Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Saving all my susu for you
These, dear reader, are the romantic utterances of my man this morning.
As I watch my brother round the corner to school, I become aware of a man standing in front of a building site, wearing the reflective vest of a construction worker. He chooses to announce his presence as I walk past by declaring loudly, 'Wo yε me taste!'
I dissolve into giggles. He grins, pleased, apparently not only because he guesses correctly that I'm Ghanaian, but that I 'get' the line delivered with the right mix of admiration and aggression.
'Wo yε Asante ni, meboa?' He asks (You're an Ashanti woman, aren't you?)
Without waiting for an answer he says, 'Me tumi hu saa. Hwε wo moma.' (I can tell just by looking at your forehead)
This forehead of mine has been the..er..butt of jokes from time immemorial. That it was aggravated by a childhood accident which left a scar on the right side only served to provide fodder for all manner of affectionate teasing from neighbourhood kids - 'Moma Po', 'Torchlight' and 'Kanea' come readily to mind.
He is saying, 'Nansa yi ase me hu wo akyε.' (I haven't seen you in a while)
'Ah. Na wo nim me mpo?' I retort. (But you don't even know me!)
'Hwε! Saa na εyε wo. Me huu wo a na Awurade yi kyereε me.' (That's what you think. As soon as I saw you, the Lord revealed it to me)
'Den na Awurade ayi akyerε wo?' (What has the Lord revealed to you?)
'Awurade se wo yε me wife! εwɔ sε me bε hwehwε wo fada...' (The Lord says you are my wife. I must come seek approval from your father)
I am hugely amused by this time. 'Saa w'ahu?' (Is that right?)
'Oh yes. Brε a me brε nyinaa eyε wo nti na mee brε. Every ment bia me to susu ma wo.' (All my hustling is for you. I save money – susu - every month for our future together)
I should mention at this time that his name is Kusi, and I used the term 'my man' very, very loosely.
After I walk off laughing, I'm reminded of the wackier chat-up attempts that come flying in the way of the sexes: the man in Amsterdam who offers to 'only bounce against me' by way of introduction; the elderly gentleman in the bus who insists my gap-toothed smile would bring him luck if we courted; the guy in the bar who throws some ice on the floor and says, 'Now that the ice is broken...' and sees from my face that I've read that line somewhere...
But there is just something about the random man on the street who delivers his interest in you with amusing candour in a Ghanaian dialect like Twi: 'Ah sister, me feeli wo w'ate?', 'Wo yε feeling sister!' 'Wo yε me size!' 'Wo yε me taste!' - all roughly translated as 'You're hot!' or 'you're just my type.'
In these circumstances, keeping a straight face is a work of art.
Ah, such is life - random or otherwise. You take it all on the chin and laugh where you can. It's all in a day's walk!
What's tickled you this morning?