INSIDE NIGERIA: When Beauty is Worth More than Good Character

Posted: February 5, 2014 in Articles, INSIDE NIGERIA
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by Okoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo

Good character is the beauty of a woman.
–An (expired) Igbo adage

My grandmother used to tell us (her grandchildren when we were but little); there is nothing more valuable than a good name. Not even power, not even wealth can make up for a good reputation. Sitting on her cane chair under the guava tree, sniffing her tobacco, she would look up to the sky, with two sad little eyes, eyes blazing like meteorite, blinked once or more and blew her nose into a white tissue, turned back to us and repeated; “There is nothing worth more than honesty or kindness or love.”
“Nothing!” she would say.
But the years passed, flowing into distributaries…and she died, so did the guava tree. Cut down to make room for a new building, a new development, a new age. I too changed, lost my innocence to the seductive prowess of Time. I grew up and I realised that the world is not what I thought it to be. I realised that Good Character is worth less than Ten Kobo, that money is everything and appearance is one of the means of getting it. “Packaging” they say, “Dress the way you wish to be addressed” and so on and so forth. Yes! My eyes opened like the biblical Adam to the naked truth which is; in the time and society we have today, being gorgeous is worth far more than being good.

Before some self righteous folks will try to tear me apart, I will like to clarify my point. Beauty here is both figurative and literal.
Figurative, in the sense that Beauty can come in the form of Fame, Power or Wealth. These three have the same seductive effect that the beauty of a woman has on carnal men. People tend to respect wealthy men, revive famous artistes and athletes, listen to powerful kings than they would ever do to a guy who eats locust and wild honey, even when he is screaming and shouting in the wilderness.
It is Literal, in the sense that physical beauty is a far more effective/efficient catalyst in winning our hearts than good character will ever be. In most cases it is the physical attributes of a woman (her face, her smile, the size of her breast, the curve of her hips, her buttocks size, her height, shape and colour) that attract a man to her first and foremost before he begins to notice whether she can cook or not. As a fan of fairytales, I have come to realise that Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast and co all had the same thing in common; their exceptional beauty. They were either the fairest, the most beautiful or most gorgeous of them all. Their good characters were hardly exposed and when they were, they showed us that these were ladies of many flaws. Snow White disobeyed the dwarfs, so did Cinderella; her mother-in-law, the Beauty was a constant thorn on the Beast, and the Sleeping Beauty was just good at sleeping. But it doesn’t matter, for they were the most beautiful of them all.

This it just the way it is, we fall for the things we see, the physical beauty rather than the inner one (the one that is hidden from the naked eye). I have summed the human cycle in this verse-

“By conflict, Man acquires wisdom
Now wise, he regains his freedom
Being free, he searches for comfort
In Beauty’s arm he casts his lot.”

—The Journey of the Soul

This is the way that most human beings have been programmed to behave, but it becomes worrying when the society is one that is hypocritical and without laws.

The Nigerian society is very hypocritical. It frowns heavily upon given more respect to beauty than to good behaviour…but only on paper. And as one without law, every and anything goes. The end surely justifies the means.

The Nigerian Society has evolved they say from the morally centred prehistoric society to the present morally bankrupt society of today. But the truth is that the Prehistoric Society being what it was “A Prehistoric one” is hardly one whose oral-folktales are to be fully relied upon. We can never know with great certainty if that society was ever morally centred. Maybe it is just a conspiracy by the Christian-Islamic antics in partnership with the traditionalists to make us the liberal children of this secular society seem like ardent sinners. For all we know, our forefathers may have been just as screwed up as we are today…no offence to Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”.

Still the truth remains that ours is a screwed up society. Good Character today is synonymous with “Mumu-ness”, that is Stupidity. They usually say that one has to be sharp to survive in Nigeria. Sharpness meaning that you don’t need to work hard just work smart, which in other words implies that you have to be cunning, deceptive, a liar, a cheat if you have to make it big in our country.
The church thanksgiving services are littered with men of questionable characters whose questionable wealth are being brought to God and God’s servants with no questions asked.
Our village meetings are now chaired by fraudsters, by ritualists and by thieves and we all sit back and cheer them on.

Good girls don’t easily get married anymore, those who get married are now girls who are excellent in looks, in bed, and in our show glass. It is an open secrets that nice but ugly or “not-too-pretty” girls who wear “Mary-Amaka” (long skirts that covers the toes) are quickly passing their youth without boyfriends talk of husbands, while the beautiful bad girls, girls who club, drink and smoke, who have aborted more than once, have up to three marriage proposals, five boyfriends and many more on the waiting list.
Even the bad ugly girls are already catching up with the scope. A black Brukutu girl can bleach herself into a half-cast…and men will be rushing.

