Can you believe we are on Number 4 already? Thank you to everyone who has been following this series.
The picture says it all, but I'll repeat it anyway:
The Quintessential Nigerian Gentleman must be Responsible
For our purposes, Responsibility is defined as "the quality or state of being responsible," that is "moral, legal, or mental accountability." Also included in this definition are two noteworthy qualities: reliability and trustworthiness. [Source]
I found it a bit strange that reliability and trustworthiness were linked to responsibility, but it makes sense.
A gentleman is a responsible man. That includes moral, legal and mental accountability like our definition above points to. However, I would also like to include financial accountability here.
Let's limit our discussion to two parts of this definition: moral and financial responsibility. Before your eyes start to glaze over, I won't be using any figures here. Just illustrations. You can stop sweating now.
1. Financial Responsibility
A gentleman does not live above his means. He understands and acknowledges the limits of his income and does not borrow money to keep up appearances. I see this trend increasing with younger Nigerian men (and women) who borrow money to live a certain lifestyle, and end up being indebted, living from paycheck to paycheck. Be wise. Don't live above your means. Or like that adage says: Cut your cloth according to your size.
I think that generally Nigerian men are financially responsible. They are very passionate about providing financially and otherwise for their families. Again, some of the Americans I have met have testified to this. In fact, for those of them who are interested in Nigerian men, this is one of the factors that endears our men to these women.
2. Moral Responsibility
Moral responsibility also deserves a special mention here. Morality is highly subjective, but I believe each person follows his own moral compass, which may be linked to religion and spirituality.
A good way to illustrate this concept is the case of unwanted pregnancy. Yes, I know. It's the stuff Nollywood movies live for. Seriously though, it is a real issue, and the decisions both the man and woman (or boy and girl) make will affect their lives forever. I'm stating the obvious, right? Okay, hold on.
Usually, when we talk about a pregnancy being "unwanted" it usually means that the parents-to-be are not married and may never have had any intention of getting married before the woman got pregnant.
Side Note: The ultimate standard with respect to sex before marriage, i.e. premarital sex is abstinence. I advocate and support it wholeheartedly. But, in reality, a lot of people are having sex, even in church. Or maybe I should say especially in the church, so there's no use wishing it away.
Do I really need to state that a gentleman would NEVER rape a woman? I just did, but let me repeat this. A gentleman would never ever rape a woman, i.e. have sex with her, without her consent. No means No. Accept it and move on.
Back to our unwanted pregnancy hypothetical.
A True Gentleman would take full responsibility if a pregnancy results from the "gymnastics on the bed." Why? Because if you are man enough to lie with her (I know it sounds old-fashioned, but you get the point), then you should man up and take responsibility for the consequences of your actions. Being a gentlemen means taking full responsibility for pregnancy. If you're not sure, get a DNA or Paternity test after the child is born. After confirming though, be a gentleman: be morally responsible.
Please note, that I don't think a man MUST marry a woman he impregnates. That's a part of our culture that should be eliminated because it just creates frustration and unhappy marriages.
However, he should provide for the woman and her child (or children, if they're twins) and endeavor to be in the child's life.
Question: What does responsibility mean to you? Do you think Nigerian men generally are responsible?