I am Not Looking For Love, I am Going to Work

not looking for love
It began yesterday at the government office, which was saturated with immigrants whose anxious stares alternated between the digital display boards and their tickets, a square piece of paper with a number printed on it. At the sound of the beep, everyone looked at their ticket, and then the display boards. Some sighed. Some continued talking. Others continued sleeping. One person rose to meet an official walled in by glass on the other side of the counter.

My wait was shortened by an acquaintance with whom I chatted until our conversation lulled to a comfortable stop.

“Excuse me, it seems you are from Nigeria.” A tall man sitting a few spaces away from my acquaintance smiled at her.

“No, I am not.”

“Ah, but I thought—”

“I am from Democratic Republic of Congo.”

With her thick Igbo accent, she delivered her last words with a finality that inspired no argument from the man. He fanned himself, and then pretended to read his letter from the belastingdienst.

Because I am slow to change the expression on my face, she saw it. The disbelief. The wonder. The perplexity.

“Don’t mind the idiot. If not for dis yeye tax people, where e for come see me? See as e dey talk as if e be my mate. E nor see im type?” she whispered for my benefit and his.

I nodded like her co-conspirator, as though I had been dissing guys for the last ten years. What else could I do?

Determined to be a better person, this incident is hovering at the back of my mind when a young man approaches me today as I wait for my tram.

“Hello, are you from Nigeria?”

Surely there must be a better opening line? I give nothing away as I nod and he introduces himself. I tell him my name.

“Ah, Timi. Timilehin? You are Yoruba?”

“I am Nigerian.”

“I know, from whose part?”

“We have left Nigeria. Let’s pretend ethnicity does not matter. I am a Nigerian; that is enough.”

He looks at me as though the sky has descended on my head and I am unaware. Undeterred, he forges on in pidgin English. I respond in proper English.

He ditches Pidgin in favour of a kind of English that is interspersed with incorrect tenses and Dutch words. This is a cross some of us bear. The effect of speaking Dutch with non-native proficiency is the tendency to forget English words and to adjust our tenses automatically to match the wrong grammar of English-speaking Dutch people.

I am aware of every mistake he makes. Like the freckles on my neighbour’s face, they are many.

“I saw you at this tramhalte iedere dag, I mean, every day. Are you going to work?”



I tell him. And then I help him because he seems lost, “I haven’t seen you before?”

“I know, but I am seeing you. You are very mooi, beautiful.”

I take in his overalls. He does not look like Idris Elba in Tyler Perry’s Daddy Loves His Girls, but this is real life.

“Thank you, where do you work?”

He talks about his work, links that conversation to how long he has been in The Netherlands—fifteen years, and then ties it to his goals and dreams like a neat bow at the end of a string.

My eyes do not wander from his face while he speaks. But my mind does. I wonder if he can read, understand, discuss, and comment on my blog intelligently.

Then there is silence. The wind dies. The leaves sleep. The seagulls take their leave. It is just me and him. And the silence. Without my help, he stews in it for a while—scratching his chin, brushing dirt from his overalls, staring at something behind me—before he says, “I must goes to my work place. Can I have your number?”

“For what?” Honest words spill out before I can reel them in. What else do we have to say to each other?

I wan know you.”

I do not know why I did what I did next. Guilt—over what? My resolution to be a better person? Pity? Maybe, my thoughts had roamed to how he must have been eyeing me, calculating his approach. Religious fervour? Hardly.

“I would like to invite you to my church.” I fumble in my bag for the flyers the preacher says we should carry around for opportune moments, moments like this one I suppose.

He looks at me as though The Rapture has occurred and I am unaware.

“Ah, ah! Won’t you know me first before inviting me to your church? I already goes to church.”

It is as if he knows. That I am not very good at this. That church is a cop-out. That it is too late to tell him I am from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That I do not have the heart to tell him he will not understand my blog, and therefore not understand me. He pounces on me like a wounded lion, as if to say, “This is for every man you ever dissed!”

“That’s the problem with you Nigerian girls! Church, church, church! Your mates don marry, you still dey here! Oya go and marry your God!”

He jumps on his bicycle in one swift motion and pedals away.

It is rare that I cannot express myself with words. But I am not writing a dissertation. This is life. This does not call for intellectual prowess.

I imagine that in a few moments, his bicycle chain would jam, forcing him to stop. I imagine him kneeling on the earth, humiliated, rattling the chains, while I watch from the elevated platform of my tram stop. Then the words that abandoned me would force their way out of my mouth, “I am not looking for love, I am going to work!”’

Nothing I imagine happens. He continues to ride and does not look back. But a curious thing happens. As I look, it is not him getting smaller in the distance, it is me!


