Season of nudity and eccentric romance

Published: Sunday, 17 Jun 2007

It is unfortunate that I have some ladies as next-door neighbours in Cardiff. Most times when I open my window to take in fresh air, the sight of these girls usually confronts me. Their backyard is adjacent my window. And whenever they come out to soak themselves in the summer sun, all they wear are pants and brassieres. Ordinarily, there is no problem with this as it seems to be part of their culture.

The problem though is with my wife. Ever since she returned to Nigeria from the UK, the woman has been seeing fantastic visions. Each time I speak with her these days, she signs off with, “You are enjoying yourself abi?” Her recent text message says it all, “Dear, how are you? Hope fine. I had wanted to tell you this; you will say I have come again. But the message is coming steady. I am seeing you with women. I am not accusing you, but you know yourself…I leave everything in the hands of God.” Perhaps, those neighbours of mine are part of the women blurring my wife’s vision.

Gradually, nudity is becoming a thing of pride and a campaign instrument. On Saturday, 9 June, hundreds of naked cyclists cycled through central London and some other parts of the Western world. They called it the World Naked Bike Ride. And it was to protest the damage done to the environment by over-dependence on cars. The ride was also to project the environmental benefits of cycling. The BBC News website quoted one of the organisers, Duncan Blinkhorn, as saying, “Bikes and naked bodies harm nobody. Car fumes…are driving us all to climate chaos.” This year’s was the fourth with more than 60 cities participating. It started in London and Edinburgh in 2004.

In Cardiff University, the rave now is ‘Get it Out for Cardiff 2007.’ It is a campaign to encourage students to put out their end-of-term rubbish on time for collection and recycling. To draw attention to this, posters advertising it have two nude students – one female and one male. They only cover parts of their nakedness with the rubbish bags they carry. The students union newspaper, Gairrhydd, quoted one Leanne Jones of Keep Wales Tidy as saying, “We have found that in general, campaigns which are off the wall (eccentric or unconventional) work better in claiming attention in a media competitive world.”

Recently, a Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf, published the story of a group of naked people who posed in an Amsterdam multi-storey car park for US photographer Spencer Tunick. About 4,000 people applied in advance to be part of the work of art. Tunick is famous for taking pictures of naked people in public since 1994. Last month, he reportedly took a photo of 18,000 nude people in Mexico City.

Last year, one ex-marine called Stephen Gough was reportedly jailed for four months for stripping in the toilet of a plane flying from Southampton to Edinburgh. The man, who believes that people should be allowed to move about in their natural state, had also been convicted of walking into Edinburgh Sheriff Court naked. He has allegedly been convicted eight times. But in April this year, he escaped another conviction due to insufficient evidence.

Just recently, my class had a picnic at Bute Park in Cardiff. At the park, romance was at its highest. Some lovers were lying on top of each other, smooching and having all sorts of fun. The only thing that remained for them was to have sex openly. However, Cardiff does not hold the world record for simultaneous kissing. That record, according to recent media reports, goes to Hungary.

Maybe, East European countries are trying to recoup what they lost in the era of communism. Remember that a Polish national cut off his penis at Zizzi restaurant in London in April. Reason? He was allegedly unable to get a Polish girlfriend since he came to England. Polish girls tend to prefer black men to their own men. A spokeswoman for the restaurant reportedly said members of staff tried to stop the man when he attempted to enter the kitchen. He then ran into the second kitchen area, picked up a knife, dropped his trousers and slashed his genitals. The police later subdued the 35-year-old man with a CS gas, recovered his severed penis and took him to hospital where surgeons battled to reattach it.

It’s good that our culture still frowns on some of these strange behaviours. We still maintain some form of decency in our dressing and love life. In some places even, you dare not wear seamy dress if you are a woman. Small boys will make caricature of you. Old women will spit at you. But then, things are gradually changing. We are returning to the medieval age when nakedness was a virtue and polygamy, a proof of wealth.

Or how does one explain the advice of our former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, that young Nigerian men should marry two wives. This, he said, would force them to spend their money in Nigeria instead of taking it abroad. It would have been out of character if he had said otherwise. In a forwarded email I received recently on Obasanjo’s scorecard in office, some individuals mischievously scored him highly on women affairs. The major subjects and the scores are reproduced below:

Presidential Exit Certificate

Name of Student : Aremu Mathew Okikiola Olusegun Obasanjo

Class : Second Term (Aso Rock Villa)

Year of Graduation : May 29, 2007

Subject                           Score                   Grade

1. Energy:                         12%                     F9

2. Education:                      8%                      F9

3. Poverty Eradication:        5%                      F9

4. Telecommunication:         40%                   C5

5. Globe Trotting:                100%                 A1

6. Fuel Price Hike:                175%                A1+

7. Credible Election:              2%                   F9

8. Women Affairs:                200%               AAA

Remark : Outstanding! No resit please.

Performance : You be the judge

Signed: Nigerians

Tel: 08060925492/ 08028222988

Thank God for my background. Those female neighbours would have tempted me to also score higher in women affairs than in the main course that brought me to Cardiff.

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