Chef T, Mrs. V. and LN.

Chef Tieta presented me with the first surprise of the year: she is pregnant at 40, a grandmother of 2 and her youngest son is already 15. I am crossed with her, not because of the fact itself, but because she keeps doing the same thing: having children from non-trustable men. At least I wouldn’t call trustable a married man with 3 children. We witnessed, more than once, threats of all kind she receives for sleeping with some other woman’s man. One day she answered a call asking if her daughter Viviane was alive. I don’t remember the details, only her panic. Paul had to explain me what the situation was: a wife had paid someone, or asked a friend or relative, to call our chef with threatens aiming her teenage daughter.

November 2013 I advanced her money to buy a fridge. I didn’t like it because she is paying it bit by bit, and that represents I have to keep the same chef for more than planned. Yes, my “marriage” with chef T. is over since the beginning of 2013. I was conceiving the idea of sending her to the employing agency, so that they could send me a new chef. Except for the trouble of teaching a new someone our ways, I was prepared for the “divorce”. Something that I learned is that local domestic workers function reasonably for ten years and then they show carelessness of all sorts.

I don’t have close relationships with African women. To tell the truth, with any specific women: African or non-African. Tieta was the first local woman I tried to convince that natural is far more appealing than all the artificial tricks they use, mostly following Western patterns of beauty. The result of attaching fake hair to their own is that some foreheads sting as hedgehogs (something I heard from a child) or show early signs of baldness. I’ve been repeating the same idea over and over. They just don’t listen.

I suppose I told the same just once to Mrs. V. I never repeated it because she is the worst listener I have ever met, and also because she is so alienated that she might think I am talking some alien language.

It’s curious how I wake up in the middle of the night and my thoughts jump from chef T. to Mrs. V. Maybe I just wanted an example and my chef represented a small challenge. On the contrary, Mrs. V. is fascinating, and not because of herself, because of the difference between her self-image and the perspective we have about her.

She married someone close to me. She used a dirty old trick to marry him. He was advised not to, but he is a simple mind. He cannot see very far. She needed the status to keep doing what she does without the adjectives that come along. A married woman who fools around is doing it because her husband consents or is asking for it, and not because she is just a … (bad adjective). In fact, both correspond to the truth.

Who in fact was Mrs. V. before the wedding? According to other girls who knew her well, she used to advertise her art in bars and so on: “Do you like my shoes? Go and get them, as I did…” The “by sleeping with A or B” was too obvious to include. A and B are usually married men, occasionally even old men. Thanks to her I learned how that kind might be attractive to men, in short-term relationships. I heard how she acts in bed. It’s repetitive and cold, but it seems to work. In her case, and I suspect this to be part of the art in general, she keeps saying the same refrain during intercourse: “Don’t do that. Do like that. Don’t do that. Do like that.” Negative. Affirmative. Guilt. Consent. It must work in many beds, not in the marital one. It’s rhythmic and clearly empty. I couldn’t feel the urgency of a lover. I was listening because I couldn’t avoid not to and I still remember wishing others could hear and perceive the same.

Before marrying her, he was already uninterested. But he seems to suffer from abulia. He drinks too much and just doesn’t care. Now, when he complains, we tell him that he knew about her. They are married for a little more than 3 years and, believing what a friend told me, for at least half that time they seldom had sex. They don’t show interest and, when I remember her boring professional fanfare, I am not surprised. But there are other reasons besides his drinking and her lucrative vision of sex.

Before marrying, she sent me a message by the occasion of the Mozambican Women’s Day telling another of her credos: “Women are not to clean the house. Women are not to cook. Women are not to wash the dishes…” The list was quite long. In short, it included all sorts of domestic work. I was tempted to ask her: “And what the f… women are for? To f… for money or favors?” But I kept my mouth shut because I don’t trust both (her and him). I learned that work is key. It is hard to do the things that are apparently unimportant, but the rewards are clear. I’ve been in charge of keeping the upstairs clean and organized. Even though it takes some time, I am getting used to it. In exchange I don’t have strangers invading my rooms and episodes of 100USD bills disappearing are only things of the past.

Mrs. V. decided to leave her husband and house. I only avoided giving a party because nowadays she comes and goes… We know she will do it until she finds another sucker. Her husband prepared the divorcing papers and she refused to sign them. I knew it was too good to be true. I told: “She declared war because she wants something.” Old habits are hard to die. I was already conceiving the idea of a new reliable woman at his side, but I wasn’t fast enough. She is back. The day he told me, he added: “I just don’t know for how long.” I told to myself: “Hopefully not for very long…”

She uses people the way she can, even her son. Besides doing the least she can for him, she uses him to keep her awake before going out or before whatever she has planned for that particular night. This child is a victim of her total lack of interest for doing things for him.

She is back and she got what she wanted. I believe she has a list of men even more stupid than her husband is. They are from various countries. The list started in Portugal. I just have doubts if the next one is the Italian she was already talking with before she got married or a retarded British who spent years glued to the screens to watch her dress, undress and probably addicted to hear her “Do that… Don’t do that…” I suppose he hasn’t been that lucky because the slogan ended shortly after she got what she wanted from her husband: the “holy” cover-up of marriage. Maybe they want to know how empty is to have empty sex with an empty woman. Inconsequent sex seems to be crucial. I just hope my chef T. followed the same principle. As for the rest, I couldn’t care less.

Her husband is not a strong person. He needs a strong wife by his side, someone capable to help and make him better. She is not that person. She should leave.

I don’t like the actual panorama. I started the year disappointed with women. Chef T. and her dangerous pregnancy… Mrs. V. returning to a house where she doesn’t belong… I trust a saying: “Cá se fazem, cá se pagam…” I suppose the correspondent in English is: “What goes around, comes around.” During the period Mrs. V. was away, she was partying and doing whatever she wanted. One night Paul remarked how old and repellent she looked. Her husband talked of her return with very little enthusiasm. I am afraid he remains a stupid romantic underneath. His indifference could be apparent only, to mask his own feelings.

Chef T. and Mrs. V. are the first losers of 2014. My chef is in deep trouble and I already said that I refuse to be part of it. As for Mrs. V, the one her own friends address to as “cabbage” because they could never hear her saying a single intelligent thing, she can be back to her husband but she lost her place in our hearts.

And the good and curious of all this, and I was about to forget it, is that I don’t write about chef T. or Mrs. V. at all. I write because I looked at the Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o and I couldn’t resist setting her as an example of three aspects most African women (and not only) lack: good education, genuine natural beauty and pride to be who they are.

Once again, image proudly selected from the internet.