Nice guys finish last, and not just with the ladies but also with everything else good in life, and so do nice girls. This is as clear as the day, and does not require a prophet for one to know that the violent are taking it by force.

All our society respects today are Power, Wealth, Fame and Beauty. Get any one of these and your problem in life is almost over. But if you don’t have any of these, and all you have is a good name, all you have is a good character…our very Nigerian Jesus Christ, keep it up and you will soon be crucified.

This is just the bitter truth, there is no going around it. If you doubt me, go out into the streets today and take a poll, ask our young girls what they want in life…and most of them will tell you that they want to be comfortable…they will tell you that they want to be the fairest among women, and that they want a rich handsome tall strong powerful gentle but naughty husband, who loves them and provides for them…who knows how to feed them ice-cream in the morning and at night.
Ask the guys what they want, and most of them will tell you that they want to be a rich handsome tall strong powerful gentle but bad men who all the ladies in the world will be dying to sleep with.
It is only a few of them will say that they want to be a good person…and this is the Truth.

We are all caught up in it, everyone, you and I, we all want to be gorgeous far more than we want to be good.
And if you are to ask me to choose between being a rich bad guy or a good poor guy or if I am to choose between a good ugly wife and a bad but super gorgeous wife, I will smile like a man filled with wisdom, and remembering my grandmother, shake my head and say; “Old age is a disease, My granny must have been senile, for I would rather be a wealthy unmarried bad-ass player.”…No offence to the offended (Slightly Joking ooo).

NB: As a Writer, I believe that I should write it as I see it. Write what I observed, ie what is, whether I like it or not, and not just what should be. And also offer solution where I can.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Lyriversity.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

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Comments
  1. Sheyzznote says:

    Wow! You spit the vile called truth sir. Am impress by this article. Let those who read see the truth between the lines…

  2. echebi says:

    So much for keeping a cool head, Lols. Good one, though I still totally agree with your grandmother. Maybe is because we are just old or senile, but it doesn’t make us wrong. Trust me, old age is not a disease rather it is wise cos’ we’ve seen it all. If you
    doubt me, ask that king of old that said “all is vanity”.

    • Ezeamalukwuo says:

      I honestly agree with my grandmother ooo…but the reality of life begs for the satire in the closing lines….he smiles.
      Thanks joe, you are indeed one of those elders that sit and sniff their snuffs but see further than children upon tree.
      Ana mu ekene

  3. christian says:

    Agwa bu mma but we need to marry a beautiful lady to functions nah… But trust me these days you can still find beautiful ladies with great character added to them because even now the rich train their children very well bcos they hve also wisened up they need their blood to take over their companies while they are alive ask the fajemirokuns and alakijas they will tell you and you hardly see a rich kid been ugly *kama ha ejiri mmanu tegbuo ihu ha* so in conclusion solar you can very much see the mixture of beauty and good character. PS

    • Ezeamalukwuo says:

      You just reminded me of the conversation I had with my cousin…when he raised the issue that most beautiful girls are hard to control in a marriage…that they are not usually good these days….you know what I told him.

      If there is but one good super gorgeous lady in this whole world, I will be the one she marries. No be my fault. I know they dey…

  4. LegendaryCJN says:

    Truth of all times!
    I’ve often said it that most adages are either not for this clime and age, or they are simply too naïve for me to take serious.
    Nice one my good man.
    Permission to rebroadcast and tweet…

  5. Chimezie says:

    Of course Good Character is nice. But, baring everything, jokes aside, I can’t just marry a woman simply because she ‘is of good character’. Nonsense. You can’t take a gorrila out to social functions just because she has ‘good character’. (Can you imagine sleeping with an amorphous female simply because she has ‘good character?)
    Come on, man. I am a sucker for good looks.
    Lol.

  6. Very powerful! I simply love the deep imagery engulfing the randomic narrations and the ‘Africanic’ projections flowing through. A very educating piece.

  7. Richybone says:

    Good work. Am so impressed. I never knew your works are interesting, entertaining and revealing….Nice one

  8. timnwaobilo says:

    I am intensely lost for words…but…my wits help me!