© Timi Yeseibo 2013


Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

158 thoughts on “I am Not Looking For Love, I am Going to Work

  1. Wao! I’m not sure why I’m just seeing this but I identify with just about every sentiment in this article! I tend to be list for words in instances like these too!
    Hindsight is a great thing. The answer to ‘I wan know you’ would have been a simple ‘ah but I don’t wan know you’. Lol

    Marry my God? Did you actually think you were a contender for my heart? Hahahahaha

    This article is such a great article though. Witty and sharp! You’ve got a great writing style and such powerful expression 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First time here, courtesy @Nedoux. You had me laughing hard. *I already goes to church* #Epic
    I can relate with your points. Truly if the dude cannot understand my blog…howwww in the world will he ever understand me? But then again, is he even “interested” in understanding me?
    Nice one here! 🙂

    Ebonyduchess Blog

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great stuff !! I enjoyed reading it .. am still laughing,

    “church, church! Your mates don marry, you still dey here! Oya go and marry your God!”

    All that just because he did not get your number ? Chai ! Its funny how some men reacts after rejection hey..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. good stuff!… one can get selfish with this platform… like that reluctance to “go on air” when you discover a spot with a great view and a soothing ambience… definitely still one for the esoteric…while we pray for the expansion of that set…. stay good; stay on top…. you’ve got this straggler holed up here for a while…


  5. Hahahaha

    I was expecting the insult at the end!

    Personally, as a young single girl in Nigeria, I have seen so much, heard so much. Now, I have learnt to ignore and even expect such reactions from these childish males. Ha! na dem get dem mouth o.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol @I was expecting the insult at the end! 🙂 I wasn’t and I was stumped for words. But I wonder if I didn’t ask for it, me and my church moves!

      Would like to know what you have seen and heard. Young single girl in Nigeria, what an interesting life! 😉


  6. Interesting read…can’t say i’m surprised at how pedestrian some Naija men can be. Guess it’s a case of putting lipstick on a pig…no be by Netherlands. It is well 😉


    1. Lol, some people feel it is important to have the last word. Then again, distance from the event provides me with perspective. Could he have been pissed at ‘another’ insincere religious-sounding person? I wonder too, if the nicer thing wouldn’t have been to be more direct? Fascinating tale huh? 😀


  7. Why did you get smaller, I wonder
    If you had even gone on one date, you would have hated yourself
    Some things happen for a reason, especially weeding out men you can never live peacefully with.
    Cheers, love will find you. Have faith.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, Theresa, I guess I ‘felt’ smaller because despite his ‘perceived’ lack of proper education, he got the upper hand of the conversation. Inviting him to church was a cop-out, and we both knew it 😀


  8. Love your storytelling, T. You have neat descriptions: “I am aware of every mistake he makes. Like the freckles on my neighbour’s face, they are many.” And the one with the tying like a bow.

    Great ending!


  9. WOW, I love this! It is brilliant. Thanks for sharing a story that is delightfully different from my own life, yet at the same time, universally familiar.


  10. “I take in his overalls. He does not look like Idris Elba in Tyler Perry’s Daddy Loves His Girls, but this is real life.” – The End

    *Credits Roll on the Black Screen and the number of guys that Livelytwist has dissed just dey fly* Lol 😀


      1. Oh no! Not at all!

        That was just me imagining how many dreams have been shattered by your straightforwardness— they don’t look like Idris Elba. In this case nothing could have redeemed this hardworking man, it really was the end.

        Any interaction beyond that point is “jara.” And more juicy content for your readers. Lol 😛


        1. Lol, let me redeem my image lest people think I’m a mercenary ‘dream-shatterer’
          It wasn’t the fact that he didn’t look like Idris Elba that did him in; it was the fact that he couldn’t engage me intellectually 🙂


  11. OMG!!!!…Hilarity!!!!….
    Lol…Idris Elba indeed…Thank God for reality checks.
    That tongue lashing eh…retribution for rebuffed advances…I never get it…what happened to calmly cutting your losses and moving on?…
    This your vivid imagination eh? God will protect you…lol…
    Should we call your friend a smart aleck from congo? Your own experience is what you get for not playing the game the ruthless,un-nice way…pele dear…
    Something should be said for your admirable church invite brain wave though…..hehehehe…..
    The comments were even funnier…

    Did I mention I loooooooooove your blog?your take on the seemingly mundane is not only refreshing but forthright and hilarious…
    Thanks for the potent combo of a great read and loud laugh as always….



    1. @ what happened to calmly cutting your losses and moving on? Lol, the guy must prove that he is not a mumu! Sometimes, it seems as though nice girls finish last abi? The things we hide under the banner of church! God save me some more please 🙂

      Lizzieebunoluwa, thank you for being here and for your kind words.


      1. Hmm, Would have asked your age to know why you think you’re last. Anyway, there’s an iota of truth in it. I’m a guy and I decided a year ago not to ask any other girl especially a ”nice church girl” for a relationship again. Two of the latter messed up my heart..I wouldn’t have felt bad if they had given me a church flyer though…..lol……years ago.


  12. As if the hoops guys have to deal with were not enough, now they have to know how to comment on blogs – intelligently. I pity the young man. And you giving him tracts… ‘ki la gbe, ki le ju?’

    Great post, as always.


    1. Lol Ifemmanuel! But the guy ignored my tract moves and gave me a tongue-lashing 🙂 . At the end of the day, I think the score is 1- 0, in favour of the away team!

