Culture Shock for the African in Canada – Part 3

So, I have talked about the weather, the heating system, coats, partying and a bit about Ottawa city in my previous posts. Today I wanna share my Canadian dating experience. Hold tight, this is one bumpy ride.


It’s a Friday evening. I’m all covered up, face made up, eyebrows turned at the right angles, lips bleeding red and hair nicely done. You can easily guess that am about to head out on a date… except for the ‘all covered up part.’

I enter the cafe and immediately spot my date sitting at the far end. A corner table, far away from all other patrons. “So he’s going for privacy,” I say to myself as I smile and start walking towards him.

He stands up the moment he notices me. Huge smile on his devilishly-ridiculously-perfectly-arranged handsome face. You can imagine the chemical reactions going on in my body.

“Calm yourself down.” I silently warn my ovaries. I hadn’t even made physical contact with the guy and yet the bloody things were acting like they were ready to pop a baby.

“Hi, my name is Ivan.” He introduces himself.

You can call yourself whatever you like, but can I run my hand through your hair?” Of course, that’s not what I said. But I was thinking it”

His hair was so perfectly styled, every strand right where it was supposed to be. I had never seen anything like it before! Or maybe, what I should be saying is: I have never seen a guy put in such effort for a first date. But hold your horses, this was NOT the culture shock moment! HAHA. I’ve had my share of gentlemen in my very short life so far.

So, an hour later conversation is going great and his phone beeps. He’s got a text. He consciously makes an effort to avoid checking but it just won’t stop. So I tell him;

“Go ahead, check. It might be an emergency.”

“Are you sure?” He asks before checking. He really has good manners this Ivan (not actual name). I like him.

“Oh yeah am sure,” I say. “Go ahead.

He checks his phone and immediately starts smiling. I bet you’re wondering where am going with this. Stay with me. It’s coming.

I instinctively smile back…because you know…it’s infectious. He is very very good looking. Canada has some great looking male species, folks.

“It’s Melissa,” He nonchalantly informs me.

You see, somewhere during our chat, he shared a brief history of his dating life. Melissa was his ex. They broke up eight months ago.

Why the devil are you smiling telling me your ex just texted you while you’re on a date with me? But I don’t say this. Instead;

I keep smiling, except like a robot…void of emotion. Just lips spread wide with teeth showing for effect. Silently wishing he could see all the way through my skull to my brain where there was an image of me chocking his handsome ass to death.

“She just sent me a video of Randy doing some damage to her brand new shoes,” Ivan informs me. He leans in closer to me and together we watch the video.

So who’s Randy you ask? First let me tell you who Randy IS NOT.

Randy is NOT a child, a kid, or a baby. Ivan has no children.

Randy is a dog. A pet.

“Melissa and I share custody of our dog Randy,” Ivan tells me. “She has him during the week and I have him for the weekend. I like to know what he gets up to when he’s not with me so she always sends me videos.” You can tell he is such a proud …proud what, father?


You see, this is where my issue is. When I said I had some culture shock with dating, it’s such issues I was referring to. I know a thing or two about dealing with baby mamas. But how about dealing with pet mamas? This was a brand new concept to me. I wondered if i was mentally well-equipped to deal with such.

See, it’s not like am new to the world of pets. My mother once had a pet dog named Bentley who’s death she mourned like it was a human. So I know a thing about the connections humans have with their pets. I love animals. A best friend of mine once adopted a pet and we lived together with Giovanni (dog) like family. I am not new to this world at all.

However, what am new to is this shared custody issue (the pet mama) and this over-friendliness that the Canadians I have interacted with so far have with their ex’s. And before you call me jealous, hear me out first.

Ivan spent close to half an hour talking to me about Randy and showing me videos of him (with Melissa in almost all of them) giggling and goofing away together like such a tight-knit family.  I wasn’t quite sure what to do with my hands or my face during this time.

I mean, do I really need to inform my date that am uncomfortable watching a show of him and his ex in their happier times play happy family with their dog? I kind of assumed it was supposed to be obvious that I wouldn’t want to see that.