    First off, I appreciate the comical edge you inflicted on this article. Made me wanna cry and laugh concurrently. Cry cos of the truths of de reality of your opinions *2. And laugh cos you were not frightened to paste your views on the clipboard of our humor-chamber; and you did so ever so dramatically.

    So, if I may give a bit of logical perspective to this: I guess the eyes see, then the brain processes. And not vice versa. So beauty or the lack of it (literal beauty) is the first fruit dat mortals see. The brain quickly does an evaluation and appreciation. But for a good name, reversing the order for the brain to evaluate & appreciate the value of same is,quite rare. So, by this beauty beats a good name virtually always.

    But really, speaking your granny might be weeping from yonder. Like I was wont to, though, I’m not of similar chronologue as her. A society that eschews a good name viz: integrity, honor, humility is on the verge of a cataclysmic 79AD Pompeii *2. It is superfluous to furthermore flagellate this issue without providing a plug to the lacuna between a Good name and beauty- literal or figurative. These are times when the wise words of our snuff-choked progenitors are ever golden. The moment we can take a step back in time and divest the past of the age and backwardness that this generation has bequeathed on it, then we will start to live in an era where benefitting from the sagacious and honorable pattern willed us by our fore-runners won’t be such a hash.

    Lastly, “Old age is a disease, My granny must have been
    senile, for I would rather be a wealthy unmarried bad-
    ass player.” is my quote of the day, already.! I’m glad I now know how Mr Charles fits into all this…lol.

    *1 A good name should be encouraged above other aforementioned values cos ultimately, what’s important is what counts.
    *2 Mount Vesuvius erupted and instantly wiped out Pompeii and its inhabitants.

    • Ezeamalukwuo says:

      Mr Tim, I love your comment, read it like 3 times and I must say it really got me all going.
      My reply to you, I must say that I do believe that Good Character is worth far far more than Beauty…I do believe that this is a universal truth that can not be disputed…but the reality begs to differ.

      In my note, I raised a point that should shield me from all these…Yes, a point, I am a writer, an Observer, and I report honestly all that I have observed…and my observation have led me to conclude that it is in human nature to place always Beauty before Good Character. It is only divine grace that helps man to choose something that is lofty.

      I ended with a slight joke…My granny must senile. But I don’t really think she was, but as a realist, her words will surely lead me through thorns and thicket..yes, because the Path of Honest men is the lonely Road…and only the brave tread it alone.

  9. Bro Solar, you’re fast becoming a prophet of destroy-the-antecendent.
    Having read your article on “Religion and Scientific Evolutions”, it’s vivid you are forcing your “crude hypothesis” of the past (people and wise sayings included) being dirty and hyprocritical as the present, do our throats.

    I just want to say these:
    1) Our ancestors saw and said the undiluted truths. Truths and proverbs that will live long as the bible amongst us, irrespective of how the present age sees or re-shapes the truths.

    2)I’m forced to believe you hush-hushed to publish this, as you were guilty of poor editing here and there. The (,)s, (ours not our’s)s, and few others were evident. I could have pointed them all out, but alas, my poor Nokia phone isn’t smart enough.

    All the same, you gave us a good tonic here, even though, you all to know how a bad-ass player you are…hahahahaha!

    • timnwaobilo says:

      I sternly object to your view that Mr Charles is pushing his hypothesis down our throats. I would rather say he was merely stating his observations, and not inclining towards hatred for everything “past” & “wise”.

      Also, I note with dismay the unnecessary belligerence of your comment. Easy, man, easy.

      I guess your comment was geared towards our general enlightenment, and I am constrained to see it as such.

    • Ezeamalukwuo says:

      Mr Nwaiwu…I may have hush-hushed the article but I never intended to wash-washed it down anybody’s throat…that’s not my style.

      As a writer, I believe that I have to be a good observer. These are all that I have observed and I believe that you do observe them too. You passed through FUTO, some of the girls who are married now, were they the best of the girls…let me ans it for you…No, a lot of them were just too sharp to remain single. Those who got 2-1 are they the ones to get it…No, some of them did what we do best, sort. Will it stop the sun from rising tomorrow, no, the Universe is almost Indifferent.

      So I write what is obtainable…I do not believe that Beauty (fame, money, power) is better than Good Character…but the behaviour, the attitude of most of human population will beg to differ.

      Belief is one thing, action is another. I believe that Chevron is causing a lot of havoc and are in a lot of immoral and illicit deals in order to produce oil in the world…This is my belief.
      But I always pray everyday that God, the father of all goodness favour me with a lucrative job in Chevron or any other big Oil company.
      In that same way do I take this article and many I have written. The old ways and its proverbs are good…yes they are but it never stopped Slavery, nor Colonialism, it never stopped the civil war nor the corruption that is eating us up today. Because people are more concerned with Beauty much more than they are concerned with being Good.