      Thanks for being here.


  13. Well well well Timi, I liked it a lot. It seems to be the case that when a Naija guy meets a Naija lady in diaspora, he automatically assumes that the lady would like to knowv him. And starts by asking if you are from Naija or ask if you are hausa, yoruba, igbo, delta, or even rivers. Lol, got to give points for effort right? I have done the same in the past. Well done with this piece. You’ve got the knack. Keep cracking!


  14. The story was a beaut as was d dialogue. You sure always did have a way with words, but this, ” As I look, it is not him getting smaller in the distance, it is me!” gets me all twisted up thought wise. You depicted the Nigerian man for what he is I think Nigerians use the Church as a cover d same way an ostrich uses d sand. no one wants to blaspheme….. we all want to make heaven. But all said and done, are you losing faith in men or the black race?


    1. Nigerians and religion… ostriches and sand 🙂

      “As I look, it is not him getting smaller in the distance, it is me!” … that makes two of us, he gave me something to chew on also.

      And finally, I haven’t lost faith in men & the black race :). Thank you Emma!


  15. often times, I’ve asked myself, why most girls are mean and not accommodating, but I guess, its quite irritating to endure certain conversations like this, trust me, if I were a lady, one minute maximum is enough for guys like this. Anyway, liked you point of view…


    1. Danyl, I wanted to be nice… I thought I was being nice 🙂 . Maybe I should have said from the beginning, “I’d like to be left alone.” Lol! At any rate, I think it’s important to be polite.
      Thanks for liking my point of view.


  16. I loved it! It’s ‘Daddy’s little girls’ though – The Tyler Perry movie.
    But its hard too strike a balance between being nice and getting away as fast as you can!!!
    By the way, Are you Nigerian? 😉


    1. Ganaijachic, you’re right. It would be tasking to be in a relationship with someone who’s not on the same wavelength as you. Striking the balance… that’s the key. Thanks for being here.

      Oh no! I’m from The Democratic Republic of the Congo! 🙂


    1. Lol! 🙂 And I better not share my mini umbrella when it rains!

      Thank you so much, Osemhen! I really enjoyed your posts on eurekanaija! I like the way you write, so I will be stopping by to read more.


  17. “she whispered for my benefit and his.” ..Lol.

    Interesting and entertaining post. Well composed, I must say. I felt like I was right there when it all happened. Quite a flow.

    It sure made me feel better just like said.


  18. Loved it!! 😄Hilarious!!
    You turned the “villain” into a “hero” 😄

    I really don’t know how you do it, I read your encounters and I am magically transported there with your play with words.

    I’ll never tire in saying I’m your biggest fan 😉


    1. Afi, so glad you loved it. I’ve been waiting for your comment. Thank you for encouraging me!

      Well, the “villain” gave me a lot to chew on after the incident 🙂 🙂


  19. “I am from Democratic Republic of Congo.”___God eeh! This got me laughing hard! De place na persin place o.

    You delivered a powerful punch via this post. I wonder what men, who try to woo women for fun, will make of this. Women are from Venus, indeed.

    Another enjoyable read, Timi.


    1. @DRC, lol! I think she wanted to name a country as far away from Naija as possible!

      I guess sometimes guys have to work up a nerve to approach a girl… that’s why I tried to be nice & accomodating 🙂 But in the end, the guy tongue-lashed me!

      Thanks for being here, Uzoma


  20. well well well, u are at it again, words coma alive with you, words paint the most vivid pictures when its used by you and yet i wonder what goes through the minds of women when a pass is made at them, what should be an opening line that they will really like, you are Truthful, Industrious, Mindblowing, Intellectual (TIMI thatz what it means to mi).


    1. Good question Arinze, what kind of opening line would appeal to me? I don’t know, but I’d already heard this one the day before… I tried to listen with an open mind… but he kept putting his foot in his mouth 🙂

      Thank you for your encouragement; you spur me on!


      1. Hehe. I believe in fairy tales as much as the next person but the distance between a couple in all things material (grammar, outlook, background, career potential) can’t be too wide.

        Even “Daddy’s Little Girls”, would she be able to take him to work dinners and trust that he was intelligent enough to banter with her friends and colleagues? And if she loved him enough to spare him that embarrassment, would he still not resent her for thinking him not good enough?


        1. I couldn’t agree more. A friend called me an intellectual snob after reading this, huh? I don’t know about that, but this is what I know: after the butterflies settle & the fires of passion cool, what are we going to talk about?

          @Daddy Loves His Girls, while watching, I wanted to snatch the toothpick or whatever it was that Idris Elba’s character was chewing! And though the film had a fairy tale ending, like you, I couldn’t help thinking about the challenges that would follow. If I was a woman like Gabrielle Union’s character, I would be sorely tempted to make him over!

          Love is good, but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum and should not be blind 🙂

          Thanks for your insightful comments TexTheLaw. By the way, I is still laughing!


  21. Funny, touching and heartbreaking, all at once. And as always, delivered in beautiful prose. Reading livelytwist is becoming one of Sunday evening’s little pleasures.


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