Yet somehow, my date assumed that out of everything presented to me in the videos, my eyes would only be focused on the dog…which by the way was never at any point on it’s on! The whole time I was looking at how his one hand seemed stuck inside her blouse, on cupping her boob while the other hand played with the dog. Tell me again, which part of that video was I supposed to be looking at?

I was sorta relieved when Ivan told me he had no kids because I figured, no baby mama drama. Not that I don’t like guys with kids. I like the ones that have their issues in order, whether they have one or fifteen children. Just sort your issues. No one wants to constantly deal with their lover’s ex.

And Ivan isn’t the only guy I have met in Canada that appears to be very actively involved in his ex’s world. I met someone who still lives with his ex. This has never happened to me before. Like ever. I didn’t even think it was possible. In real life at least. I have watched that Jennifer Aniston movie, was it The Break-Up?

It turns out this happens with quite a number of couples here. WTH.

“I’m still trying to put money together for my own place.” This guy reasoned.

“How long since you broke up?” I asked.

“Oh, it’s been about a year and a half now.” He answers, simply.

I could hear my ancestors summoning me. It was time for me to retire. I had seen about everything anyone could see in the world.


Now, I understand that these are not issues exclusive to Canada. They can happen anywhere depending on an individual. However, what I found peculiar was the manner in which most of the people I was meeting that had ex-issues seemed to take the boundary issue so lightly.

I have met guys in my country with ex drama or baby mama issues that showed some shame or embarrassment whenever their ex acted in a manner that was intrusive. And they did something about it immediately. But it appears here in Canada, for some, it isn’t such a big deal how much involved an ex is in your life. It’s like the only thing that changes after breaking up is the fact that they no longer share a bed. Everything else remains absolutely the same.

The one thing I can proudly applaud Africans for is their ability to set boundaries in their relationships, especially on matters relating to their ex’s. But over here, for some, it’s not such a big deal. They seem to be so big on being ‘friends’ with their ex’s. Which isn’t bad if some boundaries are established. Am African, I have seen husbands beaten simply because they sent money to their baby mama directly instead of sending it through the wife.

We don’t even have this thing of ‘sharing custody of a pet in my country.’ Maybe they do this in other African countries but not where I come from. Usually, one person gets custody and the other one just moves on. It’s a whole different story with children of course.

The one big plus I like about dating in Canada is the balance that exists in relationships. The woman appears to have so much power in a relationship. It’s so different from what am used to.

Coming from a place where women are taught to worship their husbands (whether they’re useless or not), it feels so refreshing to be in a place where people treat each other like partners. I mean, I respect my tradition and all (all that kneeling to serve your husband and all those gymnastics we have to do to get us ready for marriage), I respect that. But that doesn’t mean I like it. To have the ability to address my partner as an equal and yet at the same time respect them feels so liberating.

Of course, there are some very conservative Canadians but I think the majority have moved on from treating women like property, or like they belong in the kitchen. In fact, to me, the Canadian woman appears to yield so much power over her partner that it makes me feel a little sad for the man. haha.

I love this balance of power! A Lot. I mean, after doing all sorts of gymnastics, rolling on the ground and serving and serving someone without ever being served, I think I kinda like the idea of being in a relationship where am equally respected and treated like a woman, not so much a servant.







3 thoughts on “Culture Shock for the African in Canada – Part 3

  1. “Randy is a dog. A pet” sent me into laughter. This was a great read. I notice some exes do that sort of nonsense here in America s well, but I really think it depends on the people, the nature of their previous relationship and the reasoning behind why they broke up. If they’re parents (like you said), it’s natural that they’ll be involved in each others lives, but outside of that, it’s borderline inappropriate to be involved in the ex’s life on a daily basis like Ivan is/was. I think if Ivan (and people like him) are actively dating, they need to reevaluate their relationship with their ex and consider scaling back on the contact quite a bit in order to make room for a new bae.

    Liked by 1 person

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