      Christ came down and died to save us…he left a church to be a symbol of his presence on earth…but today, I believe that Christianity has more blood on it’s hands than Hitler. Does that make Christ an evil man, NO…its just human nature…and the sooner we realise it and stop deceiving ourselves…the sooner we will find a way to keep our animal side in check.

      As for the comment about “Religion and Science” I will reply you when you comment on that post…and feel free to pour out all your reservations…I don’t mind being called names or something…discussion, controversial discussion is what makes Blog popular.,.and I expect to see that here.

      Over to you, Mr Nwaiwu or Tim…(sits down with a beer bottle and a fine chikala, maka na obagooo)…+

  10. Anene Francis says:

    Very good observation you presented here mr Solar. Some of its elements have been subjects of my personal meditation several times before. I would have been left very sad after reading this (same reason mr Tim gave) if not for the ingredients of humour you did well to add.
    I agree with most of the points you raised. However, you seem to endorse the present trend as regards the topic or at least not interested in its reversal. Well, your stand is noted, your opinion duly respected. For me, I stand for its reversal, difficult or hopeless it may seem.

    You said generations before us may have been lying to us about their time to make us look bad. I believe some of their tales are exaggerated but from my random studies and experience, generations before now gave greater value to good name/moral than we do today.
    *The foremost cause of this increasing shift is the virus called ‘media’ (of all forms). E.g there is a shift in what beauty is seen as. It is said “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder” but now beauty is Idealized. If you do not look like Beyonce, you are not beautiful. Sexy is termed beautiful. The standard is constantly being shifted in that direction causing dangerous competition in the very wrong things. We are being brainwashed gradually. Even with the sound judgement as presented here, it is still difficult to act accordingly for fear of being the odd one in the crowd. Same applies to the other definations you gave beauty. I so hate the popular quote: “get rich or die trying”. Cunning is mistaken for being wise. I too am in that entanglement, but I am struggling to break away.

    * Where you said “Good girls don’t easily get married anymore…”, I beg to disagree. I hope you are not assuming that all or most beautiful ladies are bad in character and vice versa. Beauty aside, most men I believe would prefare good character for serious marriage. Many poeple ‘use’ the licentious ones in unserious relationships. Call it boyfriend/ girlfriend.
    * Every ones and his choice and preference sha, even those that see their spouses as article for show. I hail una lol… For me, this article would serve as reminder and encouragement to favour the noble judgement more than I have been, no matter how small. Journey to Jerusalem need the gingering of Gethsemane lol. Thanks.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Ezeamalukwuo says:

      DR CHIEF Anene…I salute you SIR…your takes on many topics I have be privileged to witness are nothing short of exceptional.
      I must confess that I got carried away by the humour and horror of it all that I forgot to offer much as a solution to this issue…But can I really offer one?

      It is natural for man to seek Beauty in all its ramifications…it is a norm. Should I suggest that man should not, or that he should show moderation in it…that’s quiet cliché’. But Honest men must.

      “The Path of Honest men is the Lonely Road,
      There path is the wilderness,
      That is why the world does not recognise them
      That is why only a few can take heart and follow.
      Alas! I (Solar) can only sit by the bank of this river
      And weep
      Offering my tears as libation to the mermaid of the sea
      O Mermaid! O Mother!
      In your presence alone have I come to see
      That all my quest and question
      Are but a chase after the wind.”

      I believe that you have read this poem..”The Discovery”…it is here on lyriversity..you should search for it. It is here I summarised all my observations of life…The bad guys will always get the glory because that is how we humans are…the good guys will always remain obscured…it is the 2nd law of Thermodynamics..”The disorderliness of the Universe is Increasing.”
      And the bad guys are but the agents of disorder..and the good guys will only try as much as they can to slow down the process…Until the Messiah comes (again).
      Check History…it is an event of Men who are great in their pursuit of Beauty…be it fame, money, power, glory and honour…Most of them have little or nothing in good character…e.g Caesars, Mark Anthony, Cleopatra, Pharaohs, Hannibal, Nebucadnezzer, Attilla the hun, Napoleon, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, etc…even the so called heroes have innocent blood in their hands but its okay because they have excelled in one form of Beauty or the other…it is just the way life is now…but the Honest men must continue to strive.

