The nine-year old boy in this photograph is not the young Ed Sheeran, his name is John.
John and Ed Sheeran only have the colour of their hair in common. In fact, this nine-year old is no longer a boy but a 47-year-old man. He is old enough to be either Ed Sheeran’s dad or uncle.
John is my husband, my long-suffering and easy-going husband of 10 years. John is clearly white with some Scottish and English blood running through his veins and I, the daughter of Yoruba parents. In England, I am Black African and John, White British.
Dating can be tricky but dating and marrying someone from a different background can even be trickier. Some of the humorous challenges we faced in the early days of our relationship, I share with you today.
The Music Thing.
I grew up listening to the music of King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Orlando Owo, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Bob Marley, and most songs imported into Nigeria from the USA. But when John became my boyfriend, so did a depressed looking and sounding artist called Morrissey. The way I fell for John, I fell for Morrissey too. Mind you, John was more fun.
John also tried to introduce me to the music of The Beatles, The Wedding Present and everything techno. I did not have the ear for their sounds so, I never fell in love with them.
The Hair Thing.
Nowadays, out of convenience and ease, the hair on my head is always below five inches. I love my hair this way. And so does John.
In the early days of our relationship, I wore a lot of braids and human hair extensions. I was never satisfied or pleased with my natural hair. John never understood this. He never understood why I had to purchase another woman’s hair and stick it on my scalp with the help of thread or adhesive. I tried enlightening him but he never got it. He never will. After all, it is a Black woman’s thing and he is a white man.
The Moisturising Thing.
John learnt pretty quickly that my black skin must have a lot of moisturiser rubbed into it so as not to look ashy and feel scaly. He now fully appreciates that my everyday ritual of slapping coconut oil on my skin is beneficial for our relationship. He delights himself in the feel of my smooth and silky skin whilst I carry on looking fabulous. Sometimes, very shiny!
The Food Thing .
Where do I begin on food? My taste in food has had to be compromised. Compromised in the name of love. The amount of Scotch bonnets I use has been radically reduced, if used at all.
Also, the skill of chewing chicken bones was passed on to me by my parents from an early age. John on the other hand, had never seen anyone chew their bones until he met me. I have given up on educating him about the benefits of chewing bones. He just continues to watch my daughters and I in amazement as we devour the bones of our cooked chicken or other meat.
John uses forks and knives; I use the clean fingers on my right hand. Left hands are a no-no culturally.
Everything I have shared in this post is minor to us. What is major to John and I is we may look different on the outside but on the inside we are the same. We feel the same pain, love or hurt. We may feel it in different ways. The emotion remains the same.