Saturday, January 28, 2023

THE NYASS AND THE NYASSLESS.

My dear Samira,

It is yet another Saturday morning in the streets of Madina Zongo, where the gob3 sellers are on their usual display on the fringes of the roads of Madina. I have passed through several gob3 sellers in search of my favorite gob3 to satisfy my hungry stomach, yet to no avail. I know the breezing winds of your newly found home have not made you forget my weird taste for everything. Do you remember the famous gob3 seller in Gbotui (Dansoman) from whom you used to buy every weekend? Do you remember how simple and tidy the whole place looks? No funfair. No pageantry. Nothing to do with physical deception. Exactly what made me fall for the gob3. I started eating at the place one month after we went there together. And since then, my taste for gob3 has not stopped.

In the forenoon of a farmers’ day in Ghana, social media broke loose. Every social media user has probably seen this video of a Dansoman-based gob3 seller near your old school, praising neither her sumptuous gob3 nor her delirious cooking skills, but rather the meat behind her buttocks. How nicely arranged the butt is. Most portions of the video show only her butt, so I may conclude that it was mainly shot to showcase her butt. Who even shot the video? If it had been a man, I would have assumed it was because of the manly lust for power. This was taken by a female colleague, not of her beautiful face, silky long hair, or a nice dress, but of her butt. Such a weird taste.

The gob3 seller became the center of attention for the illustrious media eye two days after the video went viral on social media, which followed her to all places, including the church. This isn’t the 2022 surprise yet; the surprise is in the sleeping devil this video has woken: man’s lasciviousness. Men from far and wide started trooping toward her gob3 joint. Some as near as Kasoa and others as far as Tema trooped there to buy her gob3. Imagine! What could they be looking for? Some even use her phone number to place orders as early as 2 a.m. and as late as 11pm. The uncontrollable ones started proposing marriage. Isn’t this ludicrous? In his right mind, how can a man propose marriage to a woman solely for her buttocks? Can I blame the gob3 seller? Absolutely nope.

You may be wondering why I am wasting my illustrious Saturday night talking about gob3 seller when I could have used it more productively or written on the Sika MP3 d3d3 budget. Well! My response is, we can’t be too serious all the time. Sometimes, we just need to take our minds off too serious a business and concentrate on other things that are desirous of our hearts and souls. This is why I write to you on the emblematic subject of nyasses and nyasslesses. I know you will understand that nyass has always been a subject of discussion, in either a positive or negative light. But what is it about nyass that the subject never goes to sleep? What is nyass if not a piece of meat hanging from the butts of some ladies?

You remember when I told you on our favorite staircase of Elizabeth Frances Sey Hall that the first time I heard about nyass was in 2006 at an enclave called Lassie Tuolu Secondary School. It was just a hint on how ladies develop their nyasses through the use of metal buckets. I understand you have not been to a boarding house in your secondary school days, but I believe you might have heard about it or even tried it once or twice upon some of your naughty friends’ advice. Through my interactions with ladies, I discovered that the majority of them have responded to this call by either developing a nyass or polishing the nyass into a round shape. I’ve also come to understand why there are more metal buckets in secondary school ladies’ dormitories than in boys’ dormitories, where they’re often needed the most due to their rowdiness.

I guess you might have heard from me how one of my cousins made a routine out of sitting on buckets for an entire year without even adding an inch of meat to her butt. She routinely sat on this bucket whenever the chance presented itself until she became fed up and accepted her God-given shape. Can I say I’ve been unlucky to see this nyass craving peak and fall every quarter of my hastily brief life? At one moment, people are talking and craving one liminal thing, and in the next moment, attention has been shifted from it to its direct opposite. Do you remember I once told you about my Canvass footwear story?

Aha! 

Let me refresh your memory a bit. My mom bought me some beautiful footwear when I was around 6 to 8 years old. This footwear had apparently fallen out of favor. And in my town, anything that was out of style had been relegated to use in villages. Villagers are now more fashionable than ostensibly city and town dwellers. I wore this canvas for the first time to school, and my colleagues teased me for wearing old-fashioned footwear. Canvas was outmoded. This was my only time wearing canvas in my basic school days. Fast forward to secondary school, and Canvas has remodeled itself and taken over the market again. By then, I had long since lost faith in these canvases. But since they were the latest fans in town, I had to fall in line. And I did.

The interesting thing was that when I returned home wearing the same canvas my mother had purchased for me, I was teased, which led to my rejection of the same thing on my feet. To my mother’s surprise, I was taking pride in it. You know these oldies don’t forget issues lightly. She gave me a very weird look to suggest she still remembers what transpired several years ago. So, I have to start by explaining how these same canvases, which were out of fashion, have come back into fashion. Well! I did my best to explain to her how things work in the short-lived fashion sense of my generation. But whether she was convinced remains a point of contention to this day. She’s never understood our modern fashion sense at all. From hair styling, nail polishing, and fixing, to makeup, to eyelashes. But there was one thing she definitely hated the most: you could never be her friend in bleached skin.

My dear Samira, you now know where this conversation is heading. The return of the nyasses. I don’t know in which episode to place this scene since I met it at birth. It has become the talk of the town today. I even saw it on your status when you referred to yourself as the nyassless gang. Previously, it was the forehead gang, and now it is the nyassless gang. I believe you know that nyass has been the most talked about subject in town, and it is causing a whole lot of confusion in town. Despite being the guy here, I understand the probability, standard deviation, and coefficients in your head. I see it every day; I perceive it everywhere. Nothing remains forever. One outstanding writer, J.R.R. Tolkien, once said, “What punishments of God are not gifts?” At this material moment, you may be asking God, “Why me?”