      And I never meant that most beautiful girls are bad, nay…I am only saying that Physical beauty makes up for a lot of flaws these days. And some of those bad girls are very very astute in their dealings with Big men of today.

      To conclude, I will say…”Let the good man continue in his good, and let the bad man continue still (though we must continue to pray for him)…till the day of Judgement.

  11. More lights of clarity have been thrown by you, Mr. Solar, your attorney, Mr. Tims, and of course the wise Anene.
    Facts remain (and I agree with you on this) that the “left hands” are playing the tennis of life at the expense of the “right hands”….but like I said before, such paradigm shifts can’t reverse the left hand to right hand.

    Again, as far as beauty continues to marry the eyes of men more than Good characters, marriages will keep crashing; the economy will keep crippling; depression, sadness, and regrets will still find ways to merry with today’s happy-to-thwart-natures fellas.

    So my dear, count the number of famous, wealthy, and powerful men and women of your town in 90s, and know how many of them who are still relevant to the society today.

    So I end with this: distorted equations and its harbingers, will soon balance with time.

  12. Moses opara says:

    A woman’s beauty is in her character. This is exposed.

  13. Ik Ekpunobi says:

    Wonderful,knowledge-impacting and organised article i learnt alot

  14. Kukogho Iruesiri Samson says:

    For a girl to even catch your attention, so you could ascertain her ‘good girl’ status, you must first have judged her to be beautiful. I want a good wife, but I do not intend to sacrifice the ‘beautiful’ criteria for that..you see?
    Therein lies the dilemma of the good but not pretty woman.

  15. Anene Francis says:

    It is very obvious that our society favours misdeed to uprightness. After all Barnabas , a murderer was preferred to Jesus Christ. With reference to the question you raised in one of your articles “what is the purpose of life”, I think what we in general, see as the end in life are vainglories. Some times I ask myself ” who should dictate the norm” seeing that we all are pull toward the edge of a waterfall. Since I would bear what ever consequence thereof as an individual, I should decide what the norm should be for me. Most times, taking a morally right stand opposed to the popular trend is like suicide mission. Here I take Gandhi as mentor in that respect. Yes there are many ‘good guys’ that achieved greatness without soiling their hands, depending on ones defination of greatness or glory. A stand far from easy to sustain but worth it.
    I think I have read part of ‘the Discovery’. will search for it (later).
    I’m humbled by the compliments. (moderate it sha lol) thanks.

  16. Olisa says:

    You wrote exactly the situation of modern Nigeria. Godliness is seen as foolishness; everything bad is made to seem good. Even in marriage, people go for beauty of the skin rather than that of the soul. That’s why we have shattered homes today. Jishi ike. You are doing good.

  17. chigozie says:

    Nice article,its time peoples start accepting reality.but on my own I did prefare a girl with average looks and a fair character.

  18. nice article again from you my man. its reality and sadly nothing much can be done about it. the zenith of your whole write up ended the way the bible did in the book of revelation, there was no call or plea for change……..let him who is just continue to be just, let him who is unjust continue to be unjust for i come quickly and will judge every man by his works…..I comment my reserve

  19. Ugorume Sylvester Efeturi says:

    I believe your grandmother belong to the period of reasoning. A thing lacking in recent times. We should all strive to live a life devoid of vanity.

  20. LegendaryCJN says:

    Each time I read this, the clearer the truth, and more jarring the fact.
    What a write!
    Good one again my good man.

  21. Nancee says:

    Mr Solar, your observation was well written and nicely framed. Permit me if i’m going to repeat some of what has already been said but I’d love to add to it. Like you rightly pointed out, our society today sees modesty as ‘old school’, a lady is beautiful when she is scantily clad, being sharp means you’ve never been caught lying……. etc, but after this, what else? I can assure you that with these modern trends, sharp babes refusing to remain single (if I may borrow your words), rookies becoming big shots through deception, students flashing their ‘sharply-gotten’ degrees, and all the rest, beauty (both literal and figurative) can never replace good character, it cannot even come close enough to be compared to good character. there are cases of sharp babes who refused to remain single and are not enjoying the marriage, cases of ill-gotten power gone wrong, to mention but a few. On the other hand, I have also seen and heard good character being rewarded, do I need to remind you of the case of the taxi man who was honoured by the presidency? That is one public example. My point is this, yes the society prefers beauty to good character but that should not in any way diminish our sense of ‘good character’. Trust me in the long run, it pays off.

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