The Joys of Motherhood
by Buchi Emecheta
The Joys of Motherhood Men and Masculinity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Like most handsome men who are aware of their charismatic image, he had many women in his time. Whenever they raided a neighbouring village, Agbadi was sure to come back with the best-looking women. He had a soft spot for those from big houses, daughters of chiefs and rich men. He knew from experience that such women had an extra confidence and sauciness even in captivity. And that type of arrogance, which even captivity could not diminish, seemed to excite some wicked trait in him. In his young days, a woman who gave in to a man without first fighting for her honour was never respected. To regard a woman who is quiet and timid as desirable was something that came after his time, with Christianity and other changes. Most of the women Nwokocha Agbadi chose as his wives and even slaves were those who could match his arrogance, his biting sarcasm, his painful jokes, and also, when the mood called, his human tenderness.
He married a few women in the traditional sense, but as he watched each of them sink into domesticity and motherhood he was soon bored and would go further afield for some other exciting, tall and proud female. This predilection of his extended to his mistresses as well. (2.1-2)
Men in this cultural setting are expected to be tough and confident and, most importantly, to have many women.
One of these mistresses was a very beautiful young woman who managed to combine stubbornness with arrogance. So stubborn was she that she refused to lie with Agbadi. Men being what they are, he preferred spending his free time with her, with this woman who enjoyed humiliating him by refusing to be his wife. Many a night she would send him away, saying she did not feel like having anything to do with him, even though Agbadi was not supposed to be the kind of man women should say such things to. But she refused to be dazzled by his wealth, his name or his handsomeness. (2.5)
Although Agbadi is charismatic and can have the women that he wants, he loves Nnu Ego's mother because she is a challenge.
"In a day or two he will get better, Ona. Then you can go back to your people. We are grateful to you and to your father, I assure you. If Agbadi were to lower himself to thank you, I am sure you would stop caring for him. You need a man, Ona, not a snail. We all know you. For a while I thought we were losing our giant forever. Well, don't worry, he is still too weak to bother any woman for many days, but what he needs I s the comfort of your nearness, though he won't admit it." (2.34)
Men are proud and refuse to admit verbally when they need a woman. Here, Agbadi refuses to tell Ona that he wants her to stay because it would be beneath him. Instead, his friend Idayi does it for him. While Ona wants to know that Agbadi loves her, she likes his pride.