Well! Your response is as close to you as your mouth and your tongue. You just have to learn to love the thing you most wish had never happened and yet make the most of what has happened. Those that never happened are such high-level concepts, whereas those you possess are yours. And you must learn to ask yourself these questions on a daily basis.

“Am I grateful for this?”

I know that is a really hard thing to wrestle with. Yet it’s also an interesting frame to have on the shelf as a possibility one day. I’ve thought about those words endlessly over the last three years. Tolkien opened my mind with handicapped keys and a sharper sword. These words are an example of “words mightier than swords.” There’s this accumulated wisdom in people who have gone through this, and for there not to be a daily WhatsApp chat group where people are sharing the accumulated knowledge, just think about all the attention that’s paid to birth and all the silence surrounding death.

My dear Samira, it is not because our forebears were hard-hearted that they had to make do with their austere moral rules; rather, they needed those rules, as we do, because they embody more information about actual human needs than is available to any individual, however patient and tender-hearted. You will now understand why I often say, “The pleasantly obvious is our Goldilocks zone.” You need not bulge your eyes or be prissy; it means to take pride in what you have but not to be egoistic about it. The moment you show ego, it could be the beginning of your downhill journey.

Do you remember in college when a lot of young ladies went through rigorous exercises and diets in order to have a slim body? What were these for? I know you understand what I’m driving at. Even your fair-skinned roommate with a lot of nyass had tried a lot of diets before collapsing in the JQB 14 lecture hall. You might be laughing aloud as you recall this incident. I understand how you feel now. During those days, everyone wanted to be you because you were the model the world wanted. Your nyassless butts represent many things in the world. As a result, your legs are slender, making her more athletic and suitable for pageantry. You fit well in all your dresses unless you didn’t know you did. Sleekness received a 5 out of 5.

Expectedly, the tables have turned. People’s preferences have shifted. Your taste has changed too. The Waakye joint at Atomic that you once loved so much has given way to the Legon Hall Jollof you once despised so much. You can’t deny it. What used to be the high point has become a low point now. People’s efforts to lose weight have resulted in the development of muscles on their buttocks. In order to gain nyass, people are undergoing artificial surgeries, with some losing their lives in the process. I have monitored your commitment to gym lessons lately, and not only has it impressed me without an ulterior motive, if there is ever one, but I wonder how I will manage to swallow this pill.

I have seen it daily at the movies and in the news. It’s happening right under our noses. People are pumping their buttocks in order to survive the flu. Others go under the knife in practicing laboratories. The vast majority of them are successes. However, as we all know, minorities have flaws. However, they all have lifelong effects. If you recall, a Nigerian tick-tock recently died while undergoing Nyass implant surgery in India. Prior to this unfortunate event, a medical doctor operating from Weija enclave, on whose hands a high-profile public officer met her untimely death (not as a result of an implant but a short illness needing immediate medical attention), was believed to have caused so much damage to young ladies’ butts in the process of enlargement. This is the catastrophe that has befallen us in the land you have left behind to a much improved and greener place. Remember, even if you leave alone, history follows you.

My dear Samira, the last time I went back to my original home, there were rumors concerning a friend’s younger sister, who was slimmer than you are. She came to Accra after completing Senior High school only to return four months later with so much muscle hanging on her butt. This surprises everyone, especially when the family is well known for carrying flat butts around. You know I would’ve had such doubts myself if any female member of my family, out of nowhere, started possessing what wasn’t theirs when we all know the family’s inheritance when it comes to muscles. I even learned from there that medications work faster. I’m not talking about the 2×2 boxes with ballooned nyass drawn on them that are displayed on small tables along high-risk roads. Far from it. I discovered that there are more sophisticated ones that can precisely shape the butts.

I know you will be worried yourself, not because you are nyassless, but because of where the trend is leading this generation—a deep pit of unconsciousness. Our gob3wura has vanished and is now trending on her Nyass. She is trending not because of her delectable GoB3 or for any other reason. Just nyass!! Young ladies have built mansions out of it. Others have cried “had I know” for just possessing it. The gob3 seller, even though she enjoys all the news streams and the fame, is also lamenting how people want to sleep with her for possessing such a beautiful nyass. Yep! I said people, not me. I once liked her as our gob3wura. Nothing else. Smiling.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have my taste intact. Talking about nyass does not in any way change my taste; I still like sleek and slimmer things. I just want you to know that I still like you the way you are. Nothing can change that. Unless you decide to go with the local craze. Maybe that will give me a second thought. It may even change everything unless you break my heart in a cunning way. Maybe it’ll change my mind. It might change my taste because I will not want to be reminded that my taste has fundamentally changed. This is it. There is so much nyass madness in town these days.

I like to be a shake-it-off kind of person, but I’m more of a cling-to-it and focus on-it-until-it’s irrevocably woven into my psyche sort of person. As you thread your way to the other ends of the world, you should as well know that these things are real and consequential. You may not know, hear, or see; now you know, hear, and see. I can sleep now on a Saturday night, feeling fulfilled and relieved.

By 
Al Latif Kambo-Naa

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