’ll give you those soft looks of great pity that healthy people give the terminally ill, behind which there is a silent thankfulness for their own good health. And there’s a dash of Schadenfreude that their ‘high-shouldered’ neighbour has been brought down a notch. They’ll say Sorry in every language, and walk around in that semi-mournful way of family members of a perennial invalid whose imminent death would be a great relief for them all.
But a philandering bachelor’s habits never die — his sex life is soon back on its feet with refreshed anointing, and the evil neighbours are back in their place: on their knees praying snide prayers and on their paws sniffing at every stray cat their godforsaken neighbour brings home.