When I was growing up my parents did not read classic bedtime stories to me. Instead my mother chose to pepper my mind with woeful tales that focused on all the bad things men could do to me as a girl child. I have blocked most of it because as it turns out, men aren’t actually shit. They are just flawed and need constant behavioural therapy more than anything else. But one of my mum’s tales has withstood time and its wisdom continues to manifest in almost every encounter I have with heterosexual men. I call it the vex money theory.
The theory is simple. The idea is that as a woman if you have been invited out by a man, the consensus is that he will most likely foot the bill. However as a woman of sense and experience and mother’s wisdom it is very important that you take your ‘vex money‘ with you, the minimum amount being enough to get you in a taxi to and from the place. In case the male species in question decides you are somehow crazy for agreeing to let him take you out and you are completely mad for thinking he would foot the bill and you are such a golddigger because you led him on and allowed him to spend his hard earned money and didn’t even kiss him goodnight. Us bitches, right?
You use your vex money to transport yourself away from the mess of a man. However, in some instances, ‘vex money’ extends beyond just transportation. Case in point, recent Internet sesation – #KeepTheChangeBae. Just like she did, sometimes, we ladies need to treat a guys f*ck up and refund the money spent on the date.
The vex money theory discussed over years of girl talk, wine bottles and gender banter has been an unyielding debate as with all men vs women issues tend to be, however the real problem beneath all the pointed fingers from both parties is one inarguable fact. This fact I think is what mother tried to communicate in her bedtime tales, increasingly dramatic attempts at preventing her girl child from becoming a victim of or playing into the system of patriarchy that is masculine entitlement.
Yes (most) men are disgustingly entitled. And we can’t fix most of them because they are already set in your ways, but we can spread the word so that our future male children are raised without that sense of entitlement.
In places like Nigeria it often feels more pronounced due to the slightly more obvious forms of patriarchy which is supported by the fact that men here have more economic power than women. Although the balance is shifting slowly, men still have more money. Somehow this has translated into more power aka the genuine belief that because they have spent a certain amount they deserve certain rewards.
The result is the double mistake of assuming sexual favour is the only reward a woman can provide or that sexual interest from a woman is directly related to how much you spend on her. This is where you hear things like “XYZ School babes are so easy just take them out for Chinese” or the more basic form “women are gold diggers”. Going from simple logic, it makes sense for women without money to want ergo go after money aka rich people. What makes zero sense is broke boys complaining that women are going after their money? Which money? 5000 Naira?
Entitlement is a dangerous mindset. While #keepthechagebae is an obvious manifestation of the problem, there are a lot more subtle examples that women endure every day of their lives. They can range from situations as simple as walking into a narrow space with a guy and having him assume he must pass first or going out with a guy and having all his guy friends come over to say hi to him while completely ignoring you to larger situations where you break up with a man and the first question his friends ask him is “but you got some sha”. The examples are myriad. Two nights ago over dinner conversation with “woke individuals”, the men defended women’s rights while simultaneously interrupting and taking over women. And they didn’t know they were doing it. Its 2017, our men need to do better but also, ladies, let us continue to work hard to get more ‘vex money’.
I’d like to get your thoughts on this – whether you’re male or female, please use the comment section below to share your views.