I had walked into my friend’s room to get a haircut from his roommate.
‘Hi sexy!’ someone called out. I looked up to see who it was. It was a girl, pretty and with this haute look from under the hat she had drawn down over one eye.
I’ve always believed gender doesn’t matter when it comes to doing the asking out or the come-on, but for some reason I was tongue-tied.
‘She’s talking to you,’ my friend’s roommate C prompted.
‘Hi,’ I stammered out in a croaked voice.
She walked up to me, arms akimbo, every inch the confident lady. ‘Why didn’t you answer? Don’t you think you’re sexy?’
It was as if I had no tongue. I found myself struggling with the words that formed wherever words do.
‘Er, no,’ I said after a prolonged pause in which she stared me down and I pretended to set my watch.
My friend Kwame looked amused. I could tell he was trying hard to keep from laughing out loud. I probably wouldn’t have held back from laughing if I had been in his shoes but from where I stood, things didn’t look very funny.
My heart beat wildly and I moved as far away from her as I could. I just couldn’t handle it. My face was unchanged as usual but inside I was a complete mess.
C got his equipment ready. I sat down and he fastened a black smock around me.
Just as he turned his clipper on, I heard someone say, ‘What’s your name?’
My tormentor was back. What was my name? Damned if I knew — I had forgotten my name.
‘I, I don’t have a name,’ I replied.
‘Oh really?’ a pout. ‘Are you shy?’
Deep down inside me I know I’m shy, and it’s not just with girls — it’s the same with everyone although surprisingly, I find it easier to talk to girls. Any implication of being shy puts me on the defensive and that was exactly what happened.
‘Of course not,’ I said, more confident.
‘Then what’s your name?’ she asked again.
‘I don’t have one,’ I had recalled my name now but I wanted to convey the impression that I’d been playing from the onset.
‘Why don’t you want to tell me your name?’ I could tell she was about to give up asking so I told her.
‘Azuka, A-zu-ka,’ she practiced saying it. ‘Nice name.’
‘Thanks,’ I said and pretended to be deafened by the hum of the clipper.
I never asked her name and I seem to have acquired a morbid fear of visiting Kwame’s room. Oh dear!
Thus saith some one from long ago:
If the mountain does not come to Mohammed, then Mohammed must go to the mountain.
I was at the Student Accounts window to pick my check today. Two girls were on the line before me.
One of them turned to me, ‘Hi Sexy!’
The mountain had come to Mohammed and the best I could manage was a weak, ‘Hi.’
‘Remember me?’ she asked. ‘From C’s room?’